Hyundai Mercury Prize – The Preview

Tonight, the best of the UK music industry celebrates a great year of music at the Eventim Apollo in London, culminating in the presentation of one of the most prestigious awards in British music: the Hyundai Mercury Prize.

The shortlist, made up of 12 records, is always very diverse and unpredictable, and this year is no exception. Let’s have a look at the shortlist for tonight’s award…

alt-J – RELAXER
RELAXER is the third record from indie stars alt-J. It’s without a doubt their riskiest record so far in their already prestigious career, having been nominated twice before for the award, but RELAXER is arguably their best. A dark and experimental record which is one of the best indie records of the year, but can it win the Mercury? Possibly.
Likelihood of winning: 7/10
Best song: Deadcrush

Blossoms – Blossoms
The biggest indie breakthrough of the year Blossoms wowed critics with their self-titled debut record. Blossoms have proved they are the beacon of hope for the indie scene, with their infusion of an indie-pop sound with a hint of the 80s. These guys will definitely be around for years to come, especially if their next record is in the same vein as this.
Likelihood of winning: 5/10
Best song: Blown Rose

Dinosaur – Together, As One
The token ‘who the hell is this?’ on this year’s shortlist are Dinosaur with their record Together, as One. On paper, you could easily dismiss it. If you have listened to this before, it’s easily a winner. The jazz ensemble have really pulled it out the bag here, with a unique and fresh sound which is bound to get the Mercury judges thinking.
Likelihood of winning: 8/10
Best song: Awakening

Ed Sheeran – Divide
Yes, Ed Sheeran has been nominated with his cheesy, frustrating record Divide, a record which looked promising but ultimately isn’t exactly memorable. Don’t get me wrong, there are some decent tracks here, but the Mercury is about discovering unearthed talent (example being Benjamin Clementine in 2015), he shouldn’t be anywhere near this list. Sheeran, however, broke a lot of records with Divide, he could be the dark horse here.
Likelihood of winning: 2/10
Best song: Castle On The Hill

Glass Animals – How to Be a Human Being
Another breakthrough success this year in the indie scene were the brilliant Glass Animals. Their second record How To Be A Human Being is a colourful yet awkward groove. The band are now extremely popular, especially since gaining 200million Spotify streams in the past few years. A band with a cult following and one to watch in the future.
Likelihood of winning: 4/10
Best song: Season 2 Episode 3

J HUS – Common Sense
The debut record from East London rapper J HUS is a unique project that shapes the best of grime,  dancehall, and 00s hip-hop into a vibrant, unique sound. Gaining plaudits from every corner of the industry and selling out headline shows around the country, there’s definitely no stopping this bright, young talent, and if he wins this award, it could be the making of him.
Likelihood of winning: 9/10
Best song: Did You See

Kate Tempest – Let Them Eat Chaos
One of the UK’s best-loved poet and spoken word artist Kate Tempest released arguably her best record to date, Let Them Eat Chaos, this year and it’s taken critics by storm. The record plays host to loads of characters in real-life situations, against the back drop of a global crisis. A highly politically charged record and a great social commentary, the bookies favourite to win tonight.
Likelihood of winning: 10/10

Loyle Carner – Yesterday’s Gone
A truly incredible record from one of the UK’s greatest rap artists, Loyle Carner. Yesterday’s Gone is a rap/hip-hop masterpiece fantastic fantatsic tracks and wordplay from arguably UK rap’s best lyricist. The tracks on Yesterday’s Gone are some of the best I’ve heard in years. Carner is one of those artists who needs to be heard. My dark horse for the win tonight, and if he wins, he really does deserve it.
Likelihood of winning: 8/10
Best song: NO CD.

Sampha – Process
My favourite to win. Process is a beautiful, stunning masterpiece from the most underrated star in UK music. Sampha has collaborated with some of the world’s biggest names like Drake and Kanye West. Process shows off his lyrical ability, penning tracks about his sleep insomnia, his demons and an ode to his late mother. Incredibly stunning, and a record which is ultimately timeless.
Likelihood of winning: 10/10
Best song: No One Knows Me (Like The Piano)

Stormzy – Gang Signs & Prayer
Grime’s biggest star. Stormzy’s long awaited debut Gang Signs & Prayer was met with much acclaim and hype, and you can tell why. A totally different record to what people were expecting. Not only is there the usual grime tracks, but there are a variety of genres here like the slick R’n’B and gospel heard in some of the tracks. A great range of collaborators, and a great chance of winning tonight.
Likelihood of winning: 10/10
Best song: Cigarettes and Cush (ft. Kehlani)

The Big Moon – Love In The 4th Dimension
The Big Moon’s debut record is a nostalgic ode to 00’s indie. The all-female band are one of the best upcoming bands and you can see why when you listen to this record from start to finish. An intelligent gritty sound which suits the band’s indie image. This is definitely a record you need to listen to.
Likelihood of winning: 6/10
Best song: Cupid

The XX – I See You
The third record from The XX is a dance-orientated hit. Having gone on hiatus so Jamie XX could produce his own debut, strains of that can be heard in many of the tracks on I See You. They are definitely a band stepping out of their comfort zone, and it’s working considering they are tipped to be a future Glastonbury headliner in the future. Their best record to date, and could win tonight… maybe.
Likelihood of winning: 8/10
Best song: Dangerous

So, there you have it. The preview to the 2017 Hyundai Mercury Prize. I’ve predicted Sampha’s Process to win this year’s award. However, anyone can win. Just look at the past winners!

The ceremony is live tonight on BBC Four at 21:15.

 

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