Mercury Prize 2023

The 2023 shortlist for the Mercury Prize is out, there is also a spotify playlist with a couple of headline tracks from each:

Here’s my ranking. Or actually because I found it hard to rank them, more of a tier list:


That! Feels Good!, Jessie Ware

The one I looked forward to every time it came on the playlist, and I’ve listened to the whole album a few times. First came across her due to some remixes (Free Yourself is crying out for a higher BPM) but count me as a fan now. I also very much enjoyed this video with Roisin Murphy:

Runners up:

  • My 21st Century Blues, RAYE. Difficult story about her record label withholding its release for years (presumably for some selfish commercial reason). Very catchy, and especially as it’s not my favourite genre, I thought particularly good.


  • Heavy Heavy, Young Fathers. I really like the band, but this album is not as strong as their previous winner from 2014.
  • False Lankum, Lankum. Really not my thing at all but I still found it totally compelling.
  • I Love You Jennifer B, Jockstrap. Very musical and strong vocals. Put me somewhat in mind of Belle and Sebastian.
  • Messy, Olivia Dean. Easy to listen to and some great tracks, but not as memorable as RAYE.
  • Beautiful And Brutal Yard, J Hus. Also really catchy.


  • Nymph, Shygirl. Firefly is good pop and she’s a good DJ. Less sure about the rest of the album.
  • Where I’m Meant To Be, Ezra Collective. The obligatory jazz entry. Better than usual, but not as good as GoGo Penguin.
  • hugo, Loyle Carner. Looking at the plays I think people listen to the full album not just the singles. I like the album as a whole, but am left a bit cold by the individual tracks.


  • The Car, Arctic Monkeys. I do like the Arctic Monkeys and some tracks from this album I enjoyed, but the change of style/reinvention doesn’t do it for me.

Shouldn’t be on the list:

  • Actual Life 3, Fred Again... I am so tired of Fred.