Mercury Music Prize Shortlist

The Mercury Music Prize shortlist was announced yesterday and I have none of these albums, not a single one. So I am now going to go away and listen to them all and come back in a new post with a yes/no opinion on all of them, because I can,  here is the list:

alt-j – ‘Relaxer’ – Maybe
Blossoms – ‘Blossoms’
Dinosaur – ‘Together, As One’
Ed Sheeran – ‘÷’
Glass Animals – ‘How to Be a Human Being’
J Hus – ‘Common Sense’
Kate Tempest – ‘Let Them Eat Chaos’
Loyle Carner – ‘Yesterday’s Gone’
Sampha – ‘Process’
Stormzy – ‘Gang Signs & Prayer’
The Big Moon – ‘Love in the 4th Dimension’
The xx – ‘I See You’

Last years list is below, actually no, let’s go crazy, all the past winners and nominees are below and I’ve marked in brackets who I would have chosen to win, like this (1):

1992 Primal Scream – Screamadelica (1)
Barry Adamson – Soul Murder
Erasure – Chorus
Jah Wobble’s Invaders of the Heart – Rising Above Bedlam
The Jesus and Mary Chain – Honey’s Dead
Bheki Mseleku – Celebration
Saint Etienne – Foxbase Alpha
Simply Red – Stars
U2 – Achtung Baby
John Tavener & Steven Isserlis – The Protecting Veil
Young Disciples – Road to Freedom

1993 Suede – Suede (1)
Apache Indian – No Reservations
The Auteurs – New Wave
Gavin Bryars – Jesus’ Blood Never Failed Me Yet
Dina Carroll – So Close
East 17 – Walthamstow
PJ Harvey – Rid of Me
New Order – Republic
Stereo MCs – Connected
Sting – Ten Summoner’s Tales
Stan Tracey – Portraits Plus

1994 M People – Elegant Slumming
Blur – Parklife (1)
Ian McNabb – Head Like a Rock
Shara Nelson – What Silence Knows
Michael Nyman – The Piano Concerto/MGV
Primal Scream – Give Out But Don’t Give Up
The Prodigy – Music for the Jilted Generation
Pulp – His ‘n’ Hers
Take That – Everything Changes
Therapy? – Troublegum
Paul Weller – Wild Wood

1995 Portishead – Dummy (1 joint)
Guy Barker – Into the Blue
The Boo Radleys – Wake Up!
Elastica – Elastica
PJ Harvey – To Bring You My Love
Leftfield – Leftism
James MacMillan – Seven Last Words from the Cross
Van Morrison – Days Like This
Oasis – Definitely Maybe
Supergrass – I Should Coco
Tricky – Maxinquaye (1 Joint, I couldn’t possibly choose one over the other)

1996 Pulp – Different Class
Artists for War Child – Help
Black Grape – It’s Great When You’re Straight… Yeah
Peter Maxwell Davies/BBC Philharmonic – The Beltane Fire / Caroline Mathilde
Manic Street Preachers – Everything Must Go (1)
Mark Morrison – Return of the Mack
Oasis – (What’s the Story) Morning Glory?
Courtney Pine – Modern Day Jazz Stories
Underworld – Second Toughest in the Infants
Norma Waterson – Norma Waterson

1997 Roni Size/Reprazent – New Forms
The Chemical Brothers – Dig Your Own Hole
Beth Orton – Trailer Park
Primal Scream – Vanishing Point
The Prodigy – The Fat of the Land
Radiohead – OK Computer (1)
Spice Girls – Spice
Suede – Coming Up
John Tavener – Svyati
Mark-Anthony Turnage – Your Rockaby

1998 Gomez – Bring It On
4hero – Two Pages
Asian Dub Foundation – Rafi’s Revenge
Eliza Carthy – Red Rice
Catatonia – International Velvet
Cornershop – When I Was Born for the 7th Time
Massive Attack – Mezzanine (1)
Propellerheads – Decksandrumsandrockandroll
Pulp – This Is Hardcore
John Surman – Proverbs & Songs
The Verve – Urban Hymns
Robbie Williams – Life thru a Lens

1999 Talvin Singh – Ok
Thomas Adès – Asyla
Denys Baptiste – Be Where You Are
Black Star Liner – Bengali Bantam Youth Experience!
Blur – 13
The Chemical Brothers – Surrender
Faithless – Sunday 8PM
Manic Street Preachers – This Is My Truth Tell Me Yours
Beth Orton – Central Reservation (1)
Kate Rusby – Sleepless
Stereophonics – Performance and Cocktails
Underworld – Beaucoup Fish

2000 Badly Drawn Boy – The Hour of Bewilderbeast
Richard Ashcroft – Alone with Everybody
Coldplay – Parachutes
M. J. Cole – Sincere
Death in Vegas – The Contino Sessions (1)
The Delgados – The Great Eastern
Doves – Lost Souls
Helicopter Girl – How to Steal the World
Leftfield – Rhythm and Stealth
Nicholas Maw – Violin Concerto
Nitin Sawhney – Beyond Skin
Kathryn Williams – Little Black Numbers

2001 PJ Harvey – Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea (2, yes, a completely different numbering system all of a sudden)
Basement Jaxx – Rooty
Elbow – Asleep in the Back
Goldfrapp – Felt Mountain
Gorillaz – Gorillaz (nomination withdrawn at the request of the band)
Ed Harcourt – Here Be Monsters
Tom McRae – Tom McRae
Radiohead – Amnesiac (1)
Susheela Raman – Salt Rain
Super Furry Animals – Rings Around the World
Turin Brakes – The Optimist LP
Zero 7 – Simple Things

2002 Ms. Dynamite – A Little Deeper
Guy Barker – Soundtrack
The Bees – Sunshine Hit Me
David Bowie – Heathen
The Coral – The Coral
Doves – The Last Broadcast
The Electric Soft Parade – Holes in the Wall
Gemma Hayes – Night on My Side
Beverley Knight – Who I Am
Roots Manuva – Run Come Save Me (1)
Joanna MacGregor – Play
The Streets – Original Pirate Material

2003 Dizzee Rascal – Boy in da Corner
Athlete – Vehicles and Animals
Eliza Carthy – Anglicana
Coldplay – A Rush of Blood to the Head
The Darkness – Permission to Land
Floetry – Floetic
Soweto Kinch – Conversations with the Unseen
Lemon Jelly – Lost Horizons
The Thrills – So Much for the City
Martina Topley-Bird – Quixotic (1)
Radiohead – Hail to the Thief
Terri Walker – Untitled

2004 Franz Ferdinand – Franz Ferdinand
Basement Jaxx – Kish Kash
Belle & Sebastian – Dear Catastrophe Waitress (1)
Jamelia – Thank You
Keane – Hopes and Fears
Snow Patrol – Final Straw
Joss Stone – The Soul Sessions
The Streets – A Grand Don’t Come for Free
Ty – Upwards
Amy Winehouse – Frank
Robert Wyatt – Cuckooland
The Zutons – Who Killed…… The Zutons?

2005 Antony and the Johnsons – I Am a Bird Now
Bloc Party – Silent Alarm
Coldplay – X&Y
Hard-Fi – Stars of CCTV
Kaiser Chiefs – Employment
KT Tunstall – Eye to the Telescope
M.I.A. – Arular (1)
Maxïmo Park – A Certain Trigger
Polar Bear – Held on the Tips of Fingers
Seth Lakeman – Kitty Jay
The Go! Team – Thunder, Lightning, Strike
The Magic Numbers – The Magic Numbers

2006 Arctic Monkeys – Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not (1)
Isobel Campbell and Mark Lanegan – Ballad of the Broken Seas
Editors – The Back Room
Guillemots – Through the Windowpane
Richard Hawley – Coles Corner
Hot Chip – The Warning
Muse – Black Holes & Revelations
Zoe Rahman – Melting Pot
Lou Rhodes – Beloved One
Scritti Politti – White Bread Black Beer
Sway – This Is My Demo
Thom Yorke – The Eraser

2007 Klaxons – Myths of the Near Future
Arctic Monkeys – Favourite Worst Nightmare
Basquiat Strings with Seb Rochford – Basquiat Strings
Bat for Lashes – Fur and Gold
Dizzee Rascal – Maths + English
Maps – We Can Create
New Young Pony Club – Fantastic Playroom
Fionn Regan – The End of History
Jamie T – Panic Prevention
The View – Hats Off to the Buskers
Amy Winehouse – Back to Black (1)
Young Knives – Voices of Animals and Men

2008 Elbow – The Seldom Seen Kid
Adele – 19
British Sea Power – Do You Like Rock Music?
Burial – Untrue
Estelle – Shine
The Last Shadow Puppets – The Age of the Understatement
Laura Marling – Alas, I Cannot Swim
Neon Neon – Stainless Style
Robert Plant & Alison Krauss – Raising Sand
Portico Quartet – Knee Deep in the North Sea
Radiohead – In Rainbows (1)
Rachel Unthank and the Winterset – The Bairns

2009 Speech Debelle – Speech Therapy (1)
Bat for Lashes – Two Suns
Florence and the Machine – Lungs
Friendly Fires – Friendly Fires
Glasvegas – Glasvegas
Lisa Hannigan – Sea Sew
The Horrors – Primary Colours
The Invisible – The Invisible
Kasabian – West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum
La Roux – La Roux
Led Bib – Sensible Shoes
Sweet Billy Pilgrim – Twice Born Men

2010 The xx – xx
Biffy Clyro – Only Revolutions
Corinne Bailey Rae – The Sea
Dizzee Rascal – Tongue n’ Cheek
Foals – Total Life Forever
I Am Kloot – Sky at Night (1)
Kit Downes Trio – Golden
Laura Marling – I Speak Because I Can
Mumford & Sons – Sigh No More
Paul Weller – Wake Up the Nation
Villagers – Becoming a Jackal
Wild Beasts – Two Dancers

2011 PJ Harvey – Let England Shake
Adele – 21
Anna Calvi – Anna Calvi
Elbow – Build a Rocket Boys!
Everything Everything – Man Alive
Ghostpoet – Peanut Butter Blues & Melancholy Jam (1)
Gwilym Simcock – Good Days at Schloss Elmau
James Blake – James Blake
Katy B – On a Mission
King Creosote & Jon Hopkins – Diamond Mine
Metronomy – The English Riviera
Tinie Tempah – Disc-Overy

2012 Alt-J – An Awesome Wave (? Dunno?)
Ben Howard – Every Kingdom
Django Django – Django Django
Field Music – Plumb
Richard Hawley – Standing at the Sky’s Edge
Michael Kiwanuka – Home Again
Lianne La Havas – Is Your Love Big Enough?
Sam Lee – Ground of its Own
The Maccabees – Given to the Wild
Plan B – ill Manors
Roller Trio – Roller Trio
Jessie Ware – Devotion

2013 James Blake – Overgrown
Arctic Monkeys – AM
David Bowie – The Next Day (1)
Disclosure – Settle
Foals – Holy Fire
Jake Bugg – Jake Bugg
Jon Hopkins – Immunity
Laura Marling – Once I Was an Eagle
Laura Mvula – Sing to the Moon
Rudimental – Home
Savages – Silence Yourself
Villagers – {Awayland}

2014 Young Fathers – Dead
Anna Calvi – One Breath
Bombay Bicycle Club – So Long, See You Tomorrow
Damon Albarn – Everyday Robots
East India Youth – Total Strife Forever
FKA twigs – LP1 (1)
GoGo Penguin – V2.0
Jungle – Jungle
Kate Tempest – Everybody Down
Nick Mulvey – First Mind
Polar Bear – In Each and Every One
Royal Blood – Royal Blood

2015 Benjamin Clementine – At Least for Now
Aphex Twin – Syro (1)
Gaz Coombes – Matador
C Duncan – Architect
Eska – Eska
Florence and the Machine – How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful
Ghostpoet – Shedding Skin
Róisín Murphy – Hairless Toys
Slaves – Are You Satisfied?
SOAK – Before We Forgot How to Dream
Wolf Alice – My Love Is Cool
Jamie xx – In Colour

2016 Skepta – Konnichiwa
Anohni – Hopelessness
Bat for Lashes – The Bride
David Bowie – Blackstar
Jamie Woon – Making Time
Kano – Made in the Manor
Laura Mvula – The Dreaming Room
Michael Kiwanuka – Love & Hate
Radiohead – A Moon Shaped Pool (1)
Savages – Adore Life
The 1975 – I Like It When You Sleep, for You Are So Beautiful yet So Unaware of It
The Comet Is Coming – Channel the Spirits

6 thoughts on “Mercury Music Prize Shortlist”

  1. This is great stuff. We have the Polaris Prize here in Canada and it would be fun to try to build a similar post (in my all-too-scarce spare time).

    My thoughts, such as they are, serve only to augment your excellent post.

    1993: Honourable mention to New Order – Republic. I love that record and think it still sounds amazing today.

    1994: Honourable mention to Paul Weller – Wild Wood. Same as above.

    1995: Honourable mention to Elastica. What a record!

    2000: Honourable mention to Doves – Lost Souls. Tragically underrated band here in North America. That record is unbelievably powerful.

    2001: I’d still cast a vote for Gorillaz regardless. 🙂

    2004: Can’t argue with the winner, but man what a tough choice as there are so many great records on the list. Keane, Snow Patrol, Amy Winehouse. Wow.

    2005: Honourable mentions to both Bloc Party (again, horribly under appreciated over here) and KT Tunstall.

    2008: That Robert Plant-Allison Krauss collaboration was pretty damned amazing.

    2013: Would’ve been great to see Billy Bragg nominated for Tooth & Nail. Excellent record that one.

    2015: Honourable mention for Wolf Alice – My Love Is Cool.

    2016: Hard not to give it to David Bowie or Michael Kiwanuka. Both heroic efforts.

    Again, great work! Love what you’re doing here!!


    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great post. Upon reviewing this list, I noticed something strange about 1997. It’s one of my favourite years for British rock and there are some albums obviously missing. Spiritualized’s “Ladies and gentlemen” comes to mind, as does The Verve’s “Urban hymns”. What gives?


  3. I love checking out the Polaris prize lists every year and pretty much every year, I disagree with the finalist. Great idea, though pretty much a copy of the Mercury.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hi Mark, it’s difficult to pick one thing over another, especially when many of these are in different genres. I would have picked everything by PJ Harvey if there wasn’t something else I thought just a fraction better, and when I got through them all I found I’d picked none. I’ve not looked at the Polaris prize but I will, although at this point I’m going to assume that Godspeed You! Black Emperor win it every year ( they better at least have nominations!).


  5. Godspeed You! Black Emperor never nominated, just checked, some great bands on the lists over the years but this is a huge omission I think.


  6. Agreed. This year’s short list is pretty good but I always feel they leave out a couple of indie acts to leave a spot for Drake or Bieber, like they need the exposure. Still, it’s a great was for Canadian artists to get a bit of the spotlight.


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