Last Thursday saw the announcement of this year’s Mercury Prize in recognition of the best albums born out of the UK of the past year. Covering the breadth of the music industry, the Mercury Prize has seen albums of all genres nominated. Beginning in 1992, the prize has been viewed by artists, audiences and critics alike as prestigious and previous winners, such as Primal Scream’s Screamadelica continue to be seen as quintessential British albums. The Mercury Prize is not without its share of controversy, with the list being a yearly issue of contention as many critically acclaimed and commercially adored albums have not been included in the shortlist in favour of ‘outsiders’. A notable example of this is 1994 winner Elegant Slumming by M People, which saw off competition from the likes of The Prodigy, Blur and Pulp. Moreover, it has been argued that genres such as classical and heavy metal do not get the recognition that they deserve from the Mercury’s. Regardless, the Mercury Prize is still seen by many as Britain’s top music prize, therefore, here at Pitch & Sync we decided that this was the perfect opportunity to look at some of our favourite previous winners, our favourites from this year’s list and some albums that we felt should have been included this year.
3 favourites from the past
Firmly cementing Bristol as the capital of trip-hop, Portishead served as pioneers for a uniquely British take on hip-hop.
The fastest selling debut album in British history, this brilliant album tells of the nuances of life in Sheffield. With Arctic Monkeys’ latest output up for the prize this year, we can’t help but return to this modern classic.
A confident debut, Young Fathers’ reimagined UK hip hop with a uniquely Scottish twist. Gritty and experimental, this album is truly captivating.
3 of the best from 2018
The second release from Wolf Alice, they followed up their Mercury nominated debut with this expansive album, drawing on different genres, such as shoegaze, folk and psychedelia.
A culturally rich and political release, Sons of Kemet approach the issues of nationalism and colonialism through their intricate jazz.
A stunning soulful debut, Jorja Smith has had immense critical and commercial success and we can’t help but agree.
We couldn’t go without mentioning this album. A brave collaborative piece by head of XL Recordings, Richard Russell, this album features some of our favourites, such as Kamasi Washington, Ibeyi and previous winner Sampha.
3 that got away from 2018
A close friend to us here at P&S. We might be biased about Jon Hopkins not being included on this year’s list, but Singularity is definitely one of our picks for album of the year.
Viewed by many as one of the key bands to come out of South London, Shame’s debut would’ve provided a breath of fresh air to the Mercury’s list.
A sprawling piece of experimental pop, SOPHIE’s distinctive production style is apparent on this debut album.