Nine Years Of ‘Sound Of’: The Hits, The Misses & The Downright Regrets

DIY takes a look at the lists from the past nine years. Oh how naive we can be!

What do 50 Cent, Keane, The Bravery, Corinne Bailey Rae, Mika, Adele, Little Boots, Ellie Goulding and Jessie J all have in common? Yep, you guessed it - at one point in time on this spinning rock that we call Earth the general populus of human beings with a keen interest (and influential vote) in new music thought that these acts were “forward-thinking”. That’s right, Maroon 5 Part II (also known on their album sleeves as ‘The Bravery’) were also once seen as the most promising band on the planet - making us feel as embarrassed as when we look back at the times we thought David Miliband and mini-discs were both “the future”. Oh how naive we can be!

This year’s list has been particularly shrouded by negative sentiments of scoffing ridicule, but is this with good reason? I guess people are coming to realise just how redundant these kind of lists are in a world where an act can go from the Youtube most-viewed to the top ten charts in the matter of weeks (cc. Lana Del Rey), rather than over the course of an entire 12 month period.

Will we be embarrassed in six months time? Will we all get a bout of collective amnesia like we have with Clare Maguire? We at DIY take a look at the lists from the past nine years, the hits, the misses and the downright regrets.



200350 Cent, Electric Six, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, The Thrills, Dizzee Rascal, Interpol, Audio Bullys, Mario, The Datsuns, Sean Paul.

Easing everybody in with some relatively already known acts in the poll’s induction year, this original list was voted for via the BBC News website, and lists some genuine bands and artists that were impossible to miss at your Year 9 school disco. The irony of a group of rugby lads singing Electric Six’s ‘Gay Bar’ will live long in the memory but the grammatically incorrect ‘Audio Bullys’ simply have not.

2004Keane, Franz Ferdinand, Wiley, Razorlight, Joss Stone, Scissor Sisters, The Ordinary Boys, Tali, Gemma Fox.

Choosing Keane over Franz Ferdinand for the top spot must have been like blind-folding the judges and force-feeding them copious amount of Coca-Cola and Pepsi until everything just tastes (or in this case, sounds) the same and to the point where they’re too high on sugar and sick of fizz that they can’t make an informed decision at all. And thus how Keane ended up being crowned winners in 2004. So sick were the judges that they even ranked the Tesco Value Cola that were The Ordinary Boys in seventh place.

2005The Bravery, Bloc Party, The Game, Kaiser Chiefs, KT Tunstall, The Dead 60s, The Dears, Tom Vek, The Magic Numbers.

Ah, good ol’ 2005. The world was a much more peaceful place then, huh? It’s easy to get wrapped up in a warped nostalgic world view but doesn’t this list just scream peaceful passivity? Occupied by largely four-piece “guitar bands” with the odd “urban act” and KT Tunstall thrown in for novel good measure, it seems like the entire music biz just put their feet up, tapped some names into a Sound Of Vote Generator, picked whatever three fate and destiny decided to choose, all the while trying to pretend like there wasn’t a war on terror happening around them.



2006Corinne Bailey Rae, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, The Feeling, Plan B, Guillemots, Sway, Chris Brown, Marcos Hernandez, Kubb, The Automatic.

In years to come, people will use former Sound Of polls to test for the onset of Alzheimer’s during the early part of old age. We better cross our fingers and toes that we don’t get this lot as even now the names of “Sway”, “Kubb” and “Marcos Hernandez” mean as much to the general populous as the words “Joe Lean And The Jing Jang Jong” do to anybody outside of Chalk Farm.

2007Mika, The Twang, Klaxons, Sadie Ama, Enter Shikari, Air Traffic, Cold War Kids, Just Jack, Ghosts, The Rumble Strips.

“The future of music” is a phrase that gets thrown about a lot, normally with more exclamation marks added to the end than is grammatically necessary. The year of 2007 in particular seemed to be one where we all got a bit too ahead of ourselves. In the same way as the stall holders of Camden High Street still seem to think of lazer pens as “forward-thinking”, I think we were too spun out on day-glo and Rockstar Energy Drinks - resulting in a list that was topped by the exhumed body of Freddie Mercury.

2008Adele, Duffy, The Ting Tings, Glasvegas, Foals, Vampire Weekend, Joe Lean And The Jing Jang Jong, Black Kids, MGMT, Santigold

You know it pains me to have nothing to be negative about, but having ridiculed a certain short-lived band off this list already, I have to admit that the tipsters got it pretty spot on in 2008. However, really bad band names was definitely in vogue this year - although we can’t say anything, with a pun like ‘Dot Rotten’ making it into the 2012 list. What next, Cerebral Ballsy?

They’d never be able to mention them on the Culture Show! Heaven forbid!



2009Little Boots, White Lies, Florence and the Machine, Empire of the Sun, La Roux, Lady Gaga, VV Brown, Kid Cudi, Passion Pit, Dan Black.

I’m glad I got my positivity out of the way in that last one, because this one is just bloomin’ ridiculous isn’t it? This was the year that the poll results accidentally got stuck on shuffle just before they came to print, right? Because that’s the only redeemable excuse I can think of. Or that listening to paint dry was a now-forgotten trend during Winter 08/09 - that too would explain the top two places leapfrogging Florence, Gaga et al., I guess.

2010Ellie Goulding, Marina and the Diamonds, Delphic, Hurts, The Drums, Two Door Cinema Club.

In 2010, the BBC cuts seemingly took hold and shortlist got chopped down from a top ten to a top six. But worse yet, if you pair up Ellie and Marina, couple Delphic and Hurts together and class The Drums and Two Door Cinema Club as basically one and the same then you’re left with what is essentially a list of three. I think personal apologies are needed for electronic acts like Gold Panda and Joy Orbison who were excluded from the list due to this new numbering system. But don’t worry, your genre of music will be more than compensated for in 2011.

2011Jessie J, James Blake, The Vaccines, Jamie Woon, Clare Maguire.

So we come to this past year, what seems to have been the year that the internet turned on itself. It’s well within human nature to want to build something up just to bring them back down to Earth with a dump. I mean, the papers do it to footballers and reality TV stars every single day. The “alternative” world is not that different with bloggers all over the world and Wordpress championing the likes of Blake before knocking him down as soon as the Radio 1 A-List compilers came sniffing. Beware Azealia Banks et al., the same may happen to you - that is if it hasn’t already by the time of this publishing.