The late David Bowie will go up against Radiohead and the 1975 for the U.K.’s prestigious Mercury Prize, nominations for which were announced early Thursday in London.
“Blackstar” — which Bowie released Jan. 8, a mere two days before his death from cancer at age 69 — is among the 12 albums on the so-called shortlist for the annual award, designed to “celebrate and promote the best of U.K. music … across an eclectic range of contemporary music genres,” according to a statement.
Radiohead’s “A Moon Shaped Pool” and the 1975’s “I like it when you sleep, for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it” were also nominated. Others among the 12 nominations include Laura Mvula’s “The Dreaming Room” and “Hopelessness” by Anohni, the singer formerly known as Antony, who won the Mercury Prize in 2005 with “I Am A Bird Now” by her band Antony and the Johnsons.
Surprisingly, Adele’s “25” was skipped over, as was another big hit in Coldplay’s “A Head Full of Dreams.” Yet historically the Mercury Prize has taken pains to show it operates outside commercial concerns. Last year’s winner was “At Least for Now” by singer-songwriter Benjamin Clementine.
In announcing the 2016 nominations, the Mercury judging panel — which includes journalists and broadcasters along with artists such as Jessie Ware, Jamie Cullum and Pulp frontman Jarvis Cocker — said, “This is music to make sense of our unsettling times — heartfelt, angry, thoughtful and thrilling.” The judges said the albums on the shortlist “are marked by their musical ambitions, unexpected instrumentation and breathtaking arrangements.”
The winner will be announced Sept. 15 at an event in London.
The shortlist of albums nominated for the 2016 Mercury Prize:
Bat For Lashes, “The Bride”
David Bowie, “Blackstar”
Jamie Woon, “Making Time”
Kano, “Made in the Manor”
Laura Mvula, “The Dreaming Room”
Michael Kiwanuka, “Love & Hate”
Radiohead, “A Moon Shaped Pool”
Savages, “Adore Life”
The 1975, “I like it when you sleep, for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it”
The Comet Is Coming, “Channel the Spirits”