Trying to suggest that the Polaris Prize is absolutely right is ridiculous. Every year, sometimes at the short list, sometimes before the long list, great albums fall aside to the eventual winner of thirty thousand dollars and the prestige of winning the only music award that matters in Canada. This prestige is present because of the amazing judges doing a very good job of actually choosing the best Canadian album. Past winners include Patrick Watson, Fucked Up, and Arcade Fire; the latter winning a Grammy the same year.
Today the Short List was announced. On it, some surprises, some not so much. Under the surprise category I’d put Drake’s Take Care, Cold Speck’s I Predict a Graceful Expulsion, and Yamantaka // Sonic Titan’s YT/ST. While those albums left me surprised, Feist’s Metals, Grimes’ Visions, and Fucked Up’s David Comes to Life were essentially foregone conclusions. All three of these albums are albums that critics adore for their unique characteristics. The final four artists (Cadence Weapon, Kathleen Edwards, Handsome Furs, and Japandroids) all put out albums worthy of being on the short list, but I don’t think you can label any of them as favourites. In future posts I’ll be exploring all the albums nominated for the Polaris Prize and complete the journey with my prediction for the winner.