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Mercury Music Awards 2010 Shortlist

Yes reader, it’s that wonderful time of year again. A time when musical purists and scenesters either complain or rejoice, and thousands of ill-informed middle-aged folk flock to Tesco to sample The Mercury’s list of the best British albums of the last year.

But what of it? Does the award actually mean anything? The panel consists of music industry ‘experts’ and the prize is designed to reflect the consistency, quality and beauty of the album rather than merely reflect public opinion, giving it far more ‘credibility’ than say, a Brit Award…supposedly. It is one of the most coveted prizes in music, and has seen the popularity of artists such as Franz Ferdinand, Elbow, Portishead and Pulp skyrocket (not so much for last year’s winner Speech Debelle…I know, me neither)

The bookies are already stating the odds, but this is our guide to the shortlist, and where we think you oughtta place your bets.

To listen to our Mercury Shortlist Playlist click HERE

Biffy Clyro – ‘Only Revolutions’
William Hill’s Odds: 8/1

It seems quite fitting that Biffy Clyro should be viewed as outsiders when contending for this prize. Biffy Clyro hit the road back in 2002 in the glory days of Brit-rock, when the underground was owned by a brilliant crop of awesome talent in the shape of Cooper Temple Clause, Hell Is For Heroes, Hundred Reasons, Reuben, Million Dead, Yourcodenameis:milo, Vex Red, McClusky, JJ72, Crackout, My Vitriol and countless, underrated others. Many of these bands fell by the wayside as lazy-Libertine-copyist-scumbags were championed instead. Without the sponsorship of Topman, NME and E4, many bands died on their arses. But not the Biff, oh no; never the Biff. Biff relented and marched on to cult and critical acclaim, filling five albums with brilliant schiz-pop insanity. Having haunted the live circuit since time began, ‘Only Revolutions’ is the sound of a band in their prime, finally realising their potential after having been one of the hardest working bands in Britain for over a decade. Mon’ The Biff. Platform Rating: 8/10

Corinne Bailey Rae – ‘The Sea’
William Hill’s Odds: 6/1

Her first album was a typical excercise in Mondeo-core for the catanonic James Blunt-lovers and those who needed to soundtrack a dinner party. However, following the death of her husband Jason Rae in 2008, the attention of the music media shifted somewhat where Rae was concerned. What followed was a beautiful second album with an emotional soulfulness which clearly illustrated her development as a mature and weathered songwriter, clearly effected by her own personal tragedy. The critics love it, and the cynics may say that the horrendous circumstances that surround the album’s conception may work in Rae’s favour when the Mercury judges approach it. We however, think they should just let beauty speak for itself. Platform rating 7.5/10

Dizzee Rascal – ‘Tongue N’ Cheek’
William Hill’s odds: 4/1

Fix up, look sharp – it seems as if Dizzee Rascal has come full circle. After winning the Mercury Prize for debut album ‘Boy In Da Corner’ back in 2003, Dizzee went on to scale dizzying heights – going from underground grime hero to a smash hit sensation. The album has also proven itself as a tried and tested commercial and critical success, but will he be able to pull off the Mercury gong twice? If so, it would be an almighty triumph, cementing the fulmilment of the promise he showed back in 2003, finally creating the successful blend of his grime roots with mass appeal. Oh he’s such a rascal. Platform rating: 7/10

Kit Downes Trio – ‘Golden’
William Hill’s odds: 10/1

It just wouldn’t be the Mercury’s without some lovely jazz you’ve never heard of and probably never will again. Beautiful it may be, with an incredible demonstration of passion and musicianship, but I sincerely doubt that the Mecury’s will let an outsider win again after the atrocity of last year, especially when they’re up against such heavyweights. Platform rating: 6/10

Foals – ‘Total Life Forever’
William Hill’s odds: 8/1

It’s been another whirlwind year for Foals, capturing the minds and ears of fans and critics alike with their second album ‘Total Life Forever.’ They were wrongfully snubbed from the nominations for their debut ‘Antidotes’, but it wouldn’t have made all that much of a difference – they wouldn’t have won then and probably won’t win now, however much they deserve to. ‘Total Life Forever’ is a complete and accomplished sophomore album. Vast and euphoric, it shows a clear departure from the dark claustrophobia of ‘Antidotes’, without losing the band’s charm for enigmatic lyrics and idiosyncratic musical flourishes. Fingers crossed boys. Platform rating: 8/10

I Am Kloot – ‘Sky At Night’
William Hill’s odds: 10/1

Ouch! Those are not good odds are they? Which is unfortunate, as I Am Kloot have been showcasing some of Manchester’s finest songwriting talent for years. Produced by Guy Garvey of past Mercury winning legends Elbow, ‘Sky At Night’ is a complete and utter triumph. Let’s just hope some of his magic has rubbed off on them. Platform rating: 7.5/10

Laura Marling – ‘I Speak Because I Can’
William Hill’s odds: 6/1

Once again Marling returns with another blend of soulful folk-magic. For such a young artist, Marling has always demonstrated a mature songwriting spirit that seems to have developed far beyond her years. As a result many critics have felt uncomfortable with her approach, but in reality, the truth is that she’s developing all the time and although ‘I Speak Because I Can’ is a competant and glorious record, it is not the great record that she is more than capable of making. If this album doesn’t seize the Mercury, then one of her future efforts certainly will. Platform rating: 7/10

Mumford And Sons – ‘Sigh No More’
William Hill’s odds: 6/1

Mumford and Sons are one of the most overrated acts to take to the airwaves in living memory. Their pedestrian brand of folk-by-numbers has clearly been marketed in a manner to excite the likes of Ferne Cotton of those Tesco mums. Saying that, it has Mercury written all over it. Then it can get overplayed for another 12 months. For folk’s sake, come on Britain. Platform Rating: 6/10

Paul Weller – ‘Wake Up The Nation’
William Hill’s odds: 6/1

The Modfather is largely responsible for the shaping of modern music. Sadly that includes The Enemy, Hard Fi and Oasis, but he’s a legend so no hard feelings. As an icon, Weller is more than deserving of a nod for his efforts, and ‘Wake Up The Nation’, his 25th studio recording, shows some of his finest work. With gusto, style and conviction, this is the sound of Weller standing tall as the wise, elder statesman of rock. Sadly, it’s everything you’d expect from The former Jam man, and may come across as Wetherspoons-dad-rock. But what will The Mercurys see in it? Platform rating: 7/10

Villagers – ‘Becoming A Jackal’
William Hill’s odds: 10/1

Gradually seizing the hearts, ears and minds of folk across the planet is Conor J O’Brien, better known under his alias of Villagers. His name, warm voice and aching, poetic lyrics have become synonymous with the term ‘new Conor Oberst.’ Praise indeed, and there is certainly more to come. ‘Becoming A Jackal’ is not only one of the albums of the year, but it set to become a modern classic. Let’s just hope the judges recognise that. Platform rating: 8/10

Wild Beasts – ‘Two Dancers’
William Hill’s odds: 8/1

“Equally elegant and ugly,” sings frontman Hayden Thorpe in the divine ‘Hooting and Howling,’ perfectly encapsulating the majestic sound of their second album ‘Two Dancers.’ The record perfectly showcases the band’s impeccable knack of blending celestial and vast soundscapes with joyful vocal tomfoolery and hynoptic and articulate lyrics. Even if the judges don’t see it, ‘Two Dancers’ has ‘VICTORY’ written all over it. Platform Rating: 8.5/10

The XX – ‘XX’
William Hill’s odds: 4/1

Leading the way as favourites along with Dizzee Rascal are those drone pioneers ‘The XX.’ For some reason their pretentious inaudible mumblings have proven popular amongst scenesters and critics. Their album is a dull, directionless drone, and as such, it has had phrases like ‘triumph’ and ‘avante-garde’ levelled at it. In a sane world, The XX winning would completely debase the value of the prize. Platform rating: 6/10

By Andrew Trendell

2 Comments on Mercury Music Awards 2010 Shortlist

  1. why wild beasts doesnt have the plataform rating?

  2. AndyTrendell // July 24, 2010 at 3:04 pm //

    Good point. It has been updated. Cheers.

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