Revisiting our reviews of the 2016 Mercury nominees
If this year’s Mercury Music Award nominees are anything to go by British music has had a particularly fruitful year.
The nominees this year include such gems as David Bowie’s doom-laden epic Blackstar, Kano’s indulgent comeback album Made In The Manor and Radiohead’s universally lauded A Moon Shaped Pool, some seriously iffy pop rock from The 1975 on their dreadfully named I Like It When You Sleep, for You Are So Beautiful yet So Unaware of It and of course there’s the obligatory underground hit from jazz group The Comet Is Coming.
The full list, on the whole, is undeniably impressive. It tints the last 12 months with a nostalgia that we might not have otherwise acknowledged. While it’s probably not worth trying to ascribe any kind of deeper reason for the heaps of great British albums released this year we thought it would be fun to look back at what we thought of them when they first dropped.
Check out all of our reviews of this year’s Mercury nominated albums below.
David Bowie - BlackstarReviewed by Tom Watson
“Blackstar is not just ‘a parting gift’ for fans. Blackstar is Bowie reviewing his own existence, auditing his cultural footprint, and falling to his knees in the finality of his own death. It’s a record of maddening scope and invention where every moment feels like the final breath is drawn before closing its eyes forever.”
Anohni - HoplessnessReviewed by Adam Corner
“It is the don’t-look-away lyricism that cuts provocatively through, adding up to an astonishing album that sounds fresh, intense and utterly compelling.”
Bat For Lashes - The BrideReviewed by Adam Corner
“Too many tracks are tediously middle-of-the-road, and the mawkish spoken word Widow’s Peak is just plain cringe. Not quite a disaster, but definitely a disappointment.”
Kano - Made in the ManorReviewed by Mike Vinti
“It’s fitting that Kano should choose this moment in grime’s history to reflect on his roots. However you can’t help but wish Kano had come back with more raw appeal.”
Radiohead - A Moon Shaped PoolReviewed by Thomas Frost
“Radiohead are lost in their own wonderful world of sonics while things tumble around them, and this juxtaposition has made for a record that leaves A Moon Shaped Pool sat alongside some of their finest work. They’ve never felt closer.”
Savages - Adore LifeReviewed by Sammy Jones
“Adore Life represents a more considered, nuanced Savages, and though some of the swaggering, aggressive walls of sound that characterised their first effort might have lost some of their edge as a result, their message remains the same: don’t let the fuckers get you down.”
Skepta - KonnichiwaReviewed by Davy Reed
“Konnichiwa is the sound of an artist winning after his genre has been ditched by the industry and stigmatised by the media. And despite the album’s flaws, it tells a story in which you’ll find yourself firmly on the protagonist’s side.”