It's that time again; the people at the Polaris Music Prize have announced the short list of the ten albums in contention for the "best full-length Canadian album based on artistic merit, regardless of genre, sales, or record label". This year the prize money has been bumped up to $30,000, and for the first time each of the other nine albums on the short list will receive $2,000. Any album (more than 30 minutes/8 tracks long) out from June 1st 2010 to May 31 2011 is eligible.
Past winners have been Final Fantasy, He Poos Clouds (2006) Patrick Watson, Close to Paradise (2007) Caribou, Andorra (2008) Fucked Up, The Chemistry of Common Life (2009) and Karkwa, Les Chemins De Verre (2010) and the big gala announcing the winners goes down on September 19th.
So let's see how this year stacks up, shall we? Here they are, in a vague order of the ones I personally want to win least to most.
I think this year I have only listened to half the albums in full, so I can't really give too many opinions so far. The Weeknd is the only one on the list that I have just not liked; "not my thing", maybe. Colin Stetson, I just don't get. I mean, I understand the musicianship behind it, and if there is indeed no looping, it is impressive, but I just can't get into it. Maybe if I listen to the full album I will appreciate it more. Both Timber Timbre and Austra I like okay, but need to listen to more. Braids I want to like a lot more than I actually do. Arcade Fire seems to be the "lock" to win, which is exactly why I think it won't. Polaris has never been predictable in the past, why start now. Hey Rosetta! and Destroyer have both been among my favourite albums this year, so those are my top two picks. It would be great if Hey Rosetta! won, but I would love to see Dan Bejar take it.
If nothing else, it is going to be an interesting couple of months, for debate and music listening. I may revisit this post closer to the date when I have more time to digest the list and listen more to the albums in question.