The short list for the 2012 Polaris Prize is announced tomorrow. Being a betting man, here’s how I think it will go and why:
Coeur de pirate – Blonde. She’s a francophone artist with huge cross-Canadian appeal, and this very mainstream album is a big step forward for her, in terms of melody and arrangements.
Drake – Take Care. He may mystify me, but he was the biggest Canadian music story of 2012 and is all but guaranteed to make the list. Even a hater like me would find it embarrassing if he didn't.
Kathleen Edwards – Voyageur. She’s been shortlisted before, and the roots rock crowd are sure to rally around this record, which got near-universal praise.
Feist – Metals. Well worth the wait, this is perhaps Feist’s finest beginning-to-end album. Though some decried the lack of poppiness, that might play even better to Polaris jurors (like this one).
Fucked Up – David Comes To Life. People love this band. Polaris people love this band even more. And people in general love it when genre artists try something this ambitious, whether they entirely pull it off or not.
Grimes – Visions. This year’s breakout artist appeals to the Weird Canada crowd, the slightly-left-of-mainstream crowd, and eclecticians everywhere who are capable of getting over the twee voice.
Japandroids – Celebration Rock. Was there a better fist-pumping rock album made in Canada this year? In the last five years? Ever?
Dan Mangan – Oh Fortune. Oh dear.
Patrick Watson – Adventures In Your Own Backyard. This is a much better record than either the Polaris-winning Closer to Paradise or the shortlisted Wooden Arms. The only way he won’t make the shortlist is if people are taking him for granted—which would be petty.
Yamantaka // Sonic Titan – YT//ST. This gets the Colin Stetson vote from last year (an event that proved there were enough weirdos on the jury), and it’s nowhere near as inaccessible or foreboding as that record. The avant-gardists love this band, the Black Mountaineers love this band. And this time last year, no one had even heard of them.
In the event any of those predictions fall flat, any of these could easily take their place:
A Tribe Called Red – s/t; Cadence Weapon – Hope In Dirt City; Leonard Cohen – Old Ideas; Cold Specks – I Predict A Graceful Expulsion; Yukon Blonde – Tiger Talk.
And as much as I’m rooting for Mark Davis and Kathryn Calder, frankly I’d be shocked if they made the shortlist. Which means you should buy their records now before you forget.
The shortlist will be announced 24 hours from now, on Tuesday, July 17, at 2 p.m.