The annual awards ceremony celebrates Canada’s best full-length albums of the past 12 months. As is the case with the UK’s Mercury Prize, the winner is judged solely on artistic merit rather than genre or sales figures.
Yesterday (June 15), Polaris Music Prize announced their initial longlist which includes The Weeknd’s 2019 record ‘After Hours’, Caribou’s 10th album ‘Suddenly’ and Owen Pallett‘s ‘Island’.
Also featured on the list are the likes of U.S. Girls (‘Heavy Light’), Junia-T (‘Studio Monk’) and Cindy Lee (‘What’s Tonight To Eternity?’).
On July 15, Polaris Music Prize will confirm the final shortlist for their 2020 ceremony. An overall winner will be revealed on September 21.
The 2020 Polaris Music Prize Long List is as follows:
Allie X – Cape God
Anachnid – Dreamweaver
Aquakultre – Legacy
Marie-Pierre Arthur – Des feux pour voir
Backxwash – God Has Nothing To Do With This Leave Him Out Of It
Badge Époque Ensemble – Badge Époque Ensemble
Begonia – Fear
P’tit Belliveau – Greatest Hits Vol. 1
Caribou – Suddenly
Daniel Caesar – CASE STUDY 01
Chocolat – Jazz engagé
Louis-Jean Cormier – Quand la nuit tombe
Corridor – Junior
dvsn – A Muse In Her Feelings
Jacques Greene – Dawn Chorus
Sarah Harmer – Are You Gone
Ice Cream – FED UP
Junia-T – Studio Monk
Kaytranada – Bubba
Flore Laurentienne – Volume 1
Cindy Lee – What’s Tonight To Eternity?
Men I Trust – Oncle Jazz
nêhiyawak – nipiy
OBUXUM – Re-Birth
Owen Pallett – Island
Pantayo – Pantayo
Lido Pimienta – Miss Colombia
Joel Plaskett – 44
William Prince – Reliever
Jessie Reyez – BEFORE LOVE CAME TO KILL US
Andy Shauf – The Neon Skyline
Riit – ataataga
Super Duty Tough Work – Studies in Grey
U.S. Girls – Heavy Light
Leif Vollebekk – New Ways
Wares – Survival
The Weeknd – After Hours
WHOOP-Szo – Warrior Down
Witch Prophet – DNA Activation
Zen Bamboo – GLU
In a four-star review of ‘After Hours’, NME summarised: “[The Weeknd’s] most all-encompassing record to date is also an existential quandary.”
Caribou’s ‘Suddenly’ also received the same score: “[Dan] Snaith has found the perfect balance between intimate songwriting and extroverted sonic decisions.”
Meanwhile, the Hyundai Mercury Prize announced plans to return in 2020 despite the current threat of the coronavirus crisis. This year’s shortlist will be unveiled on Thursday, July 23.
In other news, The Weeknd has donated $500,000 to a number of organisations that are committed to racial equality. The Toronto artist also urged fans to “please give what you can” to similar important causes amid ongoing protests in the wake of George Floyd’s death.