I've said it before, and I'll say it again: Metals, the fourth studio album from Canadian singer-songwriter (and onetime Broken Social Scene member) Leslie Feist, is hands down one of the best, if not the best album of 2011. And it appears that 200 Canadian music journalists, bloggers and broadcasters agree, voting to reward Metals with the prestigious Polaris Music Prize. It's arguably the highest honor for a Canadian musician. Congrats, Feist!
Metals beat out albums by Drake, Handsome Furs, Cold Specks, Grimes, Cadence Weapon, Japandroids and Yamantaka//Sonic Titan. During a three-hour ceremony at Toronto's Concert Hall Monday night, Feist was presented with the award by last year's winners, Arcade Fire. Per the voting process, no one knew the winner until the name was announced onstage, not even the 11-member grand jury, who debate the merits of each album and cast secret votes in another room during the ceremony. Each juror champions one album, which they must have selected as their first pick on the shortlist, culled from the 200 aforementioned votes. Yeah, this ain't the Grammys--those Canadians take this Polaris Prize business very, very seriously.
"Everyone had a favorite here tonight and I did too – and I did not think it was me," Feist said when she accepted the award for Metals, which was praised by Polaris officials for its "rare depth and beauty."
Of the secretive voting process, Feist joked to Rolling Stone: "An unmarked champion? That's amazing. That's like having a secret admirer." The singer-songwriter has been nominated for four Grammys, won eight Juno Awards and had been shortlisted for the Polaris three times before. But this win was special: "I think winning the Polaris tonight is a bit like getting a Valentine from the right boy at school – the one you wanted to give you the secret-admirer Valentine because it's got this sense of secret-ness to it."
Good for you, Feist. Now do yourself a favor, dear Fuse readers, and listen to Metals (below). Is it the deserving winner for the Polaris Prize? In my opinion, no other Canadian album even competes in the same league as Metals and its orchestral horn and string arragements, tender yet explosive songwriting and Feist's introspective lyricism. Tell me your thoughts in the comments.