Unlike previous years, this year’s Polaris Music Prize actually seems interesting. For what is generally viewed as a bland music industry circle jerk of an event (where music writers get fed for once), it’s actually somewhat refreshing.
What are the hot topics at hand? Let’s see
1. Viet Cong The Calgary band’s controversial name has finally become a hot topic. The band’s name has slowly been receiving backlash ever since it’s inception, but now with them on the verge of winning Canada’s equivalent of the Mercury Prize, the attention has definitely taken the forefront, generating the type of negative attention that the Polaris Prize probably didn’t want. For a good recap of this issue, read this excellent article here. Rumors are that Viet Cong will reveal a new name at the Polaris. I’ve heard they are deciding between ISIS or Dead Babyfuckers because both those sound pretty cool, according to the band.
2. Polaris Music Prize = Boys Club
The Canadian music industry, like most industries in life, is mostly a boys club. Like any other industry, those boys are mostly unaware that it’s a boys club. As documented here on Canadaland, it is not particularly fun for new comers trying to push the musical boundaries of the Polaris Prize or pointing out it’s a boys club. This article in addition to the annual lack of non CBC endorsed rock acts on the list, adds further fuel to the fire. Does Polaris really represent Canada’s entire swath of music?
In light of these two controversies, the Polaris Prize finds it’s looming Monday gala at the crossroads. Will they pretend everything is happyland, with Steve Jordan and friends congratulating themselves on another year well done or will they actually tackle these items right then and there? My guess is on the former.
Despite the issues at hand, it is a good sign to see that the Canadian music industry is still generating some amazing albums and whether or not the ten nominees are the absolute ten best is irrelevant, they are the ten that are there and we will now predict the winner, using science and sabermetrics.
Braids – Deep in the Iris
Let’s punch in the numbers into our machine to see if they will win.
BEep Booo BEEP BEEP BOOP BEEP BOOP BEEP bOOOP
Nope. they will not win.
BadBadNotGood & GhostFace Killah – Sour Soul
These guys put together one of the best shows I saw at SXSW and if the Polaris Prize was going full heel, what better way then to give the Polaris Prize to AN AMERICAN RAPPER who will then take the award back the the US. Then we will have to have Drake beef with Ghostface, only until Drake realizes Ghostface is no one you want to fuck with and he’ll slowly back off while slowly singing “Just Hold On I’m coming home, but not with the Polaris Prize” while Ghostface makes a video where he wraps up $100 Canadian dollar bills with weed and smokes it up.
Chances of winning: Maybe
Jennifer Castle – Pink City
A local favorite, Jennifer Castle will probably not win this one. Just a feeling.
Caribou – Our Love
Nobody has ever won the Polaris Prize twice. Will Caribou be the first? There album was one of my favorites from last year, but the real question is whether or not the jury think Caribou is the band to bestow this prestigious distinction? Will they save that for the next Arcade Fire record instead?
Chances of winning: Strongish
Drake – If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late – They are probably saving the mainstream r&b/hip hop Polaris win for The Weeknd next year, so I doubt this will be his year. Arguably this album is weaker then the previous album, so if he didn’t win for that one, then he surely will not win for this one. I don’t even know what I’m saying because I haven’t heard any Drake album. Still, 3 times the bridesmaid, never the bride, Drake is becoming the Susan Lucci of the Polaris.
Chances of winning: Ask Serena
Tobios Jesso Jr – Goon – I thought this dude was a teenager until I read his wiki page and realized he was 30. My entire story about this now goes out the window. Goon was a very enjoyable album and if Randy Newman ever retired Tobias can easily soundtrack the next ten Pixar movies. That is a huge compliment, by the way. Still, will the guitaratti allow a piano man to win this indie rock award? Doubt it.
Chances of winning: Doubtful
Buffy Sainte-Maria – Power in the Blood
Perhaps if Tanya Tagaq didn’t go on stage last year and decapitated a seal on stage.
Chances of winning: Slim.
The New Pornographers – Brill Bruisers
It seems like the New Pornographers have been around forever, yet they always release great albums. Brill Bruisers was no exception. Has any west coast bands won the Polaris? Maybe it’s time. No one would argue against these guys if they won.
Chances of Winning: High
Viet Cong – Viet Cong
Alvvays – Alvvays
Alvvays shimmering summer album was one of everyone’s favorites of last year and comes controversy free. Throw in some Rankin family lineage and you have yourself the winner.