Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Mercury Prize 2011

It is time for the Mercury Prize 2011. The shortlist is...
  • Adele – 21
  • Anna Calvi – Anna Calvi
  • Elbow – Build a Rocket Boys!
  • Everything Everything – Man Alive
  • Ghostpoet – Peanut Butter Blues and 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
A very uninspiring list for a number of reasons. The commercial favourite Adele is nominated for 21 - half a good album. The songs that are good are very good and the rest is bland and more style over substance. Two great bands: Elbow and Radiohead are on the shortlist with albums that are not as good as their previous releases. Elbow will have to do a lot to beat The Seldom Seen Kid and In Rainbows didn't win for Radiohead so King Of Limbs certainly won't.

The big surprise is PJ Harvey. I was so disappointed with the shapeless lacklustre and downright dull Let England Shake. One thing I would say at this point is that I am willing to give the album another listen and I am equally willing to eat my words if I feel any different but even on repeat listens since its release, I have failed to grasp the concept and the energy.

This might be a good year for a non-pop act to win but the field is weak in that area too. Probably not Gwilym Simcock's Good Days At Schloss Elmau - even if jazz is your thing. The less said about Tine Tempah the better and Ghostpoet is just a bit random and 'out there' even for hardcore hip-hop fans.

The alternate to these is James Blake and Katy B - both solid albums but nothing special. Likewise Anna Calvi and Everything Everything are not quite there yet. If this year stays with the mainstream then this may very well be the year for Metronomy - The English Riviera is an unusual delight, if not for everyone.

My favourite on the list is definitely King Creosote and Jon Hopkins. Diamond Mine is delicate and beautiful. These albums tend not to win but we can hope.

No comments: