What is the sound of 2011?
BBC’s sound of 2011 is quite a big deal in the world of music and deservedly so, not only does it allow new music to have its chance at throwing the charts into disarray, but it determines what you will be being smacked in the ears with for the rest of the year when you listen to the radio, go to clubs, bars, and when you tune into the fucking X-Factor, you know you do, you corporate bastard.
This year the BBC mixed things up by allowing the presenters of the ‘In New Music We Trust’ shows to take over the daytime schedule with Zane Lowe announcing the top 5 artists over the course of the week. Cleverly the BBC have got themselves a built in audience of those who regularly tune in to be educated by the likes of Zane and Huw and those who expected Chris Moyles to be dishing out his personal brand of morning coffee with way too much sugar.
The sound of, insert year here, does matter and though not all the winners go on to wow us, Little Boots I’m looking at you, some have shaped the entire year, Ellie Goulding, this year though the beeb have hit the ground running with a wide variety of artists who are all bound to become heavily appreciated in their inner circles.
At number 5 we have Clare Maguire a Birmingham girl who the likes of Jay Z and Rick Rubin were both interested in. Having worked on her debut album for over two years, big things are expected for this dark pop temptress with a soulful voice. Nobody at the moment sounds quite like this, but if you’re familiar with Amanda Ghost then you will like this one. What this means is get used to her being in the top ten and if you like her a little, your parents will like her a lot. These tunes are ripe for remixing so she’ll probably be greeting you on your nights out too.
Number 4 see’s the first of the dubby singer-songwriters come to our attention with Jamie Woon. The 27 year old has been bubbling up from the underground for some time, having the likes of Burial remix your work and declare themselves fans doesn’t hurt your reputation too much either, this is his year. From a long line of musicians, his mother sang back-up for MJ, Kylie, and Bjork, Woon has his beautiful voice layered over dark and haunting loops, he isn’t afraid of a simple acoustic number either, an eclectic talent for an eclectic listener. Dub-Step may have hit us hard last year, but this is the year of Post Dub-Step.
Jumping right in at number 3 is NME’s favourite new cover stars The Vaccines. You may have heard their name being thrown around by your indie friend who champions bands like The Drums and Surfer Blood, but don’t write them off as the next big band that will disappear in a year or so. These guys have been described as ‘game changers’ by some of the biggest critics in town and they are about to take us back to the indie chart success of 2007, but with a bit more bounce than your average Razorlight. Their sound is fuzzy, simple, and addictive. So be cool and pretend you heard them first.
Producer James Blake takes the number 2 spot with his Post Dub-Step styling’s. Not as underground as Jamie Woon, Blake has gone straight for the radio jugular, and unless you’re dead you have surely heard his new single ‘Limit To Your Love’, which shockingly is a cover of a Feist song and is probably better than anything Feist ever released. He’s going to be hard to miss this year and is perfect for nearly everyone. Inspired by artists such as Bon Iver he has the indie fans, a producer not afraid to show off he has the dance fans, and all mixed together and repeated on the radio for a few months he has the pop fans. Perfect.
Now up until this point all of these artists have been somewhat strange for a list of what the radio thinks is ‘hot this year.’ Underground dub-step and indie, even Clare Maguire sounds more like the Smooth FM type, but let’s not forget this is by those who are in the know and appreciate what they play, rather than those who order some songs that were on a list somebody gave them and then pretend they love the new Kings Of Leon song. You don’t like it really do you Fern? No.
At number 1 though is an artist Fern Cotton will probably interview on her popular ITV 2 show. She isn’t too populist to be cool or anything like that, well it depends what your opinion of ‘cool’ is, but she has been described as the new Lady Gaga. Are you still with me? Jessie J is the artist whom I speak of. The start of her single ‘Do It Like A Dude’ says “Stomp Stomp I’ve arrived” Enough said?
The 22 year old has been writing for the likes of Chris Brown and Justin Timberlake for years, before her label, Island, told her to keep the single to herself, she was going to give it to Rihanna. Despite the fact of there being no gap in the market for another female solo artist Jessie J appears to have elbowed her way in and judging by these lyrics she is going to be one outspoken bitch. Perfect for radio 1 chart time. She might be the new Lady Gaga, but nobody seems to have noticed that Lady Gaga is still here and has a new album out this year, so it should be interesting.