Friday, 1 February 2013

BBC 6Music's Greatest Hits - The Results

A fantastic day of music ends with a somewhat unpopular result

6Music Greatest Hits poll serves as a reminder that popular things win popularity contests.

Some might say that you should never take polls and award shows seriously. Whilst this may be the overall case, I like to think that serious discussion and thought comes about as a result of these such things. Particularly with this poll as anyone who listens to 6Music must have a strong interest in music.

That's why I'm devoting not one, but two blog posts to the BBC 6Music Greatest Hits poll. I've already picked my favourite five songs from the list (see previous post) and now I'll take a look at the top 100 countdown which was announced throughout the day.

First, let's see where my 5 picks (including the track I voted for) came in the poll.

Foals - Spanish Sahara - No. 42
Arctic Monkeys - I Bet That You Look Good On The Dancefloor - No. 2
The National - Bloodbuzz Ohio - No. 4
Arcade Fire - Wake Up - No. 12
Janelle Monae - Tightrope - No. 87

I would have expected Foals (which was the track I voted for) to chart a bit higher, somewhere between 30 and 20. I had a feeling that Arctic Monkeys could have won this so it's no surprise to me that they charted as high as they did. The biggest surprise was The National's Bloodbuzz Ohio coming in at number 4. I thought a top 25 finish would be a good result so to find it so high was pleasing. Both Wake Up and Tightrope charted in predictable enough positions. Janelle Monae is not popular enough to chart higher at the moment, though I'm sure her day will come.

With that out of the way, here's the top 10 songs from the poll.

1. Coldplay - Clocks
2. Arctic Monkeys - I Bet That You Look On The Dancefloor
3. Elbow - One Day Like This
4. The National - Bloodbuzz Ohio
5. The Killers - Mr Brightside
6. The White Stripes - Seven Nation Army
7. The Flaming Lips - Do You Realize?
8. Johnny Cash - Hurt
9. British Sea Power - Remember Me
10. Radiohead - There There

As much as I'd like to think that these polls are all about quality, popularity is often the key to winning. It's not surprising to see the likes of Coldplay, The Killers and Arctic Monkeys so high in this list. It's important to remember that, generally, music has to be good to become popular. When Coldplay's Clocks was announced as the number 1, many people took to Twitter to complain. Coldplay have built an unfair reputation for being a bit bland as a result of their mainstream success. Their music has changed over the years but is still catchy and often anthemic (every time I listen to Every Teardrop Is A Waterfall, I have to fight the urge to dance around like I just don't care).

As someone who sees this poll as picking the best song, I can accept Clocks winning (even if it isn't my favourite Coldplay song). That was an important distinction I made when picking my choice. Despite Muse and Bloc Party being two of my favourite bands, their songs on the list didn't make my top 5.

If I were to question any entry in the top 10, it would be Radiohead's There There. I have an odd love/hate relationship with Radiohead. In Rainbows is a masterpiece and one of my favourite albums of all time yet I find some parts of Kid A to be damn near unlistenable. I'm not overly familiar with Hail To The Thief (the album from which this track is taken) but I can't help shake the feeling that Radiohead would have charted this high no matter which song was chosen. That may just me being bitter that something like Jigsaw Falling Into Place wasn't chosen instead.

Doves charted at a very respectable 27 with There Goes The Fear. Whilst it is a very good song, I honestly thought that Pounding would have been chosen. I'd go as far to say that if Pounding had been chosen, it would have made my top 5.

When picking 100 tracks from 10 years of music, many great songs are going to be missed off the list. At first, I was disappointed that there wasn't a track from Wild Beasts in the top 100. I soon realised however that, despite having a range of tracks to chose from, I couldn't pick the one Wild Beasts track to go on the list. I would've loved to have seen Sleigh Bells' Infinity Guitars, a magnificent assault on the senses, find a place on the list. Similarly, there was no room  for Norwegian pop maestro Robyn or King Cresosote & Jon Hopkins whose album Diamond Mine is as 6Music friendly as they come.

I could go on but there's never going to be a list which satisfies everyone. I'm sure many other people have things to say about the list and that, at the end of the day, is what I like about these votes and polls.

Eurgh... that was a bit cheesy at the end there. Oh well.

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