The most controversial Music Award in the world has received its fair share of the media spotlight recently. Calls from critics to abandon the award as a hopelessly pretentious and essentially meaningless accolade have been echoed from many voices, with Vice’s music writer Sam Wolfson stating the award needs to be “locked in a room with a shotgun and bullet”, in a particular scathing but entertaining review.
The Guardian and Observer have remarked that this years list of nominees have been the safest ever and that any ideas the Mercury Prize is introducing people to new music is deluded. There has also been calls for the anonymous judges to be unveiled.
For me, it is still a force for good generally, as I haven’t listened to a number of the nominees this year including Laura Mvula, Discolsure or Jon Hopkins – and do remember folks that just being on the nominee list is getting good exposure for all those involved. Plus a few years ago Pj Harvey won it with her spectacular album Let England Shake – so the judges tastes ain’t all that bad. Elbow’s The Seldom Seen Kid was also a worthy winner.
On to this year’s winner. I was a fan of his eponymous debut, and Overgrown has been reverberating against the walls of our building for some time. Surprising and also intriguing winner. His debut was also nominated, which might prove his credentials.
Have a listen to Digital Lion, a track he did with his hero, Brain Eno.
For those who want to hear snippers from all the nominees, check out the Telegraph’s good round-up.
And here’s a look at some past year’s winners, enjoy.