Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Mercury Shortlist Announced

So here it is....

Young Knives
Bat For Lashes
Jamie T
The View
Amy Winehouse
Basquiat Strings feat. Seb Rochford
Dizzee Rascal
New Young Pony Club
Fionn Regan
Arctic Monkeys

First of all, I'm genuinely delighted for Ben, Emma, Seb and the rest of Basquiat Strings - the album is excellent and deserves to win, but it almost certainly won't. I'm surprised there's no space here for Cinematic Orchestra, The Long Blondes or Bloc Party (and the observational lyrics on The Long Blondes album are surely at least the equal of Alex Turner). Much as I like Dizzee Rascal, that album is not the best example of British grime/hip-hop/dubstep etc - Wiley, kode 9 and spaceape and Skream! albums all superior.

It's actually a rather strange list, inevitably skewed in favour of acts with the full benefit of the corporate and PR machines (so no Jeremy Warmsley, Twilight Sad, Fridge, Broken Family Band, Flipron, Fraud or Curios), yet with some curious choices - the likes of Maps and Fionn Regan etc have hardly made much impact on the record buying public, have they?

There used to be a handful of selections of real insight on the Mercury shortlists (even last year with Polar Bear, Hot Chip and Scritti Politti on the list) - this may be the worst shortlist to date for recognising artistic invention and innovation.

I would say it's probably between Amy Winehouse and Klaxons, with Bat For Lashes as a good outsider's bet.

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