The BBC have talked to 100s of critics and DJs and asked them what their favourite new music is, and put together a list of who they think will be the sound of this year. They've written a bit about each of them, and included a link to a full track by each artist. See the BBC article for more details. Anyway I thought I'd have a listen and tell you what I think about each of them.
- Corinne Bailey Rae: Very very clear voice, but sounds just a little too self-consciously childlike to me, and the way the title is repeats so often in the lyrics is something which irritates me, despite the fact I can see what they're aiming for. Hits my "oh god not another soulful singer songwriter" buttons. Probably good, but not outstanding.
- Clap your hands say yeah: They keep mentioning these guys on the radio, but I still couldn't have told you what they sound like, which is never a good sign. Indie guitar music, quite pleasant, the voice a bit too whiney for my ears. If this is their best track they need something catchier. If they've more up their sleeves though I'll be happy to hear it.
- The Feeling: I have to say if even the BBC can't find anything better to say about them than "hoping to resurrect a brand of middle-of-the-road soft rock" then there must be something wrong. Yes, they *are* very dull. With a piano. This hasn't caught my imagination at all.
- Plan B: Rap is not usually my thing, but this is rather catchy, with the chorus being a cover of a 90s dance track. As with all the best covers they've changed it enough to make it their own, with a slip into a minor key changing the feel of it quite significantly. Not going to be one of my favourite new acts of the year but I actually like this best so far.
- Guillemots: Hard to give a first impression of this track simply because I've heard it before. Heard it and liked it. I like the pounding nature of the bass in the background, the bright brass over the top, and the odd synth riff in the background. A feel-good track, even if I've not worked out what it's about particularly. Despite really liking this I still don't see them being huge.
- Sway: Another rapper. Eeeeeuw. Twee sounding content, repetitive, *and* silly voices. Yuck yuck yuck. I have no idea at all how to tell if this is a good example of its genre though.
- Marcos Hernandez: ex-boy band, latin, RnB, _smooth_. This is another one unlikely to be my cup of tea even before you start. But it didn't make me run screaming, and it is a nice enough voice. *shrug*.
- Kubb: Now we saw the singer from Kubb do a small acoustic at the XFM gigs, and he was more engaging than some of the others. They don't actually have the full track here, but enough to give you the idea. Acoustic is still the order of the day, and it seems pretty enough. Sounds more like singer-songwriter territory than like a band with an identity beyond the singer though. Not terribly inspiring but pleasant.
- The Automatic: Perky pop-rock. I like it. A cleaner sound than the Guillemots one, and no whining like Clap Your Hands... I'll have to hear it a few more times but this is probably my favourite of the ten. Uncomplicated though, and they may turn out to have not much more in them at all.
Overall if this is the best they can come up with for this year it's not going to be all that exciting. But I suspect they're wrong.