Dave’s Chart Awards 2016 – Part Two

Next up in the review of the Chart Awards let’s take a look at the nominees for the genre song awards. Several of these songs will of course appear in the running for Song Of The Year (both this award and Album of the Year have ten nominees, whereas the other awards in general have five).

BEST DEBUT SONG

DANCING YEARS for ‘Learn To Kiss’
GNASH FEATURING OLIVIA O’BRIEN for ‘I Hate U I Love U’
HAELOS for ‘Pray’
HANNAH LOU CLARK for ‘Cowboy Joe’
RAY BLK FEATURING STORMZY for ‘My Hood’

There are some very strong songs in this category, although you could be critical of a couple of the nominees. ‘Cowboy Joe’ wasn’t really Hannah Lou Clark’s debut song – it appeared on the same single as intended lead track ‘It’s Your Love’ but rapidly outpaced it (being much better). ‘It’s Your Love’ also made the Top 100. Meanwhile ‘My Hood’ was Ray BLK’s debut single, but it wasn’t Stormzy’s. Definite, proper debut songs include Gnash and Olivia O’Brien’s monumentally brilliant boy / girl love song ‘I Hate U I Love U’ (written by O’Brien was she was just 15, can you believe it?), Haelos’ superb, haunting ‘Pray’ (which rapidly established a true signature sound for the band) and Leeds band Dancing Years, whose sorrowful ‘Learn To Kiss’ will have produced more than a few tears. Two of these songs reached No 1, but chart position isn’t always a good indicator of success in this award.

BEST R+B / HIP HOP SONG

DESIIGNER for ‘Panda’
GNASH FEATURING OLIVIA O’BRIEN for ‘I Hate U I Love U’
ISHI FEATURING FRENCH MONTANA AND RAEKWON for ‘We Run’
KATE TEMPEST for ‘Europe Is Lost’
RAY BLK FEATURING STORMZY for ‘My Hood’

This is a category that features songs you might not expect to have been nominated for a hip hop award. There are two proper hip hop classics in Desiigner’s world wide debut smash ‘Panda’ and Ishi’s superb collaboration with French Montana and Raekwon, ‘We Run’ – a masterpiece of lyrical construction and pace variation. Ray BLK’s debut single ‘My Hood’ is a lyrical paean to the London Borough of Lewisham, a place I know personally very well, and features an excellent rap from Stormzy. Then we have the slightly more left field nominees’ Is Gnash’s collaboration with Olivia O’Brien truly hip hop? The original, written as I have mentioned by O’Brien was a straightforward love song before Gnash added in his lyrical verses. And then we have Kate Tempest’s epic and vitriolic attack on Western government, ‘Europe Is Lost’, written in the wake of the Paris atrocities and as powerful a piece of music as you could wish to hear. A song that brought me back to the days when music really drove national opinion, and when songs like ‘God Save The Queen’ and ‘Ghost Town’ summed up the social situation of the time.

BEST POP SONG

DAYA for ‘Hideaway’
INGRID MICHAELSON for ‘Light Me Up’
JESS GLYNNE for ‘Take Me Home’
LITTLE MIX for ‘Secret Love Song Part II’
SARA HARTMAN for ‘Satellite’

This was a weakly contested category last year – so weak that a song that isn’t really a pop song, Shura’s ‘2Shy’ was the winner. This year is a huge improvement. All of these songs peaked in the Top 4. Two made No 2 – Ingrid Michaelson, whose superb album ‘It Doesn’t Have To Make Sense’ marked her transformation from an entertaining but predictable purveyor of AOR to a perceptive, cutting, lyrically adept artist is at No 2 as we speak, of course with the album’s lead track ‘Light Me Up’, and Jess Glynne’s haunting ‘Take Me Home’ spent three weeks at No 2 at the start of the year. There is no category this year for Best Video – I plan to introduce this next year – but Glynne’s faltering performance in the video to ‘Take Me Home’ (which she filmed naked), being unable to sing several lines as she was overcome with emotion would be right up there had such an award existed this year. Sara Hartman and Daya both produced debut singles of real class, Hartman’s a pure pop singalong and Daya’s influenced by R+B. But maybe the best of all was Little Mix’s ‘Secret Love Song Part II’ – yes, this is the version without Jason Derulo, and is largely (and quite beautifully) sung by Perri Edwards and Jade Thirlwell almost as an LGBT anthem. Utterly outstanding. A great year for pop music.

BEST ALTERNATIVE / INDIE SONG

THE 1975 for ‘Somebody Else’
THE COURTEENERS for ‘The 17th’
MYSTERY JETS for ‘Telomere’
POLICA for ‘Wedding’
TWENTY ONE PILOTS for ‘Stressed Out’

I used to be a colossal indie fan. This was in the days before Spotify when most of my musical discoveries came courtesy of XFM. My tastes are much more varied now, but indie did achieve one major success this year – a No 1 single in the Courteeners’ ‘The 17th’. This is the clear favourite for this category, but there are some strong rivals. Two bands – The 1975 and Mystery Jets blew away my previous doubts about them with storming singles and solid albums – The 1975 almost placed another song in this category in ‘Change of Heart’. Polica’s ‘Wedding’ proved a notable slow burner, a potent criticism of police brutality. And while Twenty One Pilots seem to have been releasing songs from ‘Blurryface’ for ever, ‘Stressed Out’ was particularly excellent.

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