Monkeys tipped for Mercury

With this year's Mercury Music Prize due to be announced this evening, bookmakers suggest that the Arctic Monkeys are runaway favourites to scoop the prize for best new album.

With this year's Mercury Music Prize due to be announced this evening, bookmakers suggest that the Arctic Monkeys are runaway favourites to scoop the prize, which is awarded to the best new album by a British or Irish act.

The Sheffield band's first album, Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not, has been sweeping all before it since its release in February, when it became the fastest-selling debut in British chart history, and is rated by bookmakers as an odd-on favourite for the £20,000 award. The band's combination of choppy guitars and wry observations of teenage life in Yorkshire has also been winning rapturous receptions at this summer's festivals.

Judges for the prize - these days sponsored by Nationwide - described the record as "great songs, astonishingly performed". However, they offer equally fulsome praise for the other contenders, and furthermore have a history of contrary decision-making.

When Radiohead's OK Computer was released in 1997 it was immediately greeted as a classic, but was beaten to that year's Mercury by Bristol drum'n'basser Roni Size's less widely appreciated New Forms. Similarly, Blur's Parklife, which heralded the Britpop boom, was seen off by M People in 1994.

Yet the judges are sufficiently unpredictable that favourites do occasionally win - as with Franz Ferdinand, the Arctic Monkeys' Domino labelmates, in 2004.

Should the judges pass on the Arctic Monkeys, other contenders for the prize include lugubrious crooner Richard Hawley, for Coles Corner; proggy festival favourites Muse, for Black Holes and Revelations; and arty electropoppers Hot Chip, for The Warning.

The award will be announced at a central London ceremony this evening, and results are expected to be made public soon after 11pm.

Mercury shortlist in full

Arctic Monkeys: Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not
Isobel Campbell & Mark Lanegan: Ballad of the Broken Seas
Editors: The Back Room
Guillemots: Through the Windowpane
Richard Hawley: Coles Corner
Hot Chip: The Warning
Muse: Black Holes & Revelations
Zoe Rahman: Melting Pot
Lou Rhodes: Beloved One
Scritti Politti: White Bread Black Beer
Sway: This is My Demo
Thom Yorke: The Eraser


Lindesay Irvine

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Monkeys vie with surprise comeback in Mercury race

Arctic Monkeys and Thom Yorke have been joined by a surprise comeback from the reclusive Scritti Politti - last seen in the charts some 20 years ago - in the nominations for this year's Nationwide Mercury Prize.

Staff and agencies

18, Jul, 2006 @1:52 PM

Article image
A Mercury for the Monkeys
The Nationwide Mercury prize judges sprung a surprise last night by anointing the runaway favourites as winners.

Owen Gibson, media correspondent and Charlotte Higgins, arts correspondent

06, Sep, 2006 @9:17 AM

Article image
Lou Rhodes on her Mercury prize nomination

Lou Rhodes talks to Imogen Tilden.

Lou Rhodes

21, Jul, 2006 @9:31 AM

Arctic Monkeys take Mercury prize
The Arctic Monkeys win the Nationwide Mercury Prize for their debut album Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not.

Press Association

05, Sep, 2006 @10:07 PM

At a glance: the Mercury shortlist

Profiles: Guillemots to Lou Rhodes, via Thom Yorke and Scritti Politti.

18, Jul, 2006 @2:29 PM

Article image
Mercury judges opt for eclectic shortlist
· No dominant sound in UK music, says chairman
· Arctic Monkeys installed as favourites for award

Owen Gibson, media correspondent

19, Jul, 2006 @2:21 PM

A result that is hard to argue with

There is a sense in which the Mercury prize is the music industry's equivalent of a piñata: no sooner is the shortlist hoisted into view than everyone - record label bosses, music journalists and, in a good year, the actual nominees - whips out a stick and starts beating the living daylights out of it.

Alexis Petridis

06, Sep, 2006 @9:03 AM

Article image
Pull the other one

How does it feel to get on the Mercury prize shortlist when you have no agent, manager or record company? So crazy you have to laugh, says pianist Zoe Rahman.

Colin Irwin

04, Aug, 2006 @2:30 PM

Arctic Monkeys set hot pace in Mercury prize
· Consecutive nominations a first for Sheffield band
· Amy Winehouse is joint favourite on 12-strong list

Owen Gibson, media correspondent

17, Jul, 2007 @11:11 PM

Article image
Mercury prize 2018: Noel Gallagher, Florence and Arctic Monkeys shortlisted
Other nominees for the prestigious album award include Lily Allen, Jorja Smith and Wolf Alice, jazz group Sons of Kemet, and experimental acts Nadine Shah, Everything Everything and King Krule

Laura Snapes

26, Jul, 2018 @10:09 AM