JUNO nominated Burlington, Ontario band Spoons, active since the early 80s, recently delighted us with its first disc in eight years, New Day New World, recorded in Guelph. The group’s last offering, 2011’s Static in Transmission, was well received. This one is just as solid from our reckoning. Before we get to our review of the 2019 album, let us take a look at Spoons’ chart history.
The first two albums from Spoons have been certified gold by Music Canada. The first, Arias & Symphonies (1982), spawned three Top 40 hits. “Nova Heart”, a masterpiece of synth-led new wave and one of the finest tracks of the genre ever released, made the year-end Top 100 of 1982. The album’s title track became a Top 20 hit, and “Smiling in Winter” the Top 30. “Old Emotions”, peaking at #28 on the RPM charts, helped followup album Talkback (1983) become the second disc to strike gold. 1984’s Listen to the City is responsible for the band’s final Top 40 hit, “Tell No Lies”. In an era when the charts were dominated by British new wave groups, Spoons’ success was remarkable.
While many have commented on the smart stylings of the album, of how it bridges 80s new wave with modern pop-rock and electro, what makes the album so good is the songwriting. Frontman Gordon Deppe, with assistance from Sandy Horne, continues to channel inspiration in penning catchy tunes. The atmospheric sweep and thundering booms of the album’s title track has chants from online fans mixed into the chorus. “All the Wrong Things” proves the band has still retained its energy. As has been pointed out, “Beautiful Trap” recalls the doot-doots of 1984 song “Romantic Traffic”, something the band says is in its DNA. It is one of the strongest tracks on the record. Find those nuggets of fun as well on “For the First and Last Time”. Another gem is “Repeatable” with some wonderful bass work, something lacking in today’s pop hits. The interplay among that playful bass plus, the synth pulses, and higher-pitched plucks, makes this track simply irresistible and, well, repeatable. “Life on Demand” progresses from simple piano keys to a very satisfying chorus. For those hungry for something heavier on the electronic side, “Landing Lights” should hit the spot. It has a great snare-beat as well. The charming “Paint by Number Day” is melodically similar to “For the First and Last Time” but with pleasant female-led vocals.
Spoons still got it, and New Day, New World is the front runner for 2019’s album of the year.
The most successful track of 2018 by a Canadian artist was “God’s Plan” by Drake. Reaching #1 on the weekly charts, it finished the year as its third most popular song. Four Drake tracks topped the weekly Hot 100 through the year and one from The Weeknd making a total of five number one hits by Canadians through 2018. The most successful French language single of the year was “Toutes les femmes savent dansers” from rapper Loud. It topped the year-end CKOI chart (which includes non-Franco and non-Canadian entries) and made the Billboard weekly Hot 100 at #94. A second French language single that appeared on the Hot 100 was Yes Mccan’s Desiree (#96).
A dozen Franco entries from Canadians made the CKOI year-end Top 50 and nine from Canadians the year-end Billboard Hot 100 plus an additional five with Canadians as the featured or co-credited artist. A total of 49 tracks involving Canadians reached their peak positions within the Top 40 in 2018. We have listed below French language songs from Canadian artists that made the annual CKOI year-end Top 50 or made the Billboard Hot 100. After that we list tracks from Canadians that made the Billboard year-end top 100 or peaked in the weekly Top 40. Finally we list entries with Canadians as featured or co-credited artists.
HY = Billboard Hot 100 year-end chart position
HW = Billboard Hot 100 weekly charts, peak position
CY = CKOI year-end Top 50 chart position
2018 CKOI Franco Hits
|Toutes les femmes savent danser||Loud||1||94|
|Des p’tits bouts de toi||Roxane Bruneau||6|
|Fille de personne II||Hubert Lenoir||9|
|Vintage à l’os||Séba et Horg||12|
|Cinq à Sept||Koriass||23|
|Belle folie||Éric Lapointe||28|
|On perd la tête||Swing||32|
|Ça va||Emile Bilodeau||38|
|Dans la nuit||Coeur de Pirate||45|
|Corinne||Les Trois Accords||48|
2018 Billboard Canada Hits
|Body||Loud Luxury Ft. Brando||5||3|
|Nice For What||Drake||9||1|
|In My Feelings||Drake||11||1|
|In My Blood||Shawn Mendes||34||9|
|Call Out My Name||The Weeknd||44||1|
|Ain’t Easy||Elijah Woods x Jamie Fine||84||38|
|Don’t Matter to Me||Drake||4|
|Try Me||The Weeknd||7|
|Wasted Times||The Weeknd||8|
|I Was Never There||The Weeknd||12|
|Can’t Take a Joke||Drake||16|
|Hurt You||The Weeknd||17|
|8 Out of 10||Drake||19|
|Lost in Japan||Shawn Mendes||22|
|That’s How You Feel||Drake||34|
|Growing Pains||Alessia Cara||36|
|Head Above Water||Avril Lavigne||37|
|Is There More||Drake||38|
2018 Partially Canadian Hits
|Look Alive||Drake (featured)||23||4|
|Despacito||Justin Bieber (featured)||25||*|
|Pray For Me||The Weeknd & K. Lamar||33||5|
|Walk It Talk It||Drake (featured)||52||14|
|Yes Indeed||Lil Baby & Drake||74||7|
|Going Bad||Drake (featured)||3|
|Jackie Chan||Dzeko & Tiesto||7|
|Kika||Tory Lanez (featured)||13|
|No Stylist||Drake (featured)||16|
|Never Recover||Drake (featured)||16|
|Ghost Town||PartyNextDoor (featured)||21|
|Wouldn’t Leave||PartyNextDoor (featured)||24|
|Flip the Switch||Drake (featured)||26|
* – Weekly peak achieved in 2017, also made the year-end 2017 chart.
This week’s releases are fewer in number, but ’tis hard to find a mediocre work among them. In fact, six out of the 14 are from JUNO nominees/winners. And those are not necessarily the most charming albums of the batch. With this week’s assortment of maple-glazed musical prim-bits, our running total for 2019 is 242 albums and 74 EPs.
For those who like their tunes raw, bare-boned, stripped down to bare nakedness, Jean Leloup is back to quench your thirst. L’étrange pays has him singing, rapping, bellowing over his finger licking guitar fondling proclivities. The album from the JUNO award winner is currently #1 at iTunes. Loud owns the distinction of being one of the few invited to perform a Franco tune at the JUNOs and this year won the trophy for Francophone Album of the Year. The sensational rapper follows up with new album Tout ça pour ça. Hard rock with some delicious synthesizers in the mix arrives via Black Mountain. The JUNO nominated BC group graces the slate with Destroyer. Also given a nod by the JUNOs is Colombian-Canadian Roberto Lopez who presents world music fest Kaleido strópico.
But we are just getting started here. Decked with multiple gold and platinum certifications on its singles, JUNO winning outfit of country music James Barker Band releases EP Singles Only. Also graced with a JUNO trophy is fabulous duo Milk & Bone teaming up with producer Alex Lustig on EP Dive, an electronic joy ride.
Also out this week is excellent pop album Exposed by Star Academy alumnus Olivier Dion; the folky, pleasing No Water, No Flowers from Geneviève Racette; the hauntingly beautiful Trying to Have It All from Misha Bower; the adult contemporary sparkle of Brûle sur mes lèvres by Isabelle Cyr; and this week’s pleasant surprise, boss grooved R&B EP Dangerous from Shay Lia!
Find these and more in the table below.
|Brûle sur mes lèvres||Isabelle Cyr||AC|
|Destroyer||Black Mountain (JN)||Rock|
|Kaleido strópico||Roberto Lopez (JN)||World|
|L’étrange pays||Jean Leloup (JW)||S-S/Folk|
|No Water, No Flowers||Geneviève Racette||S-S/Folk|
|Soul Secret Agency||Soul Secret Agency||R&B/Soul|
|The Offering||Thompson Egbo-Egbo||Jazz|
|Tout ça pour ça||Loud (JW)||Rap|
|Trying to Have It All||Misha Bower||S-S/Folk|
||Milk & Bone (JW) & Alex Lustig||Alternative|
|Singles Only (EP)
||James Barker Band (JW)||Country|
Alberta’s JUNO award winning Ruth B., best known for her quintuple platinum single “Lost Boy” (#14 in 2016), decorates 2019 with five-track EP Maybe I’ll Find You Again. The genre-defying disc contains elements of singer-songwriter, adult contemporary, pop, soul, alternative, and R&B. It opens with the hot, hazy summer afternoon breeze of “Don’t Disappoint Me”, a winner by its sophisticated orchestral arrangements alone. “Slow Fade” tricks the listener with sudden stops building from an easy-going piano-bass combo into a whirling chorus. “Crave”, perhaps the catchiest of the set, showcases Ruth’s stroke of creative genius. “Sycamore Tree” cranks up the feels, presenting Ruth’s trademark balladry. And, ending on a strong note, “Rare” benefits from nice vocal work, dazzling keys, and nifty percussion. iTunes
In 2016, British Columbia’s Sleepy Tom (professional alias of Cam Tatham) scored a Billboard Canadian Hot 100 charting single and British Top 10 hit with Diplo called “Be Right There”. Sleepy is a JUNO nominated EDM creator, and graces 2019 with an EP entitled Amateurs. Featured are half a dozen singers through the six delicious cuts, the most prominent being platinum recording artist Lights who opens the disc with its electrifying title-track. Other highlights are “Wrap Around Your Heart”, bright, cheery, and a little jazzy, and the funky and saxified “Move”. Choppy charmer “The Times” should get you busting some moves in no time. Sleepy Tom’s Amateurs is loads of fun and not to be missed especially for EDM and pop enthusiasts. iTunes
Medicine Hat, Alberta’s MacKenzie Porter becomes the latest homegrown artist to crown the Billboard Canadian Country Airplay chart with one of her recent singles, “About You”. This is the hard-working actress, singer, and songwriter’s first number one single. MacKenzie has in the past managed to appear in the Billboard Canadian Hot 100.
Canadian country radio has in recent years proved a tough nut to crack for domestic artists. Through 2014, none reached the summit. We have listed below all Canadian artist singles that have hit number one since 2013. Those of you who like to create playlists may consider putting these champs into one. As you can see, the horizon began to brighten in 2017 when four touched the tip. There were seven lucky victors in 2018. And, so far in 2019, though it is only mid-May, we have already surpassed 2018’s year-long total, as MacKenzie Porter’s “About You” becomes the eighth Canadian artist song to reach number one.
Some stats are as follows. Canadian artist songs that have reached number one since 2013 number at 24. Only two of these have stayed at the top for more than a week – Dallas Smith’s “Wastin’ Gas” and High Valley’s “I Be U Be”, both at 2 weeks each. The number of unique Canadian artists who have scored a number one hit since 2013 number at 16. The most successful of these is Dallas Smith who has placed seven at the summit. Four female artists have hit the top spot with one song each, the first being Lindsay Ell who bust open the bars with “Criminal”, the first number one from a Canadian female soloist in a decade.
MacKenzie Porter’s “About You” is a fabulous song.
List of #1 Songs at Domestic Country Radio by Canadian Artists
When Your Lips Are So Close, Gord Bamford (1 week, Nov 30)
Bounty, Dean Brody (1 week, Dec 7)
Wastin’ Gas, Dallas Smith (2 weeks, Jan 31-Feb 7)
Airwaves, Brett Kissel (1 week, Oct 30)
Autograph, Dallas Smith (1 week, Nov 26)
Side Effects, Dallas Smith (1 week, Apr 22)
I Be U Be, High Valley (2 weeks, May 27-June3)
Chills, James Barker Band (1 week, Jul 1)
Sky Stays This Blue, Dallas Smith (1 week, Aug 26)
Sleepin’ Around, Dallas Smith (1 week, Jan 27)
8th Day, Dean Brody (1 week, Mar 3)
Criminal, Lindsay Ell (1 week, Apr 14)
Dive Bar, Gord Bamford (1 week, Sep 22)
Make ‘Em Like You, Dallas Smith (1 week, Oct 27)
Who’s Gonna Love You, Tebey (1 week, Nov 24)
Walls Come Down, Meghan Patrick (1 week, Dec 22)
Feels Like That, The Reklaws (1 week, Jan 26)
Somebody’s Daughter, Tenille Townes (1 week, Feb 2)
You Are, Aaron Goodvin (1 week, Feb 16)
Rhinestone World, Dallas Smith (1 week, Mar 16)
Better When I Do, Aaron Pritchett (1 week, Apr 6)
Lost, Hunter Brothers (1 week, Apr 13)
Forever’s Gotta Start Somewhere, Chad Brownlee (1 week, Apr 27)
About You, MacKenzie Porter (May 25)
Triple JUNO award winner Carly Rae Jepsen releases her fourth studio album this week; Dedicated has received critical acclaim. Also claiming a JUNO trophy is all-female rock group The Beaches delivering EP The Professional to dazzle your ear drums. Ever so talented Nova Scotian Rich Aucoin pleases with an alternative album of choice electro pop entitled Release. Also good and more on the post punk side is Radiant Dawn from Operators. Find these and more in the table of this week’s new releases below.
|Dedicated||Carly Rae Jepsen (JW)||Pop|
|We Got This||Delhi 2 Dublin||Pop|
|Wonderland||Gentiane MG Trio||Jazz|
|The Moment (EP)||Antony Carle||Alternative|
|Partir a point, Vol. 2 (EP)||Gaële||Alternative|
|The Professional (EP)||The Beaches (JW)||Rock|
Quebec’s Marie-Eve Roy released her excellent debut album Bleu Nelson in 2016. In 2019, she follows it up with Multicolore, a progressive singer-songwriter disc with pop leanings. The album was crafted by the capable hands of JUNO nominated producer Gus Van Go. There are a number of memorable tracks on here, most notably opener “Je pleure je ris” with its electric guitar jabs, punchy drums, and piano cord stabs. “Telephone” continues the charm adding some dreamy synth riffs with things becoming even more electronic on “Je n’ai besoin de personne”. A delicate vocal delivery adds to the lure of piano ballad “La vaise de l’insomnie”. The rest of the album fairs just as well. Don’t pass this one up! iTunes
British Columbian recording artist Sallie Carreon is back with a vengeance in new pop/EDM dazzler “Run Run”.
Sallie launched her official singing debut at the Michael J. Fox theatre when she was 8. Honing her craft through the years and making inroads into the entertainment industry, she contributed to award winning single “Bulletproof” which appeared on Sarah Geronimo’s platinum selling album Perfectly Imperfect.
Through XOXO Entertainment/Universal Music Canada Carreon released Christmas single “Santa I Need a Miracle” which charted at No. 2 on the Top Downloads and Most Active Indies list. The song was picked up by over 40 radio stations across North America.
Sallie Carreon’s new single “Run Run” was co-written and co-produced by Jenson Vaughan (credits including Madonna, Steve Aoki, Britney Spears, Ellie Goulding), Mark Simmons, and Adriaan Van Der Zwan. The song, showcasing Sallie Carreon’s fabulous vocals, was instantly added to Spotify’s Editorial Playlist upon release. Support Sallie and check out the links below.
Synthpop specialist Radiant Baby released his debut full-length album in early 2019, Restless, opened by exquisite 80s themed song (it even has a saxophone solo!) “Firecracker”. Through the disc, he keeps things perky, funky, and danceable. You will, however, hear the album shifting gears at a couple of turning points. After the first four breezy tracks, he really gets the beats going on “Out Crowd”, and heightens the pace on “Funny Games”. He slows things down into some sentimentality on “Don’t Push” and closes out on a darker note with the spooky title-track. We need more music like this. Wonderful. iTunes
Singer-songwriter Laurence-Anne makes 2019 the year of her debut album, Première apparition, a nine-track excursion into indie rock territory, with shrubs of folk and the occasional dream cloud floating overhead. The songs are catchy and replete with little details; there are these fuzzy, plucky sounds plunking themselves into the mix here and there which keep the interest up. Her music has been described as early Karkwa, but it is arguably her delicate vocal delivery that makes everything gel together and sound very pleasant. Don’t miss out on this golden disc. iTunes
One of the most recognizable names in electronic music Tim Hecker, a JUNO award winner and British Columbian delivers his latest disc of charms, Anoyo. Joining him in this week’s releases are a number of JUNO nominees as follows. Our lucky acquisition from Poland, Bernard Adamus fires up classic roots on the savory C’qui nous reste du Texas. Edmonton jangle pop specialist Mac DeMarco contributes Here Comes the Cowboy. Lydia Ainsworth spins some catchy electronic indie pop in the Phantom Forest. Also apt at alternative flavours, though on the darker side, is Rhye who gives us Spirit. Rappers appear in full force thanks to SonReal‘s The Aaron LP and Snotty Nose Rez Kids‘ Trapline. Both are BC artists. Find delicious R&B on Tanika Charles‘ new one, The Gumption.
More good stuff appears from the likes of Charles Robert; Les corps invincibles is a fine electro-pop effort. A singer-songwriter album to drool over is Let Me Show You from Lydia Persaud. Just as sumptuous in the genre is Leanne Hoffman‘s What Remains. Frank Hudon proves a superb pop singer on Une autre vie, check out track #2 for a repeat button catalyst. Perhaps this week’s finest LP however belongs to the amazing Ludovic Alarie and alternative disc We’re on a Dream Nobody Wrote Down. As far as EPs go, things rarely get as good as the self-title work from Heïka. Major wow factors here.
This week’s prolific output includes a whopping 25 albums plus an EP. Find them in the table below.
|13th Floor||Haviah Mighty||Rap|
|Age Hasn’t Spoiled You||Greys||Alternative|
|Anoyo||Tim Hecker (JW)||Alternative|
|C’qui nous reste du Texas||Bernard Adamus (JN)||S-S/Folk|
|En attendant la suite||MELIES||S-S/Folk|
|Here Comes the Cowboy||Mac DeMarco (JN)||Alternative|
|Hors circuit||Lisbonne Télégramme||Alternative|
|Les corps invincibles||Charles Robert||Alternative|
|Let Me Show You||Lydia Persaud||S-S/Folk|
|Let Yourself Be Seen||Doomsquad||Alternative|
|Living in a Dream||Kalya Ramu||Jazz|
|Montréal bagarre||Of Course||Rap|
|Phantom Forest||Lydia Ainsworth (JN)||Alternative|
|Second Promise||David Kaufman||S-S/Folk|
|The Aaron LP||SonReal (4JN)||Rap|
|The Gumption||Tanika Charles (JN)||R&B/Soul|
|Trapline||Snotty Nose Rez Kids (JN)||Rap|
|Une autre vie||Frank Hudon||Pop|
|We’re on a Dream Nobody…||Ludovic Alarie||Alternative|
|What Remains||Leanne Hoffman||S-S/Folk|
Toronto’s Henry (Lau) recently dropped a new K-Pop single and MV, “Untitled Love Song” his first outing since parting ways with record label SM Entertainment in April 2018. Henry co-wrote and co-arranged the song himself, now onboard with Monster Entertainment. He will also be starring in upcoming Hollywood movie A Dog’s Journey with Dennis Quaid out next week. We have embedded the MV for the new single below.
Newlywed Stratford native Justin Bieber has joined forces with the re-imaginer of other people’s songs Ed Sheeran of Framlingbacon, England in a gingerbiebed circus of epic dimensions. They have both slaughtered the charts in their home countries and around the world. Both have never, so far as we know, served as sailors and yet have mutilated their bodies with tattoos. It does not sound like the recommendation of “Love Yourself”, the pair’s previous collaboration that was the second biggest song of 2016, only to be outdone by Bieber’s other juggernaut, “Sorry” (no apology needed). Sheeran took care of business the following year with “Shape of You”, a “No Scrubs” parody according to the hearing impaired. Let’s take a look at the success of these two fine gents at home and in mother Britain (excluding those as featured and collaborative artists).
Justin Bieber’s hits in Canada: 12 Top Ten including 4 number one.
Ed Sheeran’s hits in Canada: 7 Top Ten including 2 number one.
Justin Bieber’s hits in the UK: 5 Top Ten including 3 number one.
Ed Sheeran’s hits in the UK: 18 Top Ten including 4 number one.
Justin and Ed are the only two artists in history to hold the Top 3 songs at the same time on the Official Singles Chart of Britain.
The new collaborative single is called “I Don’t Care”, and it has shot up to #1 at iTunes unsurprisingly.
Ottawa’s Grace Lachance has a likeable style, as heard on her EP of diggable pop confections, When Lightning Strikes. This is the 18-year-old’s first outing following the release of a few singles. Front and center are powerful vocals; she was certainly born to sing. Add to that catchy songwriting, choice beats, and shimmering synths, and we have a winner. For those frustrated with an overabundance of anticlimactic choruses these days, you will find this disc refreshing; the choruses are big, boisterous, and thrilling with the chuck and jive sonics of opener “The Undone”, the thunders of “Mile Too Far”, electrifying sparkle of “Grow” (our favourite track), swaggering splendours of “Save It For Tomorrow”, and – shall we go on? Grace smartly caps the EP with a sonorous ballad, the striking “Strong” (see MV below). iTunes