M People’s triumph over ‘Parklife’. Speech Debelle holding the statue aloft in a room full of confused people. The contined presence of the oddball wank-jazz band that never wins. We all know how strange, confusing and controversial the Mercury Prize can be, but this year they might have surpassed themselves with their choices. Or rather their lack of choices. Here’s the full list of albums nominated for the Mercury Prize 2011:
Anna Calvi – ‘Anna Calvi’
Elbow – ‘Build A Rocket Boys!’
James Blake – ‘James Blake’
Katy B – ‘On A Mission’
Metronomy – ‘The English Riviera’
PJ Harvey ‘ ‘Let England Shake’
Gwilym Simcock – ‘Good Days At Schloss Elmau’
Tinie Tempah – Disc-Overy’
Everything Everything – ‘Man Alive’
Ghostpoet – ‘Peanut Butter Blues & Melancholy Jam’
King Creosote & John Hopkins – ‘Diamond Mine’
Adele – ‘21’
Now evidently it’s been a pretty good year for music, and as Lauren Laverne impressed on us the judges have been “tirelessly listening” to every release for months (as if it’s a chore), and of course, there can be only twelve. But two words spring to mind immediately: Wild Beasts.
Even by the usual and inevitable standards of omission, that’s a screaming oversight. Two more: The Horrors. You could add to those words Hurts, Radiohead, Arctic Monkeys, The Streets, and Friendly Fires. That’s seven – SEVEN – massively deserving albums shunned. Rarely do the Mercurys ignore that many proper classics. Surely they could have squeezed a couple in?
Both of Gwilym Simcock’s fans might disagree but there’s a spare slot for starters. Although on second thoughts, maybe he should win. There’s no point nominating the avant album no-one’s heard of if you’re never going to follow through with it. Elsewhere on the list and it veers from inevitable (James Blake) to exciting (Everything Everything) to a bit WTF.
The presence of Elbow and PJ Harvey displays a lack of imagination – could either of these two pull off the double win? And if they do, where does that leave newer bands? And do we really need to acknowledge Adele any more?
Here’s the Mercury Prize 2011 nominations in full again with their latest odds from William Hill. Who do you think should win from this lot? And who have they criminally overlooked?
4/1 Adele ’21’
4/1 PJ Harvey ‘Let England Shake’
5/1 Elbow ‘Build a Rocket Boys!’
5/1 Tinie Tempah ‘Disc-Overy’
6/1 Anna Calvi ‘Anna Calvi’
6/1 Katy B ‘On a Mission’
8/1 Metronomy ‘The English Riviera’
8/1 Everything Everything ‘Man Alive’
8/1 James Blake ‘James Blake’
10/1 Gwilym Simcock ‘Good Days at Schloss Elmau’
10/1 Ghostpoet ‘Peanut Butter Blues & Melancholy Jam’
10/1 King Creosote & Jon Hopkins ‘Diamond Mine’
The winner of the Mercury Prize 2011 will be announced on Tuesday 6 September.