It is now December, when music lists prevail. Everyone (me included) becomes super-opinionated and pontificates about not only what they think the best music of the year was, but also who they think will be successful in the following 12 months, heaping untold expectation on fledgling music careers that aren’t generally up to supporting that kind of pressure. I’m not really sure why these ones to watch lists have become so prevalent in the past decade. As ever, I blame the internet and its ceaseless quest for new content, creating a spurious reason for barely qualified ‘tastemakers’ to earmark the acts that pluggers and PRs have assured them have the budget to succeed.
The kingpin of these lists is the BBCs Sound Of… Today they published the long list for 2014, and it would seem that the ‘featured artist’ is this year’s feted choice, which may or may not signal a lack of depth in the thinking behind this list. I should come out and say right now that I dislike every single act that has previously been tipped for the top from this list and must conclude that it is not aimed at a surly old fucker like me who is far too picky for his own good. Fair enough. This being the internet, however, I am entitled to my opinion and as such I am giving it to you. Happy now?
BANKS – Good tunes a bit screechy though, probably the best out of the girls in this list.
Chance The Rapper – good at what he does, he’s got really good flows. Not my bag though.
Chlöe Howl – Ever decreasing circles, been done to death recently. No.
Ella Eyre – Doesn’t offend me but where are the hooks?
FKA twigs – Ace voice. You need to smoke a lot of weed to dig the tunes…
George Ezra – Great voice, good guitar player. Far too earnest for me. Loosen up mate.
Jungle – I like Jungle. But they sound like someone else. Metronomy, I think.
Kelela – nice but boring. Really boring.
Luke Sital-Singh – Music for bank managers.
MNEK – Great tone in his voice but hard to tell what he’s about. He needs to do his own tunes.
Nick Mulvey – Reminds me of the lighthouse family.
Royal Blood – Sticks out like a sore thumb and smacks of tokenism in this list. It’s rock by committee, and it’s too slick and passionless to be really good.
Sam Smith – Great vocalist. Where are his own tunes?
Sampha – Do we need another James Blake? Give you a clue, the answer is no.
Say Lou Lou – Disappointingly dreary, with voices this average they need to have some fucking amazing tunes. They do not have amazing tunes.
And there it is. Informed opinion at work. My predictions: three quarters of this list will disappear by 2016. Sam Smith will probably win. Banks is the outside bet.
Just to shed some light on how good this list is, as an indicator of long-term talent, let’s have an arbitrary look at past winners and what I think about their success, as I am too lazy to look up actual facts.
2013 – Haim – Still successful but can’t see their Fleetwood Mac-lite schtick lasting too long
2012 – Michael Kiwanuka – Who?
2011 – Jessie J – Longevity acquired through TV not talent.
2010 – Ellie Goulding – Just about doing it, thanks to some dreadful covers.
2009 – Little Boots – Nope.
2008 – Adele – An undeniable winner and rare talent. Still not my bag though.
2007 – Mika – No, no, no.
2006 – Corinne Bailey Rae – Can’t get arrested.
2005 – The Bravery – Currently residing in the “where are they now? No don’t tell me, I don’t care” file
2004 – Keane – Inexplicably popular for too long.
2003 – 50 Cent – Probably the list’s most successful winner but after a decade understandably waning in popularity. Let him off for that, eh.