I know everyone is somehow shocked yet not shocked that Arcade Fire won the 2011 Polaris Prize. How could such an indie prize that rests on artistic merit alone who is partial to the band with the shortest wiki entry, go to a musical behemoth like Arcade Fire? Well, simple, it was the best album of the year. Yes, all the bands, all of whom I respect and admire deeply were all deserving, but then again, The Suburbs just captured so much more. End of discussion.
Here’s what I wrote with blogTO when I predicted the Arcade Fire win:
“Where to begin, really? Here’s an album that rightfully picked up not only the JUNO Awards’ Best Album honours, but left America dumbfounded as it also snatched up the Grammy’s Best Album of the Year to boot. An album, which is the third installment from the Montrealers, that hit No. 1 on the Billboard 200 list. But why should it win the Polaris Prize? Because, for all that, these aforementioned accolades are mainstream, and the Polaris Prize concentrates strictly on the “highest artistic integrity,” eschewing sales or industry affiliation. But that’s the thing — the Suburbs, this walloping force, is the very definition of artistry. It’s a tour de force with lyrics that capture the essence of alienation and the vapidness of modern day suburbia. This album builds, haunts, delights and stirs the listener through a winding cacophony. It highlights the growth of a band; a band that continues to trail blaze. Because, let’s get to the point, it’s a really fucking good album.”