The albums were reduced from forty to ten, but there can be only one winner. We gave our opinions on the Shortlist, but the winner of the 2010 Polaris Music Prize is Karkwa, in what is likely the biggest surprise in the history of the award. Unleash your rage, lavish your praise, or express your bafflement in the comments below.

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— , September 20, 2010    7 Comments


— Sal, September 21, 2010

This is at worst a Quebecois Fray, at best a Quebecois Antony and the Johnsons. Either way, it’s bad.

— Daniel Hernandez, September 21, 2010

Marie isn’t the only one cryin right now

— Kabango, September 21, 2010

Well, I do have to say that in this age of blog hype and a singular musical criticism voice, this selection is a breath of fresh air. But then again at least half of the nominees would have accomplished that. So I love the Polaris. (Also the Polaris print ad I saw around Toronto and Montreal in August was a welcome reminder of relevant-to-me street ads, something that I can’t remember experiencing in over 10 years. Daniel knows how excited the ads made me; I took a photo of him in front of one.)

Is Karkwa on the radio up there? Do they play large arenas like Sloan once did?

In the pre-alternative late 80s and early 90s, non-American/UK bands would get marketed as being “alternative”ish or “college-rock”ish, even though I suspect many of them were second tier bands in their own country and not really that innovative, but could be pitched as weird simply because they were foreign. Could that be the fate of Karkwa? Many Irish and Australian bands of that era fall into this camp.

— el guapo, September 21, 2010

I think recognizing a French Canadian act was an important move for Polaris, since there is such a wealth of great art coming from Quebec, and the rest of French Canada. BUT, I don’t think Karkwa’s album was the one to recognize. Coeur de Pirate was all but forgotten last year, and I feel she deserved it more.

I’ve always felt that Shad’s music is distinctly Canadian, because of the experiences he speaks to, the sharp but humble perspective he keeps, and the sonic variety he’s known to provide on his albums. I’ve closely followed his evolution over three albums and a mixtape into what I think will always be considered the greatest highlight in his career – TSOL. Getting a boost from Polaris would allow him to access the US market in a time when they’re open to the notion of Canadian rap, and in his case, I think he could only benefit from commercial exposure. My sadness is over the fact that as a concerned fan, I wonder if he’ll ever top TSOL… His live show gives some comfort that this guy won’t slow down at least.

— Sal Patel, September 21, 2010

I like Alan Cross’s piece on this.

Kevin Kania, September 21, 2010