Wednesday, 23 July 2008

Mercury Prize Shortlist Announced. And It's Quite Good.

The twelve albums shortlisted for the Nationwide Mercury Prize have just been announced. The award, now in its seventeenth year, is for the best British album released over the previous twelve months, and is known for its unpredictability, with the winner normally alternating between a bland and obvious choice or something completely obscure. But unlike poor Kele's Mercury, this Mercury is not in retrograde, indeed the 2008 shortlist is probably the best, in terms of its strength, breadth and depth, for years:
  • Adele - 19
  • British Sea Power - Do You Like Rock Music?
  • Burial - Untrue
  • Elbow - The Seldom Seen Kid
  • Estelle - Shine
  • Laura Marling - Alas I Cannot Swim
  • Neon Neon - Stainless Style
  • Portico Quartet - Knee-Deep in the North Sea
  • Rachel Unthank & The Winterset - The Bairns
  • Radiohead - In Rainbows
  • Robert Plant & Alison Krauss - Raising Sand
  • The Last Shadow Puppets - The Age of the Understatement
There certainly don't appear to be any duds on the list, or any obvious omissions. It's particularly pleasing to see British Sea Power receiving their first nomination - they're a wonderful but often overlooked band, and their third album, 'Do You Like Rock Music?' is a thrilling piece of work. The Last Shadow Puppets' nomination means that for the third year running, an Alex Turner album will be on the list, and maybe Radiohead will finally win their first Mercury Award for In Rainbows, easily their best in years.

If it was up to me, though, I'd hand the award to Elbow. 'The Seldom Seen Kid' is a magnificent epic of an album, made as a tribute to a dear friend of the band, and is in equal parts desperately sad and gloriously joyful.

The winner is announced on September 9th. What do you make of this list? What was missed off? Do you even care?


Fandango said...

For lovers of catchy indie pop, there seems to be one glaring omission - 'The Wombats Proudly Present: A Guide to Love, Loss & Desperation'.

Hummer said...

I can't believe that Portishead are not on the short list.

Sure In Rainbows is brilliant but Radiohead will not win, neither will Robert Plant.

Looks like the favourite is Burial for Untrue - fair enough it is pretty good.

I know we don't really do dub-step on Bawley. But we do, do Bloc Party and Thom Yorke.

Where is Home? (Burial Remix)
And It Rained All Night (Burial Remix)