OBVIOUS: The xx win the Mercury Music Prize
Thank fuck for that. Seriously, all the talk of Paul Weller picking up a “sympathy win” for missing out years ago and this supposedly being his “last chance” had got me infuriated. Weller’s hardly made an album of the year though has he? And it’s not an award to celebrate the past, it’s about revering what is genuinely exciting and ‘new’. Ok, so The xx have been almost slaughtered here in the UK, being on countless TV programmes and promotional ads, I even heard it on Countryfile. But that doesn’t matter, what we have here is a deserving winner!
Take a look at the rest of the shortlist for crying out loud! You have Biffy Clyro’s “Only Revolutions” and Dizzee Rascal’s “Tongue N’ Cheek”, both albums from artists that have branched out from their previous, heavier or grimy-er past material and crafted themselves a mainstream niche, hardly cutting edge or innovative. I will admit that I have heard neither “Sky At Night” by I Am Kloot or Paul Weller’s “Wake Up The Nation” but I feel that the older acts are included almost solely for making an effort. Yeah, Elbow have won it on the back of praise for previous work, but with “The Seldom Seen Kid” they deservedly won having such a brilliant LP!
Corrine Bailey Rae’s “The Sea” and the dare I say it dreadful Mumford & Sons’ “Sigh No More” (Yes, I seriously mean it, what could you despise more than a rehash of folk music already done better in 2008 by Fleet Foxes and the like?) are both albums representing the more pop-orientated side of the award, that contrast heavily with the traditional and almost off-putting Jazz choice, this year Kit Downes Trio’s “Golden.” Ok, so there was Villagers – “Becoming A Jackal,” Foals – “Total Life Forever,” Laura Marling – “I Speak Because I Can” and Wild Beasts – “Two Dancers” But none of them came close to the 2009 masterpiece that is The xx’s debut album.
Their brand of chilled out, atmospheric, heavily R&B influenced, moody, indie, under(over?)produced music has dominated the airwaves, the critic’s list choices and now won a Mercury, I am assuming things can only go better from here for the London-based trio. Roll on album number two.