The NME Awards aren’t always the best to go to in terms of accurate decisions – and that’s putting it nicely. With Paramore winning Best International Band, and Lady Gaga winning Best Dressed and Worst Dressed two years ago for example, it could be said that the NME Awards are just worth ignoring completely. However, on the odd occasion, they manage to absolutely nail it.
#10 Best Track - Arctic Monkeys - “I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor” – 2006
This song struck me from the very first time I heard it. It was huge, it had an old school feel, yet brought all the energy you’d expect from a big lead single. ‘I Bet You Look Good…’ is more than just a fast-paced indie-rock song though, it’s the song that helped 21st Century British indie music to make a name for itself; Britain’s answer to The Strokes. Plus you can still stick this song at any party and know for a fact that everyone will love it.
#9 – Album of the Year (NME vote): The Flaming Lips, for The Soft Bulletin – 2000
This really is an incredible album, I can’t say much more about it, so you may think it odd that this isn’t placed near the top of my list. The only problem with this album is the year it came out. I’m not completely sure it even really is my album of the year, as it genuinely would differ from day to day. Being up against the likes of 69 Love Songs by The Magnetic Fields and I See A Darkness by Bonnie “Prince” Billy, which are two fantastic albums, it’s got big competition, but I just couldn’t leave this out of the list. I love The Flaming Lips for everything they try with music; Zaireeka for example, is an album that is played on four compact disks, each to be played on different corners of a room simultaneously, I must say it’s more of an experience than an album, but a bloody good one at that. The Soft Bulletin has no such gimmick other than being near on flawless.
#8 Best Solo Artist - Beck – 2000 In my eyes, Beck is a genius. When he won this award, he’d just brought out Midnite Vultures, probably the most fun and playful album he’s released, but it’s not just this album that makes Beck’s choice as Best Solo Artist such a good one, it’s the fact that he’d also already released the likes of Mellow Gold and Odelay. Each album contributes a different side to his seemingly endless talent, and I’m not going to say that they pre-empted how good Sea Change would be two years later, but if they did, he’s even more deserving of this award, since it is a beautiful record.
#7 Best Single: White Stripes, for “Seven Nation Army” – 2004 When asked what for his opinion on the best album of the decade, Jarvis Cocker answered with this song. It’s a huge rock anthem, and defines our generation. As Cocker said himself, it’s the song that six year olds pick up their guitars and start learning to play; it’s got that simple, yet magnificent riff; it’s the ‘Smoke On The Water’ of our generation.
#6 Best Music DVD - Nirvana - MTV Unplugged in New York – 2008 This was a performance that probably shouldn’t have worked looking from the outside. Nirvana, one of the biggest and loudest bands in the world; known for their innovative sound; bringing grunge to the masses, performing a live acoustic album. Yet it stands up perfectly against the likes of Nevermind and In Utero if one were to pick their favourite Nirvana album. There is a fantastically peaceful feel both with the visuals and audio, which is a somewhat poetic irony with this being the bands final release before Cobain’s death.
#5 Outstanding Contribution To Music - PJ Harvey – 2011
What a career PJ Harvey has had. Spanning 20 years since her debut album, the magnificent Dry; an album that Kurt Cobain named as one of his favourite albums; to her most recent Let England Shake, which I need not introduce. PJ Harvey has had an unbelievable career, from the powerful, dynamic beginnings, to the political masterpiece released last year; Harvey has contributed more to music then many can even dream of.
#4 Best Album: The Strokes, for Is This It – 2002
In a year that gave us incredible efforts from the likes of The White Stripes and Radiohead, picking The Strokes’ debut album as the best would perhaps be a controversial choice to some. This album was hyped beyond belief, making it almost impossible up to that kind of pressure. When you tell a friend about an amazing new restaurant, the chef always manages to burn the food, and the waiter will spill soup down your friends best shirt; things aren’t meant to live up to their hype, and that’s the end of it. Is This It bucked that trend and created a seminal indie rock album, and one of my favourite albums of all time. From start to finish, The Strokes showed they were a band that weren’t going anywhere, and over 10 years later, they’ve proved it.
#3 Godlike Genius Award – Dave Grohl – 2011
Dave Grohl is a talent that I find hard to fault. Once crudely described as being in ‘more bands than Chlamydia’, it actually seems a pretty fair comparison to make. From being the drummer in Nirvana for Nevermind and In Utero, to now being the lead man in Foo Fighters, actually writing and recording every instrument by himself for the debut album. Not only this, but he’s drummed for the likes of Tenacious D, Queens of the Stone Age and even David Bowie. The man’s certainly got around a fair bit, and done a bloody good job of it too.
#2 John Peel Award For Musical Innovation - Radiohead – 2008
If there’s one thing everyone can agree on when it comes to Radiohead, it’s that they’re innovative. I think the perfect example of this is Kid A. This is an album that words can barely describe, at least not mine. This is a band that have created their own styles of music, and moved throughout genres, from the electronic, minimalistic stylings of Kid A to the full on alternative rock of OK Computer; Radiohead have become trend setters and made it a very hard job to follow.
#1 Godlike Genius Award - The Cure – 2009
The Cure are a band that form part of a very small club along with The Beatles in my opinion. This is, a group that have songs that can appeal to near on anybody no matter what their musical preference. They’ve created some of the best pop songs of all time in ‘The Lovecats’ and ‘Boys Don’t Cry’, as well as one of the most gorgeous, deep, and thoughtful albums of their career in Disintegration. Their back catalogue is unmatched in terms of quality and diversity and giving them the Godlike Genius Award absolutely does this justice, as they certainly are deities of the music world.