Jim Carroll

Music, Life and everything else

Mercury Tuesday – now with shortlist

Later this morning, the shortlist for this year’s Mercury Prize will be announced. While there has been a lot of speculation in the last 24 hours about the albums which might be on the list, all such guesswork should be …

Tue, Jul 21, 2009, 10:05

   

Later this morning, the shortlist for this year’s Mercury Prize will be announced. While there has been a lot of speculation in the last 24 hours about the albums which might be on the list, all such guesswork should be taken with a pinch of salt for a few reasons.

For a start, people need to remember that there is an application process for the Mercury. It is not as simple as just releasing an album and waiting for the judges to reward your ingenuity. If you want your album to be considered – and provided it meets the various qualification criteria – you have to send 25 CDs and a cheque for £195.50 to the Mercury office. There may be thousands and thousands of albums released in any 12 month period but, as was the case in 2007, only 233 acts bothered with the application process. Remember then that we’re dealing with a very small sample of releases.

Then, there’s the fact that the Mercury judges do not have the final say on the shortlist. As former judge Jude Rogers points out in this article about her experience as a judge, the 10 judges each produce a shortlist of 12 and these lists are then collated. “How are the choices then collated?”, she asks in the piece. “Sadly, I don’t know. It remains “confidential”, but I wish that it wasn’t.” She’s probably not the only one because it is this collating process which means you end up with the token jazz/folk album.

Such quibbles aside, I love these shortlists because they get people all worked up and talking passionately about music. Prepare for your workout now by having some bran flakes and a glass of milk and we’ll see you back here later for the fuming.

And here’s the shortlist….

Glasvegas “Glasvegas” (Sony BMG)
Bat For Lashes “Two Suns” (EMI)
Lisa Hannigan “Sea Sew” (Absolute/Hoop)
The Horrors “Primary Colours” (XL)
Kasabian “West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum” (Sony Music)
Led Bib “Sensible Shoes” (Cuneiform)
The Invisible “The Invisible” (Titan/Pyramid)
La Roux “La Roux” (Polydor)
Friendly Fires “Friendly Fires” (XL)
Sweet Billy Pilgrim “Twice Born Men” (EMI)
Speech Debelle “Speech Therapy” (Big Dada)
Florence and The Machine “Lungs” (Island)

OTR instant reactions: hurrah for Lisa Hannigan! Actually, loads of lasses on the list. Good to see Friendly Fires, The Horrors and La Roux getting the nods. No Doves. What the hell are Kasabian doing there? Speech Debelle FTW! A really fresh looking list with lots of debut albums. And the winner? I think it will be Glasvegas or Florence & The Machine

Now, over to youse.

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