The Brits. A fanfare of mediocrity
So as the dust settles on the Brits – the verdicts are in. Almost all independent critics are united in viewing it as monumentally bland and a sorry testament to the current state of the music industry. Homogenous and sparklingly personality free acts dominated once more as the PR machine patted itself unconvincingly on the back. Rumour has it that the most rock n roll moment of the evening was when a diamond ring slipped off the finger of a female executive. Rock…. And then roll – geddit.
Even the Sun said "Well, rock'n'roll is officially dead. Where have all the rock stars gone?"
"Welcome to the new boring," said Daily Telegraph music critic Neil McCormick. Of the winners he had this to say,
"All - to different degrees - extremely talented, vibrant, emotional, committed, entertaining musical performers beloved of enormous audiences. And all as dull as dishwater."
"I just hope there is some young punk out there, watching that, thinking the music business needs a right royal kick up the posterior."
Mumford and Sons sanitised brand of pseudo folk is a particular offender – trading as it does off the mystique and energy of a raw, vibrant tradition. Alas it is more of a Waitrose ready meal than a hand caught rabbit stew.
Meanwhile – cemetery workers were alarmed by the thrashing of soil as John Peel turned in his grave to the excruciating sight of One Direction doing Teenage Kicks. Although to be fair to them – they are teenagers – and they certainly could do with a kicking.
Robbie Williams these days looks like the ‘I’m naughty - honest’ model in a Marks and Spencers meanswear catalogue aimed at middle aged women shopping for their husbands.
Adele was the only person with any real testicular fortitude anywhere near the billing – as evidenced by her fine middle fingered salute last year, but she knows better than to attempt charisma in such a setting these days – so stayed in LA.
Basically – the whole thing was a glitzy pile of recycled mediocrity. Where’s the originality? Where’s the danger? The whole thing can be neatly summed up by using Damien Hirst’s statue design as a metaphor. Nothing new, rehashed, overpriced and not made by the artist himself.
The tragedy is that there is certainly no shortage of creativity out there. Below the shiny surfaces – there are superb acts doing exciting things. But the music business and the corporate ethos that drives it is simply closed off to them. The likes of David Bowie and the Rolling Stones wouldn’t have a chance in today’s environment. Where are the independent labels, the development budgets, the canny A&R man who intuitively knows what risks to run? Well the short answer is that since the phrase ‘music sales’ became an oxymoron – the industry is just one big merchandising department. There is no room left in the business model for risk. That is just a sorry truth.
But the real question is - what happened to teenage rebellion? One Direction flying the flag? Really? David Cameron’s guest appearance in their video rather says it all. And before you shout that rebellious teenagers wouldn’t touch the Brits with a Harry Styles impaled bargepole – it is worth remembering that while there has always been an underground – the mainstream was never quite this safe