Reaction roundup: Arcade Fire wins the 2011 Polaris Prize
Montreal rockers Arcade Fire had a big year in 2011—they won Junos and a Grammy, and as of yesterday, the esteemed Polaris Prize, which awards bands $30,000 for being the best Canadian album of the year. The prize itself is based purely on merit, which means it celebrates Canadian creativity “without regard to musical genre, professional affiliation, or sales history.” With Arcade Fire’s success this year, the band may have seemed the obvious pick out of a shortlist that included artists Austra, The Weeknd, Ron Sexsmith, Timber Timbre, Braids, Galaxie, Colin Stetson, Hey Rosetta! and Destroyer, but their win came with divisive reactions. Check out who said what, after the jump.
Considering the ubiquity of Arcade Fire at award shows this year, no one asked “Who is Arcade Fire?” last night, but a few people did tweet some hilarious and pointed remarks about Polaris:
– The North by North East festival, wearing its indie cred on its shoulder, announced Arcade Fire’s win: “The #Polaris2011 goes to… Arcade Fire! Sorry Justin Bieber, there’s always next year.”
– NOW Magazine made the observation that sometimes the obvious choice is, in fact, the right one, tweeting, “So I guess Arcade Fire winning is kind of the non-upset upset. Would have been weird if they hadn’t won #polaris2011.”
– Jian Ghomeshi reflected on conflicting emotions that resulted from the prize being given to an already successful band like Arcade Fire instead of a band that would benefit more from the prize money and notoriety that Polaris brings. He tweeted, “Interesting tension in room of indie types predisposed to supporting unknowns/underdogs but knowing Arcade Fire deserve it. #Polaris2011.”
– Perhaps our favourite tweet of the night came from fellow Canadian musician Owen Pallett, who won the prize in 2006 under the moniker Final Fantasy. Pallett joked, “ Congrats to @arcadefire for the Polaris win. Now we can work together as equals.” Pallett was responsible for the string arrangements on Arcade Fire’s earlier release Funeral.
Arcade Fire told audiences that they plan to put their prize money towards bettering their Montreal recording studio, with band member Richard Parry inviting all the musicians present at the ceremony to make a record there. During the band’s acceptance speech, lead singer Win Butler encouraged young musicians to make a better album than they did, urging the audience to “make an…amazing record, and put your whole heart into it. Just go for it.” Watch Arcade Fire’s acceptance speech here.