Various Artists - Brit Awards 2010
A long, long time ago the Brit awards were notorious for producing what, at that time, was regarded as an all time low point in the history of television when they allowed diminutive airhead Sam Fox and misanthropic air guitarist Mick Fleetwood present a stilted, unrehearsed show live on national television. It would have been incomprehensible for anyone to even entertain the idea that over 20 years later we’d be looking back on that event as a high water mark in the reputation of the Brits and yet, here we are in 2010 looking at possibly the most dispiriting and just plain wrong set of nominations since Pol Pot was up for the Lib Dem leadership. The most notable of these travesties being the fact that in compiling a list of the top ten British albums of the past thirty years the panel managed to find room for the likes of Dido, Duffy (Duffy!) and the chirpy yet unforgivably bland and tedious Travis. If they’d been compiling a list of music you could just about tolerate encountering in a dentist’s waiting room then one could perhaps empathise but really this goes beyond a joke. And who, pray tell, gets an ‘outstanding contribution to music’ award? Brian Eno? don’t be silly. Jah Wobble? No it’s Robbie Williams of course. Like punk never happened? This is like having your entire cultural history rewritten by Noel Edmonds.
But enough hectoring about the parent organisation, what of the music on these three discs? Well, pass me a slice of that humble pie as, notwithstanding the criticisms above, this collection performs the minor miracle of making the last twelve months seem like the apex of pop culture. It’s all here; the ennui soaked sass of Lily Allen sits comfortably alongside the uproarious glitter glam of Noisettes and Mika on disc one while, over on the more serious disc two, Florence and the Machine holds her own against the testosterone fuelled best of Biffy and Kasabian. Heck even U2 are made to seem relevant again with the inclusion of their magnificent ‘Magnificent’. The third, bonus, disc turns out to be a bit of a curate’s egg which attempts to cover the last 30 years in the space of 20 tracks and places Girls Aloud’s ‘The Promise’ on the same exalted pedestal as Prince’s ‘Purple Rain. At sixty (count 'em) tracks for ten quid though, it’s a no brainer. Office parties at Music Fix towers will never be the same again.