Mercury Music Prize – Comment

 

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alt-j – ‘Relaxer’ – Maybe
I quite liked this and it probably deserves a place on this shortlist, however, points off for including a version of ‘House of the rising son’. Why? Filler.

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Blossoms – ‘Blossoms’
This is bollocks.

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Dinosaur – ‘Together, As One’
This is great and a real find as I’d never heard of it. Jazz with some electronic flourishes, nice arrangements, not too much dissonance. I might buy this one.

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Ed Sheeran – ‘÷’
I have no idea what this is doing here, it’s just Ed Sheeran being Ed Sheeran isn’t it? Yes, it sold bucket loads, but according to the prize itself: The main objectives of the Prize are to recognise and celebrate artistic achievement, provide a snapshot of the year in music and to help introduce new albums from a range of music genres to a wider audience. Now it does fall into the first two of those categories but not the last, and to be honest, I listened to it and I will be quite happy to live the rest of my life and never hear it again.

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Glass Animals – ‘How to Be a Human Being’
This is OK, quite pleasant I suppose, not particularly ground breaking but it’s quite listenable.

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J Hus – ‘Common Sense’
This is really very good, I like it. There’s autotune and then there’s creative autotune and where it’s used here it’s the latter, which I can live with. There’s some really good backing tracks and some good angry bits as well as plenty of melody. Yup, it’s good.

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Kate Tempest – ‘Let Them Eat Chaos’
Nope nope nope. I saw her Glastonbury set and didn’t like it. This is poetry put to music and it hardly ever really works, certainly doesn’t here. Best of luck to her but it’s of not for me.

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Loyle Carner – ‘Yesterday’s Gone’
This is very good, and there is an argument that can be made that this is also poetry over music in places as well, except that is a crap argument as this is an MC not a poet. I’d definitely recommend giving this a listen.

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Sampha – ‘Process’
I heard some of this album on a car journey at the weekend and it wasn’t what I was expecting at all, I’d assumed it was Hip Hop, my bad, it’s not that at all. Sampha has a really interesting voice and I guess if you had to file in a genre you could easily go for Electronic.

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Stormzy – ‘Gang Signs & Prayer’
So this is Grime, or that’s what I read. It’s actually pretty good, a bit angry in places but that’s ok. ‘Blinded by your grace’ is a beautiful thing and ‘Big For Your Boots’ is good.

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The Big Moon – ‘Love in the 4th Dimension’
Pretty good. I don’t particularly feel there’s anything here that I haven’t heard before, but if you like indie pop, then you’ll find this to be a very good addition to your listening.

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The xx – ‘I See You’
I’ve been unsure about The XX for a while, I sort of don’t know what they are, but listening to this album makes it clearer for me.  I can now be sure that it is not something I am a big fan of, but I can see the appeal.

If it were me then I would drop 6 of these at least, so for completeness I have to replace them. So this would be my list:
alt-j – ‘Relaxer’ – Maybe
Dinosaur – ‘Together, As One’
J Hus – ‘Common Sense’
Loyle Carner – ‘Yesterday’s Gone’
Sampha – ‘Process’
Stormzy – ‘Gang Signs & Prayer’
Kelly Lee Owens ‎– Kelly Lee Owens
Forest Swords ‎– Compassion
Slowdive – Slowdive
Roger Goula ‎– Overview Effect
Max Richter – Three Worlds: Music from Woolf Works
Public Service Broadcasting – Every Valley

I’ll be playing a track from each of these on the radio show 5 when I get around to recording it.

 

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