The Brits 2018: a reflection and verdict

The Brit Awards are, and have always been a questionable affair. From Tinie Tempah scooping up the Single of the Year award back in 2011 for Pass Out, to The Darkness picking up 2004’s Album of the Year, although the competition for both wasn’t exactly fierce. A shadow on the might and power of The Grammys, The Brits has in its defence continued to grow as an influence on the industry, with awards developing much more of a weight in today’s music landscape.

But as an avid music and football fan, Wednesday night struck up something of a dilemma for your faithful narrator- watch Mourihno’s men grind out a 0-0 away draw in the Champions League, or watch Jack Whitehall announce that Dua Lipa had won yet another award. While the United game taught me nothing new about the state of my club, in comparison, The Brits did pluck up a few surprises, as well as some predictabilities, here’s what we learnt.

 

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Stormzy catapults to super-stardom
The biggest rapper in the world right now, one of contemporary music’s most important and influential figures, smashed up a Lamborghini in front of millions of people, hot off the back of one of the year’s best albums, and yet who was the British public left mesmerised by? Man like Stormz.

Besides scooping up the well-deserved Album of the Year Award as well as British Male Solo Award, Stormzy used his platform to speak the words of the British people with a venomous attack on Number 10, in what will go down as one of the most important Brits performances of all time.

 

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Dua Lipa proved that there’s still no New Rules at this year’s Brits
Born out of the mediocrity of Jess Glyne’s aimless meandering to the top of British pop, fellow lifeless hit-maker Dua Lipa scooped up an array of awards and nominations at the Brits this year, beating Jessie Ware to Best British Female Vocalist, and Loyle Carner to Breakthrough Act. Ignoring the organic quality of both of the aforementioned and their final product, it’s Dua’s nominations that make for more of a frustrating conclusion than her wins, particularly within the Album of the Year category, with The xx and Sampha both missing out in lieu of Lipa.

 

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Video of the Year Award still doesn’t have anything to do with videos
As has been the case with both the Brits and the Grammys, the Video of the Year award is just a selection of best-selling pop tracks, often given to the most popular- just remember when Spice Girls beat Virtual Insanity back in 1997. And this year was of course no different- Radiohead’s Lift, King Krule’s Dum Surfer, Young Father’s In My View, Charli XCX’s Boys, all received snubs for their incredible cinematic outings, in place of the likes of Clean Bandit and Anne-Marie.

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Electronic music still doesn’t matter
The British are undisputed powerhouses of electronic music, from establishing and building entire genres and movements, to rewriting and changing the landscape of the industry. The Chemical Brothers, Aphex Twin, The Prodigy, Fatboy Slim, Massive Attack, Underworld, Leftfield, Roni Size, all can be accredited as some of the world’s most important and influential artists, so why is there still no recognition of their contribution, even in retrospect?

In 2017 too, British electronica is still as influential as it was in those aforementioned glory years- Bicep, Four Tet, Bonobo, Mount Kimbie, Clark, Floating Points, Mura Masa, all dropped acclaimed full-length projects this year, with not one getting even a mention.

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A couple of nominations were surprisingly good, and some not-so
Who would have expected Kate Tempest’s fiery off-kilter spoken word/rap to have any kind of place at the pop palace of the Brits? Of course she didn’t win, nor did she perform, but she still nabbed a nomination for British Female Artist ahead of the likes of Charli XCX and Anne-Marie, who both had successful 2017s.

Among the usual suspects of Little Mix and Calvin Harris, J Hus also sneaked into the nominations for British Single of the Year, as did London Grammar into the British Group category. In contrast, DJ Khaled of all people was nominated for International Male Solo Artist, and Wolf Alice as British Group, beggars belief.

 

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Harry Kane fulfilled every stereotype of British footballers
Lifeless, dull, uninterested, out of place, uncomfortable on camera, and reading closely to a well-rehearsed script. Wether it’s scoring the winning goal against Arsenal, solving poverty and world hunger, or presenting the most important artist in the world with an award, this is all Harry Kane, and every footballer will ever be on camera and in the public eye.

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Ed Sheeran didn’t win, really
It’s pretty difficult to hold a grudge against Ed Sheeran and his chirrupy well-executed predictable pop, but in reality, his music simply isn’t award-worthy. While scooping up the Global Success Award, whatever that is, Ed missed out on the four other categories he was nominated for. And that was perhaps the most refreshing thing about this year’s Brit Awards, with Stormzy nabbing both Solo Male Artist and Album of the Year off Sheeran, two categories that seemed destined to be Ed’s.

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