The Mercury Music Prize is a press junket with feelings. While bozos get plastered and toot chong from toilet cisterns, pinning lackeys against walls with their feeble erections, a panel of judges all pat each other on the back discussing albums that Really Mean It Man, as opposed to those that sold loads of copies that Didn’t Mean It Man.
And, as ever, ‘musical creativity and excellence’ is supposedly highlighted by the predictable 12 Albums of the Year shortlisted for the 2010 Barclaycard Mercury Prize. And they’ve been announced today!
Aren’t you excited?
“This year’s Mercury list includes musicians from all stages of their careers and from contrasting parts of the British Isles,” says Simon Frith, Chair of Judges. “It features music that is urban and rural, light and dark, joyful and profound. The records have wit, an abundance of musical energy and their own distinct voices. There is music here to make you laugh, cry, dance and sing. Enjoy!”
Idiot. Here’s the real skinny on what the albums sound like:
Biffy Clyro ‘Only Revolutions‘
Biffy Clyro are the kind of band you’d once find in the 9p bin in Andy’s Records in the ’90s. File them next to forgotten hapless indie schmucks like Baby Chaos and Megacity 4. In one song, they have the audacity to say “Is this the pinnacle of being alive?” The answer is a resounding ‘no’ to this pedestrian bilge.
Corinne Bailey Rae ‘The Sea’
Corinne Bailey Rae is, essentially, the Amy Winehouse for people in Farah slacks who have peas growing in the garden. Of course, she’s had bad times in her personal life, which will mean that failed musician rock critics will search every single line for a hint of personal pain. Wanders into acid-jazz territory far too frequently. Stand-out line “Don’t you feel like you’ve had enough?” Yep.
Dizzee Rascal ‘Tongue N’ Cheek’
It’s wacky ol’ Fantasy World Dizzee! He’s got a funny rapping voice which sounds like he’s constantly in a head-lock! And he did that funny interview with Jeremy Paxman!? Apparently he’s got “eight-hundred-fifty-pound jeans covering [his] shin.” You’d hope for that money they’d cover your arse as well.
Foals ‘Total Life Forever’
Foals are, without doubt, one of the most irritating bands to ever grace a speaker-tweeter. Seemingly cribbing their grooves from old Level 42 albums, Foals go about their business with an earnestness not seen since Sylvia Plath stuck her head in the oven. Basically, Foals are the band Coldplay could’ve been if they didn’t sell as many records. Imagine that. Brrrrrr.
I Am Kloot ‘Sky At Night’
Guy Garvey approved Mancs, I Am Kloot, are acoustic balladeers who sound exactly like the sort of thing Jools Holland fizzes over without being allowed to sit in on piano. Sadly, this long-player does not feature Patrick Moore pissing about on a xylophone.
Kit Downes Trio ‘Golden’
When people appear on Countdown and say “I’ll take three large ones and two small ones please” in the numbers round, then the Mercury Music Prize judges apply a similar rule to the way they go about their shortlist. Essentially, they say “we’ll have a load of rock LPs and a couple of weird kooky choices please Rachel!” Kit Downes & Co. are this year’s token jazz entrant who, on occasion, sound like a piano being thrown down a spiral staircase… and chased by further pianos.
Laura Marling ‘I Speak Because I Can’
Typical self-confessional folk bollocks from Laura Marling, which is the sound of someone tapping along on the steering wheel of their Range Rover, reeking of self-satisfaction. It’s so personal! IT’S SO INTIMATE! BECAUSE IT IS A GIRL! LOOK! AND SHE’S PLAYING A GUITAR AS WELL! IT’S SO REAL THAT WHEN YOU CUT THE ALBUM… IT BLEEDS BLOOD! LIKE AN UNCOOKED STEAK! This album will probably win.
Mumford & Sons ‘Sigh No More’
Weak, beige rubbish that underlines why 6Music isn’t needed on the radio at all. Mumford & Sons are the modern equivalent of The Levellers, with earnest gubbins backed by stupid fucking instruments and cod-anthemic choruses that sound like a rubbish Christmas single.
Paul Weller ‘Wake Up the Nation’
Paul Weller makes his best since Stanley Road. Right? Now, lets point out that Stanley Road only had three good tunes on it. Now we’re getting somewhere. Basically, while it is nice to see Weller being more experimental, there’s no hiding from the fact that, for the most part, he sounds like an old man throwing a tantrum at the telly. Paul Weller is a legend for doing very little. Disagree all you want, but The Jam weren’t that good, Style Council were abysmal and his solo stuff is mediocre for the most part.
The xx ‘xx’
Ah. The hipster’s choice. Another strong contender for the prize no doubt, mainly down to the fact that 30-somethings can see why young people like them and want to get down with them. Really though, they just want to stare at the young people’s bra-straps. Anyway, The xx are disaffected bedsit indie, which is incredibly popular with folks now. Personally, I would have put Lonelady in their place in this list, but I clearly don’t know a thing about anything.
Villagers ‘Becoming a Jackal’
Yet another woody, introspective band that want to tell you all about their bloody feelings.
Wild Beasts ‘Two Dancers’
Wild Beasts are unfathomably popular. They’re staggeringly awful and veer dangerously close to the yodelling breakdowns in Focus records far too frequently. They’re a mewing, bleeding heart bunch that really need a clip ’round the head. Melodramatic throwaway nonsense that could only be enjoyed by the most weedy, simpering idiot. This of course means that this is a good outside bet to win this pointless award. I bet their fans wear those stupid ironic jumpers with wolves on.
This line-up is, without doubt, the most dickless, empty dancefloor of a list seen in years. There’s no fun or energy in this brow-beaten, wallowing clutch of bands. It’s a list of bands, Dizzee excepted, that probably like playing with twigs on a Friday night whilst pondering which of the nine hummus bowls to dip into. British music in 2010 is, quite frankly, wetter than a baby’s follow-through. It would have been much more fun if the Mercury Prize had the cheek to actually give the award to a pop outfit like Alexandra Burke or something.