A couple of observations about the ARIA Awards 2010
Uh. First up. Angus and Julia Stone. Winners of Album and Single Of The Year. An act so contentious they confuse the Australian music critics’ music critic Dom Alessio into writing two, entirely contradictory, reviews. (Rule Number 27 of Music Criticism seems to hold particularly strong in Australia, to judge from the number of folk who’ve defended the arrant editor-pleasing Alessio on Mess And Noise – The platform is way more important than the critic.)
“Every effort is made on behalf of the duo to make this album as inoffensive as possible. The listless, lackadaisical vocals of both Angus and Julia shouldn’t be mistaken as ennui though, that’s actually how they sing; soft drawls that rarely modulate from a set range of notes” – Mess And Noise review of Down The Way by Dom Alessio
“Down The Way sees the Stones maintain their natural love for tight melody, languorous rhythms and coying vocals. It’s one of those albums that you listen to on a sunny Sunday afternoon, lazing around in the backyard. There are some beautiful moments on Down The Way, and there are a lot of darker moments too, particularly those songs written by Julia. Don’t let the impish vocals fool you: there’s heartache in her cadence” – Triple J review of Down The Way by Dom Alessio
Congratulations are in order to Temper Trap, winners of Best Group and Most Popular Australian Single (‘Sweet Disposition’). A single so popular that it’s won the award two whole years after it was released (in 2008). Although it does beg the question: if time isn’t a restriction for these awards, why not go the whole hog and give it to Men At Work’s culturally-damaging 1981 single ‘Down Under’. Surely, way more ‘popular’ than some late-come mewling bunch of U2 wannabes from the Melbourne suburbs? And you could give it every year, thereby saving on costs – as you would only need to film the acceptance speech once.
And while we’re here, are the awarding of gongs to Powderfinger (Most Popular Australian Album and Most Popular Australia Artist) and the rictus-inducing Mumford & Sons (Most Popular International Artist) strictly kosher? I mean, most ‘popular’. Do the ARIAs have the sales figures to back these awards up? Are Mumford & Sons really the most popular international artist in Australia, more than Pink or Lady Gaga (say)? Whoa. Incidentally, nice choice of Carmen Electra (see above), that well-known champion of Australian music, to present an award.
Likewise (as Marcus at The Vine points out, in a typically fine overview of last night’s award ceremony), Sia winning Best Independent Release for ‘We Are Born’. That’ll be ‘We Are Born’, as distributed by Universal Distribution and co-sponsored by Starbucks, winning Best Independent Release.
Oh, Washington (Breakthrough Artist, Best Female Artist). You’re never going to win the AMP now, are you?
As I wrote a few months ago, “Megan Washington is this year’s Katie Noonan, this year’s Sarah Blasko. This is music for the mainstream critics who love to harp on about musicianship and songwriting like either of these abilities matter in the production of pop music. Again, don’t get me wrong. I like all these artists, to greater or lesser degrees (Washington included): but the production on I Believe You Liar is aimed at alienating no one. It’s pure middle-of-the-road indie Shins territory”.
So it proves. You alienate no one, your music is picked up by mainstream ‘alternative’ radio stations, you sell a bunch of records, you end up with a few gongs. It’s a time-proven formula. Doesn’t hurt to have a ‘quirk’ either (the glasses? The piano?) so folk like Ms Electra can go on about your ‘individuality’.
I quite like Ms Washington, as it goes. But the UK does this sort of stuff way better, don’t you think?
Nice to see The Wiggles getting Best Children’s Album. Bet that’s a first. For the record, Isaac has never been able to abide The Wiggles, much preferring something like this.
My feelings about award ceremonies summed up here.
And here’s the link to Marcus’ article once more, where you can find a complete list of ‘winners’, if you so desire.
(from Twitter last night)
Do Angus & Julia Stone not get to make an acceptance speech or did someone decide they were too stoned to talk on ‘live’ tv? #ARIAs