Antony and the Johnsons Win Mercury Prize
Antony and the Johnsons have won the Mercury Prize. Their odds were 5/1 today, with the Kaiser Chiefs the favourites at 6/4, M.I.A. at 4/1, and Bloc Party at 5/1. Antony and the Johnsons' nomination was controversial, as they qualified strictly because their lead singer was born in Chichester. They are a New York band. It was good enough for the Mercury nomination (and the win), but generated criticism about whether they are truly a "British" band in the spirit of the Prize.
The Mercury Prize "exists solely to champion UK music by promoting the 12 Albums of the Year by British or Irish artists." It's arguable whether giving 20,000 pounds to a New York band and declaring their album the best UK album of the year champions UK music. It sure got people talking, and will continue to do so. I suppose that's something. Something good? Again, that's arguable.
mp3:Antony and the Johnsons - Hope There's Someone (from I Am a Bird Now)
I would have been happier with most of the other artists on the shortlist taking the prize. I think the "Hey, you know, we're pretty American!" thing should have made the band think twice about entering the competition. And then not done so. Also, I'm not that crazy about their album; I don't hate it, but I don't love it either. But the Mercury Prize folks have spoken, and congrats to Antony and the Johnsons. Congrats to the artists on the shortlist as well. There are no losers, only those who didn't win. (Though a nomination isn't bad either!) Still, I would have loved it if this chap, for instance, had won. I absolutely never thought that would happen, though.
mp3:Seth Lakeman - Blood Upon Copper (from Kitty Jay)