Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Artists From The Last Ten Years Who Will Still Be Around in Fifty Years

My mum is the director of music at a local school where I live in the UK. Every year there is one assignment that she does with her classes which grabs the attention of the rest of our (very music orientated) family; 'Which artists from the last ten years will be around in fifty years.' The children (normally with some fairly blatant help from their parents) have to make a compelling case for their chosen artist and then the rest of the class vote to decide if they agree. True democracy in action eh? 

Obviously there are a number of vague criteria involved here, which I will address now. First, 'from the last ten years' - Does this mean that you can include artists who have been around for a long time, but have still been releasing albums in the last ten years? I am going to say no; otherwise the likes of Tom Waits, Bruce Springsteen and Neil Young could all be included, who have all already been around for the best part of 50 years. I think I would define, 'being from the last ten years' as, being an artists that has come to prominence in the last ten years. Still a little vague, but I'm looking for a musical debate here, not a definite answer. Next, what does it mean to 'be around in fifty years'? Is Cliff Richard still 'around' now? These are difficult questions to answer. Technically he has had a number of albums in the last ten years, is still widely recognised by the general public and could easily sell out large scale gigs. "To be around" in this sense is to generally be a name known by a considerable amount of the general public. Therefore I'd say that although these are not his years of prominence, he is still 'around'.

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Foo Fighters

I think it's pretty widely established that Dave Grohl is god.  I also think that there would be little debate in the fact that Nirvana will still be around in 50 years. The reasoning for this is two-fold: They fore-fronted a dramatic shift in popular music, and, due to the iconic nature and death of their lead singer.

Foo Fighters may not have caused the same shift in musical genres that Grohl's previous band did had, however, there is little debate over the fact that they've been one of the biggest bands in the world for the past ten years. What they lack in innovation, they more than make up for by consistently producing superb rock music for the masses. Their last four albums (which have all been over the last ten years) peaked in the US billboard album charts at positions: 3, 2, 3, 1 respectively and in tracks such as 'All My Life', 'Learn To Fly', 'Monkey Wrench', 'Everlong', 'Times Like These' and 'The Pretender', they have rock anthems that can stand the test of time.

'All night long I dream of the day, 
When it comes around and it's taken away.'

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Laura Marling

Now, I love Laura Marling. I think she is one of the most incredible and enigmatic talents of our generation. To be just 21 years old and to have accomplished all that she has at that age is the work of a true prodigy.

I can understand why some of you may now be shaking your heads in disagreement, I really can. Perhaps she isn't currently well enough known to justify her position here, but I am marking this one down purely to talent and potential. She has certainly increased her profile in the last year, with A Creature I Don't Know getting to number 4 in the UK album charts as well as winning 'Best British Female' at the 2011 Brit Awards.

I'm not saying that she's ever necessarily going to be the biggest artist in the world, the slightly inaccessible nature to her music means that she's unlikely to ever reach a truly mainstream audience; however, I feel that she can settle into a similar popular niche market as past artists such as Nick Drake and Joni Mitchell. She will be well known by  music experts, journalists, and those with a strong passion for music for 50 years and beyond.

'But give me to a rambling man, 
let it always be know that I was who I am.'

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This might be a controversial one........ Where to start with Coldplay. I've always found it strange that a band that writes such inoffensive music can cause so much disdain from so many people. Regardless of that mass of people, there are still a huge number of people that love the band, and this is illustrated by the fact that they have sold over 50 millions records worldwide over their fifteen year career.

Much like I mentioned previously with the Foo Fighters, it is not necessarily that they have been particularly innovative, but more that they have been the top of a radio friendly version of their genre. I think that there is little doubt that tracks such as `Yellow`, `The Scientist` and `Fix You' will go down as some of the defining classics of our generation. Despite the guitar based 'Post Brit Pop' sound and image which defined them throughout their first 3 albums, they have since managed to avoid pigeon-holing themselves with Viva La Vida's orchestral twist and Mylo Xyloto's brush with electronica. This ability to adapt and innovate while staying true to their own sound looks likely to keep Coldplay as one of our generations most important bands for many decades to come.

'Tears stream down your face, 
when you lose something you cannot replace'

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The Libertines
Sometimes a band's non-music exploits over-shadow their musical ones. The Libertines came almost out of nowhere. In a post-Brit Pop era where music seemed to be in a bit of a stagnant spell, this British four-piece came along and changed everything. Their rough-around-the-edges music and unique style was a breath of fresh air at a time when it was desperately needed.

Although they managed only two albums in a career littered with drugs, scandals and internal conflicts, they were two of the finest albums of the decade, receiving widespread critical acclaim. In Pete Doherty, The Libertines have something special. Unfortunately for the man himself, his problems with drugs, relationships and other band member conflicts have led to him being labeled as a tortured genius. Sometimes regardless of a band's music (although in this case it was very good), bands and artists are remembered for reasons beyond this; In Pete Doherty they have a man who will be remembered for as a cult iconic figure of our generation.

'Cornered the boy kicked out at the world,
The world kicked back a lot fuckin' harder now.'

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Jack White

At 36 years old, Jack White has managed to cram more music into his relatively short career than most people manage in a lifetime (or more likely, several). Best know for his exceptional 14 year career as half of the garage-rock duo The White Stripes, he has also done considerable work in bands forming bands The Racounters and The Dead Weather.

Alongside his solo projects he has also collaborated with  artists such as The Rolling Stone and Bob Dylan; co-writing the latest Bond soundtrack and a driving forward a growing acting career. He has been named within the '100 Greatest Living Guitarists' and last year was named 'Nashville Music City Ambassador' by Mayor Karl Dean.

Everything Black touches turns to gold; receiving unanimous acclaim for his inventive and innovative musical style, breaking and blending musical barriers. It seems that he will be woven into the fabric of alternative music for many years to come.........................Also that riff on 'Seven Nation Army' is dope.......

'Everyone knows about it,
From the Queen of England to the hounds of hell.'