Once again Britain’s most sought-after annual music prize is back. This year sees another eclectic mix of albums that have been shortlisted to win the prize which will be presented on September 6.
Nominations for the prize are chosen by a select committee of musicians, journalists and music industry moguls from around the UK. Originally designed, as competition for The Brits the Mercury prize is well known for giving lesser known, more obscure bands a chance in the limelight in comparison to the more commercial and mainstream musicians that are awarded at the Brits. Past winners of the prize, which has been awarded since 1992 include Primal Scream, Pulp and Arctic Monkeys.
Here are the 12 nominees for the 2011 Prize:
Adele - '21'
Released this January, the second album released by pop and soul singer Adele has been a runaway success. The album spent eleven consecutive weeks at the top of the UK Charts with a total of 18 weeks at number one since its release. ‘21’ is by far the best-selling album in the UK for 2011 making it a favourite to clinch the prize. However, often at the Mercury Prize, albums with substantial commercial success such as ‘21’ are rarely seen to be the winner.
Stand-out Songs – ‘Rolling in the Deep’, ‘Turning Tables’, ‘Set Fire to the Rain’
Sky Bet Odds – 7/1
Anna Calvi - 'Anna Calvi'
Whilst only peaking at #40 in the UK album charts, Anna Calvi’s first studio album is one of the favourites to pick up the gong. Released in mid-January the album was received well by critics who praised Calvi for delivering an atmospheric and elegant album which maintained the raw elements of Indie rock.
Stand-out Songs – ‘Blackout’, ‘Desire’, ‘Suzanne and I’
Sky Bet Odds – 4/1
Elbow - 'Build a Rocket Boys!'
2008 winners with ‘The Seldom Seen Kid’ Elbow aren’t expected to repeat their success this year with ‘Build a Rocket Boys’. Whilst an excellent and often beautiful album, there has never been a band to win the prize twice. This year in particular has been the most prolific for Elbow whose slow, melodic rock anthems earned them a prime slot at this year’s Glastonbury Festival.
Stand-out Songs – ‘Lippy Kids’, ‘Jesus is a Rochdale Girl’, ‘Open Arms’
Sky Bet Odds – 14/1
Everything Everything - 'Man Alive'
Everything Everything – ‘Man Alive’
The debut effort from the Indie outfit Everything Everything appears to have done them great favours in starting themselves off in the music world. The hints of experimental, new wave indie may sound typically pretentious and art schoolish but ‘Man Alive’ remains truly innovative whilst producing upbeat, happy go lucky tunes. A personal favourite of mine for the win!
Stand-out Songs – ‘Final Form’, ‘Leave the Engine Room’, ‘Qwerty Finger’
Sky Bet Odds – 14/1
Ghostpoet - 18Peanut Butter Blues & Melancholy Jam 19
Another debut album to make the shortlist, electro producer and singer Obawo Ejimiwe recorded ‘Peanut Butter Blues & Melancholy Jam whilst studying at university. The album, whilst relatively unknown before the nomination has the bookmakers giving short odds believing that Ghostpoet may cause a shock this year.
Stand-out Songs – ‘Us Against Whatever Ever’, ‘Cash and Carry Me Home’, ‘Survive It’
Sky Bet Odds – 10/1
Gwilym Simcock - Good Days at Schloss Elmau
Surely the most unknown of all 12 nominated albums and in all honesty, the least likely to win. The Mercury Prize is well known for throwing in the odd purely instrumental production and this year that throw in is Welsh pianist Gwilym Simcock. Commissioned for the BBC Proms in 2008, Simcock certainly knows his way around the ivories recording some incredibly lovely pieces in this album.
Stand-out Songs – ‘Plain Song’, ‘Northern Smile’, ‘Can We Still be Friends’
Sky Bet Odds – 25/1
James Blake - 'James Blake'
Fusing soul, electro and dubstep with soft lyrics and haunting auto-tune vocals James Blake has produced a thoroughly modern sounding debut album. Blake who has been on the producing scene for quite a while now recorded the album at his London home and will believe he is in with a shout this year for the prize.
Stand-out Songs – ‘The Wilhelm Scream’, ‘Limit to your Love, ‘Lindisfarne’
Sky Bet Odds – 7/1
Katy B - 'On a Mission'
As Mercury celebrates the more mainstream side of music this year, chart success Katy B makes a relatively surprise appearance on the list. The debut album from BRIT School graduate Kathleen Brien has been very well received by critics for its effortless use of a wide range of genres including dubstep, house, garage and R&B.
Stand-out Songs – ‘Lights On’, ‘Easy Please Me’, ‘Katy on a Mission’
Sky Bet Odds – 14/1
King Creosote & Jon Hopkins - 'Diamond Mine'
The collaboration of Scottish singer/songwriter King Creosote and London based producer Jon Hopkins has seen a welcome nomination for this soft flowing and delicate album. Apparently the album was in production for seven years and details King Creosote’s romanticised and dream-like view of his hometown of Fife.
Stand-out Songs – ‘John Taylor’s Month Away’, ‘Your Young Voice’, ‘Running on Fumes’
Sky Bet Odds – 18/1
Metronomy - 'The English Riviera'
Metronomy’s third studio album ‘English Riviera’ is being backed by many to be the winners this year. The uplifting, electro pop effort scored well with NME readers who made clear they’re favourite in an online poll at http://www.nme.com/ratemy/225305/who-should-win-the-mercury-prize-2011
Stand-out Songs – ‘The Look’, ‘Everything Goes My Way’, ‘The Bay’
Sky Bet Odds – 11/2
PJ Harvey - 'Let England Shake'
PJ Harvey – ‘Let England Shake’
Past winner in 2001 and four time nominee PJ Harvey is no stranger to music’s most illustrious prize. Currently the bookmaker’s favourite to win ‘Let England Shake’ is a harder, rockier album by the solo artist with more forward, lyrically based songs compared to her earlier albums. If she does win, Harvey will become the first artist to pick up the prize twice.
Stand-out Songs – ‘England’, ‘The Last Living Rose’, ‘The Words that Maketh Murder’
Sky Bet Odds – 2/1
Tinie Tempah - 'Disc-overy'
Pop and rap artist Tinie experienced a healthy amount of time in the charts with his first debut album ‘Disc-overy’ which went double platinum following its release in October 2010. The dance orientated music which featured artists such as Swedish House Mafia and Kelly Rowland became extremely popular in clubs up and down the UK. Already, the album has earned the London born artist two BRIT awards which he will be hoping to add to come September.
Stand-out Songs – ‘Pass Out’, ‘Written in the Stars’, ‘Invincible’
Sky Bet Odds – 20/1
*All betting odds as of 01/08/2011