By: Hilary Johnston July 22nd, 2013
The Polaris Music Prize short list was announced last week and, as per tradition, Twitter erupted with hoards of music fans bemoaning that their favourite artist was left behind in the long list archives.
Admittedly, I find myself lamenting for the days of a long list with its seemingly endless possibilities and ability to please even the most finicky critics. I am forced to bid farewell to a dream of watching Daniel Romano accept the Polaris in what I can only imagine to be an alluringly bejeweled suit. The long list introduced me to Majical Cloudz, a band whose live show I have been insatiably craving. It also made feasible the prospect of seeing performances by Magical Cloudz, Evening Hymns and Colin Stetson on the same bill – a fantasy lineup that was perhaps too ethereal for reality to host.
I am satisfied with the list despite the sorrow I feel for the handful of underdog albums that fell by the wayside. With that said, it is full of stylistic variety, in contrast to the rather strong and accusatory opinion of one LA Times writer, who’s headline read, ‘Terrible short list revealed for Canada’s Polaris Music Prize’.
To him I say pish-posh. Whitehorse taps into folk and country while Zaki Imbrahim delivers soulful timbres. A Tribe Called Red draws inspiration from traditional music and Young Galaxy and Godspeed You! Black Emperor offer two drastically different takes on art pop. The majority of the list cannot accurately be described by any one genre of music and this perhaps is why Tegan and Sarah’s Heartthrob and Metric’s Synthetica feel comparatively safe. Their overly polished records stand out as ordinary amongst the vanguards.
The winner will be announced on September 23rd and we have until then to listen to some new music, assemble our thoughts on who should win (as if it matters) and remind ourselves that the presence of a couple of duds cannot negate the eccentric charm of the other nominees enough to feel any legitimate concern that they may win.
The Short List:
Godspeed You! Black Emperor, ‘Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend!
Zaki Ibrahim, Every Opposite
Purity Ring, Shrines
Colin Stetson, New History Warfare Vol. 3: To See More Light
Tegan and Sara, Heartthrob
A Tribe Called Red, Nation II Nation
Whitehorse, The Fate of the World Depends on This Kiss
Young Galaxy, Ultramarine