For the most part BlackPlastic believes that music award ceremonies are for chumps. Like every good rule there is, however, an exception. And that exception is the Mercury Music Prize.
What makes the Mercury Music Prize transcend that crappy sycophantic lip-service of other award ceremonies is its simplicity: one album. That's it. By focusing on that at the expense of lifetime achievement awards, best newcomer, best use of women wearing gymwear in a music video and longest speech at last year's event it gets to the point and is much better placed to judge how has achieved greatness in the past year.
There are still obviously decisions BlackPlastic would disagree with. Particularly M People (1994), Talvin Singh (yawn, 1999) and Ms. Dynamite (WTF? 2002). But the discussion and the deliberation is half the point.
With the shortlist announced on 21 July here are our picks for who may / should get a nod (in no order of course):
The Horrors - Primary Colours
Art-y but relatively approachable and safe, Primary Colours was the shock-horror-it's-actually-alright album of the year when it was released. BlackPlastic loves it and tips it for the win.
Late of the Pier - Fantasy Black Channel
Noisy, unique, dark, mysterious - Late of the Pier's epic début had BlackPlastic gushing when it was released last year. It just sounds so fresh and new. In our opinion Fantasy Black Channel SHOULD win, but it probably won't.
Glasvegas - Glasvegas
Not BlackPlastic's cup of tea but they manage to come across as creative whilst still being a firm Dad favourite. It certainly did Elbow no harm.
Jack Peñate - Everything Is New
The other shock-horror-it's-actually-alright album for this year. To be fair, Jack's début was actually pretty enjoyable (certainly better than the Horrors' first effort) but this is clearly better. An album that drips in hot summer evenings, it took Jack from being an also-ran, coming in second place to Duffy and Adele, and gave him a genre all of his own.
Kasabian - West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum
They're like a rowdy British version of Kings of Leon and from a judging point of view that can be no bad thing. Plus, you know, they're actually alright.
Metronomy - Nights Out
With added vocals and a pop sound offensive enough to irritate people on the next pod in your office Metronomy's sophomore effort feels like the Streets for the late 'noughties'. To deny then a place on the shortlist would seem churlish.
James Yorkston - When The Haar Rolls In
Beautiful and haunting and lapped up by the critics James is one of those chaps that most mere mortals have never heard of, let alone invested time and money in. Obviously if this was the late nineties, a time when you had to be unknown to even your mother if you wanted any real chance of winning, Yorkston would be a dead cert. It isn't, and he isn't, but it's still good enough that he could sneak a win.
Florence and the Machine - Lungs
Currently in vogue and universally loved so it seems a bit of a no-brainer for the shortlist, but BlackPlastic would be surprised if Lungs wins on the night.
Friendly Fires - Friendly Fires
Radio friendly and inventive, Friendly Fires make better house records than any other 'band' BlackPlastic has heard of, really challenging what people consider rock music to be. It's hard to find people that don't get at least a bit excited by their single 'Paris', and that has to mean something, right?
La Roux - La Roux
Total codswallop in BlackPlastic's opinion but since when did that matter? Bad edgy pop for the masses. She probably has enough attitude in her quiff to give her the edge over Little Boots and if they were both nominated it would be a bit boring, wouldn't it?
Bar for Lashes - Two Suns
Yawn. Loved by journos and students, probably. BlackPlastic doesn't care but she's bound to get nominated anyway.
Lily Allen - It's Not Me, It's You
The pop princess it's okay to like, this will help justify press coverage but it would be as ridiculous as, ooh... Ms Dynamite or M People winning if this got the prize.
Okay, so we are clearly missing the random token jazz an classical albums but we just aren't knowledgeable about those genres.
You can check the BBC's coverage of last year's Mercury Music Prize for footage of the winning announcement as well as interviews and performances.
Did we mention we thought the year Dynamite won was stupid?
P.S. We'll be back to discuss the shortlisted albums and predict the winner once the list is confirmed.