Dan Snaith (Caribou) accepts last year’s Polaris Music Prize. Photo by chromewaves.
For the unacquainted, the Polaris Music Prize was established in 2006 to recognize and celebrate Canadian musical talent. With money! Each year, the winning artist is awarded twenty thousand dollars, likely doubling their income for the year and making their mom super proud. Every single Canadian album released in the Polaris Year (June 1 to May 31) is eligible, and a jury of assorted impartial cool folks and journalists (this author included!) from across the country vote to form a Long List of nominated albums. From here, that same jury votes to create a Short List, and then there’s a big party in Toronto (tonight!) where an eleven-member Grand Jury that changes yearly picks a final winner while everyone else gets blasted and eats free cheese in another room.
This year’s Short List is an exciting one. It’s diverse, includes previous winners and nominees, and at least one artist who is technically banned from performing in the building where the gala is taking place (the Masonic Temple, home to MTV Canada). But who’s going to win? Read on for the whistle-blowing, secret-sharing, undeniably sexy insider scoop.
Elliott BROOD – Mountain Meadows
Why it will win: It’s good, plus it’s safe. Look no further than Exclaim!’s recent breakdown of Polaris jury member demographics for proof that males who live in Toronto will always dominate with their love of solidly middle-of-the-road rock and roll.
Why it won’t win: Too country.
Fucked Up – The Chemistry Of Common Life
Why it will win: It was the best Canadian record released in 2009. It’s the only hardcore record you’ll probably ever hear to open with a flute solo. And they really scare people. Like, really.
Why it won’t win: Too scary.
Great Lake Swimmers – Lost Channels
Why it will win: Just so adorable. Talented dude, great songs, super Canadian-sounding. Whatever that means.
Why it won’t win: Too gentle.
Hey Rosetta! – Into Your Lungs (and around in your heart and on through your blood)
Why it will win: If garbagetown Patrick Watson won in 2007, anything is possible.
Why it won’t win: Too from Newfoundland.
K’NAAN – Troubadour
Why it will win: It rules, it’s popular (but not in a way that is problematic for Toronto males), and it would distance Polaris from its reputation as a celebration of all things indie rock.
Why it won’t win: Too not indie rock.
Malajube – Labyrinthes
Why it will win: It’s good, they probably should have won for Trompe-L’oeil, and it would distance Polaris from its reputation as a celebration of all things anglophone.
Why it won’t win: Too francophone.
Metric – Fantasies
Why it will win: Good God, how rad is that hook in “Gimme Sympathy”? Answer: It’s so rad. Oh wow.
Why it won’t win: Too popular (in a way that is problematic for Toronto males).
Joel Plaskett – Three
Why it will win: Look at that face! Look how cute he is! Everyone loves Joel Plaskett. Your parents love Joel Plaskett. You and your mom giggle about how cute he is. He’s just so great.
Why it won’t win: Too long (three discs?! C’mon, Peter Gabriel).
Chad VanGaalen – Soft Airplane
Why it will win: A lot of people feel he got robbed when Skelliconnection didn’t take home the prize in 2007. Huge plus: his drawings totally rule.
Why it won’t win: Too Chad VanGaalen.
Patrick Watson – Wooden Arms
Why it will win: If he won in 2007, anything is possible.
Why it won’t win: It will.
(Kidding, Joel Plaskett will win.)
Sam Sutherland is a Polaris juror and Assistant Editor at Exclaim! Magazine.