I’d say the Mercury Prize gets maybe one out of three right and even then if you look at their shortlist, they tend to choose the year’s better British records pretty well.
However, score one for the music fans today. Now I’m not saying Adele isn’t a great singer, because if you go back to many rants from 2007/2008, you will recall me saying how great 19 was as an album.
Many of you will have also heard that I kind of hate 21, her new album. First off, I hate albums whose whole tonal message is “Giiiiiirl, my man is so bad to me and yet I looooove him!” (This message is also known as the Waiting to Exhale soundtrack and every country album by a female artist not named Loretta Lynn.) Here’s a thought, how bout not dating a guy who’s such an asshole. It worked for Tina Turner and she=legend!
My two main problems with the 21 album are in fact that
1)21 has become that album that chicks who know nothing about music rep as an album that PROVES they have good taste in music…
2) There is no Mark Ronson production work…which basically leaves a super talented singer to sing behind spare beats that would make Florence and The Machine blush.(and while I’ve supported Florence for years, she will never be a naturally talented as Adele. In fact after her first single I compared her to our Mercury Prize winner, who we’ll get back to later.) Mark Ronson made the late Winehouse sound even greater, Duffy sound half credible, and Nikka Costa a potential world beater with his funky-nouveau 60’s influenced productions full of sass and brass. If you don’t believe me, you can watch the brilliant Cold Shoulder video…which channels a cool Shirley Bassey vibe instead of being all emo and underproduced.(you can google this because this post really isn’t about her)
Now lets get to the WINNER, who is also the first two-time winner of the Mercury Prize which is none other than PJ Harvey. For 20 years she’s stomped, rocked, and taken chances all over the musical landscape culminating in this fantastic album. Let England Shake really is the best album of the year for scope, risk, memorable songs, and playing to the artist’s strength. Maybe it’s time for all those PJ haters and those that left the bandwagon post Songs of The City to reappraise what’s really going on in modern times! There’s no doubt that this album ranks among her finest achievements and is THOROUGHLY deserving of the Mercury this year!(It is also worth checking out the video version of the album which is in fact on youtube, it’s a cool achievement.)