Mercury Music Prize 2011

This year is an odd year for me and the Mercury’s. Normally I’m pretty au fait with all of the albums on the shortlist, yet this year I can only count 2 that I’ve listened to in their entirety, and others that I’ve dipped in and out of. But I’m getting ahead of myself here. To Begin with, here are the nominees:

  • Metronomy – The English Riviera
  • Adele – 21
  • Everything Everything – Man Alive
  • James Blake – James Blake
  • Ghostpoet – Peanut Butter Blues and Melancholy Jam
  • Anna Calvi – Anna Calvi
  • Tinie Tempah – Disc-overy
  • Elbow – Build A Rocket Boys!
  • Gwylim Simcock – Good Days At Schloss Elmau
  • PJ Harvey – Let England Shake
  • Katy B – On A Mission
  • King Creosote & John Hopkins – Diamond Mine
Its fair to say that I have stayed away from a couple of these albums due to their being drenched in hype *cough* James Blake, Anna Calvi *cough* but a lot of these albums have completely slipped by me. Since it’s release I have been meaning to listen to Let England Shake, yet have shied away due to my need for a proper PJ education. And I have honestly been meaning to listen to Elbow, yet never get round to it (and inevitably have to endure bouts of my father moaning about them).
If I’m completely honest, I’ve heard of very few of these albums (which is a reyt shocker for me). Metronomy or Everything Everything I have had no desire to listen to, simply as I have no interest in the music that they make. Sadly I’m one of those people that know what I like, and like what I know. The same applies for Katy B, I think her faux ghetto-isms really grate on me, I couldn’t stand her Glastonbury performance.
That just leaves me with two albums. A very sorry excuse for a music journalist indeed. Whilst I love Adele’s personality (her appearance on the Graham Norton show earlier this year had me in stitches), her album does absolutely nothing for me. Yes, she has an absolutely stunning voice, but to hear it time and time again as we’re currently subjected to, it just annoys. Coming to Tinie Tempah, this may sound unexpected, but I do love him. His lyrics are hilarious and collaborations on that album are second to none, especially Miami 2 Ibiza with Swedish House Mafia. I’d really would love to stick my neck out here and say I think he’d win, but I really don’t . My mostly likely guesses for this year are either James Blake or Anna Calvi, though perhaps less likely as The XX won last year.
I have to admit that some omissions from the list have surprised me. Whilst the Arctic Monkeys may be too big for the list, Suck It And See has to be the best thing that they possibly have released. And the same applies for Cat’s Eyes, a truly unique and incredible album, and one that I’d expect to be right up the Mercury expectations. This could also apply to the fantastic Yuck album, and even the debut from Frankie & The Heartstrings, a lesson in indie-pop perfection. And of course the Mercury’s have never been ones to shy away from commercial successes, you only have to look at the list above to see, so I’m pretty sad that The Vaccines were left off to, one of very few actually good English guitar bands at the minute. And finally, whilst they may have been nominated last year, Smother was a seriously brilliant answer to all the expectations placed upon Wild Beasts. I’m just going to say I’m disappointed with the shortlist before this rant gets far too long.

2 thoughts on “Mercury Music Prize 2011

  1. I totally agree with you here, nothing really stands out. I gave King Creosote a listen because they were nominated and they should pretty good. The Wild Beasts album was brilliant, definitely should have been nominated, as should Arctic Monkeys. Weird nominations this year.

    • Completely weird nominations . Part of me wants to think that they’re letter lesser establish acts get a chance at nominations and winning as Arctics have won before, and Wild Beasts have been nominated before, but then you look and see Adele and Elbow. Pretty disgruntled, I genuinely think the nominations get worse every year (well ever since The Horrors were robbed!)

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