'It's about the artist's universe': Mercury nods for The 1975 and Foals show album format is growing

'It's about the artist's universe': Mercury nods for The 1975 and Foals show album format is growing

Geoff Taylor has said that positions on the Mercury Prize shortlist for The 1975 and Foals represent the album format being “taken a step further”. 

The BPI boss was speaking to Music Week at the nominations event last week, where Dave, Foals, Anna Calvi and more appeared on the red carpet as five debut albums made the list.

The 1975 and Foals both received nominations for albums that form the first part of a series of two successive releases. The 1975’s A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships topped the charts, while Foals Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost – Part 1 came in at No.2 on debut, missing out on top spot to Dave’s Psychodrama.

Music Week revealed The 1975’s two-album campaign in an interview with Dirty Hit and All On Red leader Jamie Oborne last summer. The manager and frontman Matthew Healy appeared on the cover of our Q4 special issue in October.

“In this age of disaggregated streaming behaviours and playlists, some people raise the question, ‘What is the role of the album?’” Taylor said. “My view is it’s important to the artist and it’s culturally important because artists use it as a bigger canvas on which to tell their story than they can in individual tracks.”

Artists use the album as a bigger canvas on which to tell their story

Geoff Taylor, BPI

The BPI CEO said Foals and The 1975 prove that, sometimes, “maybe the story is bigger than even one album”.

“Maybe there’s a concept so all-embracing that you need to attack it from all kinds of different angles to explore its depth,” he added. “That’s what The 1975 and Foals are doing. It shows that the album will remain extremely important as a format for so long as it’s something artists can use to express their individuality.”

Taylor referenced last year’s launch of National Album Day, where ambassadors included Music Week cover star Jess Glynne, and said he felt optimistic about the future of the format.

“That’s why we want to keep on engaging fans with the album format,” he said. “It’s about inhabiting the artist’s universe and understanding what they have to say.”

The 1975 dropped the introductory track from Notes On A Conditional Form last week. Foals release Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost – Part 2 in September.

Read Oborne’s thoughts on The 1975’s upcoming LP here and catch up on our Mercurys report here.

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