NME Award Winners 1994-2018 (Part Two)

Let’s now complete our summary of the NME Awards, with all the winners in one single, easy-to-digest place. So, as an extension of part two of the NME Poll Winners 1952-1992, here’s the final part!

Best Newcomer

Continuing the list that saw Cliff Richard and The Stone Roses share the limelight previously, these are the more recent newcomers.

Best New Artist

  • 1994 – Elastica (Best New Band), Credit to the Nation (Best New Solo Act)
  • 1995 – Oasis
  • 1996 – Supergrass
  • 1997 – Kula Shaker
  • 1998 – Embrace
  • 1999 – Gomez
  • 2000 – Muse
  • 2001 – Coldplay
  • 2002 – The Strokes
  • 2003 – The Libertines
  • 2004 – Kings of Leon
  • 2005 – Razorlight
  • 2006 – Arctic Monkeys
  • 2007 – Klaxons
  • 2008 – The Enemy
  • 2009 – MGMT
  • 2010 – Bombay Bicycle Club
  • 2011 – Hurts
  • 2012 – The Vaccines
  • 2013 – Palma Violets
  • 2014 – Drenge
  • 2015 – Royal Blood
  • 2016 – Rat Boy
  • 2017 – Dua Lipa
  • 2018 – Stefflon Don

Philip Hall Under the Radar Award

  • 1995 – Gene
  • 1996 – Rocket from the Crypt
  • 1997 – Super Furry Animals
  • 2000 – Terris
  • 2001 – Starsailor
  • 2002 – The Coral
  • 2003 – Yeah Yeah Yeahs
  • 2005 – Kaiser Chiefs
  • 2006 – The Long Blondes
  • 2007 – The Twang
  • 2008 – Glasvegas
  • 2009 – The Big Pink
  • 2010 – The Drums
  • 2011 – The Naked and Famous
  • 2012 – The Child of Lov
  • 2014 – Fat White Family
  • 2018 – Pale Waves

Best Live Music Categories

Most award ceremonies now seem to recognise live music, but the NME Awards have been doing it since way back in the early 1990s.

Best Live Act

  • 1995 – Blur
  • 1996 – Oasis (Best Live Act), Pulp (NME Live Act of the Year)
  • 1997 – Manic Street Preachers
  • 2000 – Super Furry Animals (Best Live Act), Mogwai (NME Live Act of the Year)
  • 2001 – Moby
  • 2002 – U2
  • 2003 – The Datsuns
  • 2004 – Queens of the Stone Age
  • 2005 – Muse
  • 2006 – Franz Ferdinand
  • 2007 – Kasabian
  • 2008 – Muse
  • 2009 – Muse
  • 2010 – Arctic Monkeys
  • 2011 – Biffy Clyro
  • 2012 – Arctic Monkeys
  • 2013 – The Rolling Stones
  • 2014 – Arctic Monkeys
  • 2015 – Royal Blood
  • 2016 – Wolf Alice
  • 2017 – The 1975
  • 2018 – Kasabian

Best Festival Headliner

  • 2017 – Adele
  • 2018 – Muse

Best Live Event

  • 1994 – Megadog
  • 1995 – Orbital at Glastonbury Festival
  • 1996 – Glastonbury Festival
  • 1997 – Oasis at Knebworth (Best Musical Event)
  • 1998 – Glastonbury Festival (Best Musical Event)
  • 1999 – Glastonbury Festival (Best Musical Event)
  • 2000 – Glastonbury Festival (Best Musical Event)
  • 2001 – Carling Weekend – Reading and Leeds (Best Musical Event)
  • 2002 – Ozzfest (Best Musical Event)
  • 2003 – Carling Weekend – Reading and Leeds (Best Musical Event)
  • 2005 – Glastonbury Festival
  • 2006 – Carling Weekend – Reading and Leeds (Best Musical Event)
  • 2007 – Carling Weekend – Reading and Leeds
  • 2008 – Carling Weekend – Reading and Leeds
  • 2009 – Glastonbury Festival
  • 2010 – Blur at Hyde Park

Best Festival

  • 2010 – Glastonbury Festival
  • 2011 – Glastonbury Festival
  • 2012 – Glastonbury Festival
  • 2013 – Carling Weekend – Reading and Leeds
  • 2014 – Glastonbury Festival
  • 2015 – Glastonbury Festival
  • 2016 – Glastonbury Festival
  • 2017 – Glastonbury Festival
  • 2018 – Glastonbury Festival

Best Small Festival

  • 2011 – RockNess
  • 2012 – RockNess
  • 2013 – Festival No. 6
  • 2014 – Sŵn
  • 2015 – Liverpool Psych Fest
  • 2016 – End of the Road
  • 2017 – End of the Road
  • 2018 – Festival No. 6

Radio Session of the Year

  • 1997 – Suede (Radio 1 Evening Session of the Year)
  • 1998 – Radiohead (Radio 1 Evening Session of the Year)
  • 1999 – Junior Carter (Breezeblock Mix of the Year)
  • 2000 – Supergrass (Radio 1 Session of the Year), Ooberman (Best NME Premier Show Performance)
  • 2001 – Coldplay (Radio 1 Session of the Year)
  • 2002 – The Charlatans (Radio 1 Session of the Year)

Best Club / Live Venue

  • 1994 – The Forum
  • 1995 – Brixton Academy
  • 1996 – Brixton Academy
  • 1997 – Brixton Academy
  • 1998 – Brixton Academy
  • 1999 – Brixton Academy
  • 2000 – Brixton Academy
  • 2001 – Cream
  • 2003 – London Astoria
  • 2004 – Brixton Academy
  • 2005 – Brixton Academy
  • 2006 – Brixton Academy
  • 2007 – Brixton Academy
  • 2008 – Wembley Stadium

Tour Award

  • 2001 – Amen / JJ72 / Alfie
  • 2002 – Lostprophets / Andrew WK / The Coral

Genre-Specific Artist Categories

These are just a selection of the artist categories that relate to a particular genre of music.

Best Dance Act

  • 1994 – Orbital
  • 1996 – The Prodigy (Best Dance Act), Goldie (Vibes Award for Best Dance Act)
  • 1997 – The Prodigy (Best Dance Act), Orbital (Vibes Award for Best Dance Act)
  • 1998 – The Prodigy
  • 1999 – Fatboy Slim
  • 2000 – The Chemical Brothers (Best Dance Act), Death in Vegas (On the Decks Award for Best Dance Act)
  • 2001 – Fatboy Slim
  • 2002 – Basement Jaxx

Best Hip Hop / Rap Act

  • 1994 – Cypress Hill
  • 1995 – Warren G
  • 2001 – Eminem
  • 2002 – Missy Elliott

Best Metal Act

  • 2001 – Marilyn Manson
  • 2002 – Lostprophets

Best Rock Act

  • 2001 – U2

Best Pop Act

  • 2001 – All Saints
  • 2002 – Kylie Minogue

Best R&B / SOUL Act

  • 2001 – Kelis
  • 2002 – Aaliyah

One-off awards

There are a whole load of odd, eclectic, and occasionally wonderful one-off awards. Here are all the ones I could find.

One-off Awards

  • 1996 – Special Award for Services Beyond the Call of Duty – Tony Crean
  • 1999 – Brain That Should Be Kept Alive for Posterity – Nicky Wire
  • 1999 – Would Make the Best Drugs Czar – Shaun Ryder
  • 1999 – Would To See On A Blind Date – Marilyn Manson and Billie Piper
  • 1999 – Would Most Like as Your Doctor – Natalie Imbruglia
  • 1999 – Would Most Like to Go Shopping with – Brian Molko
  • 1999 – Would Most Like to Cook You a Meal – Tiny Woods
  • 1999 – Would Most Like to Be Marooned on a Desert Island with – Louise
  • 1999 – Would Most Like as Prime Minister – Nicky Wire
  • 1999 – Most Like as Your Driving Instructor – Jay Kay
  • 1999 – Most Like to See in a Ring with Mike Tyson – Billie Piper
  • 2004 – Fight of the Year – Jack White vs. Jason von Bondie
  • 2004 – Living Legend – Arthur Lee
  • 2004 – Most Missed – Johnny Cash
  • 2005 – Special Award for Lifelong Service to Music – John Peel
  • 2010 – Giving it Back Fan Award – Lily Allen
  • 2014 – Songwriters’ Songwriter – Paul McCartney
  • 2016 – Best Actor – Idris Elba
  • 2016 – Best Actress – Vicky McClure
  • 2016 – Vlogger of the Year – KSI

Best Solo Artist

In earlier decades, this award had been split pretty arbitrarily, and this continues. I’ve grouped these into British and International, since this is what they are currently going with, but we’re actually looking at about six different award categories here.

Best British Solo Artist

  • 1995 – Paul Weller (Best Solo Artist)
  • 1996 – Paul Weller (Best Solo Artist)
  • 1999 – Robbie Williams (Best Solo Artist)
  • 2001 – Badly Drawn Boy (Best Solo Artist)
  • 2002 – Ian Brown (Best Solo Artist)
  • 2005 – Graham Coxon (Best Solo Artist)
  • 2007 – Jamie T (Best Solo Artist)
  • 2008 – Kate Nash (Best Solo Artist)
  • 2009 – Pete Doherty (Best Solo Artist)
  • 2010 – Jamie T (Best Solo Artist)
  • 2011 – Laura Marling (Best Solo Artist)
  • 2012 – Florence + the Machine (Best Solo Artist)
  • 2013 – Florence + the Machine (Best Solo Artist)
  • 2014 – Lily Allen (Best Solo Artist)
  • 2015 – Jake Bugg (Best Solo Artist)
  • 2016 – Charlie XCX
  • 2017 – M.I.A. (Female), Skepta (Male)
  • 2018 – Loyle Carner

Best International Solo Artist

  • 1994 – Björk (Best Solo Artist)
  • 1997, 1998, 2000 – Beck (Best Solo Artist)
  • 2003-2004 – Ryan Adams (Best Solo Artist)
  • 2006 – Kanye West (Best Solo Artist)
  • 2016 – Taylor Swift
  • 2017 – Christine and the Queens (Female), Frank Ocean (Male)
  • 2018 – Lorde

Best DJ

  • 2000 – Fatboy Slim
  • 2001 – Carl Cox

Best Group

Next, here are the categories for best group – of which there are still many.

Best British Band

  • 1994 – Suede (Best Band)
  • 1995 – Blur (Best Band)
  • 1996-1997 – Oasis (Best Band)
  • 1998 – The Verve (Best Band)
  • 1999 – Manic Street Preachers (Best Band)
  • 2000 – Blur (Best Band), Travis (NME Band of the Year)
  • 2001 – Radiohead (Best Band)
  • 2003 – Oasis (Best British Band and NME Band of the Year)
  • 2004-2005 – The Libertines
  • 2006 – Arctic Monkeys
  • 2007 – Muse
  • 2008 – Arctic Monkeys
  • 2009 – Oasis
  • 2010-2011 – Muse
  • 2012 – Kasabian
  • 2013 – Biffy Clyro
  • 2014 – Arctic Monkeys
  • 2015 – Kasabian
  • 2016 – The Maccabees
  • 2017 – Biffy Clyro
  • 2018 – Alt-J

Best International Band

  • 2002 – The Strokes (Best Band)
  • 2003 – The Hives
  • 2004 – Kings of Leon
  • 2005 – The Killers
  • 2006 – The Strokes
  • 2007 – My Chemical Romance
  • 2008-2009 – The Killers
  • 2010 – Paramore
  • 2011 – My Chemical Romance
  • 2012 – Foo Fighters
  • 2013 – The Killers
  • 2014 – Haim
  • 2015 – Foo Fighters
  • 2016 – Run the Jewels
  • 2017 – Metallica
  • 2018 – Haim

Best Band Ever

  • 2000 – The Beatles

Worst Band

  • 1997 – Oasis
  • 2003 – Nickelback
  • 2005 – Insane Clown Posse
  • 2006 – Son of Dork
  • 2007 – Panic! At the Disco
  • 2008 – The Hoosiers
  • 2009-2011 – Jonas Brothers
  • 2012-2013 – One Direction
  • 2014 – The 1975
  • 2015-2017 – 5 Seconds of Summer

Best Collaboration

  • 2018 – Craig David and Bastille

Most Dedicated Fans / Best Fan Community

  • 2012-2013 – Muse
  • 2014 – Arctic Monkeys
  • 2015 – Muse
  • 2016 – The Libertines

Best of All Time Awards

Finally, NME introduced the Godlike Genius Award in 1994, and have therefore followed with a suite of “best of all time” awards.

Godlike Genius Award

  • 1994 – John Peel
  • 1995 – Alan McGee
  • 1996 – Michael Eavis
  • 1997 – Mark E. Smith
  • 1999 – Massive Attack
  • 2000 – Shaun Ryder
  • 2001 – U2
  • 2002 – Nick Kent and Pennie Smith
  • 2005 – New Order and Joy Division
  • 2006 – Ian Brown
  • 2007 – Primal Scream
  • 2008 – Manic Street Preachers
  • 2009 – The Cure
  • 2010 – Paul Weller
  • 2011 – Dave Grohl
  • 2012 – Noel Gallagher
  • 2013 – Johnny Marr
  • 2014 – Blondie
  • 2015 – Suede
  • 2016 – Coldplay
  • 2017 – Pet Shop Boys
  • 2018 – Liam Gallagher

Outstanding Contribution to Music

  • 2002 – The Charlatans
  • 2009 – Elbow
  • 2010 – The Specials
  • 2011 – PJ Harvey
  • 2012 – Pulp
  • 2013 – The Cribs
  • 2014 – Belle and Sebastian
  • 2017 – WIley

The Fuck Me! / John Peel Award for Innovation / NME Innovation Award

  • 2003 – The Polyphonic Spree
  • 2004 – Dizzee Rascal
  • 2005 – The Others
  • 2006 – Gorillaz
  • 2007 – Enter Shikari
  • 2008 – Radiohead
  • 2011 – Crystal Castles
  • 2014 – Damon Albarn
  • 2018 – Boy Better Know

NME Icon

  • 2018 – Shirley Manson

And that concludes the results of the NME Polls and Awards, from 1954 to 2018. Join us in 2019 for another new ceremony!

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NME Awards – 2000-2003

The 2000s was, of course, the decade when nothing could be achieved without a heavy dose of corporate sponsorship, so the NME Awards flitted from Carling to Shockwave and the awards all gained individual sponsors. Let’s take a look at the first half of that decade.

NME Premier Awards 2000

Hosted at the Mermaid Theatre in London on 1 February 2000, by Steve Lamacq and Mary Anne Hobbs.

  • Philip Hall On Award: Terris
  • Live Act of the Year: Mogwai
  • Best Live Act: Super Furry Animals
  • On the Decks Award for Dance Act of the Year: Death in Vegas
  • Carling Premier Best New Artist: Muse
  • Breezeblack Mix of 1999: Junior Carter
  • Best Solo Artist: Beck
  • Best Album Ever: The Stone Roses, for The Stone Roses
  • Best Single Ever: Nirvana, for Smells Like Teen Spirit
  • Total Genius Of The Year: Ali G
  • Greatest Musical Event Ever: Woodstock
  • Best Radio Show: Radio 1 Evening Session
  • Carling Premier Best LP: The Flaming Lips, for The Soft Bulletin
  • NME Album of the Year: The Flaming Lips, for The Soft Bulletin
  • NME Single of the Year: Aphex Twin, for Windowlicker
  • Best TV Show: The Royle Family
  • Musical Event of the Year: Glastonbury
  • Best Venue: Brixton Academy
  • Dickhead of the Year: Robbie Williams
  • Best Website: NME
  • Worst Record Of The Year: The Vengaboys, for We’re Going to Ibiza
  • Best Film: The Blair Witch Project
  • Best DJ: Fatboy Slim
  • NME.COM Award for Best NME Premier Show Performance: Ooberman
  • Best Dance Act: The Chemical Brothers
  • Best Music Video: Blur, for Coffee and TV
  • Best Band: Blur
  • Best Single: Blur, for Tender
  • Best Band Ever: The Beatles
  • Godlike Genius Award for Services to Music: Shaun Ryder
  • Radio 1 Evening Session Session of the Year: Supergrass
  • Artist of the Year: Travis

NME Awards 2001

Hosted at Planit Arches, London, on 6 February 2001, by Peter Kay.

  • Best Band: Radiohead. Also nominated: ColdplayOasisPrimal ScreamU2
  • Best Dance Act: Fatboy Slim. Also nominated: Artful DodgerMobySoniqueUnderworld
  • Best Radio Show: Steve LamacqThe Evening Session. Also nominated: Mark Radcliffe and Lard (Mark Riley), Chris MoylesJohn PeelDreem Team
  • Best Metal Act: Marilyn Manson. Also nominated: At the Drive-InLimp BizkitQueens of the Stone AgeSlipknot
  • Best Club DJ: Carl Cox. Also nominated: Fatboy SlimDavid HolmesJudge JulesPaul Oakenfold
  • Radio 1 Evening Session of the Year: Coldplay
  • Best New Artist: Coldplay. Also nominated: At the Drive-InBadly Drawn BoyDovesJJ72
  • Best Single: Coldplay, for Yellow. Also nominated: Blur, for Music is My RadarEminem, for StanLimp Bizkit, for Take a Look AroundOasis, for Go Let it Out
  • NME Carling Awards Tour Award: Amen / JJ72 / Alfie
  • Best Rock Act: U2. Also nominated: OasisManic Street PreachersAC/DCThe Beatles
  • Hero of the Year: Liam Gallagher
  • Godlike Genius: U2
  • Best Hip Hop/Rap Act (presented by Run DMC): Eminem. Also nominated: Cypress HillDr. DreOutkastWu-Tang Clan
  • Villain of the Year: Robbie Williams
  • Philip Hall Award – Brightest Hope for 2001: Starsailor
  • Best Pop Act: All Saints. Also nominated: FiveMadonnaS Club 7Britney Spears
  • Best Club: Cream. Also nominated: Fabric, Gatecrasher, Home, Rock City
  • Best Album: Primal Scream, for XTRMNTR. Also nominated: Badly Drawn Boy, for The Hour of BewilderbeastColdplay, for ParachutesEminem, for The Marshall Mathers LPRadiohead, for Kid A
  • Best R&B/Soul Act: Kelis. Also nominated: Craig DavidDestiny’s ChildMacy GraySugababes
  • Best Solo Artist: Badly Drawn Boy
  • Best Film: Gladiator
  • Musical Event of the Year: Carling Weekend Reading and Leeds. Also nominated: Glastonbury, OasisRadiohead, T in the Park
  • NME.com Fans Award for Best Live Act: Moby
  • Best TV Programme: The League of Gentlemen. Also nominated: The Royle FamilyThe SimpsonsTrigger Happy TVThe Sopranos

NME Carling Awards 2002

Hosted at Planit Arches, London, on 25 February 2002, by Zane Lowe.

  • Best New Act: The Strokes. Also nominated: Gorillaz, Linkin Park, Starsailor, The White Stripes
  • Band of the Year: The Strokes. Also nominated: The CharlatansRadioheadU2The White Stripes
  • Album of the Year: The Strokes, for Is This It. Also nominated: The Charlatans, for WonderlandMuse, for Origins of SymmetryRadiohead, for AmnesiacSlipknot, for Iowa
  • Best Pop Act: Kylie Minogue. Also nominated: Britney SpearsMadonnaS Club 7Robbie Williams
  • Best Solo Artist: Ian Brown. Also nominated: Ryan AdamsPJ HarveyKylie MinogueAndrew WK
  • Best Music Video: Radiohead, for Pyramid Song. Also nominated: Basement Jaxx, for Where’s Your Head AtFatboy Slim, for Weapon of ChoiceGorillaz, for Clint EastwoodU2, for Elevation
  • Best Live Act: U2. Also nominated: Ash, Linkin Park, Muse, Radiohead
  • Outstanding Contribution to NME: The Charlatans
  • Best Radio 1 Session: The Charlatans
  • Best Heavy Metal Group: Lostprophets. Also nominated: Andrew WKLinkin ParkSlipknotSystem of a Down
  • Honorary NME Carling Tour Award: Lostprophets
  • Honorary NME Carling Tour Award: Andrew WK
  • Honorary NME Carling Tour Award: The Coral
  • Philip Hall On Award: The Coral
  • Best Radio Show: The Evening Session
  • Best Hip-Hop/Rap Act: Missy Elliott. Also nominated: Bubba SparxxEminemD12OutkastRoots Manuva
  • Best R&B/Soul Act: Aaliyah. Also nominated: Alicia KeysCraig DavidDestiny’s ChildSo Solid Crew
  • Best Dance Act: Basement Jaxx. Also nominated: The AvalanchesAphex TwinDaft PunkFatboy Slim
  • Best TV Show: The Office. Also nominated: JackassLater with Jools HollandThe SimpsonsThe Sopranos
  • Best Film: Moulin Rouge. Also nominated: American Pie 2Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s StoneLord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the RingShrek
  • Godlike Genius Award: Nick Kent and Pennie Smith
  • Best Single: Ash, for Burn Baby Burn. Also nominated: Ian Brown, for FearDandy Warhols, for Bohemian Like YouGorillaz, for Clint EastwoodKylie Minogue, for Can’t Get You Out of My Head, and The Strokes, for Hard to Explain

NME Carling Awards 2003

Hosted at Hammersmith Palais, London, 13 February 2003, by Bill Bailey.

  • Best Album: Coldplay, for A Rush of Blood to the Head
  • Album of the Year: Coldplay, for A Rush of Blood to the Head
  • NME Artist of the Year: Oasis. Also nominated: Black Rebel Motorcycle ClubColdplayEminemPinkThe Vines
  • Best UK Band: Oasis
  • Best New Band: The Libertines
  • Best Live Band: The Datsuns. Also nominated: The HivesMuseOasisThe Polyphonic SpreeThe Vines
  • Best Radio Show: Steve Lamacq (The Evening SessionLamacq Live). Also nominated: Chris MoylesMary Anne Hobbs (The Breezeblock), Gary CrowleyMark Radcliffe and Lard (Mark Riley), John Peel
  • Greatest Music Moment of the Year: Ozzfest. Also nominated: Oasis at Finsbury Park, Glastonbury Festival, Reading and Leeds Festivals, T in the Park, V2002
  • Best Single: The Vines, for Get Free. Also nominated: Foo Fighters, for All My LifeQueens of the Stone Age, for No One KnowsDoves, for There Goes the FearColdplay, for The ScientistAsh, for Envy
  • Single of the Year: Doves, for There Goes the Fear
  • Best International Band: The Hives
  • The Fuck Me! Award For Innovation: The Polyphonic Spree
  • Philip Hall Radar Award: Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Also nominated: JetThe KillsKings of LeonThe ThrillsThe Warlocks
  • Best International Band: The Hives. Also nominated: Black Rebel Motorcycle ClubFoo FightersThe VinesThe White Stripes
  • Best Video: Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, for Whatever Happened To My Rock And Roll (Punk Song)
  • Best Solo Artist: Ryan Adams. Also nominated: EminemAvril LavigneMs. Dynamite, PinkThe Streets
  • Hero of the Year: Ozzy Osbourne. Also nominated: Graham CoxonLiam GallagherDave GrohlChris MartinCraig Nicholls
  • Hottest Woman: Avril Lavigne. Also nominated: Karen OCharlotte HatherleyChristina AguileraMegan Martha WhiteKylie Minogue
  • Hottest Man: Chris Martin. Also nominated: Liam GallagherFabrizio MorettiCraig NichollsDave GrohlJulian Casablancas
  • Best TV Show: The Osbournes. Also nominated: The OfficeJackassGonzoI’m Alan PartridgePhoenix Nights
  • Best Live Venue: London Astoria. Also nominated: Brixton Academy, Barrowland Ballroom, Shepherd’s Bush Empire, Rock City, O2 Academy Birmingham
  • Best Haircut: Liam Gallagher. Also nominated: Didz HammondCraig NichollsDave GrohlFabrizio MorettiJack White
  • Best Dressed: The Hives
  • Best Website: NME. OasisFoo FightersBlack Rebel Motorcycle Club, Popbitch
  • Event of the Year: Reading and Leeds Festivals
  • Villain of the Year: Robbie Williams
  • Worst Album: Robbie Williams, for Escapology, Gareth Gates, for What My Heart Wants to SayThe Streets, for Original Pirate MaterialThe Vines, for Highly EvolvedWestlife, for UnbreakableColdplay, for A Rush of Blood to the Head
  • Worst Single: Robbie Williams – ‘Feel’
  • Worst Band: Nickelback. Also nominated: S Club JuniorsWestlifeStereophonicsAtomic KittenBlue
  • Worst Haircut: Jack Osbourne. Also nominated: Gareth GatesKelly OsbourneKelly JonesPinkChad Kroeger
  • Worst Dressed: Christina Aguilera

See also

Chart for stowaways – 7 April 2018

This week’s top albums look like this:

  1. Sparks – Hippopotamus
  2. Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark – The Punishment of Luxury
  3. Tracey Thorn – Record
  4. The Radiophonic Workshop – Burials In Several Earths
  5. David Bowie – Legacy
  6. Pink Floyd – The Dark Side of the Moon
  7. The Human League – Anthology – A Very British Synthesizer Group
  8. The Chemical Brothers – We are the Night
  9. Alabama 3 – Exile on Coldharbour Lane
  10. M83 – Dead Cities, Red Seas & Lost Ghosts

Grammy Awards 2017

Around this time of year, I usually like to put together a quick post summarising the Grammy Awards. Honestly, it’s a total nightmare – there are way too many awards in a myriad different categories, and I don’t really care all that much, but let’s see what we can see anyway…

First up, skipping straight to category #10, Best Dance/Electronic Album, where Jean-Michel Jarre was definitely robbed for Electronica 1: The Time Machine, and not even Underworld could grab it with Barbara Barbara, We Face a Shining Future. Instead, it was taken by someone called Flume, with Skin.

Another veteran who didn’t make it this year was Vangelis, whose latest album Rosetta lost in the Best New Age Album category to White Sun‘s White Sun II.

There were some vague highlights in the Best Remixed Recording category, where Timo Maas turned up as a nominee, reworking Wings, but failed to win. Among the competition was Joe Goddard of Hot Chip, with a version of The Chemical Brothers‘ Wide Open, but that also failed to win.

There were some well-deserved wins for David Bowie in the Best Rock Performance and Best Rock Song and Best Alternative Music Album and Best Recording Package and Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical (whatever the heck that means) categories, all for Blackstar.

An honourable mention is surely due to Ladysmith Black Mambazo, whose latest album Walking in the Footsteps of Our Fathers didn’t quite grab the Best World Music Album, and finally, hats off to Dolly Parton, who with the help of Pentatonix won the Best Country Duo/Group Performance award for Jolene.

There’s a painfully long list here, if you want to find some highlights for yourself.

Electronic – Twisted Tenderness

Electronic‘s first album is widely celebrated as being excellent, and as I found out a couple of weeks ago, the second one turns out to be a lot better than any of us remembered too. But as I listened to that one to write the review, I found myself questioning my memories of the third one – is it really as bad as I remembered? Let’s find out.

I’m always a bit suspicious of noisy, industrial electronica, and listening to opening track Make it Happen, I wonder if that might be where my dissatisfaction with Twisted Tenderness stemmed from. It’s a nice enough jingly synth line at the beginning, and then a funky guitar line comes in before we get the vocal. This is telling: “Sometimes we find ourselves searching for something new,” Bernard Sumner tells us.

Well, doing “new” things just for the sake of it is a bit misguided, but let’s give it a chance anyway. Bernard and his bandmate Johnny Marr had clearly been listening to a lot of The Chemical Brothers (and as it turned out, Sumner was also working with them on Out of Control, which was rather better than this and appeared a few months later).

The other telling aspect is Arthur Baker, who turns up as producer here, with some supporting work from members of Doves and Black Grape. Baker has plenty of electronic music on his CV of course, but by the late 1990s seemed to have settled on a much darker, more industrial sound. Which is OK, of course – guitars are “electronic” too, but I suspect Electronic might have been on a mission to alienate their established fanbase here.

Eventually Make it Happen draws to a close and the charmless Haze begins. Where this succeeds over the preceding track is in its chorus: this time it fits nicely, whereas Make it Happen‘s seemed shoehorned in at best.

There’s a noticeable change in mood at the start of the one and only single Vivid, with its curious mix of electronic backing and harmonica with guitars and live drums. Despite that, it’s actually a pretty good song – it could have just about fitted as one of the less good moments on the preceding album Raise the Pressure. But that’s about it – it’s good, but nothing too great. And I can’t help but worry that might be as good as this album gets.

Neither is it ever too bad though – at worst, it’s listenable, even if it’s not really our thing. The less good moments (Breakdown) are always balanced by the better ones (Can’t Find My Way HomeTwisted Tenderness). I suspect the latter is intended to provide continuity to the previous releases, but even so, barely a moment goes by when you don’t find yourself looking at this album’s neighbours on the shelf and wishing you were listening to one of them instead.

Like No Other is forgettable, and Late at Night was almost going to be the second single, but never quite got its full release, and honestly that’s no major injustice. The better moments still appear – Prodigal Son drags on a bit, but it’s pretty good, but closing tracks When She’s Gone and Flicker are nothing special.

When I write these reviews, I just listen to the album and write what I think. Sometimes I’m wrong, and people quite rightly call me out for it. Other times their arguments (like mine) are clearly tempered by their memories. But I wonder if anyone will rush in to defend this album? Because honestly, right now I think I’m right – either it isn’t very good, or I’m just not its intended audience. Probably the latter, but in that case, who is?

You can still find Twisted Tenderness at all major retailers.

Retro chart for stowaways – 26 February 2005

Here are the top ten albums from eleven years ago:

  1. Mylo – Destroy Rock & Roll
  2. Erasure – Nightbird
  3. Client – City
  4. The Chemical Brothers – Push the Button
  5. Bent – Ariels
  6. Lemon Jelly – ’64-’95
  7. Depeche Mode – The Remixes 81-04
  8. Kylie Minogue – Ultimate Kylie
  9. Girls Aloud – What Will the Neighbours Say?
  10. Dirty Vegas – One