12 albums that should have been nominated for the Mercury Music Prize
The Mercury Prize, arguable the most prestigious award in the music industry for British artists. Well it’s that time of year again, with the winner to be announced on Friday (20th). I’m sure you’ve seen the adverts selling “Mercury nominated album XYZ” for the millionth time this week, but who was left off the shortlist? Wow247 listed 12 albums that maybe should have been included!
Of course there are only 12 places available on the shortlist, and over 250 albums to consider, so you’re never going to please everyone.
The shortlist includes the likes of Jamie xx, Slaves and Wolf Alice, and while there are some excellent albums on the list, here are a dozen that we think could quite easily have made an appearance.
The Libertines – Anthems for Doomed Youth
There was a fair amount of scepticism surrounding the release of The Libertines‘ third studio album Anthems for Doomed Youth. Which almost seems to further validate its place in this list. Their first material in eleven years, the general consensus is that it restored their reputation as a credible band, encapsulating their ramshackle spirit but with a slightly more mature edge.
Lonelady – Hinterland
Hinterland is the second album from Manchester’s LoneLady – aka Julie Campbell. Electronic post-punk with an infectious, angular guitar and an uncomplicated drum machine rhythm throughout, this Warp-released album is one of the best of 2015. Although it was never going to be a favourite, Hinterland is more than deserving of a place on the shortlist.
Read our Lonelady interview from earlier this year.
Foals – What Went Down
Foals have been nominated for the Mercury Prize twice: first in 2010 for Total Life Forever and again in 2013 for Holy Fire. It felt like this might be the year they actually win. Turns out, What Went Down didn’t even make it on to the 2015 shortlist. Massive shame. Perhaps it was a bit too obvious for the panel?
Public Service Broadcasting – The Race for Space
The Race for Space is the second studio album from London duo Public Service Broadcasting. As with their 2013 debut, Inform-Educate-Entertain, the band worked with the British Film Institute in utilising a selection of public information videos. By no means an obvious choice, The Race for Space charts the American and Soviet space race from 1957-1972 and is one of the finest, most unassuming albums of the year so far. And punchy tracks like ‘Gagarin’ and ‘Go!’ are much more infectious than your usual concept album fare.
Sleaford Mods – Key Markets
Named in memory of a big 1970s supermarket in Grantham that vocalist Jason Williamson frequented as a child, Key Markets is “the continuation of the day to day and how we see it, the un-incredible landscape.” With eight studio albums under their belt – the real breakthrough being Auesterity Dogs (2013), the Nottingham duo are currently on a roll and it feels like the time is right for some Mercury consideration. Alas not.
Read our live review of Sleaford Mods in Edinburgh.
Marika Hackman – We Slept at Last
Counting Cara Delevingne as her friend and Laura Marling as her mentor, this former Burberry model released her debut album this year after touring with the likes of Alt-J and Years and Years. Electro-folk with enough wisdom and overriding darkness to make it stand out, We Slept at Last would have slotted nicely into the list of this year’s nominations.
Alt-J – This Is All Yours
Released last September and just making it into this year’s date criteria and no more, it seems something of a travesty that This Is All Yours didn’t make the shortlist. Alt-J won the Mercury Prize in 2012 for their debut album An Awesome Wave, and the 2014 follow-up seems more than deserving of consideration. Multi-layered and brooding, the album gave us some of the best lyrics of last year, including the incredible line, “I want to turn you inside out and lick you like a crisp packet.”
Laura Marling – Short Movie
Nominated three times before, perhaps it’s only fair that Marling steps back and lets someone else have a shot at it (*cough cough* Marika Hackman…). Marling took a slightly different direction with her latest album, mixing her signature folk sound with a more forceful country vibe and multiple strands of electric guitars. The change of direction merits a nomination as far as we’re concerned but, alas, it wasn’t meant to be.
Read our live review of Laura Marling from earlier this year.
Everything Everything – Get to Heaven
The bookies’ favourite to win, Everything Everything seemed like a dead cert with their latest album Get to Heaven. The Manchester-based art-rocker’s second album Man Alive made the Mercury shortlist in 2011 and their latest offering – and third studio album – is arguably their most accomplished recording to date. This was perhaps the biggest shock omission of all.
The Maccabees – Marks to Prove it
Marks to Prove It, the fourth studio album from the South Londoners, is a beautifully crafted set of songs. Perhaps the strongest album from The Maccabees so far, it is more raw and frenetic than previous offerings. Clearly that opinion was not mirrored by the shortlist panel, with Given to the Wild having been nominated in 2012.
Drenge – Undertow
The second album from the Derbyshire grunge-rockers and their first release since expanding to a three-piece, Undertow would have been a welcome addition to the shortlist. The addition of bassist Ross Orton to the Loveless brothers duo brought with it a heavier and more sinister edge, a marked improvement on the first album. Drenge have recently finished touring with Wolf Alice, who are up there as favourites to win.
Charlie XCX – SUCKER
Samir Hussein/Getty Images
It was a toss up between this and Blur for the last spot. It may seem a ridiculous choice but SUCKER is one of those guilty pleasure albums that it’s not even necessary to feel guilty about. Charlie XCX aka Charlotte Aitchison released her first album at the age of 15. And her second at the age of 20. Both were flops, commercially and artistically. And did she give up? Nope. She came back harder with 2015’s SUCKER which was met with positive reviews and its fair share of hype. Her bubblegum pop and controversial lyrics make her a bit of a wild card, but it would have been nice to see a pop wild card on the list.
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