I am on the Polaris Music Prize jury this year and I could not be more thrilled about that. It’s been wonderful to discuss music with people from all over the country. I’ve discovered a lot of great stuff and I’ve never felt more connected to the Canadian music scene than I do right now.
Here is the 2017 Polaris Long List. I nominated a few albums that sadly didn’t make it on there but there is a lot of good stuff that did. And a lot of questionable stuff.
I made a good effort to listen to every single album that was long listed to whittle down my short list and in the process I discovered a a lot of great music. I also discovered that a lot of great music comes from Quebec and I need to get better at finding it and supporting it.
Here’s my short list and then a bunch of albums from the long list that I think are great and that I considered putting in the final list. All of the albums below are excellent and it was really hard to narrow it down to just five. All in all it was a great year for music but I do wish that there was more hip hop on the long list. There’s always next year.
Why You Wanna Leave, Runaway Queen?
This album blew my socks off. I went from not knowing anything about Lisa Leblanc – I don’t typically listen to this type of music – to this securing a spot in my final list. I heard the album and then I listened to it 5 more times. I probably would have never come across this album if it wasn’t for the person who suggested it to the Polaris jury group. The album is amazing and Lisa Leblanc deserves all of the praise and all of the support. She’s doing exciting things.
Weaves are so great. This album is fun, cohesive, and very listenable. The previous releases have been good but this one takes the cake. They’ve never sounded better. Oh, and their live shows are incredible and you should go to one.
This is a great album. It’s a nice progression for BADBADNOTGOOD and it shows that they can hold it down on their own even without a million impressive collaborations and features.
A Tribe Called Red
We Are The Hallucination
I’ve already written a lot about how much I love this album so there is not a lot of new information to share. I think it’s the most important album of the year politically. Politics aside the guest vocals, arrangements, and beats on this album are insanely good.
B.A. Johnston is a national treasure. There hasn’t been an artist since Stompin’ Tom that’s travelled the country and connected with people the way that B.A. has. All of his albums have been great but this one is particularly strong. Even if you don’t like storytelling or folk music – you should listen to this album and you will find something to connect to. B.A. tells the story of our daily struggles in a way that is incredibly relatable and effective. You build a bond with him and realise we’re all in it together in this topsy-turvy world. “Dayoff is A Dayoff ” is a great example of this. Tell me you can’t relate that?
Les Frères Cueilleurs
The New Pornographers
Adieux Au Dancefloor
Carly Rae Jepsen
Emotion B Side
Charlotte Day Wilson
Clairmont The Second
Quest for Milk and Honey
You Want It Darker
Audible Songs From Rockwood