Last year, the Mercury Music Prize proved just how pissed we
can get when the little man successfully topples a giant or
two – or little woman, rather.
Speech Debelle may not have been the most obscure artist on the
2009 shortlist but sat amongst hopefuls like
The Horrors, Bat For Lashes, Florence & The Machine and La Roux, most never thought she’d win the thing.
(Unfortunately, that included her label, Big Dadda, who didn’t ensure that they’d pressed enough copies of ‘Speech Therapy’ to cater for the demand
a winning album generates – a cock-up that the singer soon left them over).
When she did win, our recurring bluff was called. We didn’t cheer that an
unknown had instantly become a fixture on the news; we groaned that a famous person hadn’t won.
A year on, as the Mercury once again attempts to successfully judge ‘The Best Album of the Year’, with little acknowledgment of just how insane it is to compare a banjo pop band to a fifty-two-year-old mod and a British rapper,
we’re set to be a lot more pleased with the evening’s result. For once, we are not pretending we’d like an outsider to win.
We’re backing the 2-1 favourites and their masterfully understated record of dead space,
Underdogs hushed vocals and saucy sex songs; an album that has hung around TV trailers more than ‘Standing In The Way Of Control’ and seen its writers go from bedroom practise sessions to being covered by Shakira in twelve months.
The support for The xx is in fact so huge that you have to wonder why any other band Underdogs
(save for Wild Beasts and Mumford & Sons, perhaps) would bother showing up at the award ceremony on September 7th at all.
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