Tiresome list of APRA Award winners announced for 2011
Who's saying what
With nominations and winners chosen either by the voting members of APRA (in excess of 30,000 eligible voters, thogh no mention of how many of them actually voted), members of the APRA Board, or the more scientificy-y sounding APRA based statistical analysis, what APRA claims to be left with are winners that have "achieved excellence in their craft over the last year".
To the polls:
The big winners at the APRA Music Awards for 2011 were Angus & Julia Stone for their interminable song 'Big Jet Plane', which won both the peer voted APRA SONG OF THE YEAR the prestigious SONGWRITER OF THE YEAR Award as determined by the APRA Board of Directors.
Here's (just a small part of) what we said of the song when it topped Triple J's Hottest 100 earlier this year:
'Big Jet Plane' by Angus and Julia Stone is genius. With the harmless features of the dippy duo by now seared into the memory banks of even the most punctual offshore miners, 'Big Jet Plane' arrives shorn of any barbs that might parry its entry into consciousness. Freely avoiding individuality, it serves as a simple, nude alternative to versions of the genre that do require attention - it leaves it all up to you. It's a similar anti-artistic tactic that explains maybe why Céline Dion is one of the biggest selling artists of all time. It's why André Rieu is at the top of the charts every Christmas, why Nickelback make money. And it's why Angus and Julia Stone continue to garner acclaim for a song that reads like magnetic letters on a fridge. Like the criticism levelled at the AMP Award's granting Lisa Mitchell the top spot last year, winners of polls are rarely The Best, per se, as much as often the ones that create the least friction, and so go unexamined the longest.
'Big Jet Plane' is the straight, spare stretch of musical road - free of obstacles, features or tension that might draw attention to itself. As an artistic statement - and art is nothing if not a statement - it serves as a potent reminder that sometimes listeners prefer you just get out of the way.
The other double-winner of excellence on the night was Jet. Yes. Who's song 'Seventeen' was apparently on their third album Shaka Rock (2009), and quite widely enjoyed to if this very poll is to be believed. The band won MOST PERFORMED AUSTRALIAN WORK and ROCK WORK OF THE YEAR, beating out the likes of other heavyweights in Powderfinger, Gyroscope, Birds of Tokyo and the insipid Amy Meredith.
Jet - 'Seventeen'
Elsewhere, the APRA Board of Directors also named MEGAN WASHINGTON the BREAKTHROUGH SONGWRITER OF THE YEAR. KASEY CHAMBERS won
the APRA Award in the category of COUNTRY WORK OF THE YEAR for 'Little Bird'. DANCE WORK OF THE YEAR meanwhile, was won by AMY PEARSON, KAM DENNY AND PAUL ZALA (known as Denzal Park), for—if we can be frank for a moment, one of the most offensively banal and rote dance-song-by-computer-presets we've heard in years—'Free Fallin'' (performed by Zoë Badwi). If that's too direct, perhaps we'll defer to as YouTube has it: "no description available".
At least that other mainstay of the club scene Brian McFadden didn't win.
Zoë Badwi - 'Free Fallin''
URBAN WORK OF THE YEAR was won by GUY SEBASTIAN and songwriting partner EVE JEFFERS for 'Who’s That Girl', beating out some guys called Hilltop Hoods, Bliss n Eso and Drapht, whilst JOHN BUTLER nudged past himself, the Beautiful Girls, Ash Grunwald and the Beautiful Girls, to win the award in the category of BLUES AND ROOTS WORK OF THE YEAR for 'Close To You' the second single from April Uprising
Whilst many would argue that the APRA Awards simply reflect peer voting and hard commercial figures, and far be it for anyone to criticise the damn facts, the problem here isn't the awards' (and those like it) failure to highlight Australian music's critical and cultural relevancy, but the widespread, residual perpetuation that it does.
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