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ARIA AWARDS - PREDICTIONS & PROGNOSTICATIONS part 2


Making sense of the nonsense, laying waste to the wastrels, and picking the eyes out of the blind-leading-the-blind nominations – the second part of your guide to what deserves to win at Tuesday’s ARIAs. Alongside what cold reality means will actually win at the ARIAs.

If you haven’t already seen part 1 from yesterday, look right and indulge. Then take this early, with a coffee, and late, with a strong drink. Enjoy.

Best male

D.D. DUMBO – Utopia Defeated

DAN SULTAN – Killer

ILLY – Two Degrees

PAUL KELLY – Life Is Fine

VANCE JOY – Lay It On Me

Let’s not speak ill of the deadly dull … so, moving on from Vance Joy, there’s about as much chance of the wildly talented and oddly Sting-like D.D. Dumbo winning this as there is of a One Nation supporter knowing how to spell xenophobe. With Illy’s relatively minimal year it means it’s time to narrow your betting.

Who should win: Paul Kelly once again has made himself Australia’s favourite hawk-eyed, bald, Jesuit-in-a-suit teller of stories and even the under 30s ARIA voters know his name and that he must mean something to someone.

Who will win: Paul Kelly. It’s safe. It’s also right.

Best urban release

A.B. ORIGINAL – Reclaim Australia

ILLY – Two Degrees

REMI – Divas & Demons

THUNDAMENTALS – Everyone We Know

TKAY MAIDZA – Tkay

Oh look, over there, I’m sure it’s there. Let’s take a look. Yes, yes it’s true, a woman! In a non-pop ARIA category. In the Urban category to boot!! That’s Australia for you, pushing back the tide of misogyny one pointy award at a time.

Who should win: While Tkay Maidza made a super record, and might in any other year win this, there’s no way around the quality, timing and force of A.B. Original.

Who will win: A.B. Original. A defining – no, redefining – Australian album.

Best pop release

AMY SHARK – Night Thinker

DEAN LEWIS – Waves

JESSICA MAUBOY – Fallin’

SIA – The Greatest

VERA BLUE – Perennial

The award where they let women have the run of the joint. Which is nice. This year has been one for slow-to-medium bpms, with pop’s zest and even zaniness subdued by hurtin’/healin’ songs. Why the long faces everyone?

Who should win: There’s a lovely elegance to Vera Blue’s Perennial that lifted it from her somewhat disappointing album of narrowed choices.

Who will win: Perversely, Dean Lewis may ride the continuing wave of soft (or wet, take your pick) boys who really, really feel all the way.

Best country album

KASEY CHAMBERS – Dragonfly

LEE KERNAGHAN – The 25th Anniversary Album

O’SHEA – 61-615

SHANE NICHOLSON – Love And Blood

THE MCLYMONTS – Endless

Life imitates art? There’s a music-making couple/non-couple in the show Nashville calling themselves The Exes and the best albums here were made by a set of exes: former husband and wife Shane Nicholson and Kasey Chambers. An omen?

Who should win: Kasey Chambers. Or Shane Nicholson. Or Shane Nicholson. Or Kasey Chambers.

Who will win: Country voters have a soft spot for the slick moves of the McClymonts.

Best rock album

DAN SULTAN – Killer

DUNE RATS – The Kids Will Know It’s Bullshit

GANG OF YOUTHS – Go Farther In Lightness

POLISH CLUB – Alright Already

THE PREATURES – Girlhood

The Preatures returned, Dan Sultan re-booted, Dune Rats got wasted, Polish Club got dancing and Gang Of Youths got intense. Guitars don’t sell like machines and beats but it’s still core Australian values innit?

Who should win: As energetic as Polish Club were, as sexy as Sultan makes rock, as pop-smart as the Preatures showed themselves to be, I do have a soft – marshmallow on toast, with chips and choc chip cookie crumbled soft – spot for the free spirit of Dune Rats.

Who will win: Gang Of Youths have the heart, spirit, big choruses and decent sales to satisfy.

Breakthrough artist

A.B. ORIGINAL – Reclaim Australia

AMY SHARK – Night Thinker

DEAN LEWIS – Waves

TASH SULTANA – Notion

TKAY MAIDZA – Tkay

You’d like to think that pallid niceness wouldn’t win this category but it’s never wise to bet on daring in the Australian music industry. That said, if Tkay Maidza and A.B. Original aren’t the most exciting artists to land in recent years then someone needs to up my morning red pill dosage.

Who should win: Tkay Maidza has attitude and energy and huge promise.

Who will win: A.B. Original may not technically be new individually but no one has made music like this here before.

Best hard rock/heavy metal album

AIRBOURNE – Breakin’ Outta Hell

FRENZAL RHOMB – Hi-Vis High Tea

KING GIZZARD & THE LIZARD WIZARD – Murder Of The Universe

NORTHLANE – Mesmer

SLEEMAKESWAVES – Made Of Breath

King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard, who won this category last year, are not hard hard rock and certainly not heavy metal, and yet they are now regulars here. Must be confounding for the other nominees, let alone the likes of Thy Art Is Murder who couldn’t make it at all.

Who should win: Sleepmakeswaves made the grandest statement even though Airbourne had the best hard rock album title.

Who will win: King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard, because real hard rock flummoxes the voters.

Album of the year

A.B. ORIGINAL – Reclaim Australia

AMY SHARK – Night Thinker

GANG OF YOUTHS – Go Father In Lightness

ILLY – Two Degrees

PAUL KELLY – Life Is Fine

Rock x1, hip hop x2 and pop x2. One veteran, one duo, one band and two solo. Nine men, one woman. One earth shattering record, one return to a favourite route, one dip into traditions, one riding a recent wave, one solid repeat. The stats don’t really tell you the real story.

Who should win: A.B. Original. In case I haven’t made it clear already, Reclaim Australia is the purgative we needed, the declaration of a new standard, the overdue excoriation of the safe and smug. And it’s funny.

Who will win: Paul Kelly’s album wasn’t his greatest but it did everything right and did it so well. Best yet for tremulous voters, who have at times in the past been confronted by Kelly’s insight into Australia’s culture, unlike Reclaim Australia you could face this album without facing yourself.

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