NME Tells Us What’s Cool, But Should We Believe the Brits?

The Brits released the results of their own election today, though it’s safe to say theirs won’t have quite the impact on world affairs as ours will. I’m talking, of course, about NME’s annual Cool List—the English rag’s top 50 list of the hottest men and women in rock. Stereogum has conveniently condensed the list for us, so let’s have a look, shall we?:

50 Jon McClure, Reverend And The Makers (new entry)
49 Carl Barat, Dirty Pretty Things (new entry)
48 Lethal Bizzle (last year: 5)
47 Eva Spence, Rollo Tomassi (new entry)
46 Matt Bellamy, Muse (last year: 19)
45 Brian Fallon, Gaslight Anthem (new entry)
44 Gruff Rhys, Neon Neon (new entry)
43 Karen O, Yeah Yeah Yeahs (last year: 28)
42 Tom Vain, SCUM (new entry)
41 Shunda K, Yo Majesty (new entry)
40 Robert Plant (new entry)
39 Robbie Furze, The Big Pink (new entry)
38 Jason Pierce, Spiritualized (new entry)
37 Brandon Flowers, The Killers (last year: 44)
36 Frank Carter, Gallows (last year: 1)
35 Little Boots (new entry)
34 DJ Muhava -(new entry)
33 Josh Homme, Queens Of The Stone Age (last year: 34)
32 Lovefoxxx, CSS (last year: 3)
31 Rivers Cuomo, Weezer (new entry)
30 Will Roan, Amazing Baby (new entry)
29 Scarlett Johanssen (new entry)
28 Miles Kane, The Rascals/The Last Shadow Puppets (new entry)
27 Yannis Philippakis, Foals (last year: 45)
26 Nick McCabe, The Verve (new entry)
25 Peter Gabriel (new entry)
24 Zack de la Rocha, Rage Against The Machine (new entry)
23 Jamie Reynolds, Klaxons (last year: 2)
22 Jay Reatard (new entry)
21 Damon Albarn (new entry)
20 Dev Hynes, Test Icicles (last year: 49)
19 Florence Welch, Florence And The Machine (new entry)
18 Ed MacFarlane, Friendly Fires (new entry)
17 Santogold (last year: 48)
16 Ezra Koenig, Vampire Weekend (new entry)
15 Johnny Marr (new entry)
14 Dave Sitek, TV On The Radio (new entry)
13 Lil Wayne (new entry)
12 Guy Garvey, Elbow (new entry)
11 Pink Eyes, Fucked Up (new entry)
10 Caroline Mackay, Glasvegas (new entry)
09 Liam Gallagher, Oasis (new entry)
08 M.I.A. (last year: 11)
07 Caleb Followill, Kings Of Leon (last year: 21)
06 Ladyhawke (new entry)
05 Sam Dust, Late Of The Pier (new entry)
04 Alex Turner, Arctic Monkeys/The Last Shadow Puppets (last year: 6)
03 Andrew VanWyngarden, MGMT (new entry)
02 Jay-Z (new entry)
01 Alice Glass, Crystal Castles (new entry)

Many of these are simply no brainers. Hipster provocateur Alice Glass at number 1 makes complete sense, as does Alex Turner and MGMT’s Andrew VanWyngarden (though, what about his partner Ben Goldwasser?) in the top five. Others, seems weirdly outdated, as if they belong on a list from five years ago. How does Jay-Z snag the number 2 spot in 2008? Jay is more hip-hop’s de facto CEO these days than an actual MC. His biggest and best record, The Blueprint, came out seven years ago. Are the Brits just hoping that his latest disc, The Blueprint 3, might hit stores next month? And what about Zach de la Rocha and Peter Gabriel? I mean, kudos, to both those guys, but now?

The list’s country of origin seems responsible for most of its quirks, though. Remember, NME is a British publication. (Though, as the magazine itself notes, “the creative resurgence of America is reflected in this year’s list, with 18 US artists making the Top 50, set against 14 in 2007.” Thanks for the nod, lads!) Hence, folks like Elbow’s frontman Guy Garvey (#12), the Foals’ Yannis Philippakis (#27), the Verve’s hugely-underrated guitarist, Nick McCabe (#26), and most prominently Liam Gallagher (a startling #9). Despite the stateside success of Oasis’ sophomore album, (What’s the Story) Morning Glory?, the Gallagher brothers have largely been Albion’s obsession.

So what’s missing? Well, without thinking too hard about it, what about Deerhunter’s Bradford Cox in all his lanky, sexually ambiguous glory? Or Swedish pop-stress, Lykke Li (whom you know we love so much)? Or riotous garage rocker, King Khan? Or if, as NME seems to be, we’re willing to allow older rockers on the list if they’re working a reunion tour, what about Kevin Shields? My Bloody Valentine’s reunion shows in New York were some of the most anticipated of the year, and the band influenced a quarter of the folks on this list anyway.

Talk amongst yourselves…

NME Tells Us What’s Cool, But Should We Believe the Brits?