Another year, another fairly respectable, if predictable Mercury Prize list…
You really have to wonder what is the Mercury’s aim now. Every year the same formulaic results come to the fore and this year is no different.
Sure, every one on the list is worthy of a mention – not least the awesome Burial, aka The Banksy of dubstep (my tip to win, unless the judges decide he’s ineligible given his/her unwillingness to reveal their identity).
However, if the Mercury’s intention is to raise the profile of new British talent then they’re surely wide of the mark.
Why nominate Radiohead (again), Elbow and indeed raggedy Robert Plant and his Yank muse Alison Krauss? None need the cash – nor the exposure with each selling by the bucket load.
The same can be said for Adele, what with her pre-release Brit in the bag and multi-platinum 19 cranked out in every high street store/coffee house/student union, you have to wonder what the judges think the Cockney wide gal would gain from a further accolade. Probably a quick route into obscurity come album number two.
Then there’s the token jazz and folk acts – this year filled by Portico Quartet and Rachel Unthank & The Winterset respectively. These acts may invite further investigation where it not for the fact that each and every year a complete unknown bags these two slots whereby even the most hardened music fan dismisses them almost without a second thought.
Neon Neon, meanwhile, is an odd choice given that it is a collaborative project by Cincinnati producer Boom Bip and Super Furries frontman Gruff Rhys. Sure, it is a killer record, but barely scrapes into the Brit category – much like last year’s Mark Ronson inclusion. Why not go the whole hog and nominate Vampire Weekend because lots of people think they’re from Oxford?
Perhaps the most curious inclusion this year is Estelle who has been almost ignored here save for her smash and grab American Boy which only received recognition thanks to the cameo by Kanye. How odd would it be for this R&B whopper to scoop the prize?
Surely, if the judges had their ears correctly aligned they’d have much rather reached for MIA‘s incredible Kala – a far superior record than Arular which was nominated back in 2005.
Anyhoo, like all things music – the list is completely subjective – so here’s Getintothis‘ selection. Add your own. If you can be arsed. Like.
1. Frightened Rabbit: The Midnight Organ Fight
2. Fujiya & Miyagi: Transparent Things
3. Laura Marling: Alas I Cannot Swim
4. Mystery Jets: 21
5. Fuck Buttons: Street Horrrsing
6. Oceansize: Frames
7. MIA: Kala
8. I Was A Cub Scout: I Want You To Know That There Is Always Hope
9. Portishead: Third
10. Foals: Antidotes
11. Chrome Hoof: Chrome Hoof
12. 65daysofstatic: The Destruction of Small Ideas
Nationwide Mercury Music Prize 2008 Official List:
Adele: 19 (8/1, review)
British Sea Power: Do You Like Rock Music? (8/1, review)
Burial: Untrue (6/1, review)
Elbow: The Seldom Seen Kid (6/1, review)
Estelle, Shine (8/1)
The Last Shadow Puppets: The Age of the Understatement (5/1)
Laura Marling: Alas I Cannot Swim (8/1)
Neon Neon: Stainless Style (10/1)
Portico Quartet: Knee Deep in the North Sea (10/1)
Radiohead: In Rainbows (5/1, review)
Rachel Unthank & The Winterset: The Bairns (10/1)
Robert Plant & Alison Krauss: Raising Sand (6/1)
Odds given by William Hill.