You are the 99
It was like the general election, presidential election and final rolled into one. But Elbow for Band of the Year – what were you thinking? Jim Carroll has the last word on The Ticket Awards
YOU, THE READERS, have spoken and we, the critics, have listened to what you had to say. We may not like what you have said and you may not like what we’re going to say but, tough, we’re going to have the last word. You knew that was going to happen, right?
It was always going to be an interesting experiment to tap readers for your views on the year in music and film. While we were never going to give you carte blanche with your choices (the over-use of “street teams” by acts to big themselves up in online polls like this put paid to that notion) the shortlists were wide enough to cater for the populist and obscurist amongst you. And you took advantage of our generosity to turn out to vote in your droves. It was like the general election, presidential election and X Factor final rolled into one, though without the wipeout of the Green Party, the Frontline tweets and Damien Rice.
It’s probably no surprise to you – or us – that Adele took the gongs for Best Album and Best Track, easily out-polling the competition in the process. Both 21 and Someone Like You were ubiquitous in 2011 for the right reasons. Here was evidence that the public will happily respond to a quality artist at the top of her game producing songs with depth, resonance and staying power by going out and buying the bloody album. There’s a lesson in there for acts and labels alike.
It’s also reassuring to see Ticket readers agree with the writing classes on PJ Harvey, whose Let England Shake album has been topping most critics’ end-of-year polls in the last few weeks.
The Ticket readers deemed her to be Best Solo Act, narrowly beating Bon Iver in the process. Things might have been different had Justin Vernon not bothered with that awful soft-rock homage to Dan Fogelberg on the new album.
But Ticket readers are not infallible. I mean, what the hell were you lot thinking about when you gave one of our gongs to Elbow for Best Band? Elbow!
A band blander than your office party. A band who are the musical equivalent of a pair of socks from Marks & Spencer. A band specialising in washed-out whimsy and beer-soaked sentimentality.
Sadly, though, they’re the people’s choice, trouncing everyone else in the process. Bah.
It was also interesting to see that you firmly gave the thumbs down to King Creosote & Jon Hopkins’s Diamond Mine. It was an album highly thought of by our critics (though not this one, it must be said), but finished last of the 10 in the final countdown. People 1, critics 0 on that one and make no mistake about it. Readers did redeem themselves when they gave the award for Best Breakthrough Act to Tieranniesaur, Annie Tierney’s band who put everyone on the good foot with that amazing debut album for Popical Island and a slew of great shows. It seems that it’s not just critics who are wowed by Tieranniesaur’s classy blend of ESG meets Tom Tom Club funk. Other categories where readers and critics were in broad agreement included Irish act (Lisa Hannigan), roots album (Tom Waits’s return to form on Bad As Me), jazz (Keith Jarrett’s latest majestic improv turn for Rio) and trad (Gillian Welch’s The Harrow and the Harvest).
Oddly enough, there was only one runaway winner, one category where there was absolutely no question about who you, the readers, wanted to see topping the poll.
That was the Eejit of the Year category, where Amanda Brunker’s short but memorable performance at the Oxegen music festival was deemed to be head and shoulders ahead of Louis Walsh, Bono and Justin Bieber.
It seems that The Ticket readers believe that Ms Brunker should stick to the writing and leave the aul’ singing and prancing to someone else. We’ll see if she takes the award no one wants to win next year after she plays the Electric Picnic.
Remember where you read it first.