Arcade Fire has had an undeniably huge year. Their 2010 album release, The Suburbs, catapulted them into the spotlight and won them a Grammy, Juno, Brit Award and, most recently, the Polaris Music Prize.
On September 19 at the Masonic Temple in Toronto, music lovers and industry pros gathered for the Polaris Music Prize Gala, one of Canada’s most highly anticipated and revered music awards presentations. The gala included live performances from nominees – Ron Sexsmith, Austra, Galaxie, Timber Timbre, Braids and Hey Rosetta! all hit the stage – and an entertaining hosting job by CBC Radio 3’s Grant Lawrence and MuchMusic’s Damian Abraham.
The Polaris Music Prize’s claim to fame is its focus on “artistic merit” rather than “genre, sales or record label,” and has almost become predictable in its tendency to choose the most unpredictable winner. Except, that is, for this year.
There’s a debate raging over whether Arcade Fire’s Grammy-winning album The Suburbs truly earned the honour or whether the Polaris Music Prize has finally compromised its stance on being unbiased toward sales and reputation. Francois Marchand, music blogger for The Vancouver Sun, has an interesting article about it and a reasonable opinion. Was it the right call? He thinks so. Was it truly the best album? Maybe not.
To watch the Polaris Prize Gala, tune in to MuchMusic on September 24 at 10 p.m. ET (7 p.m. PST) for a one-hour special. And if you want to do your homework, check out the Polaris Music Prize website for a full list of this year’s nominees and MuchMusic online to listen to the albums. Check back in on Monday and let me know what you think – did the best album win?
Watch Arcade Fire accept the 2011 Polaris Music Prize: