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Brit Award nominees – flogging a dead horse?

The album, the Brit Award 2012 press release tells us, is not dead. Despite the growth in single track purchases thanks to iTunes et al, many so-called serious artists are still putting out what we used to call LPs. It’s a good thing, too. Is there anything as thrilling as the perfect album? When an artist gets it all correct, from track order to album length to artwork, well, it’s timeless.

And then you see the nominees….

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Bring back Top of the Pops?

In these troubled economic times, we’re all having to adjust to a pre-boom reality. Gone are the days of poaching a quail’s egg to accompany your morning fry-up; no, now we boil a shoe. An old shoe. That we found on the street. On the foot of a homeless man. Yes, that’s the 21st Century. But the silver lining is that we take pleasures in the simpler things in life. For instance, I enjoy reading Ally Ross’ TV column in the Sun every Wednesday. But I enjoy reading it for free in WH Smith and therefore not giving 30p to organisations who employ phone hackers. Win and, let’s not be coy about this, win.

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Is it time to take Take That seriously?

Men and women, not always but often, have disagreed on many things about music; its purpose, its purpose, its value and its quality. And as music journalism has traditionally been a male-heavy occupation, the view of what is good and what is bad comes from those who pee standing. Witness The Beatles by way of example. Their early, poppier years are rarely viewed with the academic scrutiny of the later, more rock-influenced albums. This may explain why comfortably the most popular band in Britain are never candidates for the end of the year polls. But is it time we started giving Take That some credit?

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The perils of patronage

During the recent Mercury Music prize press blitz, you’d have been forgiven for thinking John Bramwell, better known as I Am Kloot, was only in the running because he was pals with Elbow’s Guy Garvey. The media, looking for an angle, decided the comparision between the struggling indie band and the massively-successful indie band was the hook on the story. Garvey, for his part, saw a chance to get his mate some attention and commendably did his utmost to promote him. After all, he’d been there himself during the ‘Chris Martin’s favourite songwriter’ period. But does it actually help in the long-term?

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The Live Experience – The music vs the show

ColdplayOur intrepid reporter Mrs.Morrissey attended last nights Coldplay show at Hampden in Glasgow. We’re not carrying a review because it’s Coldplay and it doesn’t count. You know what Coldplay sound like and, in simplistic terms, you’ll know whether you would have enjoyed it or you wouldn’t have. They are Coldplay. They played all the Coldplay hits, and 50,000 people ohwoahwoahed to that one which sounds like ‘Walking on Broken Glass.’ Coldplay remain, like Snow Patrol, not as risible as Razorlight but still not worth actually listening to.

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Limited Supply? – EMI in a bit of bother

StoneJoss Stone may not be everyone’s cup of tea, and rightly so, but news that the vacuous Welsh poptart is so desperate to quit ailing label EMI she is willing to return a £2m advance should set alarm bells ringing at the venerable old institution.

Despite a fundamental lack of talent or likability, Stone was signed up to a four album, £7.5m advance deal in 2006. However, she’s willing to return £1.2m in advances and £800,000 in earnings from her upcoming album – I’m not naming it here, that would just encourage her – to be free of them. Continue reading

You Couldn’t Sell All Your Tickets – U2 Struggle While AC/DC Thrive

AC/DC - what's not to love?

ELM’s most scabrous contributor, ScantRegard, here looks at how the economy is affecting different acts at the top end of the market. And laughs at some of them.

Ah, I love the smell of schadenfreude in the morning. You see, rumour has it that our good friends U2 are imminently about to start reducing the prices for their upcoming tour in an effort to get some bums on seats. Don’t worry if you have already shelled out a small country’s health budget on tickets to be harangued by the blue-rinsed hypocritical little arsewipe, you, of course, will get nothing back. And it serves you right – what were you thinking?

Also coming through the rumour mill are tales of Coldplay and JayZ downgrading their stadium tour to arenas to compensate for the fact they can’t sell enough briefs. The gen is that last weekend’s clash of the titans Scottish cup semi-final between Falkirk and Dunfermine attracted a bigger crowd than is currently projected for Chris and his pal’s big show at Hampden, forcing them to downgrade to two nights in the venue formerly known as the big red shed, the SECC.

So why the backlash against the stadium gig? There’s the obvious point that the economy is in its sharpest decline since Neville Chamberlain came home with Hitler’s autograph. It’ll be a shock to Bono that people just don’t have £200 to donate to his one-man crusade to get on the tits of the leaders of the free world.

And, in these tough and worrying times, I find it hard to believe that people would be prepared to part with a considerable chunk of their hard earned to watch po-faced millionaires tell you why you are an evil bastard for not buying the right coffee/adopting an African orphan/paying off third world debt/finding a cure for aids/ stopping the proliferation of nuclear arms/negotiating peace in the middle east/buying a £50 hoodie from the merch stand.

Two stadium acts who seem to be weathering the storm of poor ticket sales are AC/DC (naturally) and Take That (what can I say, HRT has a lot to answer for). This is no coincidence. Take AC/DC first. They are proper legends, who haven’t embarked on a tour of this scale in the UK since god knows when. There is genuine buzz, people are excited and are preparing to rock with only a smidgen of irony. AC/DC is expensive, but if it proves to be the rollicking good fun I am hoping for, it will be worth every penny of the £60required  to gain entry.

And Take That. Well, four middle aged men dancing badly and singing off key may not be my idea of a good night out, but who can argue with the original pink pound? Tens of thousands of women and gay men are getting whipped to a frenzy of over-hormonal excitement at the thought of Mark warbling his little heart out, Gary being earnest and dancing like your dad and the other two doing whatever it is they do.

What the DC and TT have in common? Bloody good fun. Is Brian Johnson going to whine on about fair trade, or blow our bloody socks off? Ex-fucking-actly. So, my advice to you, U2, you want to sell more tickets? Cheer the fuck up and play the fast stuff. Coldplay, I fear it may be too late for me to help.