So every year, me and my mates take an annual poll of the best and worst music and movies of the year. We call it The am:X-C Awards (explanation for another time, perhaps). This is the tenth time we've done it.
The muse for it was legendary British DJ, the late and great John Peel who's annual Festive 50 was something my best mate and I looked to and marvelled at. He was an absolute music junkie - unapologetic in his tastes, frequently guiding the tastes of 'the true alternative' and occasionally inviting the howls of disbelief of his loyal throng. But that notion of not apologising and saying "These are the songs that made my year" was quite intoxicating. I sit here on a Sunday morning ploughing through iTunes, ruthlessly grading my ungraded 2010 songs. To miss anything out would haunt me for years. Several random things strike me:
1. It is completely possible to be both open minded and accutely capable of skipping through an entire song in less than 10 seconds to rate it with one star. Tinie Tempah, Pixie Lott, Chiddy Bang - your productions are all mindnumbing in their ill-adventure. Do you really have anything new to offer me? Ten seconds of my time is being generous.
2. Bands who fall from grace CAN come back. Hence I have rediscovered the Manic Street Preachers. Their live show in December reinvigorated my love for them and, it would seem, their own interest in themselves. After a few albums in the wilderness, their 2010 release 'Postcards From A Young Man' is just fab with at least two bona-fide classic anthems thanks to 'Some Kind Of Nothingness' (featuring Echo & the Bunnymen's Ian McCulloch) and Golden Platitudes. (See also Underworld whose 'Barking' made them wonderful again, thanks to employing a carousel of producers).
3. Plan B perplexes me. I LOVE artists who don't sit still and churn out the same tosh. Ben Drew has reinvented himself and skewed off into a Ronson-esque soulboy-fused Streets geezah. He's making scally music for blokes with a brain. I'm fascinated by him in the way that people who "refuse to do Facebook" always end up asking their mate to look up ex's for them. Just to see. I don't wanna go there coz it doesn't feel right and I don't like what I'm hearing. But he's hot so I can't stop looking.
4. Damn you Duck Sauce. Even I can't resist 'Barbara Streisand'. Any other year, a novelty track like this should be a shoe-in for the 'Worst song of the year' in the am:X-C Awards. This year, I'm placing money on it gaining a top 20 placing in the best songs list. Can you imagine Crazy Frog managing that a few years ago? I think not.
5. Considering how much I loved CSS's debut album, how come I've completely not noticed their new album? I think it is churlish to rush-download, listen and shoehorn it into my end of 2010 list to somehow chuck in another element of cool, so there is another band many people will ask "Who?".
There's more realisations to come. Some are more or less interesting than others.
You want in? E-mail me for your voting form (email@example.com).
I wonder if John Peel went through these random revelations, even though he didn't have iTunes. Cheers, Peely.