Category: Opinion

BEST ALBUMS OF 2018 – Evening Standard, 12 Dec 2018

It’s all “mixtapes”, “playlists” and “projects” round here these days. Some musicians will do anything to avoid calling a collection of more than a dozen examples of their music an album. But rather than signalling the death of the form, as some have suggested, I reckon it means that they understand what a big deal it still is. The album… Read more →

THE BEST MUSIC BOOKS OF 2018 – Evening Standard, 6 Dec 2018

When’s the best time to write your autobiography? That’s a tougher question for musicians than all those diary-keeping politicians. Do you get it done early, when you’re still big news but there’s less life to record, as Stormzy, 25, and Lily Allen, 33, did this year? Or late, like The Who’s Roger Daltrey, 74, whose memory banks may be f-f-fading… Read more →

STORMZY – ‘RISE UP’ book review – Evening Standard, 1 Nov 2018

Stormzy Rise Up: The #Merky Story So Far (Edited and co-written by Jude Yawson) (#Merky Books, £16.99) South London rapper Stormzy is attacking the world of publishing in a similar way to his music: remaining as independent as possible, starting his own label and bringing numerous people from similar backgrounds to his along for the ride. Launching #Merky Books, a… Read more →

BRIT AWARDS 2018 commentary – Evening Standard, 22 Feb 2018

It was worth watching the BRIT Awards all the way to the end – traditionally the point when the Lifetime Achievement winner is trudging into their ninth song – to see, instead, Stormzy demonstrating why he more than deserved his status as man of the night. First seen on the BRITs stage as part of Kanye West’s backing crew in… Read more →

POP AWARDS 2017 – Evening Standard, 15 Dec 2017

Long denied the outrageous budgets of the Evening Standard’s Fim and Theatre Awards, here in the pop section we carry on making up categories and dishing out imaginary trophies regardless. The year gone by looked dull and predictable on the surface, dominated yet again by pop juggernauts Ed Sheeran and Taylor Swift, but there were higher highs and lower lows… Read more →

THE BEST MUSIC BOOKS OF 2017 – Evening Standard, 14 Dec 2017

  As Mike Love reportedly said to Brian Wilson when The Beach Boys began putting art before commerce: “Don’t fuck with the formula.” He wouldn’t be happy perusing the music books of 2017. The recipe of the rock biography – impoverished childhood, impoverished early life in a band, commercial triumph and finally becoming poverished, ruination by drink, drugs, women or… Read more →

THE BEST ALBUMS OF 2017 – Evening Standard, 8 Dec 2017

  With only Eminem and N.E.R.D left to sneak under the wire of 2017’s major album releases, it’s time to line them all up against the wall and pick a team. Sure, I could offer you an numbered countdown of personal favourites (*loud cough* LCD Soundystem!) the better to receive maximum comment box abuse, but felt it would be more… Read more →

MERCURY PRIZE 2017 commentary – Evening Standard, 15 Sept 2017

The Mercury Prize is the most subjective of awards – no counting of sales figures, no academy or fan votes – just 12 people in a room arguing. For every supporter of whatever the judges name the album of the year, there will be an equal and opposite detractor. I’m with them this time. Process, the debut album by 28-year-old… Read more →

BRIT AWARDS 2017 commentary – Evening Standard, 23 Feb 2017

After being criticised for a lack of diversity in 2016, this was the year that the Brit Awards welcomed grime into the house but kept it in the hallway. Nominees Skepta, Stormzy and Kano all went home with empty pockets, and although Stormzy’s surprise rap during Ed Sheeran’s meek Shape of You was a welcome surprise, Skepta’s incendiary performance of… Read more →

POP MOMENTS OF 2016 – Evening Standard, 22 Dec 2016

It’s traditional around this time of year for the Evening Standard’s rock and pop division to celebrate the year in music by handing out an array of pretend awards. After agonising over whether this was even possible in 2016 – a year that, rather than being celebrated, ought rightly to be incinerated, padlocked in a steel box and buried 400… Read more →