Playlist: Polaris Prize Short List

Today’s playlist brings together my work life and run training in celebration of tonight’s Polaris Prize Gala.

Polaris Prize Playlist

By day, I work in arts funding for the Canadian music industry. People always ask if that means I hear lots of new music and know what’s hip. Ehhhh, not really. I have been introduced to many great artists, but most of my days are spent in spreadsheets and databases, and my early mornings are spent running, so you won’t usually find me out at a show that starts at 10pm.

That’s why the Polaris Prize is helpful for people like me – it’s a great tool for music discovery.  The prize is awarded annually based on the artistic merit of an album made by a Canadian artist, without regard to genre or commercial popularity. If you want a primer on some of the best recent Canadian music, the long list will provide.

I’m pretty happy with the short list, and decided to spend some time with the albums by making a run playlist with songs from those ten albums.

Some notes on the playlist:

  • Andy Shauf made a great record, but it’s not my first pick for getting pumped up for a run. I selected his songs with the highest tempo (still so slow) and used them to bookend the playlist for a bit of warm up and cool down.
  • Albums that ARE great to run to, pretty much start to finish: Kaytranada’s 99.9%, Jessy Lanza’s Oh No, and Grimes’ Art Angels.
  • I love U.S. Girls’ album Half Free, and it is brilliant and heav-y. I tried to create a little jokey dialogue between songs: “Woman’s Work” with  CRJ’s “Boy Problems” (this sequence makes me LOL), and PUP’s “DVP” with “Damn That Valley.” Not my first time making that joke:

Damn That Valley


Oh, and my prediction for tonight? I think it’s prime time for Grimes. In my opinion, there are no duds on Art Angels, and I respect her scope as an artist. She plays with a lot of genres on the album and pulls them off well. As for the album I loved the most in my heart of hearts? It’s gotta be Carly Rae Jepsen. I’m really excited to see her perform at the gala tonight!

Happy running!