Saturday, 7 January 2012

BBC Sound of 2012 - a very uninspiring Top 5

The BBC 'Sound of...' is generally a good indication of talent to listen out for in the coming year. The shortlists have introduced us to the likes of Florence and The Machine, The Ting Tings, Mumford and Sons, Adele, Vampire Weekend, Dizzee Rascal and Lady Gaga as well as less mainstream artists trying to make it big.

This year the top 5 is...

1. Michael Kiwanuka
2. Frank Ocean
3. Azealia Banks
4. Skrillex
5. Niki and The Dove
    Starting with Niki and The Dove, the Swedish electro-pop duo sound a bit like Florence and The Machine (with a bit of Bjork) as remixed by Underworld. No bad thing as in these days of 80s retrospectives, these guys bring something unique and interesting.

    Skrillex (Sonny Moore from Los Angeles) is trying to take electronic music to another level, combining dubstep, hardcore and more conventional dance music elements. It doesn't sound too radical but definitely has an edge.

    New York rapper Azealia Banks is best known for 212 (featuring Lazy Jay), a torrent of sexually explicit lyrics wrapped up in half-decent rap-pop, but there needs to be more to Azealia Banks than headlines. Her cover of Interpol's Slow Hands is genuinely interesting but the rest of her material is definitely not radio-friendly. She has talent and with the right direction she can use it.

    US singer Frank Ocean seems like nothing new after a few listens but he does bring something fresh to a tired genre. A good voice, if over-produced, and strong, hard-hitting subject matter (see Novacane) is one thing but he sounds in danger of getting lost amongst everyone else.

    BBC Sound of 2012 winner Michael Kiwanuka is the only Brit in the top 5 and the obvious choice for first place. A soul/folk combination is not original but his voice is a breath of fresh air. Single Home is a delight.

    It's a shame that there appear to be no indie 'guitar' bands on the horizon and I can't say that I'm going to rush out and start buying any of this. Uninspiring top 5.

    Those that didn;t make the top 5 are:

    A$AP Rocky
    Dot Rotten
    Dry The River
    Flux Pavilion
    Jamie N Commons
    Lianne La Havas
    Ren Harvieu

    I would have gone for Jamie N Commons, Dry The River and the wonderful Friends in the top 5.


    Mr Scott said...

    I think its a very inspiring top five when you consider previous acts featured have included the awful likes of Florence and The Machine, The Ting Tings, Dizzee Rascal and Lady Gaga... Michael Kiwanuka is in a completely different league to talentless nobodies like them...

    Chris said...

    I wouldn't describe Florence and The Ting Tings as talentless nobodies... but I agree that Kiwanuka is a worthy winner and leagues ahead of the other acts.