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 Everett True

A couple of observations about the ARIA Awards 2010

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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

Don’t get me wrong. Some of us are partial to a little of the Stone inoffensiveness here at Collapse Board. Let’s face it, though. America does this sort of stuff way better.

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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.

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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?

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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.

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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.

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(from Twitter last night)

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Hang on. Did Angus Stone just say he writes songs with his dog? #ARIAs
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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
Did I really just see Rikki-Lee make that hand signal? What decade is this again? #ARIAs
Has someone told Washington not to wear glasses for the #ARIAs tonight? Geez, she really is struggling to hold a tune
An air raid siren and a intro of Glen Miller’s In The Mood. Cos the Blitz is like so hot right now #ARIAs
Temper Trap win best single for Sweet Disposition which Wikipedia tells us was released September 16, 2008 #ARIAs
This year’s #ARIAs would give the Sam Fox/Mick Fleetwood BRIT awards show a run for its money
macleanbrendan
I’m attending the #ARIAs dressed as a wanker with no interest in music. You might have trouble spotting me.

10 Responses to A couple of observations about the ARIA Awards 2010

  1. Tim Footman November 8, 2010 at 12:21 pm

    A two-year-old best single? Pah! Not nearly as impressive as Belle & Seb winning the Best Newcomer Brit after they’d released their third album.

  2. Everett True November 8, 2010 at 12:38 pm

    Where’s the button to click ‘I like this comment’?

  3. ed November 8, 2010 at 12:48 pm

    I’ll take your Belle & Sebastian and raise you. True blue, fair dinkum, well-known Aussie, Brian McFadden (from Westlife), was originally on the shortlist for ‘Most Popular Australian Single’ this year. I have a feeling he was bumped from the list though when it was pointed out that being Irish conflicted with the ‘Most Popular Australian’ bit.

  4. Bianca November 8, 2010 at 12:52 pm

    The whole show was a wreck. It was painful to watch. I will admit that I wasn’t entirely dissatisfied with the award winners. I look at it as “the lesser of the evils”. Better Powderfinger than Stan Walker. Better Washington than Vanessa Amorosi (sp?). I just don’t think it showed enough musical diversity – the night could pretty much be summed up by 6 or so artists.

    Does anyone know why half of the awards were done earlier in the week? How long has this been going on for? I swear they used to be announced at least on the same day, but maybe just earlier than the broadcast?

  5. David Nichols November 8, 2010 at 12:54 pm

    I recall Ed Kuepper being nominated for an ARIA for best debut album (or was it best newcomer?) for Everybody’s Got To. This was his third solo album and the 9th album overall he had been involved in by the most conservative estimate. At the time I queried this with the ARIA people and was told it was his first album for a major label.

    Was Down Under culturally damaging? It coincided with a period of extraordinary patriotism never before seen. It should not be misunderstood as representing such patriotism however.

  6. Everett True November 8, 2010 at 1:01 pm

    Was ‘Down Under’ culturally damaging? Only inasmuch as Chas ‘n’ Dave were.

  7. David Nichols November 9, 2010 at 10:15 am

    Some cultural damage! I don’t even know who they are.

  8. Everett True November 9, 2010 at 10:51 am

    I meant from outside Australia. The song was Number One in America (and UK?) and totally fed into cultural stereotypes.

  9. Frank November 10, 2010 at 9:28 pm

    Hey could be worse, they could have invited the finalists from x factor to play….maybe next year.

  10. David November 11, 2010 at 10:55 am

    A complete train wreck… and to top off the complete week of wank – whats with those mid week awards; to be seen by invite only?
    Ed St John – FAIL.

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