This is my prediction for the Mercury Music Prize shortlist.

Update: I scored a reasonable 5.5 out of 12. The full shortlist is here.

Arctic Monkeys
An absolute cast-iron dead cert, and the obvious favourite to win. If this doesn’t make the shortlist, then I WILL POST A PICTURE OF MY COCK ON THE INTERNET, JUST SEE IF I WON’T.
CORRECT. (Phew.)

Corinne Bailey Rae
…is to the 2000s what M People were to the 1990s, and what Sade was to the 1980s. Feel free to interpret this statement as positively or as negatively as you wish.

Girls Aloud
Pop music that it’s OK for broadsheet intellectuals to like, thus neatly ticking the Token Pop Act box.

Clever, quirky and literate, whimsical but far from trivial, with lots of twiddly-widdly musicianly bits that will flatter the intelligence of the selection panel. God, I’m feeling cynical this morning…

Hot Chip
I preferred the more laidback lo-fi sound of their debut album, but this ticks the box marked Fusion Of Disparate Influences, and we know how much the Mercury judges love their Disparate Influences…

Jon Boden
Token folkie, ergo this year’s Seth Lakeman – but also bloody good in his own right, so I’ve got my fingers crossed. Also performs as part of the duo Boden & Spiers, who are more on a Trad Tip, Dad.

Kate Bush
The other cast-iron dead cert to qualify, but I shall refrain from making any more rash promises.

…who, with their fifth album, suddenly seem to have found universal critical favour, after years of being seen as really rather naff.

Plan B
Hot young white rapper du jour, inviting inevitable comparisons with Mike Skinner and Eminem. The single is excellent: go clicky on the link above, but mind the strong language. Ticks the box marked Urban; could be this year’s Dizzee Rascal.
INCORRECT. (The Token Urban nomination went to Sway.)

Richard Hawley
Ticks the box marked Deserves Wider Exposure. That’s my box, not their box. Sublime stuff, even though I’m always getting asked to turn it off because it’s “depressing”.

The Feeling
Skilful (if a tad shallow) evocation of 1970s AOR/MOR, laced with contemporary corporate-indie-lite “attitude”, hence will appeal to the “Guilty Pleasures” sensibilities of the predominantly middle-aged judges. (Pot… kettle…)

The Pipettes
Relentlessly jolly and catchy retro-modern indie-pop exuberance from Brighton, hence this year’s equivalent of The Go! Team. Oh, and they’re also very good indeed, which always helps.

Possible substitutes: Isobel Campbell & Mark Lanegan (CORRECT), Kooks, Lily Allen.

Ah, just see if I’m right… I’m never very good at this sort of thing.

Update: The other inclusions are: Editors, Zoe Rahman (token jazz), Lou Rhodes (she used to be in Lamb), Scritti Politti, Sway and Thom Yorke.

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