The CLUAS Archive: 1998 - 2011


The boys and girls behind the Mercury Music Prize clearly know more about music than we do. How else can you explain the decision to award 1995’s prize to Portishead above Oasis (Definitely Maybe), Supergrass (I Should Coco) or, if they wanted leftfield, Leftfield (Leftism). Portishead have gone on to produce approximately one studio album since winning the Mercury, showing that the judges faith in the band using the award as springboard for a glittering music career, (as the prize is designed to do) was incredibly ill-founded. 

1999 was another occasion when the Mercury judges showed us mere mortals how cool they really where when Talvin Singh usurped the likes of Blur, Beth Orton, Faithless and The Chemical Brothers to claim the award for his debut album OK. The problem with OK was just that, it was nothing more. Even 13, which, in Key Notes humble opinion, is Blur's weakest album, was more deserving of the nod that year. However, Singh ticked a number of pc boxes that the judges couldn’t ignore. Middleclass white boy rock just wasn’t hip enough anymore it seemed. 

And so we come to last night. The winners of the 2007 awards were (and lets hope you haven't taped it for viewing tonight) Klaxons for their debut, Myths of the Near Future. Now, far be it from this blog to predict the future, but as interesting (indeed as refreshing) as Klaxons are, it is very much the sound of 2006/7 and the fickle record buying public will shortly move on to whatever sound du jour our friends in NME and Hot Press tell them they should be liking in 2008.  They are hardly a band that we'll still be talking about in 10 years time.

Personally, Key Notes vote would have gone for Bat for Lashes. Fur & Gold is a lovingly and skilfully crafted collection of music veneered with haunting vocals and moments of pure unadulterated pop eccentricity not seen since Kate Bush disappeared over the top of that hill. It’s not the best album this blog has ever heard by any means, but it has longevity, a timelessness, that Key Notes just can’t hear in any of the other contenders for this year’s prize. 

With all that being said, music is about opinions, and an album one person hates could easily be another’s favourite and that’s why Key Notes believes we should stop all these silly awards, after all, the only real winners are the sponsors behind the prize. Tellingly, not many Mercury winners have gone on to forge massively successful careers (it’s too early to tell for The Arctic Monkeys). 

Over to you then dear readers. Who did you feel was most deserving of last nights award; or indeed, like Key Notes do you feel that music awards serve no greater function than promoting the awards sponsors (whom, you'll note, Key Notes has failed to acknowledge)?

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Nuggets from our archive

2000 - 'Rock Criticism: Getting it Right', written by Mark Godfrey. A thought provoking reflection on the art of rock criticism.