The Weeknd, Drake, Leonard Cohen, Carly Rae Jepsen, The Tragically Hip (plus its frontman Gord Downie) and Feist are among the 40 artists whose albums comprise the 2017 long list vying for the title of Canada’s album of the year, as determined by a jury of selected music media.
The announcement was made this afternoon from the National Arts Centre in Canada’s capital city of Ottawa and webcast live on the Polaris Music Prize’s Facebook page. Past Polaris nominees Kathleen Edwards and The Acorn’s Rolf Klausener, along with Polaris jurors Lana Gay (Indie 88 radio) and Erik Leijon (freelance journalist) did the honors. Philippe B, whose La grande nuit video album is on the long list, performed at the event.
Polaris Music Prize founder and executive director Steve Jordan, who was home in Toronto last night accepting the Canadian Independent Music Association’s Unsung Hero Award for his creation of the prize and tireless promotion of Canadian independent music, told the room, “I love my job. I spent the past few days listening to the records that are on the Polaris Long list,” before plugging today’s announcement and flying this morning to Ottawa.
For the long list, the 201-member jury (up from 192 last year) — comprised of music journalists, broadcasters and music bloggers from across Canada and representing all genres — selected 188 titles on the first ballot, which asks for their top 5 picks to be submitted via Polaris’ password-accessed site. The albums are judged solely on artistic merit, without consideration of genre, record sales or professional affiliation. The eligibility period for the titles is from June 1, 2016 to May 31, 2017.
From this list of 40, the same jurors are then asked to pick their top 5, which will comprise the 10 albums on the short list. That will be announced at Toronto’s Carlu on July 13 and the winner of Canada’s best album of the year, at the end of the Polaris Gala on Sept. 18, as decided by an 11-member grand jury behind closed doors.
The winner receives $50,000 (CAD) and the nine other short listed artists $3,000, courtesy of Slaight Music.
Past winners of the Polaris Music Prize are: Kaytranada (2016), Buffy Sainte-Marie (2015), Tanya Tagaq (2014), Godspeed You! Black Emperor (2013), Feist (2012), Arcade Fire (2011), Karkwa (2010), Fucked Up (2009), Caribou (2008), Patrick Watson (2007), and Final Fantasy / Owen Pallett (2006).
The 2017 Polaris Music Prize Long List is as follows:
A Tribe Called Red — We Are The Halluci Nation
Alaclair Ensemble — Les Frères Cueilleurs
Anciients — Voice of the Void
Arkells — Morning Report
Philippe B — La grande nuit vidéo
BADBADNOTGOOD — IV
Louise Burns — Young Mopes
Chocolat — Rencontrer Looloo
Clairmont The Second — Quest For Milk and Honey
Leonard Cohen — You Want It Darker
Antoine Corriveau — Cette chose qui cognait au creux de sa poitrine sans vouloir s’arrêter
Le Couleur — P.O.P.
Marie Davidson — Adieux Au Dancefloor
Mac Demarco — This Old Dog
Gord Downie — Secret Path
Drake — More Life
Feist — Pleasure
Figure Walking — The Big Other
Fiver — Audible Songs From Rockwood
Geoffroy — Coastline
Hannah Georgas — For Evelyn
Japandroids — Near To The Wild Heart Of Life
Carly Rae Jepsen — E.MO.TION Side B
B.A. Johnston — Gremlins III
Lisa LeBlanc — Why You Wanna Leave, Runaway Queen?
The New Pornographers — Whiteout Conditions
Klô Pelgag — L’Étoile thoracique
Peter Peter — Noir Éden
Lido Pimienta — La Papessa
Jessie Reyez — Kiddo
Daniel Romano — Modern Pressure
The Sadies — Northern Passages
John K. Samson — Winter Wheat
Tanya Tagaq — Retribution
The Tragically Hip — Man Machine Poem
TUNS — TUNS
Leif Vollebekk — Twin Solitude
Weaves — Weaves
The Weeknd — Starboy
Charlotte Day Wilson — CDW