So James Blake won the Mercury Prize this year. This is good – I like James Blake. But I don’t think he should have won. No no no. He shouldn’t have won.
The list of nominees this year was very strong, I’m not sure what Rudimental are doing on there, but still. When you look at the list, how can you not help but feel proud of the phenomenal output being put out by British artists. It’s excellent.
Overgrown is a good album. It’s certainly better than Rudimental’s Home. But lets be serious now, does anybody really think it’s the best album on the shortlist? DAVID FRICKIN BOWIE is on the same shortlist! Even fellow nominees Disclosure spoke out and said that Bowie deserved to win. If anyone can spend a decade out of the business, then just pop up willy nilly when they feel like it and still make the general public drivel over their genius, you probably deserve to win something.
I’m not saying that Bowie should have won the Mercury Prize however, it’s just important to recognise that the man is (that over used word) AWESOME. Also, speaking of important things to recognise, I think that Laura Marling is not getting the attention she deserves. Sure, yes, she has been nominated several times for the Mercury Prize and all of her albums relish in critical acclaim – but how often do people really sit down and appreciate Marling? I don’t think often enough. Why isn’t Marling more popular? Once I Was An Eagle is phenomenal. It’s intelligent and beautiful and I love it. And it’s easily better than Rudimental’s Home too.
And it makes me really happy to be able to say that Once I Was An Eagle isn’t the best album on the shortlist either. (We Brits are pretty good at this music thing huh?). There is Jake Bugg, Disclosure, Villagers, Savages, Jon Hopkins and the favourite Laura Mvula. Now all of these artists are great, so is there really any point in me harping on at you about what they sound like? Wouldn’t that be a bit boring? If you want to have some fun, listen to all of these guys. I promise you a good time. You won’t be disappointed.
Arctic Monkeys. AM. I could heap praise upon this album for decades. But if you’ve paid any attention to AM (and how couldn’t you??) you will have already heard every bit of praise which is possible to be said, being said about this album. Some critics call it the best album released this century. Controversial yes. But they might be right. Nevertheless, AM is definitely one of the best albums released this year. I’ve had it on repeat since it was released back in September now, and I fall in love with a new song every time I listen. There are NO ‘bad’ songs on the album – do I hazard to call it perfect?
But it still wasn’t the best album on the shortlist. You may have guessed where I’m going with this by now, so let me stop stalling and be out with it. James Blake didn’t deserve to win the Mercury Prize – because Foals did. When Foals released Inhaler in 2012, I was highly aroused. Inhaler was the best song released that year, and when the band came hurtling in with Holy Fire earlier this year, my oh my. What an album. Primal, stripped back and demanding your love – Holy Fire is the best British record released this year. It is a balls-to-the-wall canon ball of energy. On the back of this album they have had the biggest year of their careers so far – culminating in a headline slot in front of a 60,000 strong crowd at Latitude Festival this summer. Rumours are already circulating about a possible headline slot at the mammoth Reading & Leeds festivals – and I sincerely hope they get it. Foals haven’t put a foot wrong in their career yet, creating three albums which sounds unique and totally distinctive when compared next to each other. I think that Foals are the most exciting rock band in the world right now. I can’t wait to see what happens next.