Speech Debelle - Spinninâ€™
Much has been written of the whole Mercury Prize issue, both in the painful lead up to it, then in the aftermath of surprise winner Speech Debelle. Well here is the lady's first post-title release, so further comment on the subject is somewhat unavoidable.
The Mercury prize is of worth, merely because artists like Speech Debelle can gain large scale attention, whether you subscribe to her merit as winner or not. Where it goes wrong is trying to embrace a wider sphere than it is respected for. The setting of the stall has slowly moved away from the mainstream and so it should. The inclusion of Kasabian this year and indeed Elbow last time out, speaks to me of the event's desire to gain attention in its own right, for surely the degenerative anticipation of the mass media would be all too apparent if there were no Goliaths to slay! The faceless 'expert' jury and low key presentation would work, should the award solely champion new acts, to whom the Ł20,000 prize money represents a serious injection of supportive funding, rather than just a good night out. The eventual winner remains of lesser importance than the ensemble gaining essential attention, but without the token relative 'giant' in the mix, only musical anoraks like us would show any interest and that itself would wane without the media on board. The credibility gap remains compromised and so it shall stay.
Swiftly back to Ms Debelle then and this single was already pitched for release this week regardless of the award. Whether it was insightful or fortuitous; this is a rather clever choice, as it is one of the more commercially accessible numbers from the album, so the many who knew nothing of the lady pre-Mercury will be hoodwinked into downloading it! Seriously though, it's a genuinely nice song, with an infectious groove, touching on both jazz and RnB en route and if it appetises folk to go buy the album, then that's a good thing. The Mercury Prize retains a bright future and the latest recipient is deserving of an even brighter one.
Release date: 14/09/2009