When you bet on the 2018 Ivor Awards Stormzy’s “Don’t Cry For Me” seems like the obvious choice. However, in this category, popularity is not the essential ingredient needed to win the award for best contemporary song.
Named after a ‘renaissance man’ (early twentieth century actor come composer), and awarding bronze trophies that embody the Greek muse of delight, the Ivor Novello Awards were built on a prestigious foundation from the beginning. A long time has passed since the first ceremony back in nineteen fifty six but the award itself has not aged its accolade. Since the fifties, more has passed than the time alone, especially in the world of music. Standards have reached new platforms, sound engineering has progressed almost beyond what is audible and even the very nature of music has experienced a monumental shift. The introduction of the best contemporary song category came out of necessity.
CamelPhat and Elderbrook – Cola (3.74)
From the first moments of the song, Cola almost resembles nineties UK garage making it a surprising choice for an award that considers itself contemporary. Then the drops begin. The song sounds as if Daft Punk took said garage and smoothed it into a drifting millennial breeze. Although online sportsbook sites in the UK don’t consider track hugely original, it does expertly mix an eclectic breadth of house and garage influences that leaves one daydreaming of Underworld or The Streets.
Like Plan B’s Charmaine or Robin Thicke’s Blurred Lines, the moral intent of the lyrics could be disturbing upon interpretation. The song seems to tell the “story” from the perspective of an onlooker having spiked the drink of the unaware “she”. The lyrics don’t appear to even hint towards condemning the scene as it unfolds, if anything the opposite. We exist in a culture where “date rape” is sickeningly acceptable and are songs like this adding fuel to the fire? If so there is no doubt that it will impact CamelPhat and Elderbrook’s performance at the Ivors.
Santan Dave – Question Time (3.00)
The nineteen year olds epic seven minute saga spans eight soulful stanzas of raw lyricism that is relevant, personal and wholly beautiful. Dave rips apart all that is wrong with UK politics. He begins each quarter addressing “the new prime minister” in a format carefully crafted from the aponomus political panel show, all except for the final two stanzas where he turns his attentions to other politician’s disillusioned ways. The speech draws intelligent parallels between current affairs and Dave’s own life making for a thought provoking yet utterly moving track.
The audio reflects perfectly the tone of the piece whilst keeping true to contemporary form, quintessential of neo-grime. His competitors for the category may have a larger following, but what this Ivor demands in its contemporary spec leaves Dave’s “Question Time” faultless.
Stormzy – Don’t Cry For Me (1.91)
Musically speaking, this song is the most advanced. The production is seamless, enabling the track to subtly build and still maintain a deep gravity throughout the three minutes thirty. Lyrically, like Question Time, Stormzy addresses very real modern issues, except the rapper turns his attention, instead of politics, to the sociology of gang culture. He expresses compassion for his old life and pays respect to the new one he has forged for himself.
“Don’t Cry For Me” is proof of why Stormzy has taken the rap world by lightning, combing word play with rhythmic display and all emotion exposed and portrayed. One thing however, that will hold the UK grime sensation back from winning the award is the lyrical relevance outside of the context of Stormzy; what he cites in the rap are realities but they are not unique to the contemporary.
Bet on the 2018 Ivor Awards
While the Stormzy betting odds from 1xBET Sportsbook put him as the favorite to win (1.91), online sportsbook review sites in the UK say that this choice is too obvious, moreover the track doesn’t have enough relevance to be regarded as contemporary when comparing it to the likes of Dave’s “Question Time” (3.00). When you bet on the 2018 Ivor Awards, Dave will make for a secure gamble, and a lucrative one at that.