Now here are the 12 albums that I am predicting to be nominated for the 2021 Hyundai Mercury Prize.
“Ancient Dreams In A Modern Land” by MARINA
MARINA hasn’t been nominated for the Mercury Prize yet. I’ll let that sink in. It baffles me that her previous material hasn’t made the cut. With MARINA’s fifth record “Ancient Dreams In A Modern Land” being some of her best work to date in my opinion, are we about to see the Mercury’s pull a Charli XCX on us and finally give this girl a nomination? I certainly hope so, because it’s about bloody time!
“Blue Weekend” by Wolf Alice
Fun Fact: PJ Harvey is the only artist to have won the Mercury Prize twice. I have a feeling this will change this year, because “Blue Weekend”, the third studio album by Wolf Alice has not only improved on its 2018 Mercury Prize winning album, “Visions Of A Life”, they have created one of the best albums of the century with “Blue Weekend”. Remember how earlier I said that the Mercury’s don’t tend to nominate artists who’ve previously been nominated unless their new release is something even better. This is Wolf Alice, and this is “Blue Weekend”. Let’s see this happen because it deserves it. This would also mean that all three of Wolf Alice’s studio albums will have been nominated. It would be incredibly impressive, and quite honestly, it needs it.
“Bright Green Field” by Squid
Squid is a band I have fallen in love with over the last 18 months, and their debut album “Bright Green Field” shows exactly why I love them. The album is sensational as a whole, it’s atmospheric and lyrically sublime. Even a family member said to me today during a garden party, where I played the albums lead single “Narrator” featuring Martha Skye Murphy (my 2nd favourite song of the year so far), that they felt incredibly on edge throughout it. It’s a record that fully understands sound and how it can affect us, and the fact that’s incredibly unique and different as well, it has to be nominated.
“Collapsed In Sunbeams” by Arlo Parks
Arlo Parks is one of my favourite artists right now. Her debut album “Collapsed In Sunbeams” is the most honest record I’ve heard in years. With its vulnerable lyrics and gorgeous vocals, Arlo Parks is an artist of a generation. We’ve seen this already as she’s been nominated for three BRIT Awards, even winning for Breakthrough Artist. The Mercury’s have to nominate this, and it just might win it too.
“Drunk Tank Pink” by shame
“Drunk Tank Pink” is a record I’ve heard so many great things about by so many people for a matter of months now, and it’s shocked me why I never checked it out until writing this list. I regret not picking this up sooner because this album is sensational. The album is punchy, unapologetic and just remarkable. shame is a band that are going places, and their inevitable Mercury nomination will prove that.
“For the first time” by Black Country, New Road
Black Country, New Road are a band that I fell in love with the second I heard their debut album, “For the first time”. Everything about it is just fascinating. Its orchestral sound is provocative, soothing and genius all at the same time. If this record doesn’t get a Mercury nomination, I will riot.
“Good Woman” by The Staves
The Staves are another band that I think is overlooked by so many people. They’re a strong band with great chemistry in every single track they create, with their harmonies being my favourite thing about them. “Good Woman” is the band’s best record so far, and believe that if ever theres a time for this band to be nominated, it’s now. They deserve it!
“Isles” by Bicep
Bicep is just amazing. On their sophomore album “Isles”, Bicep create some remarkable soundscapes, some of the very best of the year for me, and I know that the Mercury’s love a good atmospheric album filled with great soundscapes and production, as we saw with Anna Meredith’s “FIBS” and Charli XCX’s “how i’m feeling now”, which were both nominated last year, so Bicep could be included on the 2021 list, and I’d be very happy if it was.
“Money Can’t Buy Happiness” by Fredo
Fredo, very much like Dave and Loyle Carner, is a rapper who can pull off a rap record. Its production is flawless with Fredo’s bars written to perfection. “Money Can’t Buy Happiness” is grime at its very best, and I’m certain will be nominated.
“Not Your Muse” by Celeste
Celeste is an artist that everyone has been talking about recently. I will be honest, and this is an unpopular opinion, but I don’t want “Not Your Muse” to be nominated. I don’t think the album is particularly great and I think there are so many stronger records that could take its place, but for some reason, I feel as though the Mercury 2021 list would be incomplete without Celeste. So this choice isn’t a desired one, it’s a forced one, but I will be incredibly shocked if they don’t include it.
“Send Them To Coventry” by Pa Salieu
Pa Salieu is a rapper who’s changing up what grime is while staying true to its routes. Salieu’s distinctive vocals provide us with sensational lyrics and top quality production through this 15-track masterpiece. There’s a reason why he won the BBC Sound of 2021 list and why he was nominated for the BRITs Rising Star Award. This is the very reason why.
*INSERT – PA SALIEU: FRONTLINE*
“Untitled (Rise)” by SAULT
SAULT are an incredible band that I love in so many ways. “Untitled (Rise)” is their sophomore album, and the second record to be released in 2020 after their undeniably brilliant debut “Untitled (Black Is…)” was released in April 2020 (and was also Rough Trade’s Album Of The Year), their sophomore record by this mystery music-making UK collective further explores the suppression of black people in the world, and its statement is staggering and incredibly impactful. The revolution has come, their words will rise and “Untitled (Rise)” is its soundtrack. The Mercury’s need to nominate this record for a prize.
*INSERT – SAULT: FREE*
So there you have it, my predictions of which albums could be nominated for the 2021 Hyundai Mercury Prize 2021. Do you agree? What do you think could be nominated? Make sure to keep the conversation going!
Written by EJ Scanlan.