It’s that time of year again, already. Tomorrow (22 July) the shortlist for the Hyundai Mercury Prize 2021 will be revealed.  It doesn’t feel like a whole year ago since we were being introduced to the 2020 shortlist for the Mercury Prize, won by Michael Kiwanuka in September last year.

If anything last years’ prize cemented reasons to not trust The VLM predictions. As with our 2019 predictions we weren’t quite on the money… but third time lucky?

Anyway this year we are getting ahead of the game, trying to predict tomorrows’ shortlist announcement. These predictions do not necessarily reflect albums we think are the best of the year but rather on which artists we believe will be selected for the shortlist. So this takes in to consideration the judges for the year, the quality and reviews of albums this year, and the award’s previous history of nominations.

But to begin with here a few worthy mentions (to cover our backs in case none of the predictions make the cut)…

Worthy Mentions:

AJ Tracey – Flu Game
Beabadoobee – Fake It Flowers
black Midi – Cavalcade
Disclosure – ENERGY
Django Django – Glowing in the Dark
Everything Everything – RE-ANIMATOR
Fenne Lily – BREACH
Goat Girl – On All Fours
Greentea Peng – Man Made
Laura Mvula – Pink Noise
slowthai – TYRON
SquidBright Green Field
Sorry – 925
Working Men’s Club – Working Men’s Club 

Shortlist Predictions:

Bicep – Isles
The dance one (that your parents would call ‘white noise’)


Black Country, New Road – For the first time
The math rock one (that is cool, but no one really understands it)


Dry Cleaning – New Long Leg

The impressive debut one (that you flex about knowing, but have only heard the lead single)

Fontaines D.C. – A Hero’s Death
The second time lucky one (that kept up the spirit after a strong debut)


For Those I Love – For Those I Love

The spoken word one (that is either loved intensely or completely unheard of)


Ghetts – Conflict of Interest
The rap one (that your dad pretends to have heard of)


Oscar Jerome –
Breathe Deep
The Jazz One (that never wins but is always celebrated for ‘bringing jazz to a new audience’)


Arlo Parks – Collapsed in Sunbeams

The bookies favourite one (that is mainstream enough, edgy enough, and radio friendly enough)


Róisín Murphy – Róisín Machine

The mature one (that The Guardian readers will be especially buzzing about)


Royal Blood – Typhoons

The mainstream one (that will keep the viewing figures up and satisfy ‘the lads’ who refer to it as ‘proper music’)


shame – Drunk Tank Pink

The punk one (that the misunderstood teens will riot over when it doesn’t win)


Wolf Alice – Blue Weekend

The coming back for a second win one (that will also cause a stir if it isn’t shortlisted)

Be sure to check out the announcement tomorrow here on The Hyundai Mercury Prize website to see how far off we are.

About The Author

Will Fisher

Journalism graduate from The University of Sheffield, all-round music dweeb, and mac 'n' cheese enthusiast.

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