The Sound of 2012 longlist has been announced. Yeah, the BBC’s annual tastemaker hip list of bands who will make it, break through and be on everyone’s lips (for better or worse) and there’s a load of rockers out there who are either muttering about how there are no punk, rock or metal bands on it at ALL or they’re so disenfranchised as to simply not giving a flying shag.
Does it matter? Hell, no. There will be some rock bands getting new and wholly warranted mainstream attention in 2012 – make no bones about it – but they don’t follow the formula of pop and indie music. It’s not quite as simple as that.
Look at this list. Look at it.
Dry The River
Jamie N Commons
Lianne La Havas
Niki & The Dove
Who are these people? Apart from Skrillex, I dunno either, but I guaran-fucking-tee that at least one of them will be all over the TV and radio all through 2012 and they’ll have sold a gazillion CDs, even more MP3s and probably no t-shirts at all.
So why are there no rock bands on it? Look at the people voting for starters. There are over 180 votes cast and while the inclusion of the likes of Punktastic, Scuzz TV, Metal Hammer, Kerrang! and ourselves is bloody excellent, we’re always going to be lost in the indie-oriented broadsheet fug. There’s no question about it but that’s neither here nor there.
Secondly – and this is the real reason – by and large, rock bands don’t become enormous on their debut album. Look at the big ‘young’ British rock bands of the past few years.
Bullet For My Valentine? While their second album went Top 5 in both UK and US album charts, it was their second album and either nobody saw it coming or they disliked their “not metal enough” metal to not want to see it coming. Either way BFMV are the biggest British metal band apart from Iron Maiden. Can you nail their success down to one particular year though? Nope.
Biffy Clyro? It took until their fourth album to be released on a major label to hit the Top 10 Albums Chart and get on mainstream daytime radio and until their fifth to headline a festival. Even then there were plenty of sceptics from within the Sonisphere crowd. Even working hard and being awesome for over a decade isn’t enough to be accepted by even your own crowd. It’s tough.
Bring Me The Horizon? They haven’t quite done it to the same scale as the other two yet but they’re still a household name. They get booed by ‘metal fans’ as well.
Rock bands tour hard, growing their fanbase slowly, organically and properly. They make enough money through t-shirt sales to kind of live but it’s no flash-in-the-pan success. They make fans for life. They make a career. There is longevity in them there hills that that list can not guarantee.
So going back to that second paragraph… what rock bands are going to make it in 2012?
The likes of Rise To Remain, Sylosis, TesseracT and Malefice are the best of the British metal crop right and while they’re all great bands, they’re just not setting the world alight. Is there a new breed of metal bands bubbling under the surface who are even more awesome that we don’t know about? We doubt it.
Enter Shikari and Young Guns are going to do incredibly well this year. Architects and Deaf Havana will also do well but none of them are debut artists and that’s why it’s just a bit awkward putting them on a list of awesome breakthrough stuff. It’s almost as if we’re admitting that the blade we’re using to break the seal is really blunt and so it takes ages.
The music we like isn’t hip and it certainly isn’t trendy. When one of our bands makes it onto one of these lists, it’s exciting to give the rest of the world a glimpse into what makes us tick but, to be honest, we’ll do alright without it.