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ARIA AWARDS - PREDICTIONS & PROGNOSTICATIONS part 1

November 26, 2017

The ARIA Awards on Tuesday night will be fabulous, ridiculous, tragic, hilarious, embarrassing, moving. The winners will be well deserved, unlikely, shameful, ho-hum. As Tony Hadley once told me, I know this much is true.

 

What about the winners? Well if you were a betting person and were tempted to put some money on those you would be (a) mad (b) reckless and (c) did I mention mad? And if you were betting based on my predictions I’d be hoping it was your money and not mine.

 

(That said, I reckon I have been right about 70% of the time – it’s not exactly rocket science.)

 

For those playing at home, I’ll take a run at some of these categories over the next two days. Keep this by your side as you watch the telecast and follow my tweets from inside the belly of the beast.

 

 

Best female

AMY SHARK –  Night Thinker

JESSICA MAUBOY – The Secret Daughter

JULIA JACKLIN – Don’t Let The Kids Win

MEG MAC – Low Blows

SIA – The Greatest

 

As ever, there is a wildcard indie act to suggest chance (this year, Julia Jacklin), though really she’s no chance. As ever, Sia is there to suggest a chance she might turn up, as if she really would. As ever, Jessica Mauboy is there, because, well, she’s Jess Mauboy and who doesn’t like Jess Mauboy?

 

Who should win:.Julia Jacklin, who made the most interesting record of the pack as Meg Mac under-delivered and Sia over-delivered.

Who will win: Amy Shark hit the moment just right, firstly with the triple j crowd, and then a mainstream audience.

 

 

Best blues and roots

ALL OUR EXES LIVE IN TEXAS – When We Fall

ARCHIE ROACH – Let Love Rule

BUSBY MAROU – Postcards From The Shell House

PAULL KELLY & CHARLIE OWEN – Death’s Dateless Night

TASH SULTANA – Notion

More worthy than excellent, though nobody is rubbish at least. It’s hard to get excited, even about the perennial thorny question of what constitutes blues & roots but since they got rid of the one-off best adult alternative category after 2016 it’s all systems go.

 

Who should win: Archie Roach got emotion, writing and tone just right.

Who will win: Tash Sultana’s playing, if not necessarily her writing, has caught attention.

 

 

Best independent

A.B. ORIGINAL – Reclaim Australia

DAN SULTAN – Killer

SIA – The Greatest

TASH SULTANA – Notion

VANCE JOY – Lay It On Me

 

While it’s hard to reconcile Sia being here given her international status and powerhouse hit-making, this is a wide-ranging selection of artists who have risen outside the regular frames. A rare, for the ARIAs, genuine representation.

 

Who should win: A.B. Original demanded attention and earned it with daring and freedom that can only come from independence.

Who will win: A.B. Original may get this as a consolation prize for being dudded elsewhere.

 

 

Song of the year

AMY SHARK – Adore

BLISS N ESSO FEATURING GAVIN JAMES – Moments

DEAN LEWIS – Waves

GUY SEBASTIAN – Set In Stone

ILLY FEATURING ANNE-MARIE – Catch 22

Let’s be frank, this isn’t exactly a list of genius or a stand out winner is it? Very familiar fare and forms means you’re looking for someone who gets the basics right at least.

 

Who should win: Guy Sebastian’s ballad did more than its lyrical clichés suggested was possible by doing less. He’s always best when he plays naturally.

Who will win: Amy Shark rode the Lorde wave and, most importantly, connected deeply with her audience by nailing that mess of feelings in wonky relationships.

 

 

Best adult contemporary

BERNARD FANNING – Brutal Dawn

D.D. DUMBO – Utopia Defeated

NICK CAVE & THE BAD SEEDS – Skeleton Tree

PAUL KELLY – Life Is Fine

PETE MURRAY – Camacho

Weirdly female-free, though seemingly impossible to be Peter Murray-free. And by weird I don’t mean surprising – it’s the blokey Australian music industry after all – but constructed that way by yet another rule change. Apparently Holly Throsby, who made one of the records of the year, didn’t sell enough to warrant inclusion in the candidates for nomination.

 

Who should win: Nick Cave’s tremendously moving, powerfully true record is still a giant, a year on.

Who will win: Paul Kelly returned to the centre of Australian life with an album that felt like him the last time he held that spot.

 

 

Best dance

DOM DOLLA & TORREN FOOT – Be Randy

JAGWAR MA – Every Now & Then

PEKING DUK FEATURING ELLIPHANT– Stranger

PNAU – Chameleon

THE KITE STRING TAN - The Kite String Tangle

Usually the category the rock/pop-centric local industry shove things electronic into on the basis of “hey, dance music uses electronics, right?” – hence Flume’s appearances here. But for the first time in a while all here are genuine dance songs. Though Dom Dolla and Torren Foot shouldn’t be encouraging some people on ARIAs night.

 

Who should win: Jagwar Ma stretch themselves a bit more and are beginning to throw off their influences.

Who will win: Pnau’s sunshine-and-rainbows song returned them to dancefloors and the colour and movement obscured slightness of form.

 

 

Best group

A.B. ORIGINAL – Reclaim Australia

GANG OF YOUTHS – Go Father In Lightness

KING GIZZARD & THE LIZARD WIZARD – Flying Microtonal Banana

NICK CAVE & THE BAD SEEDS – Skeleton Tree

PEKING DUK FEATURING ELLIPHANT – Stranger

The bizarre thinking and industry powerplays that will always have a role is evident in Peking Duk nominated here effectively for one song while Holy Holy, a traditional but very good band couldn’t get a single nomination for tonight. Women? They don’t play in groups apparently.

 

Who should win: A.B. Original were immense across the whole album, redefining the subject and the conversation.

Who will win: Gang Of Youths might just hold off Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds thanks to being the kind of heartland rock everyone can feel without complete grief.

 

 

Tomorrow, the rest of the main categories including best male, pop, urban and the album of the year.

 

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