The XX grabs the 2010 Mercury Prize

The XX: Seriously pleased about their win

Congrats to The XX, who copped this year’s Mercury Prize in the UK for best album! It’s based on critical acceptance rather than commercial success. Tastemakers around the world watch this closely, and UK gambling houses actually set odds. Typically what happens is that the award becomes a huge publicity boost as well as a shot in the arm for CD sales. Elbow won in 2008 and became huge in England.  The resulting wave of success even had a major impact here in the U.S.  Arctic Monkeys topped the shortlist in 2006 with their groundbreaking rookie effort. The band’s second album made the shortlist in 2007 but they lost out to Klaxons. Klaxons were big in the UK and although they failed to generate major album sales in America, they were regarded at the time as a major band to watch. In recent times, only the 2009 award marred the prestige of the prize.  Unknown and unappealing rapper Speech Debelle came out on top, probably because La Roux, Friendly Fires, and Glasvegas split the vote. I’m willing to bet that most people have already forgotten her, if they were aware of her at all. This year, I was hoping for either The XX or Mumford & Sons. The XX is one of those bands that grows on people anyway, and they’re great live.  Expect their album to have legs for a long time.

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