Mercury Prize Winners 1992-2013

Last year, we looked at the nominees of the Barclaycard Mercury Music Prize in excruciating detail (you can find the links below). This year, let’s just take a very quick browse through the list of winners!

  • 1992 – Primal Scream – Screamadelica
  • 1993 – Suede – Suede
  • 1994 – M People – Elegant Slumming
  • 1995 – Portishead – Dummy
  • 1996 – Pulp – Different Class
  • 1997 – Roni Size / Reprazent – New Forms
  • 1998 – Gomez – Bring it On
  • 1999 – Talvin Singh – Ok
  • 2000 – Badly Drawn Boy – The Hour of Bewilderbeast
  • 2001 – PJ Harvey – Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea
  • 2002 – Ms. Dynamite – A Little Deeper
  • 2003 – Dizzee Rascal – Boy in da Corner
  • 2004 – Franz Ferdinand – Franz Ferdinand
  • 2005 – Antony and the Johnsons – I Am a Bird Now
  • 2006 – Arctic Monkeys – Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not
  • 2007 – Klaxons – Myths of the Near Future
  • 2008 – Elbow – The Seldom Seen Kid
  • 2009 – Speech Debelle – Speech Therapy
  • 2010 – The XX – XX
  • 2011 – PJ Harvey – Let England Shake
  • 2012 – Alt-J – An Awesome Wave
  • 2013 – James Blake – Overgrown

Which does make for a slightly odd list when you see it all together – it’s a mix of legends and total drivel… but who are we to judge? That’s the job of the judging committee.

If you want to delve into the gory details of previous years, you can find them here: 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013. The nominees for 2014 can be found here, and we’ll take a look at the winners next week.

The Best Singles of 2004

I also found this one in my archives, dated December 2004…

Air “Cherry Blossom Girl” (Virgin; January; #175)

Without a doubt the most beautiful track on Talkie Walkie, which is one of their best albums to date. The single that was available in the UK, a Canadian import, features no other tracks of interest, but the original should have been a huge hit.

Bent “Comin’ Back” (Open; August; #89)

An absolutely beautiful track from the duo’s third album Ariels, and without a doubt a return to form. Astoundingly, despite unfavourable reviews, this became one of their most successful singles, and the album fared better than either of its predecessors.

Delerium feat. Nerina Pallot “Truly” (Nettwerk; February; #54)

Bill Leeb and Rhys Fulber made their name in the UK with classic stomping dance tracks, and continue in that vein with numerous new mixes from well known names. A welcome reworking of one of the best tracks from their recent album Chimera.

Delerium feat. Sarah McLachlan “Silence 2004” (Nettwerk; November; #38)

The third full UK release for the track that made Delerium in the UK. This time, as well as the best of the earlier remixes, it contains new versions by Above & Beyond and Filterheadz, neither of which detract from the splendour of the track. A welcome reissue to promote their recent Best of compilation, the only thing missing is the original album version.

Depeche Mode “Enjoy the Silence 2004” (Mute; October; #7)

A welcome return for the track that made the group one of the forerunners of electronic music. A multitude of new remixes of this and other tracks propelled the single back into the top ten and helped the remix album towards the right end of the charts.

Dirty Vegas “Walk into the Sun” (Parlophone; October; #54)

Finally, the long-awaited return from one of the best new bands of 2002. Unfortunately, the world seems to have forgotten them, and poor reviews and lack of airplay meant the single barely charted and the album didn’t make it at all. This doesn’t mean it’s a bad track though. Easily as good as anything on the first album, this is another essential track for them.

Enigma “Boum Boum” (Virgin; October; #108)

A fantastic return to form for an artist who has fallen behind the times somewhat in recent years, backed up with wonderful remixes by Chicane and Wally Lopez. Somewhat unsurprisingly, though, it didn’t manage the charts, despite being Cretu’s first UK single in four years.

Erasure “Breathe” (Mute; November; download only)

A fantastic return for a band who have seen relatively little success and a lot of unfavourable reviews over the last decade. It probably won’t be a hit when it receives its full UK release in January, but it’s pretty good nonetheless.

Faithless “Mass Destruction” (Cheeky; May; #7)

Occasionally Maxi Jazz comes out with astoundingly insightful and ingenious lyrics. This is one of those moments. It’s not the pounding four-to-the-floor insanity we might expect from Faithless, but it’s still a fantastic track, and herald for a good fourth album.

Goldfrapp “Black Cherry” (Mute; March; #28)

Yet another single from the wonderful album of the same name. This time the tracks included were minimally spread across the three formats, but included wonderful remixes, videos, live versions and a new exclusive b-side.

Kraftwerk “Aérodynamik” (EMI; April; #33)

Finally having dragged themselves back into the studio for the rush-released Tour de France Soundtracks in 2003, the true godfathers of electronic music returned with another single and continued on their travels with yet another world tour. The single features four exclusive new versions which no self-respecting home should be without.

Lemon Jelly “Stay with You” (XL; November; #31)

After a break of eighteen months, Lemon Jelly returned at the end of 2004 with possibly their best track to date. It may lack the charm of Nice Weather for Ducks, instead bringing together influences from French dance music as well as many familiar sounds, but it’s an instant classic nonetheless.

Pet Shop Boys “Flamboyant” (Parlophone; March; #12)

Many people are of the opinion that 2003 was one of the boys’ best years to date, seeing them returning to their more familiar electronic sound, and being rewarded with reasonable success for their troubles. This, the second single from their second hits album PopArt, was backed with numerous stunning remixes, the video, and a brand new b-side.

Soho Dolls “Prince Harry” (Poptones; November; #57)

The group made their name in the summer touring with Client, and, thanks to that, achieved a minor hit with their first single. It’s very raw and electronic, even more punk than Ladytron, and absolutely bristling with attitude.

Sylver “Love is an Angel” (??; October; no UK release)

Rumour has it that this is a true return to form. Having seen less success than deserved since their wonderful debut Turn the Tide, this track took them back into the German Top 20. Still no sign of any UK success, though.

Dirty Vegas – One

After the enormous worldwide success of their eponymous debut album (2002), Dirty Vegas were obviously still struggling to come up with a good album title, and so One (2004) was the follow-up.

It’s also fair to accuse them of having struggled with finding their sound. The rock-played-on-synths-to-a-dance-beat style of the debut gave way to a much more traditional rock sound with One, and sadly that really didn’t do them any favours.

The first track is Roses, a pleasant enough opener, but one which was really never going to set the world alight. This leads us to Home Again, which is just a bit dull – it’s nice enough, but it doesn’t go anywhere in particular, and it spends nearly five minutes trying. Maybe a bit of selective editing would have helped.

Human Love is one of the two tracks which really are good – as good as anything on the first album, in fact. By the time it turns up it’s actually a bit of a surprise, as you’ve waded through the first couple of tracks to get to this point. This could easily have been the second single though, if it had ever come to that.

The one single from this album was Walk Into the Sun, and it’s by far the best track on the album – it almost feels like false advertising actually, as this is clearly so much better than most of the songs on here. Catchy chorus, strong lyrics, and really it has everything it needs.

But the rest of the album is going to make for depressing reading. They’re all nice enough – Closer is a pleasant song, and  A Million Ways does demonstrate some faint echoes of the previous album. Don’t Throw It Away! is probably the best of the latter half of the album, but even that’s a bit meaningless and empty.

And so it goes on – In This Life and Given You Everything are nice enough, but they were never going to change the world, and album closer Save Me Now is a bit on the dull side too. This is fine as background music, but if you’re looking for something to grab you by the throat then this is not it.

In 2004, the charts were still important to most acts, and Dirty Vegas really weren’t performing well. They had also lost their stride in the US, the country which broke them in the first place, so they didn’t have an awful lot left. Walk Into the Sun struggled into the bottom end of the chart, and the album scraped a minor hit. It would be another seven years before the reasonably good Electric Love would signal their comeback, and that seems to be the time it took them to work out who they were again. But at the time that One arrived, they really weren’t sure.

You can still find One at all major retailers, and you can also enjoy some pretentious reviews at the same link if you’re bored.

Preview – Lamb

Lamb are back this week, after a gap of I don’t know how many years, bringing back their unique blend of chilled out electronic dub, or whatever. This is We Fall in Love, from the new album Backspace Unwind:

Chart for stowaways – 20 September 2014

Hopping forward a couple of weeks, just in time to see Goldfrapp‘s triumphant return to the charts, a year after Tales of Us was originally released. Röyksopp and Robyn are still firmly perched at the top of the singles, and floating around on the albums at number 16 too.

  1. Goldfrapp – Tales of Us
  2. Goldfrapp – Felt Mountain
  3. Jean Michel Jarre – Sessions 2000
  4. Kings Have Long Arms – I Rock, Eye Pop
  5. Pet Shop Boys – Elysium
  6. Pet Shop Boys – PopArt
  7. Goldfrapp – Supernature
  8. Enigma – MCMXC a.D.
  9. Orbital – Work 1989-2002
  10. Sarah Nixey – Brave Tin Soldiers

Beginner’s guide to The Grid

Partly the dance side-project of Soft Cell member Dave Ball, and partly a groundbreaking trance duo, The Grid have four albums to their name and a whole heap of remixes.

Key moments

You’ll probably remember Texas CowboysSwamp Thing, or maybe even Rollercoaster from the Evolver album. After two relatively low key albums, somehow the third contained pretty much non-stop hits.

Where to start

There’s a comprehensive singles compilation in the shape of Music for Dancing (1995), which is definitely the best place to start.

What to buy

Evolver (1994) is their truly essential album. Follow that up with the debut Electric Head (1990), and then the second album 456 (1992), and you’ll have a pretty solid selection of early 1990s dance pop.

Don’t bother with

The 2008 comeback Doppelgänger is entirely forgettable, and the singles are probably for completists only.

Hidden treasure

Bob Kraushaar‘s single version of A Beat Called Love is brilliant, if you can find a copy.

For stowaways