PopMatters is moving to WordPress. We will publish a few essays daily while we develop the new site. We hope the beta will be up sometime late next week.
Music

Predicting the 2012 Polaris Prize Short List

This is probably a dumb idea. But, here is what I expect to make the Polaris Prize's Short List.

As Polaris Prize season comes to a middle with the announcement in a couple weeks of the Short List of 10 albums, I have decided to do something totally dumb. I have decided to make a prediction.

This is dumb for a few reasons, but chiefly among them is the fact that even my claim toward an "educated guess" (since I am on the jury) is absurd (since I am but one of like 200 jurors). Moreover, since the Polaris Prize has nothing to do with sales figures, popularity, genre, politics, region, etc -- it is all about "the best record" regardless of these things -- any guess here is nothing more than a wild stab in the dark at the 40-albums on the Long List.

Sure, there are a few we might want to cut on their face due to their under-the-radar's-radar status (Mark Davis, Shooting Guns, & Ariane Moffatt spring to mind), but due to the free-for-all of the voting process there really is no way to know. None.

So, maybe this is a stupid post in the ol' Pop Can. Probably. But, still, who doesn't love a little bit of wild darkness stabbery from time to time? I know I do.

Here is what I predict (like an idiot) will comprise the Short List, announced on Tuesday July 17th. At best, I’ll come out of this looking like a keen prognosticator. At worst, it’s a fate of mockery and ridicule (but what else is new?). In either case, here's a list of some pretty great music from the Great White-Hot North.

My predictions for the 2012 Polaris Prize Short List:

Drake – Take Care

The first thing here for which I’ll double down and call a lock. Though deeply divisive, it is rare to find a critic who outright dismisses this album. I don’t happen to like it much -- the album is all about the inner workings of a man who turns out to be whiney, arrogant, and frankly kind of boring, despite the gorgeous sonic landscape in which he lives -- but I am likely in the vanishingly small minority here.

Kathleen Edwards - Voyager

I voted for this one. This is such a beautiful example of a complete album of the old school variety. Ten songs, each of them attractively (and not over-bearingly) arranged, all of them connected in theme, tone, mood. There is zero filler, and absolutely no note misplaced. It’s an impressively pleasurable listen, and is likely to find many fans among the older, mellower jurors. (Let’s call them: the folks who voted in Ron Sexsmith last year.) As adult pop music goes, this isn’t just an example; it feels more like a template.

Feist – Metals

She made a “difficult” record (or so we are told) and some of her legions of fans were turned off. But critics (who make up the vast majority of the Polaris jury) are basically your primary audience for a “difficult album”. Especially when “difficult” is really just code for “gorgeous, dark, moody”, all words you kinda want to be used to describe a work of art. Expect this one to make it. If it isn’t there it’ll be a shocker.

Handsome Furs – Sound Kapital

The basic tragedy of their recent breakup only puts this extraordinary synth-pop record into a more favourable spot on ballots (I am betting). And, fine by me. I voted for this, one of my favourite albums of the past few years. Deeply sexy, provocatively political, melody-driven anthems? Yes.

Sandro Perri – Impossible Spaces

An outlier, maybe. But I have a feeling this record makes the Short List because, weirdly for an album of genre-bending jazz-folk, I am guessing it has a very broad fan base among jurors. I bet it was the number three on a majority of ballots. Hope so. I voted for this lovely piece of work myself.

Azari & III – Azari & III

The dance crowd eats these guys up, as much because of their throwback house music as because of their exciting nods into the distance. Not much of a fan of this myself, but I am pretty much always wrong when it comes to dance music.

Grimes – Visions

Here is where the fans of experimental “difficult” stuff meet the fans of electronica meet the fans of vocal-driven pop music. The appeal to such a wide range of tastes makes this the third “lock” on this list of predictions.

Coeur de Pirate – Blonde

This outright confectionary Quebecois pop record is winning over fans on both sides of the language divide. It is simply a beautiful song cycle about relationships, and one which I’m betting will appeal to many many jurors from across the country.

Cadence Weapon – Hope in Dirt City

Is there a more staggeringly intelligent lyricist in all of hip-hop? The former Edmonton poet laureate is back with some pretty killer material, and critics across the country (many of whom are basically predisposed to loving his lyrical jujitsu) have been raving about the quality of the beats and sonics on this album. A longer shot, let’s say, but I think it’ll squeeze in.

Japandroids – Celebration Rock

Arguably the best out and out rock album of the year, this series of infectious anthems and fuzzed out guitar hero bliss has been knocking people out from coast to coast. The fourth, and final, lock, says me.

Please Donate to Help Save PopMatters

PopMatters have been informed by our current technology and hosting provider that we have less than a month, until November 6, to move PopMatters off their service or we will be shut down. We are moving to WordPress and a new host, but we really need your help to save the site.


Music

Books

Film

Recent
Television

How 'Watchmen' and 'The Boys' Deconstruct American Fascism

Superhero media has a history of critiquing the dark side of power, hero worship, and vigilantism, but none have done so as radically as Watchmen and The Boys.

Music

Floodlights' 'From a View' Is Classicist Antipodal Indie Guitar Pop

Aussie indie rockers, Floodlights' debut From a View is a very cleanly, crisply-produced and mixed collection of shambolic, do-it-yourself indie guitar music.

Music

CF Watkins Embraces a Cool, Sophisticated Twang on 'Babygirl'

CF Watkins has pulled off the unique trick of creating an album that is imbued with the warmth of the American South as well as the urban sophistication of New York.

Music

Helena Deland Suggests Imagination Is More Rewarding Than Reality on 'Something New'

Canadian singer-songwriter Helena Deland's first full-length release Someone New reveals her considerable creative talents.

Music

While the Sun Shines: An Interview with Composer Joe Wong

Joe Wong, the composer behind Netflix's Russian Doll and Master of None, articulates personal grief and grappling with artistic fulfillment into a sweeping debut album.

Music

Peter Frampton Asks "Do You Feel Like I Do?" in Rock-Solid Book on Storied Career

British rocker Peter Frampton grew up fast before reaching meteoric heights with Frampton Comes Alive! Now the 70-year-old Grammy-winning artist facing a degenerative muscle condition looks back on his life in his new memoir and this revealing interview.

Books

Bishakh Som's 'Spellbound' Is an Innovative Take on the Graphic Memoir

Bishakh's Som's graphic memoir, Spellbound, serves as a reminder that trans memoirs need not hinge on transition narratives, or at least not on the ones we are used to seeing.

Music

Gamblers' Michael McManus Discusses Religion, Addiction, and the Importance of Writing Open-Ended Songs

Seductively approachable, Gamblers' sunny sound masks the tragedy and despair that populate the band's debut album.

Books

Peter Guralnick's 'Looking to Get Lost' Is an Ode to the Pleasures of Writing About Music

Peter Guralnick's homage to writing about music, 'Looking to Get Lost', shows how good music writing gets the music into the readers' head.

Film

In Praise of the Artifice in George Cukor's 'Sylvia Scarlett'

George Cukor's gender-bending Sylvia Scarlett proposes a heroine who learns nothing from her cross-gendered ordeal.

Music

The Cure: Ranking the Albums From 13 to 1

Just about every Cure album is worth picking up, and even those ranked lowest boast worthwhile moments. Here are their albums, spanning 29 years, presented from worst to best.

Television

The 20 Best Episodes of 'Star Trek: The Original Series'

This is a timeless list of 20 thrilling Star Trek episodes that delight, excite, and entertain, all the while exploring the deepest aspects of the human condition and questioning our place in the universe.

Music

The 20 Best Tom Petty Songs

With today's release of Tom Petty's Wildflowers & All the Rest (Deluxe Edition), we're revisiting Petty's 20 best songs.

Joshua M. Miller
Music

The 11 Greatest Hits From "Greatest Hits" Compilations

It's one of the strangest pop microcosms in history: singles released exclusively from Greatest Hits compilations. We rounded 'em up and ranked 'em to find out what is truly the greatest Greatest Hit of all.

Music

When Punk Got the Funk

As punks were looking for some potential pathways out of the cul-de-sacs of their limited soundscapes, they saw in funk a way to expand the punk palette without sacrificing either their ethos or idea(l)s.

Music

20 Hits of the '80s You Might Not Have Known Are Covers

There were many hit cover versions in the '80s, some of well-known originals, and some that fans may be surprised are covers.

Music

The Reign of Kindo Discuss Why We're Truly "Better Off Together"

The Reign of Kindo's Joseph Secchiaroli delves deep into their latest single and future plans, as well as how COVID-19 has affected not only the band but America as a whole.

Books

Tommy Siegel's Comic 'I Hope This Helps' Pokes at Social Media Addiction

Jukebox the Ghost's Tommy Siegel discusses his "500 Comics in 500 Days" project, which is now a new book, I Hope This Helps.


Reviews
Collapse Expand Reviews



Features
Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.