Musings on The Mercuries

Back in the 90s when The Mercury Music Prize started (named after its first sponsor – a company that no longer exists!) I’d look at the list and the majority of them would already be in my collection. This year there was only one on the list that I could say I knew (Anna Calvi’s excellent Hunter). I suspect quite a lot of this is due to my being an old fart, and not just because I’m still bitter that Blackstar didn’t win, but it strikes me that in the last few years the prize has become a very London-centric music-media love-in. It’s been five years since an artist outside of London won and I don’t think there has been a genuinely surprising winner for much longer than that. The shortlist often shows a lack of genre diversity (the token modern classical artist seems to have completely vanished and folk or pop rarely get a look in – at least Jazz is still represented (which would be a major oversight given its insurgence in recent years)) and while there was a refreshing number of explicitly polictical acts this year it still feels very safe, unexciting and, to be honest, a bit stale. If they can make it to the 30th award maybe they ought to call it a day there…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *