It’s that time of the year again. Not only do I have to try and keep up with seeing every film nominated for an OSCAR (I am trying, guys!), I have the BRIT awards just around the corner and we need to take some time to dissect the nominations there. I am not going to begin talking about every category, keeping my own analysis to the Best British Single like last year. I have ordered them, so my least favourite (or the song I think deserves the win the least), will kick things off, slowly getting down to who I think should take the prize this year. And we have some terrific songs to choose between.
10 – CALVIN HARRIS – SUMMER
I feel slightly criminal putting Calvin Harris last. I love the bloke and his music is always a steady, safe bet at having a great clubbing experience. The lyrics are easy to get along with, the beat is always upbeat and, as the title suggests, it is a summer anthem through and through. No one does summer music like Calvin Harris. However, as I said, every song on this list deserves to be nominated for the win, so it isn’t as though I hate Summer as a song. In fact, when the vocals kick in, you remember that it has been a long while since Calvin Harris sang in one of his own songs, outsourcing the job to a more successful or, no offence to the bloke, better singer. However, in singing in Summer, you begin to remember the good old-fashioned Calvin Harris tunes. Summer takes you back to other Calvin Harris songs and just sticking this song on could end up turning into a Calvin Harris marathon session.
Then why last? Well, for one, I wanted to perhaps highlight the fact that Calvin Harris’s music is getting a little stale. Stale might be the wrong word, but I remember when my DJ friend suggested this song to me, I predicted exactly how it would go, before I even listened to it. The problem with listening to so much club music is that you begin to see patterns with certain DJs. Calvin Harris to me has a certain, bouncing club sound, designed for jumping up and down, punching you fists in the air. It works and I like it, but the fact remains that Summer, as a song, held no surprises for me. Therefore, it comes last. It doesn’t deserve to win the BRIT awards.
9 – MARK RONSON FT. BRUNO MARS – UPTOWN FUNK
Now I am going to really annoy some people. Going from no originality to bundles of the stuff, ninth place goes to Mark Ronson’s celebration of funk music, perfectly sang by Bruno Mars. I am not going to lie, I am not its biggest fan as of yet. I get the appeal. It is fun, doesn’t take itself too seriously and even people that don’t pay it much attention, like myself, end up knowing the words. It is infectious and like ‘Happy’ will wear you down and get to you eventually. My problem with it is the fact that it only works in a club for me. Yes, I listen to club music, where half of the song features no vocals, only bass, but Uptown Funk always feels like a song for sharing to me. It is best heard in a room full of dancing people, who can have a laugh messing around when the beat comes in. The line ‘Don’t believe me, just watch!” demands a dance-off, so when you are home alone listening to it, it fails to impress. Good, but not for me.
8 – ROUTE 94 FT. JESS GLYNNE – MY LOVE
I have talked about My Love on my site before. It was released around a time, where club music was beginning to get a little bloated a genre. There so many fresh DJs bringing out amazing tunes, alongside the heavyweights wowing everyone with every track. There just wasn’t time for Route 94 to come in with ‘My Love’ and make an impression. It’s good and, if nothing else, deserves to be nominated for some great vocal work from Jess Glynne, but like ‘Summer’, more is needed if it hopes to make a splash at the BRITs anytime soon.
7 – DUKE DUMONT FT. JAX JONES – I GOT U
Man, this is a tricky year for me. Before, there were a couple of duds like One Direction that I could happily fill the bottom half with and ridicule, but this year, I am undercutting a lot of good songs. Duke Dumont’s I Got U is good, but I feel the need to nit-pick it, just because there are some better songs on this list. The beat is good, but seeing as most of the song is slow, it really needs to be more hard-hitting. I Got U can help a dancefloor coast along and acts as a filler in between those better songs, but that isn’t the kind of single I want to win the award. Good, but again, I expect better.
6 – SAM SMITH – STAY WITH ME
Sam Smith is an odd one to write about. Failing to hit the halfway mark is by no means a knock on his talents as a singer and song-writer. He is obviously very impressive when it comes to his vocals and every one of his songs seems to garner a huge following. There is something else that is very strange with his discography though. Everyone seems to know him for a different song. ‘Stay With Me’ is apparently his most popular because it is the one that has ended up with a nomination, but I know people that will always associate him with ‘Money on your mind’. Then there are people who don’t understand why ‘Stay With Me’ is getting more attention than ‘Like I Can’. Personally, if ‘I Know I Am Not The Only One’ was nominated, I would have strongly considered him for the win, because that was the song that woke me up to his talents. I think Sam Smith will do very well in the ‘Best Male Artist’ category, but when it comes to the ‘Best British Single’, I think there are stronger entries to look at.
5 – ELLA HENDERSON – GHOST
When Ella Henderson’s Ghost is your fifth place entry, you know that there are some good singles in the nomination list. Right from that opening line, you are hooked on the song. You know the lyrics, you like the lyrics and even if your voice doesn’t match Ella Henderson’s – few can – you are singing along at the top of your lungs. Unlike ‘Uptown Funk’, ‘Ghost’ really is a song you play in your bedroom by yourself and totally get into. The most impressive thing for me is the fact that Ella Henderson has a great voice, but she knows that she needs more than that to make it as a female artist. She lost out to James Arthur in the X Factor a few years back, but the two of them went head to head with their albums and, despite losing the X Factor when James Arthur didn’t, Ella Henderson came out as the stronger singer. Why? She knows what the audience wants, which makes her a very exciting singer to look out for in the future.
4 – GEORGE EZRA – BUDAPEST
And now we are onto the songs I put down as my Top Five of the year. Something interesting happened when I lined these up. One of the nominations in the next four I dismissed as my personal song of the year, yet when I ordered the nominations, that song beat a couple of the champions I picked out as Song of 2014. Am I contradicting myself? I like to think I am not, because George Ezra’s Budapest is good for other reasons. Mainly, my love is for the singer. Budapest works as a song that beautifully highlights all of his talents and quirks as a singer. Does that mean I would put it as my choice for BRIT award winner? Probably not. I would much rather he and Sam Smith went head to head in the Male Artist category. That is not to say that Budapest isn’t a good song, because on the contrary, it is a magnificent piece of music.
3 – ED SHEERAN – THINKING OUT LOUD
And again, one of my personal picks, has been brushed down a peg by the BRIT award nominations. The difference between this song and Budapest is that I am still totally happy if Ed Sheeran takes the prize. The man is a fantastic musician and ‘Thinking Out Loud’, while missing some of his more folk-music acoustic quirks, might go down as one of his finest creations. It will reject a few fans, because of its ‘heart-on-its-sleeve’ mushiness, but seeing as the BRIT award judges might be able to look past that, I would not be surprised if Ed Sheeran got away with the win. I just expect a lot of people not to be too happy with that decision.
2 – SIGMA – NOBODY TO LOVE
After discussing where the above club tunes failed to make a lasting impact, it is good to finally talk about a club tune nominated this year that absolutely nailed it. After a few DJ nights, I have learned that this song can make a club erupt better than any other. It starts slow, yet everyone knows what those opening sounds mean. They get ready for it, already pumped before Sigma have even made their move. Then the vocals come in, not accompanied by the music, so the audience can just tilt their heads to the roof and just shout them out. The singing is good, but doesn’t alienate drunk singing. Whoever directed the singing here, like Avicci’s Wake Me Up, knew exactly what they were doing. And finally that opening beat comes in and the room just turns into a mass shape of euphoric dancing. The fun is infectious and it is impossible not to dance to this song. That is the first minute of Sigma – Nobody to Love and it only gets better.
1 – CLEAN BANDIT FT. JESS GLYNNE – RATHER BE
But there was no way Sigma was taking the prize away from my Song of the Year, Rather Be, by the unstoppably excellent Clean Bandits. I am actually quite chuffed all of the British singles I picked in my Top Five were also recognised by the judges of BRIT awards. Definitely more successful than my OSCAR nods. I don’t want to repeat all of the points I made in my Top Songs of the Year article, so I will just, once again, applaud Clean Bandit for creating a song that was released at the start of 2014 yet managed to stay in our minds long enough to stand a good chance of getting the win for the BRIT awards single of the year. I have my fingers crossed for you.