Thursday, 29 November 2012

It's All Coming Back To Me Now - The Best and Worst of the ARIA Awards

The Best and Worst of the ARIA Awards
by Jo Michelmore

So, the ARIA’s. (For those readers outside Australia, they’re the Australian Recording Industry Association Awards.) They’re on tonight, you know? Did you know? You do now. Whether you watch or not is totally up to you. I suggest finding a tasty beverage and a good book; you’ll at least be using some portion of your beautiful brain if you spend your evening that way. Maybe you should download an Australian album and have a dance around your lounge room. That would be productive as it would support the Australian music industry in some small way. Even better, if you’re feeling a little adventurous, find a little bar and a local band and actually go and watch some live music. You might discover something amazing. For goodness sake, even going to a dubious pub and watching someone sing INXS numbers at some dodgy karaoke event would be more exciting than the actual award ceremony.

If you do happen to watch the ARIA’s, you’re going to witness all sorts of under-dressed musicians (probably intoxicated) and a lot of awkward speeches, international ‘celebrities’ that have nothing to do with the Australian music industry and a bunch of old people that you won’t know, clapping for artists they’ve never heard of. I know this first hand. Yes it’s true, I myself have attended an awards ceremony, the ARIA’s poor cousin, the Australian Music Awards (no longer in existence), when I was a wee child, many years ago, a lot shorter and somewhat less fashionable than I am now (thank you to my parents for being so cool and taking me to a music awards show. Yep, it’s true, my parents rule.) I don’t actually remember a lot, except that it was full of annoying pauses, being told when to applaud and a lot of boredom. I don’t suppose the ARIA’s are much different.

It kind of upsets me that the ARIA’s are a bit of a joke. I mean, they’re Australia’s music industry night of nights, but they just end up being an embarrassment; to everyone. On the bright side, they were responsible for one of my favourite live TV moments ever, that infamous moment when Jessica Mauboy presented an award to Tame Impala for their ‘dee-but’ album in 2010. Then she said it twice. Brilliant. (It’s ok Jessica; I still like you, probably more after that.) One day I shall attend an ARIA ceremony and I shall be better dressed than the majority of those that liked to be called ‘celebrities’ and I shall also probably be more deserving of an award than most of the people who win. I shall drink some colourful beverages and I shall find Tim Rogers (who will be attending because he will still be as self-important as ever, years from now) and I shall slap him. It will be a good day. Until then, let’s look at when the ARIA awards have got it so right and then sometimes, so wrong….

Kylie Minogue

Let’s start with one of the most well-known and probably one of the best. Kylie. What is there to say about her that hasn’t already been said? This year marks her 25th year in the music industry and in that 25 years she’s managed to win three Brit awards, a Grammy, a whole bunch of MTV awards, she even won a couple of Logies and of course, sixteen ARIA’s so far, as well as being inducted into the ARIA Hall Of Fame, whatever that means. OK, I’ll admit it; every now and then the ARIA’s get it right.

Dannii Minogue

Yes, well, Kylie has this sister you see. She’s won some awards too. Like, the Glamour Award in 2007 (what?), a Smash Hits Award in 1991 (Smash who?) and the Number One Celeb Of The Year Award in 2008 (who votes and presents this award remains a mystery. Dannii herself, perhaps?) Dannii hasn’t even won a Logie, let alone an ARIA and rightly so. Congratulations ARIA’s, another time where you got it right. After all, there’s a reason Dannii is our ‘one head’ for some of our reviews. Among other atrocities, she was responsible for ‘This Is Shit It’ in 1993.


Little Brisbane’s favourite boys, even though they split in 2010, they’ll always be the musical darlings of my hometown. Someone will probably build a bridge or a tunnel or something and name it after them someday. They were nominated for ARIA’s twenty eight times and won sixteen of them, which is a reasonable hit rate I think. This is again when the ARIA’s have got something right. On the other hand, one of my favourite ARIA moments occurred during the debacle that was the 2010 ceremony, when Powderfinger were called to be presented with an award, without having been told what they’d won. It’s not often you get to witness award magic like that, but the ARIA’s seem to have more of those moments than most.


Killing Heidi

In 2000, the Australian music industry was all about Killing Heidi. They won the JJJ unearthed comp (when that comp seemed to have a little more substance) and then they went on to write all these catchy songs and win four ARIA’s. I stumbled across them while I was researching for this post and remembered how much I liked them back then. Someone else I know loves them too and because we both write for this blog, you’ve now remembered how much you liked them too, right? Even if you didn’t, you couldn’t have been awake in Australia for more than five minutes in 2000 without hearing one of their songs. The year 2000? This is also one of the times when the ARIA’s got it right.

Savage Garden

OK, so you know how I say sometimes the ARIA’s get it right? Let’s stop saying that now. Savage Garden were nominated for twenty-six awards in their time and won fourteen. That means one of those times they probably won for a song that contained the lyrics “cause I want to live like animals, careless and free like animals” but wait, it gets better; “compassion in the jungle, compassion in your hands”. There is no excuse for this ARIA’s.

You Am I

Oh, the classic example of how I think ARIA’s are given away. I’m thinking you only have to wake up somewhere in the middle of the ceremony and they’ll throw one at you. If only they’d thrown a little harder, perhaps I wouldn’t have to slap this band’s lead singer when I attend. Tim and Co must have fallen into a deep sleep in the Sydney Entertainment Centre in 1993 to get the award for Best Alternative Release. Unless alternative means ‘alternative to good’.

The Whitlams

Wow, this band were so very popular for five minutes or so. So popular that they won three ARIA’s in 1998. I may have even liked them for a minute or two, but I got over it pretty quickly (rumour has it I once fell asleep at a Whitlams gig. I can’t deny it. Sometimes kiddies, rumours are true.) Maybe if that Tim guy from You Am I wasn’t at the ARIA’s, I’d look for the lead singer of this band, the other Tim. I got bored even searching the webs looking for Whitlams ARIA footage, so you just get a clip instead. Don’t watch it if you’re a little sleepy, you’ll be nodding off in no time. Three awards ARIA’s? Wrong.

Ben Lee

If Savage Garden, You Am I and The Whitlams weren’t enough; now, it’s official. I’ve decided (and I know my fellow writer; K-Tizz will agree) ARIA’s you suck. This person has won six ARIA awards. This is wrong. Enough. End.

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