By John Curley
Newcomers The xx have been named as winners of this year’s Mercury Prize for their self-titled debut album during ceremonies held tonight (Tuesday, September 7th) at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London. They had been favored to win until reports yesterday had Paul Weller as the bookmakers’ favorite.
The Mercury Prize is an annual award which crowns one album by a British or Irish artist as Album of the Year.
I have mixed feelings about The xx’s win. While it’s something of a Cinderella story to see a young band like them come out of nowhere to take a prestigious award like the Mercury Prize, I can’t say that their album was the best British album of the year. I thought that the albums by Paul Weller and Mumford and Sons were much stronger. Weller probably lost out to The xx oddly enough because of all that he has accomplished in his more than 30 years in the business.
This is not to say that The xx are not talented. They’ve got some decent tunes, “VCR” and "Islands" in particular. But their win just smacks of the triumph of a critical darling while artists that more fans enjoy—such as Weller, Mumford and Sons, Laura Marling, Biffy Clyro, Corinne Bailey Rae, and Dizzee Rascal—go home empty handed.
For The xx’s sake, I hope that they have more of a future than last year’s winner, the London rapper Speech Debelle, who quickly faded back into obscurity after her shock win.
The xx start a North American tour on September 22nd at the Hollywood Palladium in Los Angeles. See The xx’s MySpace page for their full tour dates.
To watch a video of The xx being interviewed after their Mercury Prize win, click below:
To watch some videos by The xx, click in the appropriate places below:
For more on The xx’s Mercury Prize victory, see the articles from BBC News (which features a video of The xx’s acceptance speech and a band interview with BBC 6 Music DJ Lauren Laverne), BBC 6 Music, XFM London, and NME.com.
For a list and brief synopses of the past winners of the Mercury Prize, see the XFM London Web site.
See the XFM London Web site for comments from XFM London DJ and Mercury Prize judge John Kennedy.