Everyone’s favourite UK album gong, The Mercury Prize, toss out their nominations next Tuesday, here’s Getintothis‘ predictions as to who’ll be included.
You know the drill by now, The Mercury Prize has being doing the rounds since 1992 and despite sticking to a hugely formulaic script, it’s still probably the most engaging industry award ceremony of the year.
Next Tuesday, Lauren Laverne will reveal the 12 shortlisted for the prize, but everyone likes to have a bit of a dabble in the guessing stakes, so here’s Getintothis‘ suggestions as to who will be in the running. Place your bets.
The big ‘indie’ two:
Every year there’s at least two, sometimes three, or in the case of 2005 a fab four (Bloc Party, Coldplay, Hard-Fi, Kaiser Chiefs, Maximo Park) firmly established NME-type favourites nominated. Last year saw Foals, Mumford & Wank and Wild Beasts join in the indie Mercury fold and this year it seems there’s once again numerous considerations.
We’ll plump for Metronomy (The English Riviera) and Wild Beasts, again, for their third belter Smother.
The old bastard:
In keeping with the Mercury’s unfathomable criteria (isn’t it specifically meant to champion excellent, new UK music?) they have a habit of lashing in musicians eligible for a bus pass; Robert Plant, Weller, Bowie and Mr chirpy chops himself, Van Morrison have all been nominated down the years, and in 2011 there’s the likes of Bryan Ferry and lazy bones Kate ‘I’ll just re-work my old swag’ Bush that could make the cut.
But I’m gonna go for uber-dude and brain of music Britain, Brian Eno for his collaboration with Jon Hopkins and Leo Abrahams on Small Craft on a Milk Sea.
The critical fave:
Every year there’s an established artist that refuses to fuck off because they’re simply very good at music. Like the classroom know-it-all, you’re easily bored of their intuitive knack but it’d be churlish to dismiss them. Radiohead, The Arctic Monkeys, Elbow and even new boys The Horrors (with frontman Farris‘ Cats Eyes‘ project akin to Alex Turner‘s Shadow Puppets side show) all obvious contenders.
But this year there’s ol’ Polly Harvey raging against war and more specifically England and it’s battlefield a particularly poignant choice. Five stars showered Let England Shake upon it’s release and it’s not hard to imagine Lauren Laverne golden showering hyperbole on it come showtime on C4.
…Or otherwise known as the dubstep selection. There’s a billion and one artists who could fill this slot, and after last year’s strange omission of Ikonika chances are the judges may double up with a couple of picks to recognise they’re down with the current UK music landscape. Or something.
Ghostpoet (Peanut Butter Blues and Melancholy Jam) is a shoe in as is James Blake (s/t); with Darkstar, Jamie Woon and Kode9 just missing out by virtue of Jo Whiley and 80% of the remaining over-40s judges never having heard dubstep but acknowledge it’s ‘relevance for inclusion’.
The grime/urban/remember we’re not all Guardian-reading whiteys you, know:
Similarly to the zeitgeist award but crucially this is solely reserved for upcoming black artists, see previously Estelle, Dizzee (first time round), Sway, Ty and bizarro 2009 winner Speech Debelle.
Established names like Tinie Tempah and Wiley may fancy their chances but Getintothis is gonna shoot for the Roots Manuva-like Dels (Gob) as he’s a bit more out there and on UK indie Ninja Tune which always gets much loving from The Mercury massive.
The pop picks:
As well as being leftfield and all arty, the Mercury has to bag big sponsorship and media coverage hence the next two nominations.
The pop picks, broadly speaking, are usually upcoming and regularly female – or a female-fronted band; see La Roux, Goldfrapp, New Young Pony Club, Joss Stone, Jamelia and the WTF winners of ’94 M People.
This year Katy B ticks so many boxes (dubstep/pop crossover, girl-next-door, chart-botherer etc) and Pop Justice hype rollers Hurts (effectively female) will most likely get the nod.
The MASSIVE chart sensation:
Similarly to the pop pick, this is all about bank – artistic credibility is questionable. In ’92, on the one hand you had U2‘s Achtung Baby, the other Simply Red‘s Stars. One the shit, the other just shit.
Sting, The Spice Girls, Robbie and Winehouse have all occupied the MASSIVE chart sensation down the years, now it’s that cockney warbler, Adele.
Adele‘s 21 is responsible for US album sales being up for the first time in AGES. She’s had a number one album and single, simultaneously over here, and is basically loved by everyone. Her song was also on the closing credits for that Billie Piper as a hot hooker series. Props due.
Token folk/jazz unknown bods:
Critically acclaimed by the likes of Clarinet Weekly and Accordian Improv Monthly or featured while taking your standard coffee break on Jools‘ Later, the Mercury loves to present themselves as fans of all music – hence the token jazz/folkie nomination being dished out every year like the last Rolo.
Previous bods that forked out a train fare to London only to return empty handed and showing a 0.002% increase in album sales include Kit Downs Trio, Led Bib, Portico Quartet, Zoe Rahman, Polar Bear, Soweto Kinch and Joanna MacGregor.
King Creosote & Jon Hopkins (Diamond Mine) are this year’s unlikely lads given they’re the ones who Ladbrokes have mentioned once. It could literally be anyone. Including the blind busker on Bold Street that has no strings on his violin.
The token Eliza Carthy selection:
Nominated in 1998 for her album Red Rice and again in 2003 for Anglicana, Eliza Carthy is made of Mercury. She also plays the fiddle and is shagging Jools Holland. How many more reasons does she need for a third nomination?
Outsiders also include Anna Calvi (fit, female and shaping up as a new PJ), The Vaccines (an obvious indie type), Chase & Status (pop but just alt enough) and spunky rock also-rans The Joy Formidable.
…and the winner? We’ll get to that next Tuesday, when the genuine nominations are revealed.
So here’s Getintothis’ Mercury Prize predictions:
Wild Beasts: Smother
Metronomy: The English Riviera
Brian Eno with Jon Hopkins and Leo Abrahams: Small Craft on a Milk Sea.
James Blake: James Blake
Ghostpoet: Peanut Butter Blues and Melancholy Jam
Katy B: On A Mission
PJ Harvey: Let England Shake
King Creosote & Jon Hopkins: Diamond Mine
Eliza Carthy: Neptune
Getintothis on the Mercury’s 2010 and why common sense prevailed.
Getintothis on the Mercury’s in 2009… and reaction.
Getintothis on the Mercury’s in 2008.
Getintothis on the Mercury’s in 2007 – why bother? and 2007’s worthy winners, not that we were arsed.
VOTE for who you think will win?
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Getintothis Readers poll results:
Arctic Monkeys – 5.9%
Radiohead – 0%
Adele – 11.8%
Katy B – 2.9%
Hurts – 2.9%
Elbow – 8.8%
Wild Beasts – 17.6%
The Horrors – 2.9%
Beady Eye – 0%
Ghostpoet – 2.9%
Anna Calvi – 0%
Eliza Carthy – 2.9%
Dels – 2.9%
James Blake – 2.9%
Brian Eno – 2.9%
PJ Harvey – 17.6%
Tinie Tempah – 5.9%
The Vaccines – 0%
Yuck – 0%
Everything Everything – 2.9%
Metronomy – 5.9%
King Creosote & Jon Hopkins – 0%