An different Music Review Of 2006

It was a year that saw pop music decline, music sites prosper and a Sheffield act take complete domination; 2006 was a productive year for everyone involved in British music. Bands were reforming & reintroducing themselves, and whilst most collected music awards few attained entrance to the annual Hall Of Fame event at Earls Court. Whether it was on television, on the internet or at festivals all year round bands were propelling themselves towards stardom.

And none other so than the Arctic Monkey’s, headed by Alex Turner, showed how a band could gain national attention; collect the Mercury Prize, and have two no.1 singles all whilst sparking a guitar-rock revival. Their rare take on college-life for a teen attained them a wide audience leading to the no. 1 fastest selling album: ever. And spearheaded by the successes of The Kooks, Snow Patrol, Fratellis and Kasabian they all began to eat away into pop’s inner sanctum – the U.K. Top 40. Aided by the fall of Top Of The Pops and the crumbling of Smash Hits!; overall 2006 was a bad year for pop. Girl groups like Sugababes and Girls Aloud found the shoes were too big to fill, and despite desperate reforms of Take That and All Saints, pop had been hit a belting blow from rock both commercially and nationally in 2006.

In fact the biggest punch may have been by the under-estimated strength of the Internet. As Pete Doherty had already exploited with The Libertines the Internet was a powerful tool for communication. in addition the rise and rise of sites like Myspace and YouTube additional with the increased use of peer-to-peer illegal software have had just as basic affect on the music scene. On one hand, it was a major gain for unsigned acts who could post free demos online (sound familiar Arctic Monkeys?) in hope of a label catching on. And though the contribution of mp3 players’ sales supplemented the success of “downloading”, more and more people became aware of the occurrence as the year grew on. in spite of of this, the more negative effect of “downloading” has rule to heavy losses for the four biggest labels (Universal, Sony, EMI and Warner) as people became more selective on what music they listen to in 2006. in addition although counter-measures have been put in place – stricter laws and download charts – at the moment the Internet is winning its battle against the CD. However 2007 will be the only ground to find out whether digital music stays on course and win the war to kill off the CD.

Nevertheless don’t go thinking that 2006 was all doom & gloom, because as the B.P.I. got to work over the summer, the rest of us were out gigging across the whole country. Whether it was at – Oxygen, V Festival, T in the Park, Isle Of Wight or the Carling Weekend – none were short of living up to expectation. Supported by global acts like the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Red Hot Chilli Peppers and Pearl Jam along with local headliners such as The Who and Kaiser Chiefs, gigging had a whole new meaning in 2006. Furthermore helped by the BBC and MTV, television (and radio) brought in addition more extensive coverage for live music in addition as for over-seas excursions like Benicassim and SXSW. Nevertheless back in the U.K. bands were touring to their fullest extent, and already Bob Dylan restarted his Never Ending Tour with gig no.1811 by to 1912. Though the sold-out scene of Brixton Academy became as frequent as the number of times Pete Doherty had been in rehab, sites all over the U.K. were to observe new talent spawning from the modern age of music.

In part this has been down to the variety of music that has become more popular throughout the year. “Emo” (short for emotional) defined as “a sub-genre of punk” has become contagious amongst adolescents and whilst parents are alien to it, it is creating real divisions. Fronted by acts like Taking Back Sunday and My Chemical Romance, whom speak of “cut my [their] wrists and black my [their] eyes” talk about the portrayals of love mixed with violent actions. And in addition as affecting haircut, turn up and fact “emo” was not the only genre to have affected us in 2006. Although not as commercial, goth under-went a mini-revival in the form of The Horrors whilst The Klaxons already front lined the creation of their own genre – new rave. The London quartet armed with glow sticks + red bull produced havoc inside the Carling Tent at Reading and Leeds, have released four singles on Marok Records already cracking the U.K. top 40 showing just any kind of music was breaking into the charts. Yes, it seemed everyone on the different music circuit was trying to create their own gimmick. And with The Long Blondes adding a retro 50’s fact look, Wolfmother reviving 70’s heavy metal (accompanied with big ‘fro) 2006 was all about one thing – gettin’ noticed.

Indeed whether it was to accessorize, to fashionize, or in many situations to plagiarize 2006 was complete of surprises. Whether it was The Libertines re-uniting (only for a drinking session) or Bono going to Africa, one thing was clear in 2006: ships are ready to set sail. Despite what lies ahead for many, most paths being unwritten, tails of fame and fortune are going to rule some into the life of showbiz. Although the perception on the rise to fame is a pleasant one, the decline can often be overlooked and for 2007 inevitably some ships are just going to sink.

By Joel Girling

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