September 20, 2018
The quartet’s shapeshifting blend of shoegaze, grunge and folk was rightly loved by the Mercury judges, but this is a prize fewer and fewer people care about – so something needs to change
Wolf Alice are worthy winners – but the Mercury prize must think bigger
It feels strange to relate that, some years ago, a criticism levelled against the Mercury Prize was that its shortlist was too diverse: how, naysayers wondered, could anyone make a meaningful qualitative judgment between James Macmillan’s cantata for choir and strings, Seven Last Words from the Cross, and I Should Coco by Supergrass? It was an interesting point, but recent Mercury shortlists have nevertheless offered an object lesson in Being Careful What You Wish For.
This year’s offered not even a vague pretence of covering a wide range of music: its two jazz entries aside, it was a narrow sampling of albums from the mainstream or, at best, a couple of inches to the left of it. The chairman of the judges, Radio 2 and BBC 6Music controller Jeff Smith, found himself presiding over a list substantially less eclectic than the output of either of his stations: no folk music, nothing avant garde, nothing from the spectrum of hard rock, no modern classical, not even any dance music. The quality of the shortlisted entries ranged from overhyped to pretty good to unequivocally excellent, but there were no curveballs, nothing to frighten the horses, nothing you wouldn’t already know about if you had been keeping abreast of a broadsheet newspaper’s music pages. Dark conspiracy-theory-minded mutterings were heard about the fact that the Mercury, sponsored by Hyundai, is now run by the BPI, the same organisation that runs the Brits, an annual event indefatigable in its efforts to make British music appear less interesting than it actually is.

The problem with a limited shortlist is that it can reflect back on the eventual winner: there’s more value in being first out of a wildly varied and intriguing selection of albums than there is in being first out of a limited and predictable list. That’s unfortunate in the case of Wolf Alice’s Visions of a Life, which was undoubtedly one of the better albums up for the prize. The quartet are nobody’s idea of a wildly innovative band, but, by the standards of latterday British indie rock, Visions of a Life is varied, restless and wide in scope: it shifts from ethereal folk to punk-ish anger, from waves of drifting guitar influenced by 90s shoegazing bands to glacial synthpop to grungy howl. It’s also ambitious: the title track comes in three episodic parts, sprawling for the best part of eight minutes. The band’s skill lies in their ability to essay so many different alt-rock styles without sounding like they’re trying out ideas in search of an identity of their own. That Visions of a Life feels like a coherent album rather than a miscellany has a lot to do with vocalist Ellie Rowsell, who’s both an intriguing lyricist and a commanding, charismatic presence, with a voice that slips from an urgent whisper to ethereal gothic coo to splenetic howl.
Wolf Alice are worthy winners – but the Mercury prize must think bigger
Wolf Alice winning the Mercury doesn’t really come as a surprise: Visions of a Life was critically acclaimed and commercially successful, entering the charts at No 2. But the Mercury at the moment doesn’t deal in surprises, which you suspect might be its biggest problem, the reason it feels like an award that’s losing its cachet – one that people aren’t that bothered about. It needs to do something to get said cachet back: broadening out its musical remit would be a start.
Latest News
Top news around the world
Coronavirus Disease

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious disease caused by a newly discovered coronavirus.

Most people infected with the COVID-19 virus will experience mild to moderate respiratory illness and recover without requiring special treatment. Older people, and those with underlying medical problems like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic respiratory disease, and cancer are more likely to develop serious illness.

Around the World

Celebrity News

> Latest News in Media

Watch It
Tekashi 6ix9ine Shoots Music Video After Release from House Arrest
August 02, 2020
VyVVV5Tg1EA
Montana Couple Married at Age 91, Signed a Prenup | TMZ
August 02, 2020
1sImDqNXfko
Donald Trump Suggests Presidential Election Should Be Delayed | TMZ
July 31, 2020
dueLNw16vkY
Al Roker Talks New Book, George Floyd & Being on "TODAY" | Daily Pop | E! News
August 03, 2020
TC2Kb1J10GQ
Is Clare Crawley Quitting "The Bachelorette"? | Daily Pop | E! News
August 03, 2020
LoIhGfCkTHg
How Martha Stewart's Living a Hot Girl Summer in Quarantine | E! News
August 03, 2020
P9JtvNrTKhQ
Davina Potratz wishes her softer side was shown on ‘Selling Sunset’ | Page Six Celebrity News
July 31, 2020
5E6w1CgPiEI
Will Ellen Degeneres be replaced? | Page Six Celebrity News
July 30, 2020
qL3cje-HhPM
Selling Sunset's Christine Quinn reveals why she feuds with Heather Rae Young, Davina Potratz
July 30, 2020
s7kL7qBqzg4
Chris Meloni talks 'Maxxx' and His Return to 'Law and Order'
July 30, 2020
ZFTDB-dwyUA
'The Fugitive' Star Boyd Holbrook Shares Why He Left 'Narcos' After 2 Seasons
July 30, 2020
2kTuD8LTGCE
'Umbrella Academy' Season 2 Finds The Hargreeves Navigating the 1960s
July 24, 2020
JdPgaIxmUKg
TV Schedule
Late Night Show
Watch the latest shows of U.S. top comedians

Sports

Latest sport results, news, videos, interviews and comments
Latest Events
02
Aug
ITALY: Serie A
Genoa - Verona
02
Aug
ITALY: Serie A
Bologna - Torino
02
Aug
ITALY: Serie A
Lecce - Parma
02
Aug
ITALY: Serie A
Sassuolo - Udinese
02
Aug
ITALY: Serie A
Spal - Fiorentina
01
Aug
ITALY: Serie A
Juventus - Roma
01
Aug
ITALY: Serie A
AC Milan - Cagliari
01
Aug
ITALY: Serie A
Napoli - Lazio
01
Aug
ITALY: Serie A
Atalanta - Inter Milan
29
Jul
ITALY: Serie A
Torino - Roma
29
Jul
ITALY: Serie A
Cagliari - Juventus
29
Jul
ITALY: Serie A
Sampdoria - AC Milan
28
Jul
ITALY: Serie A
Inter Milan - Napoli
26
Jul
ENGLAND: Premier League
Manchester City - Norwich City
26
Jul
ENGLAND: Premier League
Arsenal - Watford
26
Jul
ENGLAND: Premier League
Leicester City - Manchester United
26
Jul
ITALY: Serie A
Juventus - Sampdoria
26
Jul
ENGLAND: Premier League
Chelsea - Wolves
26
Jul
ENGLAND: Premier League
Newcastle United - Liverpool
26
Jul
ENGLAND: Premier League
Crystal Palace - Tottenham Hotspur
26
Jul
ITALY: Serie A
Roma - Fiorentina
25
Jul
ITALY: Serie A
Napoli - Sassuolo
25
Jul
ITALY: Serie A
Genoa - Inter Milan
24
Jul
ITALY: Serie A
AC Milan - Atalanta
23
Jul
ITALY: Serie A
Udinese - Juventus
22
Jul
ENGLAND: Premier League
Liverpool - Chelsea
22
Jul
ENGLAND: Premier League
Manchester United - West Ham United
22
Jul
ITALY: Serie A
Spal - Roma
22
Jul
ITALY: Serie A
Inter Milan - Fiorentina
22
Jul
ITALY: Serie A
Parma - Napoli
21
Jul
ITALY: Serie A
Sassuolo - AC Milan
Find us on Instagram
at @feedimo to stay up to date with the latest.
Featured Video You Might Like
-g9Qziqbif8 0vmRhiLHE2U JFCZUoa6MYE UfN5PCF5EUo 2PV55f3-UAg W3y9zuI_F64 -7qCxIccihU pQ9gcOoH9R8 g5MRDEXRk4k tudKp5Vhs3k iwWHibhssSo kQr0XHPbICM
Copyright © 2020 Feedimo. All Rights Reserved.