Gather round, boys and girls, for it is that time of year again. It’s that time of year when journalists, bloggers and music enthusiasts take to their keyboards and partake in a worldwide celebration, a collective event that I like to call ‘Listmas’.
Yes, Christmas encourages all of the above to rise up, put down the wrapping paper, take a break from the hellish Christmas shopping and write numerous lists on the best and worse things of the past year. So hey, I thought I’d join in.
In actual fact I’ve been preparing this list for several months now, waiting for the right time of year to publish my own ‘Best Moments’ list for the past year in the music industry. So here it is. Enjoy my top 10 personal highlights (albeit, some for fun and some genuine) of 2013 in the wide world of music:
Halle-freakin-lujah. The faux-folk pop atrocity that is Mumford & Sons made their announcement in late September, saying they were taking a ‘considerable amount of time’ away from music after wrapping up the tour of their second album, ‘Babel’. I for one couldn’t be happier to be rid of this pretentious bunch of banjo weilding pop-folk fodder. Hopefully in their time away they will do some soul searching and realise that the world doesn’t miss them, cash in their royalties and retire to a life on a farm somewhere, no doubt.
Regretably, I wasn’t there at Glastonbury to witness this glorius event in real time, but I did sit down cosily in my living room and recline, watching the Sheffield lads completely out do themselves and put on a performance that will no doubt go down in history. Alex, Jamie, Nick and Matt left an entire nation in awe with their Glastonbury headlining set, and I have to say that I will probably spend most of the rest of my life regretting the fact that I watched it from my sofa.
I know I said it last year, but this time I really mean it. I will be attending Reading/Leeds in 2014 and these guys are the reason why. Missing R&L in 2010 – when Blink-182 first headlined and were supported by Paramore (weep) – was upsetting given the fact that they had just reformed. However, it can’t be denied that their performance was shaky at best. Still finding their feet and dealing with a whole other set of issues, the band were not at the top of their game although having seen them since then, when they played Nottingham’s Capital FM Arena in 2012, I was amazed at how far they had progressed. With a new album on the way (which will be miles better than their 2011 effort, ‘Neighborhoods’) I’m excited to see them again and some more new material.
There were so many reasons that Justin Bieber had an awful week when he came over to tour the UK. And each and every one made me giggle with delight. The pop brat began the week having ‘the worst birthday’ after having to leave a club early. There is still speculation as to why, but regardless it gives me a cruel pang of elation to know that it happened. Furthermore, his week continued to dip with a lateness to his O2 show in London and collapsing onstage just a few days later. Touring life proving difficult for you there beebs? Just to top off the whole debacle, on the Friday of his disasterous week in the UK he got into a lovely little scrap with a member of the paparazzi as he left a hotel. Talk about throwing your rattle out of the pram.
Lily Allen made her return to music in November this year in spectacular style by releasing a song and video that tackled the issue of growing misogyny in the music industry. Her controversial video and lyrics made her opinion clear on the topic and caused a huge discussion across the nation. She mocked Robin Thicke’s song/video for his huge, ahem, hit ‘Blurred Lines’ which has been widely accepted as massively sexist and lyrics such as “I suppose I should tell you what this bitch is thinking / You’ll find me in the studio and not in the kitchen” made a nation of feminists yell “you go, girl”.
I know, I know… it’s supposed to be ‘a joke’ and is more than likely a publicity stunt, but considering the fact that this year Bieber has gone into full meltdown mode, as so many young popstars do, I can’t help but hope that this dreadful excuse for an ‘artist’ is throwing in the towel. As there has been no word from Bieber himself on the statement following his manager’s clarifications that he was ‘just kidding’ I’m still hoping for a Christmas miracle. If we all wish hard enough at the same time, maybe – just, maybe – it will come true…
As far as legends go, in my mind Paul Weller is pretty high up on the list. If you wanted the opportunity in this day and age to see The Jam perform again, the closest you’ll probaby get is if you buy a ticket from their pretty hugely followed cover band From The Jam, featuring Bruce Foxton of the original incarnation. However, for my boyfriend’s birthday (who is one of the biggest fans of The Jam you’ll find in our age bracket) I bought him tickets to see Paul Weller in Northampton, at the Alive @ Delapre festival. He was beyond phenomenal and had a stage presence that only a man who has been performing for over 40 years could possess. Playing a few songs by The Jam, a few by his second band The Style Council and the majority being his solo works, it was an entirely unique concert and a wonderful night all round.
Another personal one, I’m afraid! I was given the gift of Kate Nash tickets at the Rescue Rooms in Nottingham for my birthday earlier this year, and I was over the moon. I loved her newest album ‘Girl Talk’ and have been a fan since the days of old, when she was releasing demo tracks. To finally see her perform was a privilege and she well and truly blew me away as a performer, and as a genuinely warm and caring person. Proof of this was in the way she invited us all to meet her at the merchandise stand after the show – a brave move indeed. Apparently Nottingham was one of the craziest crowds she got to meet, so although it was brief it was so lovely to be able to speak to her and get her autograph. Also, her support act The Tuts were incredible and I’m glad to be able to add them to my list of favourite bands. Grrl Power!
A more serious, personal highlight to the year. We all know that to endure a Record Store Day, you need to be a special sort of person who is willing to get up at stupid o’clock and can’t be afraid to throw a few punches to get yourself a copy of that certain limited edition you’ve been counting on. So, when we were effectively thanked for our commitment at Pie & Vinyl, Southsea we were treated to a special in-store performance from Band of Skulls themselves. It was magical, truly it was. To be so close to such a reputable, talented band was a moment I will never forget. A fantastic set from such a down to Earth bunch of musicians – I feel blessed to have been a part of it.
My single best moment in music of the last 12 months has to be this one. On 4 February 2013, I was sat in a Media Law lecture, idly browsing Facebook whilst avoiding note taking. Then it broke – the out of the blue news that Fall Out Boy had reunited, released a new song and were planning a tour and an album entitled ‘Save Rock and Roll’. It was too much for me to handle whilst trying to retain some form of composure in a room filled with 100 or so concentrating students. Just thinking about it now gives me butterflies of excitement. I have waited for most of my teenage life to see Fall Out Boy live, and their break up well and truly broke me. Finally, after all these years, I now have the opportunity to see them live, and after one mediocre and one stupendous album this year, I am finally ready to see one of my favourite bands in all their glory. To steal a line fom the opener to their 2007 album ‘Infinity on High’… welcome. It’s here.