The Brit Awards 2016: A Critique | Redbrick | University of Birmingham

The Brit Awards 2016: A Critique

How did the Brits live up to expectations? Giulia Bardelli gives her verdict.

It's been another great year it’s been for the Brit Awards, hasn’t it? To most it would seem to be the case, as that is all I see whilst scrolling through my Twitter timeline post watching the awards show. However, was it ultimately another raging success? With live performances from some of the biggest names in the music industry, Adele, James Bay and an outstanding David Bowie tribute by Lorde, one could legitimately sit down and say, 'Yes, this has been an incredible year for British music'.

I beg to differ. We’ve seen a swarm of people criticising the Oscars for showcasing a lack of diversity amongst the nominees; there was even a worldwide Twitter trend (#OscarsSoWhite) to show the public's reaction to the scarcity of black nominees. There’s no doubt that we’ve had the same problem with the Brits this year. Why is it that the Brit Awards have failed to showcase the true British music scene at this day and age?

2015 has unquestionably been one of the most exciting and innovative years for those in the music industry, with the likes of Skepta, Section Boyz and Stormzy dominating the UK rap and grime scene, yet were any of them nominated? No. Instead we get Olly Murs nominated for Best British Single, which may I add featured Demi Lovato, an American artist, in case you didn’t know. Skepta’s ‘That’s Not Me’, which was in the top 10 UK Dance chart and peaked at #7, should have at the very least been nominated. However, it seems as if because the MOBOs have received a larger viewing in recent years that it almost acts as an excuse to not have included these artists in the category, or any for that matter. No wonder even Drake got bored with the Brit Awards that he moved onto the Section Boyz show that evening.

'Surely they’re all incredible British artists who should be celebrated and have been nominated too, am I right?'
Another point of criticism is the fact that apparently the British music scene has really been lacking with the range of female solo artists that they’ve produced. As a result, they put Amy Winehouse up for a Brit in the Best British Female Solo Artist category. Don’t get me wrong, I have absolutely nothing against Winehouse, I love her. She was an incredibly talented singer-songwriter and performer, but surely there are more deserving candidates nowadays. Take Charli XCX for instance: her singles ‘Boom Clap’ and ‘Doing It’ were absolute hits in both the UK and the US. Even Ella Eyre has just released her debut album in 2015, yet she received no recognition despite having some of the strongest vocals in comparison to other nominees. How about Marina Diamandis of Marina and the Diamonds? Surely they’re all incredible British artists who should be celebrated and been nominated too, am I right?

Adele took home the award for Best British Female Solo Artist and deservingly so - she’s made an absolute smashing comeback with her album 25, which sold over 3 million copies in just a week. Hats off! With Adele claiming 4 of the awards at the Brits it’s no doubt that the hard work, which was put into her latest album, has really paid off. But however amazing Adele may be she somehow seems as an obvious winner for each category she’s been nominated for… which screams unoriginal.

As for Best Breakthrough Act, a massive congratulations to Catfish and the Bottlemen. Their debut album The Balcony includes hit after hit and has been proven by the success they are receiving in both the UK and US. But it would’ve been really special if Oscar-nominated band Wolf Alice, who are signed to indie record label Dirty Hit, took home the title. It would’ve proved that in order to win such an award it doesn’t require artists to be signed to large record labels. If artists like Wolf Alice got the recognition they deserve it would have promoted independent labels and pushed boundaries towards much bigger and better things in the future for aspiring musicians.

' would have promoted independent labels and pushed boundaries towards much bigger and better things in the future for aspiring musicians...'
The performances this year included class acts, however the standout act wasn’t the obvious Justin Bieber despite having won Best International Male Solo Artist. It was Britain’s very own Little Mix. The amount of girl power the group brought to the stage outshined all other performances. From an incredible dance routine to strong vocal performances that brought to life the whole stage, you can really say Little Mix are the best girl band today.

Choosing Rihanna as one of the live performers was a colossal mistake. I used to love Rihanna as a performer - I even paid to see her in 2009 when she was on tour with her Good Girl Gone Bad album. However, it just seems as if since then she’s not been sticking to her roots. What could be considered as experimenting with new things just looks as if she’s following the latest trends in the industry in order to continue selling albums. Her performance lacked the UMPH that an awards show needs; it was only when Drake got on stage that there was an instant crowd reaction.

If there’s one category that got it right this year, it’s Best International Group. Tame Impala rightfully took home the award as their latest album Currents has been taking over the charts since it’s release. It just seems rather embarrassing considering that it’s not even a category, which includes a single British artist, and yet these are called the BRIT Awards.

20 year old politics student (@giulia_bardelli)


27th February 2016 at 9:37 pm

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