Hello, Music Fans!

So this week the ever-underwhelming Barclaycard Mercury Prize Albums of the Year shortlist was unveiled, and I think expectations were met – what a poor list!

Since we as a team were so disappointed with this year’s shortlist, we decide to dig deep into the Mercury archives, to find some much better albums that were actually worthy of being nominated. Hence, our Best of the Mercury Prize Monday Playlist – our Albums of the (Last 11) Years if you will, as the Mercury Prize was established in 1992.

It’s been a very interesting seven days in the Music Section this week, what with last week’s Country music playlist for starters! We’ve been down-under, reported on the aforementioned Mercury shortlist and had a listen to the new Arctic Monkeys album AM – which has been nominated for the Prize this year! This week we have another exciting week of content, with not one but TWO live reviews. If you missed out on tickets for the Macklemore & Ryan Lewis tour, or your nearest show headlined by The 1975, you’re in for a treat!

One week until Freshers, and boy are we excited for that…

‘Til next week,

Nicola x

Music Editor,

P.S: You’ll need to download Spotify and grab yourself an account to access the playlist!

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1. ‘Two For Nero’ (from the 2011 nominated album Man Alive) – Everything Everything

Ethan Williamson (@E523W) says: “While Everything Everything have shot into ‘the mainstream consciousness’ with second album Arc, many still haven’t heard the inane, wonderful randomness that was the band’s debut album. I was tempted to go with ‘Schoolin” from the same album – with lyrics such as “You say that I’m an overlord?/I’ve got myself a fire hydrant/with more tyrant/In watery blasts, than all of my past!” summing it up perfectly. In the end, however, I went with this. Tender and oddly beautiful despite, or maybe because of, the nonsensical lyrics.”

2. ‘Simple As This’ (from the 2013 nominated album Jake Bugg) – Jake Bugg

Alex Underwood (@broadcasteralex) says: “Jake Bugg is a pick from the current crop of nominees. This is a great album track from the best LP released in a long time. A folk song about reflection and looking inward for greater meaning; subjects of songs normally reserved for musicians far beyond Bugg’s years. The maturity of the Mercury-shortlisted album is showcased very well in just this one song, and gives hope for more great things in the near future as he comes to terms with his unprecedented success.”

3. ‘Sheila’ (from the 2007 nominated album Panic Prevention) – Jamie T

Natalie Whitehouse (@_natbcfc) says: “I would go as far as labeling Jamie T as a lyrical genius, and his 2007 debut album completely backs this up. Panic Prevention – entitled so because of the panic attacks he used to suffer from when he was younger – is perhaps one of my favourite albums ever, with ‘Sheila’ being my personal stand out on the terrific LP by the London-born singer-songwriter. To put it simply, Jamie T sings quite bluntly about everyday life. Real life. ‘Sheila’ itself is a song that tells three tragic stories, one in each verse, with each culminating in death. But don’t let that put you off; there’s something about the way Jamie T tells these tales that make for a brilliant and brutally honest song about drink, drugs and overdose.”

4. ‘Dust Bowl Dance’ (from 2010 the nominated album Sigh No More) – Mumford & Sons 

Natalie says: “Since being nominated for the prize in 2010 with their debut album Sigh No More, Mumford & Sons have been on the up and up, with their latest musical conquest coming in the form of headlining Glastonbury this summer. As a band they really are extremely powerful, and ‘Dust Bowl Dance’ showcases the best of Mumford & Sons; a slow start, punchy yet meaningful lyrics, finishing with a real up-beat tempo and terrific instrumental. A masterpiece from start to finish.”

5. ‘Cosmic Love’ (from the 2009 nominated album Lungs) – Florence + The Machine

Rachael Scarsbrook (@andthe_machine) says: “Her first album may have been a little scatty in terms of overall themes, but it really was a masterpiece. Losing out to Speeche Debelle did nothing to rain on Florence’s parade and Lungs was the album that got me properly obsessed with music. It was also the first time that I had found a band that I just knew I would spend the rest of my life following.”

6. ‘Get Your Hands Off My Woman’ (from the 2003 nominated album Permission To Land) – The Darkness

Nicola Allen (@NicoClaireAllen) says: “In the main, Suffolk rockers The Darkness have always been regarded as a bit of a novelty band – but so what?! Bringing howling, cliché rock music into the modern music scene is their aim, whilst ball-hugging spandex catsuits are their game. With big hair and PVC trousers to boot, Justin Hawkins and co really are something. ‘Get Your Hands Off My Woman’ is the second lick on their only Mercury-nominated album, and tells the story of a man protecting his girl. Gold star for chivalry, Hawkins, with a side of thumbs-up for kick ass riffs to soundtrack.”

7. ‘Shiver’ (from the 2000 nominated album Parachutes) – Coldplay

Nicola says: “I tried… I tried so hard not to put a Coldplay song in but I just can’t do it; the love is too strong. I’ve been a Coldplay fan ever since the geeky quartet of Chris Martin, Jonny Buckland, Will Champion and Guy Berryman hit the scene. Parachutes was the band’s debut album that ultimately led to their debut appearance in the Mercury Prize  shortlist (with two other nominations for A Rush of Blood to the Head and X&Y following afterwards). Meanwhile ‘Shiver’ has and always will be one of my favourite Coldplay songs. It’s an upbeat, uplifting song about love and catching someone’s eye across the way. Whatever the motivation from the lyrics (probably a moment from the boys’ student life), it’s a cute little number, and one that I will always hold dear to my heart.”

8. ‘Jezebel’ (from the 2003 prize-winning album Boy in da Corner) – Dizzee Rascal

Bradley Duggan (@bradley_duggan) says: “His first studio album really propelled him into super stardom and put Grime on the map in the UK; a genre that was very underground up to the point of his release. The album won the Mercury Prize in 2003, although even a decade after its victory, people still ask the question “Did it deserve the prize?” Boy in da Corner really shows the socio-economic realities of everyday inner city life from a 17-year-old’s point of view. There are so many different songs that could have been chosen from this album, including ‘I Luv U’, ‘Jus a Rascal’, and ‘Fix Up Look Sharp’ but I thought I would choose ‘Jezebel’. The song really reflects on teenage life and takes a chunk out of the social affairs of the “the popular kids”. Dizzee speaks his mind on this song and speaks it clearly. The album is one of the best grime albums ever; actually it’s probably just one of the best albums ever. The critics loved it and so did the public, the album is still very modern and can easily still cut it with the best.”

9. ‘Waiting All Night (feat. Ella Eyre)’ (from the 2013 nominated album Home) – Rudimental

Harry Dean (@harrydeansays) says: “After their first single ‘Feel The Love’ topped UK charts last year, Rudimental have been favourite on both the commercial radio and club scenes. Their recent single, Waiting All Night’, from the album ‘Home’ continues this success with both the single and album topping the charts. Drum and bass tunes are a great listen, and I doubt that you’ve never heard at least one of their songs; their album really is worth a listen! It received generally positive reviews and Rudimental is my favourite artist nominated this year!

If you have a couple more minutes to spare, why not check out the past week’s other content?