Jul 22, 2021
By Mark Redfern
Photography by Jordan Hemingway
This year’s Mercury Prize nominees have been announced and they include the latest albums by Wolf Alice; Arlo Parks; Mogwai; Black Country, New Road; Floating Points and Pharoah Sanders; Laura Mvula; and more. The full list is below.
Wolf Alice previously won in 2018 for their sophomore album Visions of a Life. They will pull off a rare feat if they win again for this year’s Blue Weekend, one of the most acclaimed albums of the year and the follow-up to Visions of a Life. PJ Harvey is the only artist to win the Mercury Prize twice. Last month we posted our new interview with Wolf Alice on Blue Weekend (read that here) and our rave 9/10 review of the album (read that here).
Since 1992 the Mercury Prize has been awarded to the best British album of the year, meaning an album created by a citizen of the U.K. and Ireland. It’s become one of the biggest honors a British musician can receive and can also boost an album’s sales in the U.K., especially if it wins.
Some potential snubs this year include Dry Cleaning, Sons of Kemet, black midi, Squid, Jane Weaver, Gruff Rhys, Arab Strap, The Anchoress, Shame, Bobby Gillespie and Jehnny Beth, Goat Girl, and no doubt others we’re not thinking of. The eligibility period for this year stretches from July 18, 2020 to July 16, 2021.
Michael Kiwanuka won last year. British rapper Dave won in 2019. Wolf Alice in 2018. In 2017 Sampha won, the year before it was Skepta, and the year before that it was Benjamin Clementine. The Mercury Prize started out strong with Primal Scream’s Screamadelica winning in 1992 and Suede’s self-titled debut winning in 1993. There have been lots of great artists who have also won since, including Pulp, Elbow, Portishead, Franz Ferdinand, and others. Although they don’t always get it right and there have been some forgettable winners as well.
We’ll have to wait until the September 9th ceremony to see who the winner is.
Mercury Prize 2021 Nominees:
Arlo Parks: Collapsed In Sunbeams
Black Country, New Road: For the First Time…
Celeste: Not Your Muse
Floating Points, Pharoah Sanders & The London Symphony Orchestra: Promises
Ghetts: Conflict of Interest
Hannah Peel: Fir Wave
Laura Mvula: Pink Noise
Mogwai: As the Love Continues
Nubya Garcia: SOURCE
SAULT: Untitled (Rise)
Wolf Alice: Blue Weekend