Mercury Prize Shortlist Announced, But Does It Even Matter Anymore?
The self described voice of "urgent" and "reflective" music in the UK and Ireland has once again picked a predictable shortlist of albums for the once prestigious award
The Barclaycard Mercury Music Prize this week announce the shortlist for it's 12 favourite albums of the last 12 months, albums that it claims are "urgent" and are "reflective" of the evolving sound of contemporary music. Once a haven for alternative acts like Portishead and Gomez, this years awards once again have gone for the most obvious choices and rather than celebrate any "urgent" talent, artists that routinely play on the radio or television have been picked ahead of the Hookworms and Darkstars of the British and Irish music scene.
The Arctic Monkeys are hardly an "urgent" band
The Arctic Monkeys are now a bonafied rock staple, whilst Foals and Laura Marling have each been nominated in the past and are regularly given air time on 6 Music or Jools Holland, etc., not to mention the fact that Marling has been handed a BRIT Award too. As for newcomers Disclosure, Rudimental and Jake Bugg, neither are exactly challenging their respective fields of house, drum and bass and rockabilly, but simply making it more radio-friendly and pop accessible. This isn't a dig either, this is something that all three artists should openly agree with. As for David Bowie; he's David Bowie. Need we say more?
Villagers and Laura Mvula provide a break from the more mainstream artist on the lists, but both are particularly tame picks - making them the most likely to emerge as victors - whereas Jon Hopkins, Savages and James Blake are perhaps the most deserving of all of the nominees for genuinely challenging their musical fields and releasing albums that are actually "urgent" and worthy of wider recognition. Still, all of these artist have received more than their fair share of exposure and are hardly struggling, challenging artists in need of further recognition.
James Blake is one of the few deserving of the award
This is an awards show that launched the careers of Dizzee Rascal, The Street, Amy Winehouse and the Arctic Monkeys in the past, but now it seems it's only purpose is reminding people what decent albums came out earlier in the year, which really brings the necessity of such an award in the internet age into question.
For those of you still interested in seeing the awards show, television coverage of the event will be shown on Channel 4 on Wednesday 30 October. The full list of nominees are below.
The full list of nominees:
Arctic Monkeys - AM
David Bowie - The Next Day
Disclosure - Settle
Foals - Holy Fire
Jake Bugg - Jake Bugg
James Blake - Overgrown
Jon Hopkins - Immunity
Laura Marling - Once I Was An Eagle
Laura Mvula - Sing to the Moon
Rudimental - Home
Savages - Silence Yourself
Villagers - Awayland
Laura Marling won the 2011 BRIT Award for Best Female