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UKNY for September 19: Mercury Prize 2020

The shortlisted albums for the 2020 Mercury Prize (collage by Laura Fedele for WFUV)

The shortlisted albums for the 2020 Mercury Prize (collage by Laura Fedele for WFUV)


Like everything else in 2020, the announcement of this year's Mercury Prize winner this Thursday, September 24, won't be taking place via the usual London concert and awards ceremony in a big venue, but on BBC's "The One Show," following an array of specials on various BBC radio and TV platforms. But even though that usual communal crowning of the winner of what is arguably the most prestigious award given to a British or Irish album will be restricted to a more digital, socially-distanced plan, the import of the prize is still a major one in the music industry calendar.

On tonight's "UKNY" at 11, the annual perusal of the 12 albums on this year's shortlist. For the first time in Mercury Prize history, which dates from 1992, women outnumber men on the list and there's a good number of pop artists, like Charli XCX and Dua Lipa, alongside indie rockers (Sports Team, Porridge Radio), experimentalists in jazz and electronic genres (Moses Boyd, Anna Meredith), grime luminaries (Stormzy, Kano) and FUV favorites and multiple nominees too (Michael Kiwanuka, Laura Marling).

The winner of the Mercury Prize, no matter if a festival headliner or an emerging band, will take home a trophy, a check for £25,000 (about $32,290), and the honor of being chosen by a starry panel of judges of releasing the best album of the year (which stretches from 20 July 2019 to 17 July 2020).

A Mercury Prize preview on "UKNY," Saturdays 11pm-midnight, on 90.7, streaming online and also available after broadcast in the Weekend Archives.

Songs played:

1. Sports Team, “Camel Crew,” Deep Down Happy
2. Charli XCX, “detonate,” how i’m feeling now
3. Lanterns on the Lake, “Blue Screen Beams,” Spook the Herd
4. Laura Marling, “Alexandra,” Song for our Daughter
5. Kano feat. Lil Silva, “Got My Brandy, Got My Beats,” Hoodies All Summer
6. Moses Boyd feat. Joe Armon-Jones, “2 Far Gone,” Dark Matter
7. Porridge Radio, “Long,” Every Bad
8. Dua Lipa, “Hallucinate,” Future Nostalgia
9. Georgia, “Never Let You Go,” Seeking Thrills
10. Anna Meredith, “Moonmoons,” Fibs
11. Stormzy, “Do Better,” Heavy is the Head
12. Michael Kiwanuka, “Hard to Say Goodbye,” Kiwanuka