So, yesterday saw the announcement of the nominations for this year’s Mercury Prize. As I’ve done in previous years, I’ll do a more in depth article once I’ve had a listen to all the albums, but here are my initial thoughts on the matter. Before we go any further, here’s that list of 12 albums:
- Adele – 21
- Anna Calvi – Anna Calvi
- Elbow – Build A Rocket Boys!
- Everything Everything – Man Alive
- Ghostpoet – Peanut Butter Blues & Melancholy Jam
- Gwilym Simcock – Good Days At Schloss Elmau
- James Blake – James Blake
- Katy B – On A Mission
- King Creosote And Jon Hopkins – Diamond Mine
- Metronomy – The English Riviera
- PJ Harvey – Let England Shake
- Tinie Tempah – Disc-Overy
It’s fair to say that this year’s list had the potential to be pretty brilliant – but unfortunately, while there are some good albums on the shortlist, there are also some pretty glaring omissions. I thought it was pretty amazing that These New Puritans’ landmark record Hidden was left off the list last year, but this time round the panel managed to make an even more dumbfounding mistake by omitting Wild Beasts’ third album, Smother. The band ended up trending on Twitter despite not being nominated, so clearly I’m not the only one who thinks so. Really, why is it not there? Ok, they were nominated last year for Two Dancers, but bands have been nominated for successive albums before (in consecutive years, in the case of Arctic Monkeys). Is there some unseen quota for previously nominated artists? Whatever the case, it just doesn’t make any sense.
Almost as baffling is the lack of a nomination for The Horrors’ latest album Skying. Although I’ve seen various people saying that it was just barely eligible for this year’s shortlist, it may have been a victim of its release date lying too close to the announcement date. Perhaps, like Wild Beasts, it was deemed too soon after their last nomination (for Primary Colours in 2009) to shortlist them again – or maybe it just doesn’t make any sense at all. Other previous nominees who may feel hard done by include Friendly Fires, Arctic Monkeys and Radiohead.
As for other albums that missed the cut, there are probably enough to fill the shortlist up twice over – but Cat’s Eyes, Esben And The Witch, The Joy Formidable, Vessels, Talons and Three Trapped Tigers would all have been particularly worthy nominees in my eyes. But, as Wild Beasts once sang, “this is our lot” – suppose I’d better see if any of the albums I haven’t heard yet can top Let England Shake…
The Mercury Prize ceremony will take place on the 6th September – check the official website for more details.