Best British Female
So, we begin with the ever-exciting Best British Female category. Nominees are as follows:
- Amy Winehouse
- Bat for Lases
- Emeli Sandé – WINNER
- Jessie Ware
- Paloma Faith
So, after a quiet year for Emeli Sandé she somewhat surprisingly picks up an award. Having dominated the album chart since Our Version of Events came out a year ago to the month, and the fact that 20% of her rivals in the category have released no new music in almost a decade (and, more to the point, are deceased), it really comes as no surprise and sets a somewhat predictable tone for the evening.
Isaac: “Delightful. Truly. I didn’t feel like I heard enough from Emeli last year. I’m already on the edge of my seat for [Insert Next Televised Event of National Importance Here].”
Best British Group
James Corden took this opportunity to refer to One Direction as a ‘band’. Oh, dear. Nominees:
- Mumford & Sons – WINNER
- One Direction
- The xx
Given the success of Babel, the second effort from The Family Mumford, and given the inclusion of One Direction into a category with ‘best’ in its title, it seemed that Marcus and his band of merry men were a strong candidate for winner. Twitter users seem certain that Harry Styles met the news with manly tears, but that could well have been the trauma of a reunion with Taylor Swift who presented Sandé with her award.
Chris: “Their appeal seems to be pretty universal now; mummy Mumford must be proud of her boys.”
Best British Breakthrough
Jessie Ware hasn’t exactly broken through all that much really, has she? The famous five are as follows:
- Ben Howard – WINNER
- Jake Bugg
- Jessie Ware
- Rita Ora
The fact that Rita Ora didn’t win pleases us far more than the travesty that is the failure to recognise either alt-J or Jake Bugg. In fact, Ben Howard really ‘broke through’ around 18 months ago. Every Kingdom is an album that’s varied and easy to listen to, and Ben himself seems all too humble too dislike.
Isaac: “It does seem a while since anyone was talking about Ben Howard. I like him (well, ‘The Wolves’), but was his through-breakage really this year? Not like The Brits to be late to the party!…”
Best British Male
So this is the category that the inevitable ‘nobody knows who this is’ artist falls into. We won’t patronise you by pointing it out. Nominees:
- Ben Howard – WINNER
- Calvin Harris (spoiler it isn’t him)
- Olly Murs
- Richard Hawley
- Plan B
We aren’t convinced that it makes sense for the same person to be awarded Best British Male and Best British Breakthrough, but what do we know. The Brits, as Muse’s performance demonstrated so aptly, rarely make much sense anyway. Nice to see Ben Howard beating the empirically less talented competitors, nonetheless.
Chris: “I bet Ben wishes he hadn’t have gone to sit back down. Hopefully he’s made peace with the wolves by now.”
Best International Female
- Alicia Keys
- Cat Power
- Lana Del Rey – WINNER
- Taylor Swift
This year, the Brits appear to be gesturing towards moving away from the predictable, crowd-pleasing decisions that previous years have been subject to, as neither the sell-out Taylor Swift the woman that would appear to have no standards at all take the award. Instead, a genuinely talented, American female with both unique lyrics and vocals and a sound inspired by mid-20th Century popular music wins… even though she, like Ben, had the majority of her success closer to last year’s event.
Isaac: “She deserves it, I think: she’s one of the few artists the panel have deigned to recognise who is doing anything interesting. Nabokov-inspired lyrics with that delivery will always get my vote.”
Best British Live Act
Some names on this list were to be expected, but it’s refreshing to see acknowledgement of The Vaccine’s talent. Your nominees:
- Coldplay – WINNER
- Mumford & Sons
- Rolling Stones
- The Vaccines
‘Biggest’ doesn’t necessarily mean ‘best’: although Coldplay are, at this time, arguably the biggest band in the world and were given almost the entire Paralympic Closing Ceremony to play, there were equally as strong (if not stronger) candidates in this category. It’s a shame Muse’s wholly immersive live show couldn’t take the award.
Isaac: “Seems fair.”
Best British Single
15 nominees for this one. We won’t bore you…
- Adele – ‘Skyfall’ – WINNER
With another powerhouse of a track, Adele was a pretty safe bet for this category. Whilst much of the song’s success can be attributed to the fact that it’s at least seventeen times better than that awful excuse for a Bond theme that accompanied ‘Quantum of Solace’, we like Adele. Catchy and quintessentially Bond.
Chris: “There’s a guy in our flat that we call Skyfall (lives in room 007, you see); I’m sure he’ll be indifferent when we tell him the news.”
Best International Group
What? The Script? “Oh”, you say. “They’re Irish.” Nominees:
- Alabama Shakes
- The Black Keys – WINNER
- The Killers
- The Script
Perhaps the choice that’s made us happiest, The Black Keys deserved this one after the success of El Camino. Considering the fact that ‘Lonely Boy’ and ‘Gold On The Ceiling’ are two of the best ‘rock’ songs of last year, it comes as little surprise that their obvious talent has been recognised. The two of them are thought of a somewhat legends in our eyes due to a recent Twitter war resulting in a comprehensive stomp-down of Justin Bieber and his rabid ‘Beliebers’. It’s worth a few minutes of your time researching.
Isaac: “Well done, The Black Keys. I’m unable to say much more having been distracted by the lower-case ‘f’ which seals the deal, marking ‘fun.’ the worst-named popular band of the decade.”
Best International Male
Bruce is about 80. Gotye had one song. Micky Bubble had a Christmas album. Narrows it down a bit, doesn’t it? Nominations:
- Bruce Springsteen
- Jack White
- Frank Ocean – WINNER
- Michael Buble
Disappointed though I’m sure Mr Bubble is, he can sleep easy knowing that his Christmas album has just arrived to the Nouse offices.
Chris: “How can this guy be so talented, but Odd Future so, so bad?”
Best British Album
A totally unexpected list of nominees for you, once again. Here they are:
- Alt-J – An Awesome Wave
- Emeli Sandé – Our Version of Events – WINNER
- Mumford & Sons – Babel
- Paloma Faith – Fall to Grace
- Plan B – Ill Manors
It really is incredible when you consider just how successful Emeli Sande’s been with such little TV exposure. A popular album, sure, but An Awesome Wave brought a new-era Indie sound to the masses. It’s unfortunate how tailored these awards have been to appease the masses (and thus, in turn, Mastercard). Her earlier singles, namely the debut ‘Heaven’ and ‘Daddy’, show a clear departure from the over-emotional brand she now seems to have trademarked with later singles and collaborations. No, we don’t want to read all about it again.
Isaac: “Well, Paloma Faith is the far better musician, so it comes as no surprise that she’s not won. I don’t dislike Emeli, she’s just not…that good at song-doing?”
And the award for most unoriginal category goes to…
- One Direction – WINNER
- Mumford & Sons
Presumably this is quite an easy one to measure objectively. I’m not sure that they do, but you can’t argue with the fact that 1D are incredibly successful, particularly Stateside. And they like Cosmo Jarvis, which is definitely a mark in their favour.
Chris: “I’m on Team Taylor (Swift, I remain impartial in the YUSU elections).”
And there you have it, folks. Plenty to keep you going until next year, we hope. If you want to relive the highlights, just head to your nearest Spotify outlet and play Our Version of Events on repeat for four hours.