This is the first of what I hope will become a regular column; a self-indulgent celebration of my own opinion. It may be weekly. It may be bi-weekly. It may be monthly. It may never happen again. I shall have to wait and see.

The tale with which I intend to regale you is mostly built on layer upon layer of opinion; some of it mine, some of it the aforementioned Mr. Bristow's; some of it from other nameless and blameless persons. The thing that must be born in mind, is that your opinions are almost certainly different in many respects from mine, or Daniel's, or any of our friends' or acquaintances'.. If you're browsing RoomThirteen.com for reviews of the latest and greatest death metal releases, you probably wonít find yourself in agreement with a whole lot that is written here. Sorry.

And it began on a Saturday night as so many things do. There was alcohol, and a pub, and a party I wasn't invited to but found myself being assimilated into anyway. Two things seemed to be inherent in every conversation in the room; firstly, the fact that DJ was awful and, secondly, the Brit Awards. Opinions on the DJ were mostly all swung in the negative direction, but the opinions on the Brit Awards seemed to more varied. For some, albeit mostly the alco-pop-drinking, disco-dancing type had thoroughly enjoyed the cross section of modern popular culture exhibitioned at the Brit Awards last week. However, for those of us with an appreciation of music, words such as 'farce' and 'meaningless' seemed to crop in conversation all too often. This developed, as many things do under the influence, into a plan; Daniel and myself began to think that we could have done the Brits better ourselves. Now if only we had some way of communicating our brilliant, fantastic and all around spectacular Brit Award ideas to a community of similarly-minded individuals who appreciate music and musical culture... It was then that one of us, I forget which, remembered that we both work for RoomThirteen.com. Perfect. This column was born.

So out came the notebook and the pen.. Yes, I took a notebook and pen to the pub. Lists were made. What began as a conversation over a small table became a survey conducted firstly amongst our friends, and later, amongst complete strangers. It was conducted at the bar, at the buffet, on the dance floor, in the beer garden in the rain, in the bathroom. Perhaps it had become a bit of an obsession.. Still, it took my mind off the DJ, and what a way to make a first impression. 'Hi there, you don't know me.. What is the best song from the past twenty-five years?' All the time taking notes. You get the idea.

After a certain amount of editorial licence in removing some of the more absurd, inappropriate and downright misguided opinions from the notebook (Scissor Sisters, best band in the last twenty five years? I think not) this culminated in my own personal Brit Awards.

The first category that we feel is required is the Best Song From The Past Twenty-Five Years. Iíve heard that Robbie Williams was handed a similar accolade at the 'real' Brit Awards for his hit single 'Angels'.. But the best song in 9125 days, not counting the leap years? Just think of all the awesome songs we've experienced since 1980. There are too many to choose a winner, so instead Iíll just run through some of the pub's favourites. A word of warning, this list was a long one, nobody wins, you might get bored.

The first song to jump onto the list was 'Vienna' by Ultravox. Remember that? It really was brilliant wasnít it? This was volunteered by Daniel. We then moved into the popular territory of the nineteen-nineties arch nemeses; the brilliant Blur, and the slightly less brilliant Oasis(my column - my opinion). The songs that seemed to be nominated again and again were 'Song 2' and 'Wonderwall' - songs that if you haven't heard, you're probably deaf.

The influence of The Smiths is massively present in so much of todayís 'cutting edge' indie, and The Smiths were indeed a fabulous band. 'How Soon Is Now' is the track chosen for inclusion in the Best Song From The Past Twenty-Five Years category. The next song in my notebook is from another band whose sound is present in much modern music - unfortunately, after a researching dates, it appears that the album on which this song features was in fact produced in 1978, and thus is two years too old to really be in the category. Whatever; and honourable mention to Kraftwerk for ĎThe Modelí.

Anybody remember Trainspotting? And the song from the film, 'Born Slippy' by Underworld, rears its head and climbs onto the list. Also from the electronica/dance school of thought comes 'Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger' by the brilliant Daft Punk. Representing all that is beautiful, the Verve caused a little tension across the table, which to choose? 'Bittersweet Symphony' or 'Sonnet'? I canít make such a decision, its up to you? (Hooray for audience participation). And lastly, on this list, 'Fools Gold' by the Stone Roses. If you haven't heard or are unaware of any of the pieces mentioned, please please please check them out.

I was also told that if I didnít include 'Hey Ya' by Outkast in this category, I wouldnít get a lift home.


Twenty five years became one year as we sat around and pondered on the single of the year. Mr. Bristow is a firm believer that Natasha Beddingfield's 'These Words' should take home the title. My two personal favourites are the epic 'Butterflies And Hurricanes' by Muse, although the album version is always going to be the stronger version, and the dance-tacular 'Girls' by the Prodigy. Then there's the flow of trendy indie songs that everyone can like, even people who don't know how a guitar works.. Franz Ferdinand's massive 'Take Me Out', is that less than a year old? 'Cutt Off' by Kasabian. 'Breakin'' by The Music. 'Mr. Brightside' by The Killers. All so very hip. And representing every musician who considers himself an artist, Morrissey is nominated with 'First Of The Gang To Die', the song that was, in my opinion, the high point of his festival appearances in the summer of 2004.


From now on the lists get much shorter. When I re-read the notes I have taken, I realise how much has been missed. It's impossible to compile a list encompassing such a large period of time accurately. So the best video of the past twenty-five years? Why, Radiohead's 'Just' of course. Nirvana's 'In Bloom' comes close, but I'm still a big fan of 'Just'. The only other two videos to be written down were 'Dreaming Of You' by The Coral and 'Hey Ya' by Outkast. Hardly representative of 25 years of music videos, but its what you get in a room full of eighteen year-olds.

In no particular order we now come to the Album Of The Year. Daniel Bristow is strongly backing Feeder's latest offering 'Pushing The Senses' to take the title (incidentally, read his review of the album here). It seems to be the same bands coming up over and over, but also nominated for the album of the year award were Kasabian, The Music, the Zutons, the Prodigy, the Killers and Biffy Clyro.

Now that we're on albums, the question is raised as to what is the best album of the past 25 years. Lewis Denby compiled a similar feature on Christmas Eve, but being slightly less narcissistic, he organised a voting system to be used by the entire R13 staff. I, on the other hand, am being spontaneous and impulsive. Read: I made no plans. Everybody, listen to Queen's 'Innuendo'; a beautiful album sculpted as Freddie Mercury stared death in the face, and although Queen have been criticized for having rather weak albums, this is the exception.

Undoubtedly the greatest album of modern times is The Mars Volta's 'De-loused in the Comatorium', a brilliant conceptual journey through the human psyche fusing so many musical styles and ideas into an amalgam that isn't wanky or soulless as many similar projects come across. Another contender is 'Incesticide' from Nirvana, and any fourteen year-old who ever taught himself guitar will agree that Nirvana deserve a mention here. Also on the list is Daft Punk's 'Discovery'; the album that brought us 'One More Time' and 'Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger'. A surprise nomination was 'Odelay' by Beck. And no list of brilliant albums would be complete without mention of the word 'Radiohead'. After much deliberation and the receipt of a sharp kick under the table I was 'convinced' that 'Kid A' deserved to be on the list. So it is.


There were a great many more lists that didn't make the final cut, but I believe this last list deserves a special mention. I take no responsibility for this award. This was created entirely in the mind of Daniel Bristow, and is the only category to actually have a winner. The category name? Why itís The Abba Category. Nominees? Well, Abba. And Bjorn Again. The winner, of course, is Bjorn Again. This was decided whilst Mr. B. was proving to the pub that he is indeed the Dancing Queen.

So that was the first of what I hope will become a regular experience for us all. Contact me with opinions, no matter how absurd they are, you could inspire my next column. (Read: Help, I am devoid of ideas). Ian.Williams@roomthirteen.com