The 2010 Bollocks! Awards, Part 1

Welcome to the 2010 Bollocks! Awards! If you’ve read this blog at all, you know that we here at Bollocks! have strong opinions about music. We  (and by “we”, I mean “I”) like to share these opinions in a (hopefully) humorous fashion, with the goal of edifying and entertaining our readers. To wrap up the year that was 2010, I decided to forego (for a while) the usual year-end countdown of the best songs and albums and try instead to honor musical achievements both dubious and dashing, divided into several user-friendly categories.

The first award I’d like to present is the Curtis Mayfield Award for the Acceptable Use of a Falsetto. This award goes to the Black Keys for “Everlasting Light,” the opening track to Brothers, which may be their best album. In a world where piano-tinkling dimwits croon a falsetto to try and “fix you”, the Keys’ Dan Auerbach knows what all smart people know – falsettos can not only be used for awesome, they can be used for sexy time. Honorable Mention: Cee Lo Green for “Wildflower” and Wolf Parade for “Oh You Old Thing.”

Next up is the Morrissey Award for Being the Biggest Asshole in Music. No surprise here; the award goes to Morrissey for comments he made earlier this year about Chinese people. Complaining to an interviewer about the treatment of animals in China, the former Smiths singer (affectionately nicknamed “Borrissey” by the Bollocks! staff) said, “You can’t help but feel that the Chinese are a subspecies.” Maybe you can’t help but feel that way, Borrissey, but I don’t feel that way because I don’t assume, as you clearly do, that all Chinese people treat animals the same or agree with the horrible treatment that some animals in China experience. Does this mean that Borrissey bases his opinion of all black people on the actions of Michael Vick? Honorable Mention: e-Music for giving people less music for their money and trying to excuse it by saying, “Hey, at least we didn’t raise your prices.”

But hey, it’s Christmastime, so more positivity, yeah? How about the Neko Case Award for Best Female Vocalist? I happily present this award to Marisa Paternoster of the Screaming Females. Paternoster’s performance on this year’s Castle Talk (not to mention on every other Screaming Females album) is bold, loud, and absolutely embodies everything that rock ‘n’ roll singing should be. Honorable Mention: Bettye LaVette, Corin Tucker, and Mavis Staples.

And why not follow the Neko Case Award with the Tom Waits Award for Best Male Vocalist? Long-time Bollocks! readers will not be surprised that I am handing this award to Matt Berninger, the outstanding lead singer for the National. I’ve said before that I would give a non-essential part of my body to be able to sing like Berninger, and High Violet is his best work yet. Whether he’s crooning about you and your sister living in a lemon world or wailing that he’s evil, Berninger proves that he has one of the finest voices in modern music. Honorable Mention: Ted Leo and Matt Whyte (Earl Greyhound).

Since we’re talking about the National, I guess I should tell you that they, along with Ramona Falls, have earned the not-at-all prestigious Hold Steady Award for Best Live Show of the Year. I saw the National and Ramona Falls at the Wiltern in Los Angeles this year and both bands were absolutely electrifying. Though the show featured some of the most annoying fan behavior I have ever witnessed, I was able to overcome my disgust through sets that contained pretty much every song I could want to hear from either band. Honorable Mention: Ted Leo & the Pharmacists at the Troubadour and De La Soul at Coachella. If your wondering why the Hold Steady didn’t win this award, the sad fact is I didn’t see them this year.

A lot of people talk about great songs and albums they’ve heard over the course of the year, but I like to mention some of the worst stuff I hear too. That’s why I’m giving the Know Your Enemy Award for the Worst Song of the Year to Justin Bieber for “Somebody to Love” which also features Usher. How on earth did I come to hear this auto-tuned abomination? I was watching TV at my parents’ house this summer and the show they were watching (I think it was one of the dancing reality shows) featured an “exclusive” world premier of the video. If you actually sit through the whole thing, you’ll catch glimpses of Usher and Bieber coming very close to grinding on one another, which might help you understand what I mean when I say that Usher is the next Michael Jackson.

While we’re at it, let me go ahead and give M.I.A.‘s Maya the Time I Won’t Get Back Award for Worst Album I Actually Listened To This Year. It’s not just that the album makes no sense lyrically – hell, I expect nonsense from M.I.A. – but the “music”, if you can call it that, is mostly gibberish. Maya is so bad that it’s scared me away from M.I.A.’s first two albums, which I thought I liked; my fear is that I’ll go back and discover that those albums suck too. “Paper Planes” was justifiably a massive hit for M.I.A. and I can understand and come somewhere near the vicinity of forgiving the desire to punish people who just want a whole album of that song. But Maya is the auditory equivalent of Episodes One through Three of Star Wars – a sloppily conceived and poorly executed kick to the nuts of the loyal fans.

Let’s round out part one of the 2010 Bollocks! Awards with the Tad Kubler Award for Outstanding Guitar Playing on an Album. It should seem like a no-brainer that I, a massive Hold Steady fan, would give this award to Mr. Kubler. In an ordinary year, I would. But this year, I have to hand it to Marisa Paternoster. If you have been reading this post and don’t know who the Screaming Females are, perhaps this will be your incentive to listen to them. On Castle Talk, Paternoster not only sings like a motherfucker, but she plays guitar like she’s dual-wielding katanas in a pirates-versus-ninjas bar brawl. The Screaming Females are a trio that make enough noise for four or five people, and Paternoster’s guitar and voice are a big reason why Castle Talk is one of the best rock albums of the year. Honorable Mention: Tad Kubler (naturally) and Ted Leo.

Still to come in part two of the 2010 Bollocks! Awards: the Award for Album of the Year, the Coffee is for Closers Award for Best Final Track, the Thriller Award for Best Pop Album, and a bunch of other awards in categories I’ve yet to make up.

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3 thoughts on “The 2010 Bollocks! Awards, Part 1

  1. Pingback: The 2010 Bollocks! Awards, Part 2 « Bollocks!

  2. Pingback: Nine Types of… Shit, I Had Something for This « Bollocks!

  3. Pingback: Rumors of Our Demise Have Been Greatly Exaggerated (Possibly by the Illuminati) « Bollocks!

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