BBC Sound of 2013: The "Listen To What We Tell You To Poll"

All the BBC and Radio 1are saying with this poll is, "These are the acts we are going to plug the shit out of in 2013 so if it doesn’t happen it must mean that they are REALLY shit?"
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All the BBC and Radio 1are saying with this poll is, "These are the acts we are going to plug the shit out of in 2013 so if it doesn’t happen it must mean that they are REALLY shit?"


I can’t find too many ways to tell you how much I find the whole fucking concept of this thing absolutely agonizing.

I mean let’s break it down, The BBC picks out its most likely to succeed artists in 2013 and publicizes the list. So the people who hold the strings at Radio 1, by far the most influential medium at the moment for pop music are “predicting” which artists are going to make it. There’s something of a self fulfilling prophecy about this. Surely they should be saying, these are the acts we are going to plug the shit out of in 2013 so if it doesn’t happen it must mean that they are REALLY shit? If the general public has been subjected to them over and over and still hates them we really have been polishing a turd. I’m not even going to get into the fact that this is a publicly funded company and one whose central remit is that it inform, educate and entertain the nation not just chase commercial success.

Have we really been reduced to this? Homogenised our culture to such a degree that, like Big Brother or some communist state, it is possible to preempt what people are going to listen to ahead of time? I always believed that music was an artform and subject to wildly esoteric and individual swings down to the whim of the public’s mood. Was there a sound of ‘75 poll when punk came out? A sound of ‘62 putting the Beatles into the public eye?  Even when this thing has been up and running, arguably the most recent musical breakthrough in the UK, that of UK hip hop in 2010 was completely missed.

The fact is that not only are people generally shit at predicting huge cultural change ahead of time but we can’t help but be retrospective. Our future insights are based on what has gone on before and biased by what is happening in the present. The future very rarely bears any resemblance to what has been predicted in the past and you only have to watch Back to the Future or Bladerunner to be aware of this. We have no hoverboards and time travel, yet we still drive cars and no one saw the internet coming.

The BBC Sound of 2013 Poll is therefore a strange beast, a mix of unstoppable hype in the short term mixed with undoubted failure in the long term. The list of past winners is clear testament to this. There are very few long term successes in there, Adele arguably being one, although really it’s too soon to say. No one this side of a mental institution is surely prepared to tell me that The Bravery, Mika and Little Boots are long standing institutions in the music scene now. With guaranteed playlist and press exposure for a year you really would have to be universally derided to not have some small success in the year of your coronation.

Even the way the artists are chosen is horribly reflective of the way music is treated at the moment. Everyone on the panel has a good idea of who’s going to win. So, despite having a personal preference for another artist, the judges picks the favourite, that way they look to have their finger on the pulse. I mean you want to be seen to back the winner don’t you? Of course one of the easiest ways to pick out a likely success is to see how much the label’s spending on marketing them. Everyone on the panel is privy to this sort of information so it doesn’t take a genius to figure the results out.

With all this in mind let’s take a look at what we’re going to be served up in 2013.


RIP HMV: Every Dog Has Its Day

Four Bands Who'll Rule In 2013

Out of the top five Sound of 2013 “winners” it has to be noted that all five are fronted by young female artists. In the ears of the BBC soothsayers that’s clearly what we’re all looking forward to hearing this year. Fret not however they’ve served up all sorts of variations on the theme.


This years Hanson after a bit of a meth problem and a sex change. Actually really quite good, but now they’ve won utterly doomed to fail.

Aluna George 

This years Everything But the Girl, better looking for sure but worse music. Apparently they’re not shagging and everyone knows you need some dark sexual intrigue, Fleetwood Mac style to make real tunes.

Angel Haze

Hey, let’s use some sexy swear words over a really old beat and it’ll be like 2013 and shit. Most people will think it’s Azealia Banks anyway.

Lara Mvula

Sinead O’ Connor and Emile Sande’s illegitimate and unwanted child. Being bald doesn’t make you edgy. Nor does having a v in your name.


This is really good. Like Portishead crossed with Glasvegas and an accident with a 2 year olds face paint kit. Why do these bands always need a beardyweirdy on the production? I think it makes them feel real.  I might have missed this v thing actually as it features again, maybe it’s just to make you eminently searchable.


Beautifully use of asterixes to really nail that Google search home. Like a young female Michael Jackson, even steals his basslines


Never heard of her, label must be spending a fortune.

King Krule

Used to be Zoo Kid, sounds like Billy Bragg if he got bullied for being a ginger. Desperately in need of a tune.


Jesus Christ I thought we’d got rid of this winging shit when Keane went on a drugs binge.

Little Green Cars

So derivative it makes me want to kill them all with a banjo string, but hey everyone loves those fake Irish Mumford wankers don’t they?

Palma Violets

They’ve been on the cover of the NME. Let’s ignore the fact that they only got there because they’d had a run of 8 covers of dead people and this lot were the nearest live band they could find in Camden


Someone at a record label must have thought fuck me look at the gigs the Stone Roses are doing. The Roses made some of the best music of this generation. These don’t.


This sort of punk shit has been threatening to make a comeback for ages. This sort of sanitized version is never going to be the act that does it. Listen to Joy Division instead.

The Weeknd

OK they are really good but is no one missing the fact that they’ve already had 3 albums out and they were actually big last year?

Tom Odell

Oh there has to be one doesn’t there? He signed a deal after 4 gigs! He must be good mustn’t he? All of his songs sound like they need someone to finish them off and add the melody, but the fact he looks like he’s always about to cry makes him seem  just so genuine.

So that’s it folks, what you will be listening to in 2013. Please somebody prove me wrong..