Choycean Criticism // Choice Music Prize 2010
Two years ago, I attempted a marathon overview of all 10 Choice Prize nominees the day before the ceremony. It was madness then and it would be madness if I attempted it again. It physically hurt by the time I’d finished, so I can only imagine what it was like for the poor unfortunates who attempted to read the thing.
I had planned to write something up earlier in the week but inevitably I got side-tracked (I also thought it was on Saturday for some reason) and I only really got around to doing it because I was reading Nay’s title-related thoughts and came up with a witty one of my own. Whatever about my motivations, it seems there has been an extra bit of buzz about this year’s contest as opposed to previous years, at least from the online end of the meeja.
In previous years, there’s tended to be a bust-up of some sort on co-founder Jim Carroll’s blog whenever the shortlist/winner is announced. Lauren Murphy of the Irish Times wrote a good piece on the bizarre conspiracy theories people tend to read into the award, and indeed Carroll stepped down as moderator this year in part, probably to avoid the annual accusations that he had once again rigged the thing.
Ragged Words has a new interview with the contest’s other founder, Dave Reid, who is still very much involved behind the scenes with the contest, perhaps as a result of not being accused of rigging it all the time. Elsewhere, State has an overview of all ten nominated albums (they fiendishly organised this while I wasn’t at home – bastards) and Peter at 2 U I Bestow has handily crafted a blog with samples of all ten albums.
Although I’ll be home alone tonight instead of partying at the venue (we don’t have much coin, so we don’t), I do tend to get abnormally excited about the Choicies. I don’t particularly care who wins (I’ve always been terrible at ranking things and don’t have a particular favourite from the shortlist) but I just can’t get over how great it is that there are ten legitimately great Irish artists vying for the prize and that so many other great albums missed out completely. Being a music fan in this country is an expensive hobby but it’s concepts like this that make the emotional investment worthwhile.
As for who will win the prize… I honestly don’t have the foggiest. Villagers seems the most “liked” album we’ve had for years in this country and it’s quite possible that Conor O’Brien could do a Jape and become the winner nobody can really argue with. However, I have this niggling feeling that Cathy Davey will run away with it. Like Villagers, I think she is a real “critic’s musician” in that she makes the sort of music that really connects with folks like us who tend to over-analyse everything.
Plus judges aren’t immune to the pressures of history and I think it will weigh on the judges’ minds, at least subconsciously, that a woman hasn’t won the prize since Julie Feeney picked up the inaugural gong in ’05 despite a number of really worthy nominees over the years. I guess I should have put a wager on that with some fine establishment. Oops.