It’s official: The xx have won the U.K.’s much-esteemed Mercury Prize, taking home the honor over favored short-listed nominee and veteran rocker Paul Weller. The award was issued for their debut self-titled album.
Oliver Sim of the band had this to say in accepting the £20,000 award: “We’ve had the most incredible year and it has just felt like every day we’ve just woken up to something incredible we just weren’t expecting. It has felt just like a haze. Being here is like a moment of clarity in all that’s happening.”
Jools Holland presented the award at the ceremony, held at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London. Other nominees like former winner Dizzee Rascal, Mumford & Sons, Weller, Biffy Clyro and Corinne Bailey Rae were present.
The three-piece, known for its shy nature, had nothing but shock in so many words to express in the video below to BBC. They, naturally, donned black.
It makes me feel a bit bad for Weller, who was also up for the prize 16 years ago and lost then, too. And, as I previously mentioned, I think that Laura Marling — who was up two years ago — should’ve taken it home. Then again, Weller could probably rack that money prize in in a night, and already enjoys the recognition from founding The Jam on top of generally releasing noteworthy albums. And years from now, we’ll be naming awards for Marling.
Head judge Simon Frith said that “The xx” was “a record of its time” calling it “a very urban record, it is part of that urban soundscape when no one has any idea what is going to happen next.”
This is not the time to dump on The xx or its fans, but there’s two ways to read into that former comment, and I know which one I favor. It can be read as “The xx” — to its lovers — is the best album, hands down, from 2009. Or it could be a recording representative of just that: a time. The band is not comprised of extraordinary musicians and its songs are not particularly innovative. They combine uncomplicated sonic elements and moods from around this late 2000s period, coming up with a lovely, mellow, small-sounding album that was made “in a converted garage the size of a bathroom,” as member Romy Croft said.
It’s a good choice, and a safe choice, for the now.
Click here to watch the band accept their award, and for a BBC interview.