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Time to Start Agonizing Over the 2017 Polaris Music Prize (That’s a Good Thing)

Here’s a sign that warm weather is somewhere over the horizon: The arguing over who should win the 2017 Polaris Music Prize has begun. This is the annual award—and we’re in year 12 now—given to the best Canadian album of the last year, regardless of genre or commercial success.

A jury of music industry obsessives—a sort of Illuminati of broadcasters, writers, bloggers, critics, etc. of which I am one—are currently nominating albums for consideration and by the time all the passionate pleas are exhausted, there will somewhere north of 200 albums on the list.

The Obsessives will then cast votes to reduce everything to a more manageable Long List of 40 semi-finalists, which will be announced on June 13. That will be followed by more debate and whining before a second vote cuts things down to the Short List of 10 finalists for July 13.

God (or Swiss, as he’s known to The Obsessives because he’s maddeningly neutral on evrything) will then select 11 from the Obsessives number to serve of the Grand Jury who will, Vatican-style, be locked in a room until they agree on which of those 10 Short List albums is the greatest Canadian album of the last 12 months. That will take place the night of the Gala, September 18 at the Carlu in Toronto.

The winner gets $50,000 with the other nine finalists receiving $3,00 each. And then the real arguing will begin.

Past winners have included 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).

Whatever happens, it’s a whole lotta fun. Following along at

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

Alan Cross has 38011 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

One thought on “Time to Start Agonizing Over the 2017 Polaris Music Prize (That’s a Good Thing)

  • The Obsessives…great band name.


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