The Brits 2017: Who Should & Who Will Win Each Award

The 37th edition of the Brit Awards comes to London this Wednesday, 22nd February. After last year’s fluff-fest, and criticism of themselves and award shows in general for a lack of urban and ethical representation, it’s refreshing to see the Brits go with a change of pace for this years event.

It’s incredibly easy to criticise shows like the Brits and the Grammys (I do it quite often) so I have to compliment them when they take a risk and provide a list of nominations that might put chances of strong viewing figures at risk. Little Mix are performing though, so they’re probably safe there.

For once it’s actually difficult to predict who will win these awards. Doesn’t mean I haven’t given it a go, however.

Will I beat my total of 5 correct predictions this year? Who knows? Why would you even care?

BRITISH ARTIST VIDEO

Adele – ‘Send My Love (To Your New Lover)’

Calvin Harris Feat. Rihanna – ‘This Is What You Came For’

Clean Bandit Feat. Sean Paul & Anne-Marie – ‘Rockabye’

Coldplay – ‘Hymn For The Weekend’

James Arthur – ‘Say You Won’t Let Go’

Jonas Blue Feat. Dakota – ‘Fast Car’

Little Mix Feat. Sean Paul – ‘Hair’

One Direction – ‘History’

Tinie Tempah Feat. Zara Larsson – ‘Girls Like’

Zayn – ‘Pillowtalk’

We begin with the worst and least prestigious award of the lot, just to get it out of the way. I don’t like music videos, and I don’t like half of these songs so what I’m going to do right now is watch all of these and mute and find out which one speaks to me the most.

Adele’s (they had to nominate her for something, I guess) makes me think of a world with multiple of her, which is a bit scary. I’m not going to dwell on Adele because I’m a little bored of talking about her when it comes to these award shows. Rihanna’s is candy-floss levels of fluff, all a bit boring there.

Clean Bandit’s one is a little bit different, I’ll give it that, not very interesting though. I can imagine that Coldplay’s video got in some sort of cultural appropriation drama so that can’t win, and James Arthur seems to have really tried to make an Ed Sheeran video.

There are a lot of fast things in the Fast Car video but no actual cars, I still like it though. I watched about 7 seconds of the Little Mix one before I’d had enough, and the blonde one’s glasses in One Direction made me laugh like a maniac.

Tinie Tempah (the amount of nominations in this category, Jesus) has a couple of decent music videos in his catalogue, Girls Like isn’t one of them however. Pillowtalk is the only one I’d seen previously so I’m a little biased, as biased as a person can be about a platform that doesn’t interest me. All in all, if you haven’t gathered yet, music videos are rubbish.

WHO SHOULD WIN

Jonas Blue ft. Dakota – ‘Fast Car’

 

WHO WILL WIN

Calvin Harris Feat. Rihanna – ‘This Is What You Came For

Crowbarring some Americanism into the Brits, and we seem to bloody love Rihanna.

BRITISH BREAKTHROUGH ACT

Anne-Marie

Blossoms

Rag’N’Bone Man

Skepta

Stormzy

Bit of a strange award this, considering the Critics Choice award exists as well, and the winner of that is announced months before and happens to be in the list of nominees here (Rag’N’Bone Man). While the Human singer can claim to have a successful debut album release, it’s only just dropped in the last month so it’s hard to say that he’s completely broken through. Anne-Marie suffers from the same problems with her only having one recognizable song in Rockabye.

The little I’ve heard of Blossoms has been fairly impressive, but I wouldn’t call it enough to win an award live on ITV. Which leaves the two grime artists, both with varied careers to this point. To call Skepta a breakthrough act is a bit of an insult seeing as he was part-responsible for setting up the All Day show Kanye put on a couple years back, so they know he exists. However, Konnichiwa was a massive critical success unlike anything seen in grime since Dizzee Rascal’s Boy In Da Corner, which to be fair shits all over anything Stormzy has come out with so far, which can be very hit and miss.

Considering the impact made of the nominees on this list, surely there can be only one winner, right?

WHO SHOULD WIN

Skepta

 

WHO WILL WIN

Rag’N’Bone Man

Already won the Critics Choice gong, so I expect him to follow it up with an award on the actual night.

MASTERCARD BRITISH ALBUM OF THE YEAR

The 1975 – I like it when you sleep, for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it

David Bowie – Blackstar

Kano – Made In The Manor

Michael Kiwanuka – Love & Hate

Skepta – Konnichiwa

Now this is tough. All of these albums have aspects which I do like about them, which means this won’t be a straightforward choice. The 1975’s pretentiously named LP is overall better than it’s self-titled predecessor, but perhaps lacks a variety of top level singles to outshine it’s opponents here. Blackstar I won’t change my opinion in that I believe it was the most overrated album of 2016 (although Chance the Rapper gives him close competition), but such is the obvious quality of Bowie that it’s undeniably a good piece of work.

Plaudits for Bowie’s final album aside, Love & Hate from Michael Kiwanuka is probably the album that received the most universal critical acclaim. Yes, yes, Skepta won the Mercury Prize, but there are a number of people out there who didn’t and don’t like Konnichiwa, perhaps down to it’s inability at times to mesh together real, throwback grime with hip hop to present to a commercial American audience (Canada too if you count Drake).

I’m more surprised to see Kano on here, however. Not because it’s not very good, on the contrary I think it’s the best grime album that’s been released in the last decade. It’s got energy, it’s got flow, the album knows where to finish and more or less all of the guest verses add a little something different to the LP overall.

It’s my winner, in case you hadn’t guessed.

WHO SHOULD WIN

Kano – Made In The Manor

WHO WILL WIN

David Bowie – Blackstar

The inevitability of it all is a bit sad.

BRITISH FEMALE SOLO ARTIST

Anohni

Ellie Goulding

Emeli Sandé

Lianne La Havas

Nao

Very hit and miss, the nominations for Best British Female. The two that I wouldn’t put here (Goulding and Sandé) I wasn’t even aware they were particularly active musically in the past 12 months. I think it more speaks of a real lack of depth quality-wise from female singers in this country. Then again, this may not be completely their fault, as the music industry. It may focus primarily on music producers, but this is a damning quote from an article from the Huffington Post last year:

“There are so few of them [female producers] that audio recording associations haven’t bothered to count their number in over 15 years.”

Anyway, back to the Brits, and while La Havas and Nao have impressed me with their singles games, neither of which had albums of the impact that Anohni’s Hopelessness did last year. A genuinely powerful album that deserves all the recognition it can get.

WHO SHOULD WIN

Anohni

 

WHO WILL WIN

Emile Sandé

The people who run the Brit awards fucking love a bit of Sandé.

BRITISH MALE SOLO ARTIST

Craig David

David Bowie

Kano

Michael Kiwanuka

Skepta

I’m very happy to have Craig David back in music, but all the same I haven’t enjoyed his comeback as much as I thought I would. His album, bar a couple of decent hits (one of which, Got It Good, technically isn’t even his song), was a bit of a chore to listen to and at times was genuinely dull.

The rest have all been discussed on Best British Album, and beyond their albums there hasn’t been a lot to digest musically from the four of them.

I feel that Skeppy has been at the forefront of what has brought more diversity and integrity to a faffy awards show, and has at times been presented as a man carrying an entire genre on his back across the Atlantic. He’s handled all of that terrifically.

WHO SHOULD WIN

Skepta

WHO WILL WIN

David Bowie

Lifetime Achievement awards are more heartfelt than this though.

BRITISH GROUP

The 1975

Bastille

Biffy Clyro

Little Mix

Radiohead

Unfortunately for both Bastille and Mr Clyro, it is no longer 2013 and nobody of merit listens to that kind of music anymore. Which isn’t too much of a shame, and I actually quite like Bastille.

It is almost embarrassing to say given who they’re up against but I won’t have any arguments that Little Mix aren’t the biggest band on this list. Of course, Radiohead are one of the best British bands of all time but even Creep doesn’t have the appeal of anything the X Factor winners shit out. If you don’t believe me, refer yourself back to how One Direction fans reacted to people who pointed out that Best Song Ever sounds just like Baba O’Riley from The Who. That’s what young people think of “real” music, get used to it.

Oh, and don’t even get me started on 1975 fans. On the sole basis of that I don’t want them to be happy, I’m not going to give the award to them.

WHO SHOULD WIN

Radiohead

 

WHO WILL WIN

The 1975

The Brits will give the award to them though, unfortunately.

BRITISH SINGLE

Alan Walker – ‘Faded’

Calum Scott – ‘Dancing On My Own’

Calvin Harris feat. Rihanna – ‘This Is What You Came For’

Clean Bandit feat. Sean Paul & Anne-Marie – ‘Rockabye’

Coldplay – ‘Hymn For The Weekend’

James Arthur – ‘Say You Won’t Let Go’

Jonas Blue feat. Dakota – ‘Fast Car’

Little Mix – ‘Shout Out To My Ex’

Tinie Tempah feat. Zara Larsson – ‘Girls Like’

Zayn – ‘Pillowtalk’

The last British award is rather like the first in it’s ridiculous amount of nominations. The fact that the like of Skepta and Anohni were nominated throughout, and yet best British single is a complete fluff-fest is a bit bemusing. 2016 was an album year though, I guess, and I couldn’t argue that anybody on this list has ever made a decent album, let alone one in 2016.

I’m not a huge fan of self-harm so I won’t bore you with the details on quite just how average most of this shitlist is. I will say that, have you somehow not heard a song on this list, not to bother with the Tinie Tempah song, no matter how tempting it might sound. It’s a special brand of awful.

In all seriousness this is between two for me, the quite decent but also copy and paste EDM Faded, and the one hit that Zayn Malik can manage in Pillowtalk. I wish the Tyler, the Creator remix was nominated instead but it’s not a perfect world, is it?

WHO SHOULD WIN

Zayn – ‘Pillowtalk’

WHO WILL WIN

Coldplay – ‘Hymn For The Weekend’

I have literally nothing to say about Coldplay anymore. Let’s just move on.

INTERNATIONAL FEMALE SOLO ARTIST

Beyoncé

Christine and the Queens

Rihanna

Sia

Solange

International/American Solo Artist is the first of what are now broader awards, generally given to music megastars that can’t be bothered to turn up for the Brits but say a nice thing in a video message instead.

I don’t think it’ll be any different this year with who the Brits choose as their winner, especially as she hiding anyway. There’s a clue for you.

I discussed Beyoncé at length for the Grammy awards, but she was never up against her sister directly for any of the million Grammys she was up for. It’s a flip of the coin decision whether Lemonade or A Seat at the Table is a better album, overall it depends whether you prefer the power and cohesion that Beyoncé brings to what is more a project than an LP, or the broader and more emotional cultural statement that Solange provides in her work.

Either of the Knowles sisters I would be happy with winning this, it’s just a bit of a shame that it won’t happen.

Oh yeah, Rihanna & Christine & The Queens. Yeah, right.

WHO SHOULD WIN

Solange

 

WHO WILL WIN

Sia

Putting the ‘cheap’ in Cheap Thrills.

INTERNATIONAL MALE SOLO ARTIST

Bon Iver

Bruno Mars

Drake

Leonard Cohen

The Weeknd

Well, this is probably the most surprising list of nominations of the whole lot. Never did I think that Bon Iver’s highly experimental 22, A Million would ever be picked up by prime-time television award shows in the UK, but here we are. It rather slipped through the net compared to the other nominees work (apart from Cohen, who to me released a better final album than Bowie), and as such will probably see him leave empty-handed. If he even bothers to show up in the first place.

Drake, Bruno Mars and The Weeknd are of similar appeal in this country. Drizzy Drake may edge that contest due to him being the biggest name in music right now, but that is not to discount the potential of one of the others nicking this one.

Unfortunately for them, I thought both Starboy and 24K Magic (the albums, not the singles, which are bangers) were rather underwhelming.

WHO SHOULD WIN

Drake

 

WHO WILL WIN

Drake

And he’ll probably be there too, if they can pull him out of Skepta’s arse. Also, if there’s to be a song on More Life with Skepta on it, I expect it to be performed tonight.

INTERNATIONAL GROUP

A Tribe Called Quest

Drake & Future

Kings of Leon

Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds

Twenty One Pilots

The last category is all over the place. It features at least 3 different genres of music, a group that came out with one of the most emotional albums of the decade in Skeleton Tree from Nick Cave, and a group that isn’t even a group at all.

Who the fuck decided that ‘Drake & Future’ should be nominated for this!? They’re not a group! Yes, you could point to What A Time To Be Alive, their joint album, but that came out in 2015!

I’ve spoken a few times about an artist’s final album within these nominations, but none of them come close to my pick for the winner here. A Tribe Called Quest pulled off a masterstroke with We Got It from Here… Thank You 4 Your Service, an album that acted as a reunion after 18 years, a tribute to the departed Phife Dawg and one of the true greats of hip-hop albums, potentially of all time.

Surely they’re not going to give it to Twenty One Pilots after all that?

WHO SHOULD WIN

A Tribe Called Quest

 

WHO WILL WIN

Twenty One Pilots

Thus making me very angry.

Enjoy the Brits.

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