Rising R&B singer Daniel Caesar’s debut, the latest effort by Arcade Fire, and a posthumous work from Gord Downie are among the long-listed albums for the Polaris Music Prize.
The juried award for best Canadian album of the year was narrowed down to 40 contenders who could qualify for the short list revealed next month.
Among the projects named is Everything Now, the disco-rock social statement released last year by Arcade Fire, who previously won the Polaris for The Suburbs in 2011.
Caesar’s breakout collection of slow jams, Freudian, joins other albums that made an impact, including Downie’s Introduce Yerself, a series of love letters written by the Tragically Hip frontman to his friends shortly before he died of brain cancer.
Several indie darlings also made the long list, among them Toronto dream pop band Alvvays with Antisocialites, as well as Bahamas for the album Earthtones and Charlotte Day Wilson with Stone Woman.
The Polaris jury also selected a number of concept albums from Indigenous artists.
Jeremy Dutcher’s Wolastoqiyik Lintuwakonawa melds the operatic tenor’s voice with century-old recordings of people speaking the Wolastoq language, while The Average Savage from hip-hop duo Snotty Nose Rez Kids is a staunch rejection of racism and stereotypes levelled against residential communities.
Other highlights include Both Ways from Sarnia, Ont.-raised country performer Donovan Woods, Lil Mont from The Ave by Toronto rapper Clairmont The Second and New Mistakes from Hamilton singer-songwriter Terra Lightfoot.
The Polaris Music Prize is awarded to the artist or group that created the best Canadian album of the previous year — irrespective of genre or sales — as chosen by a large team of journalists, broadcasters and bloggers. The long list was selected from 225 albums that made the first ballots.
A short list of contenders will be revealed on July 17.
The Polaris winner will be awarded $50,000 on Sept. 17 at a gala presentation held at Toronto’s Carlu, which will be webcast by CBC Music.
2018 Polaris Music Prize long list
- Allie, Nightshade
- Alvvays, Antisocialites
- Arcade Fire, Everything Now
- Bahamas, Earthtones
- The Barr Brothers, Queens of the Breakers
- Bernice, Puff LP: In the Air Without a Shape
- Jean-Michel Blais, Dans ma main
- Bonjay, Lush Life
- Booji Boys, Weekend Rocker
- Philippe Brach, Le silence des troupeaux
- Cadence Weapon, Cadence Weapon
- Daniel Caesar, Freudian
- Jennifer Castle, Angels of Death
- Clairmont The Second, Lil Mont from The Ave
- Gord Downie, Introduce Yerself
- Jeremy Dutcher, Wolastoqiyik Lintuwakonawa
- Faith Healer, Try 😉
- FRIGS, Basic Behaviour
- Zaki Ibrahim, The Secret Life of Planets
- Iskwé, The Fight Within
- Kacy & Clayton, The Siren’s Song
- Lydia Kepinski, Premier Juin
- Pierre Kwenders, Makanda at the End of Space, the Beginning of Time
- Pierre Lapointe, La science du coeur
- Mélissa Laveaux, Radyo Siwel
- Hubert Lenoir, Darlene
- Terra Lightfoot, New Mistakes
- Loud, Une annee record
- Milk & Bone, Deception Bay
- Partner, In Search Of Lost Time
- Propagandhi, Victory Lap
- Vivek Shraya & Queer Songbook Orchestra, Part-Time Woman
- Sloan, 12
- Snotty Nose Rez Kids, The Average Savage
- U.S. Girls, In A Poem Unlimited
- The Weather Station, The Weather Station
- Weaves, Wide Open
- Charlotte Day Wilson, Stone Woman
- Donovan Woods, Both Ways
- Yamantaka // Sonic Titan, Dirt