David Bowie, Radiohead, and the 1975 are the big names among the 12 nominees for the 2016 Mercury Prize, an award selected by an elite panel of music industry insiders and annually given to the best album created by a British artist.
The finalists were revealed Thursday, and Bowie is the name that most stands out. The late performer's Blackstar is regarded as one of the best albums of the year, and given the outpouring of affection directed his way after he passed away in January, Bowie could be a strong contender to win the Mercury Prize. Bowie was a finalist twice before – in 2002 for Heathen and in 2013 for The Next Day.
Radiohead are contenders for the fifth time, a record. A Moon Shaped Pool could give the band its first Mercury Prize win ever. They were previously nominated for OK Computer, Amnesiac, Hail to the Thief, and In Rainbows.
The 1975 are first-time nominees for I like it when you sleep, for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it, which has produced the hits “Love Me” and “The Sound.” Their album may have been the biggest mainstream hit of the bunch, which means it probably won't win, since the Mercury Prize typically goes to an artist on the fringes. Recent winners have included Young Fathers, James Blake, Alt-J and the xx.
Other strong contenders include Bat for Lashes, Michael Kiwanuka, Savages, and Laura Mvula. In a statement, the judging panel said, “This is music to make sense of our unsettling times - heartfelt, angry, thoughtful and thrilling. The 2016 Hyundai Mercury Prize Albums of the Year are marked by their musical ambitions, unexpected instrumentation and breathtaking arrangements.”
The batch of 12 nominees will be narrowed to a final field of six. One of those six positions will be chosen by fans, who can vote at the Mercury Prize website. A panel of rock journalists and select musicians, including Jessie Ware, Naughty Boy, and Jarvis Cocker, will make the final determination and the winner will be announced at a September 15 ceremony.
2016 Mercury Prize nominees:
Anohni - Hopelessness
Bat For Lashes - The Bride
David Bowie - Blackstar
Jamie Woon - Making Time
Kano - Made in the Manor
Laura Mvula - The Dreaming Room
Michael Kiwanuka - Love & Hate
Radiohead - A Moon Shaped Pool
Savages - Adore Life
Skepta - Konnichiwa
The 1975 - I like it when you sleep, for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it
The Comet Is Coming - Channel the Spirits