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

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - Ticket Awards 2011 -

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.

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