This is the time of year where I write a post about the the recently announced Polaris Prize long list, normally gushing over the nominees and curiously excited about which Canadian artist would win the huge $30,000 prize.  See, here’s 2012, 2011 and 2010’s posts.

But this year’s post will be different, mostly because the best Canadian album of the year has been completely snubbed. Now, when I say “best album of the year”, I’m not not trying to be dramatic, like when I say that Degrassi is “the best show on TV.”

But when I say that Serena Ryder‘s Harmony is the best album of the year, I absolutely mean it. Since the very second that I downloaded it on November 27, 2012 the album has been on my iPod’s heavy rotation. I think I’ve gifted Harmony to my entire family, even buying them tickets to her show in Fredericton. After seeing her perform in Chicago a few years ago, I’m excited to get a whole Serena concert in Banff next weekend.)  I’m a full on member of the Serena Ryder congregation and now I’m pissed.

Let’s look at the facts:
-Every song on album is fantastic.
Stompa has been called the “song of the summer” for Serena’s sake!
Stompa has been viewed more than a million times.
-The single is currently spending its sixth consecutive week at No. 1 on Billboard’s Triple A chart.
Harmony has gone Gold in Canada.
-Harmony won Adult Alternative Album of the Year at this year’s Junos.

I’m a reasonable enough person to understand that maybe it doesn’t make the Top 5 or Top 10. Mistakes happen, Jennifer Hudson gets eliminated. But for the independent jury of over 200 music journalists, broadcasters and music bloggers from across Canada who determine the Long List and Short List to leave Harmony out of the long list, which features forty albums, for me, calls into question the validity of the entire award.

For the record, here is the long list.

A Tribe Called Red – Nation II Nation

Alaclair Ensemble – Les maigres blancs d’Amrique du Noir

ANCIIENTS – Heart of Oak

The Besnard Lakes – Until In Excess, Imperceptible UFO

Louis-Jean Cormier – Le Treizime tage


Mac DeMarco – 2

Evening Hymns – Spectral Dusk

Hannah Georgas – Hannah Georgas

Godspeed You! Black Emperor – ‘Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend!

Chilly Gonzales – Solo Piano II

Jim Guthrie – Takes Time

Hayden – Us Alone

Zaki Ibrahim – Every Opposite

KEN mode – Entrench

Kid Koala – 12 bit Blues

Kobo Town – Jumbie in the Jukebox

Pierre Lapointe – Punkt

Lee Harvey Osmond – The Folk Sinner

Les soeurs Boulay – Le poids des confettis

Corb Lund – Cabin Fever

The Luyas – Animator

Majical Cloudz – Impersonator

Metric – Synthetica


Danny Michel with the Garifuna Collective – Black Birds Are Dancing Over Me

AC Newman – Shut Down The Streets

Old Man Luedecke – Tender is The Night

Lindi Ortega – Cigarettes & Truckstops

Peter Peter – Une version amliore de la tristesse

Purity Ring – Shrines

Rah Rah – The Poet’s Dead

Rhye – Woman

Daniel Romano – Come Cry With Me

Colin Stetson – New History Warfare Vol. 3: To See More Light

Suuns – Images du futur

Tegan and Sara – Heartthrob

Al Tuck – Stranger at the Wake

Whitehorse – The Fate of the World Depends On This Kiss

Young Galaxy – Ultramarine

Admittedly, of the artists I know on the list, I think it’s pretty great. I’m super happy about Tegan and Sara and Lindi Ortega, but it just feels empty without Ryder’s Harmony.

The Short List will be announced on July 16th at The Drake Hotel in Toronto.  The Polaris gala will be held on September 23rd at The Carlu in Toronto.

Are you happy with the list?

To make me feel better, I’m going to watch some Serena videos. Join me, won’t you?


Mike Morrison


  1. I agree! I had the greatest time at her show in Fredericton. Harmony is on my top play list for sure.

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