Paul Weller has received a Mercury Prize nomination. Wake Up The Nation is the first of his releases to receive such recognition in sixteen years, and only the second time it has happened for him personally at all. His own opinion on this latter day elevation is that he wont win the prize, owing to the fact he isn’t an ‘outsider’. And looking back at his last appointment, this hypothesis seems to have something about it.
In 1994, M People managed to win the category, beating off the likes of Oasis, Pulp and Weller himself. The former were to say the least, particularly up and coming at the time of going to press, dominating the UK music charts by trading off hit singles, blockbuster albums and embittered hyperbole. Add to this the fact that it’s been eight years since a classical album has even been selected, and the concept of the award itself does start to rankle. Is the Mercury Prize about musical integrity? Or dictated, as we suspect, by voting trends popularized on one level by reality TV shows such as the X Factor?
Is there really any inherent difference with the judging panels for awards such as these?