After listening to several thousand songs released in 2017 whether as singles, on EPs, or LPs, we have settled on our 30 favourites. To create a fairer and tidier list, we allowed only one entry per artist. Regardless of genre, language, and relative popularity of the artist, here are our 30 favourite Canadian artist songs of 2017 including our Song of the Year. Note that we have included instrumental tracks even though, technically, a “song” is a piece of music that is sung. Charting songs released in 2016 which achieved peak Billboard Hot 100 positions in 2017 are included. As well, songs released as singles in 2016 but were included on an album released in 2017 were considered. We have used the artwork for the single when one exists, failing that, the LP or EP that includes the song.
The Vancouverite may not have swept up the Canadian masses to the extent that U.S. singer Debbie Gibson did in the late 80s, but few can create a killer piano ballad as good as Wanting these days. “Best Plan” was the lone Chinese language song on her 2017 album LLL, but somehow it reigns supreme with a great melody, soaring chorus, and delicious bridge.
As with Wanting, Nico Lelièvre, whom we luckily acquired from France, closes out his 2017 album with its crowning achievement. This golden nugget of alternative rock with effective drumming, sonorous textures, and melancholy charm is instantly loveable.
Remember those slayers of noughties decade R&B like Shawn Desman and good old Keshia Chanté? Well, Keshia surprised us, or shall we say had us down and shook, by releasing a slick electropop song in 2017. “Lights Out” proves her vocals sound fantastic with the genre, and the song was pop perfection.
It was difficult to pick an outstanding track from Marc’s extremely popular 2017 album, but this one takes the cake. It builds nicely into an irresistible chorus with punchy beats and dancing piano keys.
While Keshia Chanté was slaying the pop realm, Toronto’s Jenna Nation grabbed R&B by the reins and shook the continent with beats and bass galore on this brilliant jazzy number.
There was no shortage of electronic pop in 2017 and one of the best contributions, “Holding Steady” was made by Kashka off very impressive EP Relax.
If there was ever a summertime jam to play by the pool or beach or backyard barbecue, country superstar Gord Bamford supplied it.
Featuring Valley Girl, “Need You” by one of Canada’s finest pop talents Allie X is a slow-burning ember of brilliance with a nice touch of processed vocal work.
Perhaps this one’s finest feature is the percussion work which is fresh, sophisticated, and catchy. The song smartly has the vocals pull back at times letting those beats take the spotlight for a bit.
The reunion of this supergroup and release of a new album was one of the biggest news stories of the year. Some preferred Hug of Thunder’s title track; others like us found the sonically richer “Halfway Home” to be the standout. In either case, alternative rock doesn’t get much better.
Surprise! This is our favourite country song of 2017. What gives it extra umph is Natasha’s conscientious vocal work and an irresistible chorus. And let’s also mention a short but righteous guitar solo.
Ah, yes, you were hoping we had the boys on here somewhere, weren’t you. We think this is the band’s catchiest song since “Kiss You Inside Out”. Not released as a single (so far), it’s a great mid tempo dance pop number with ever so captivating feel-good funky guitar.
Released as a single last year, this one appeared on Amaara’s (Kaelen Amara Ohm) 2017 album. Its dark ambiance and mystical charm grew on us to become one of our favourites of the year. Beautifully done.
Now into the Top 10, this was our favourite track from 2017’s EP of the year, though the others are nifty as well. Newcomer Ralph was all over the blogosphere this year with her refreshing brand of sweet synthpop.
There’s something about acoustic guitar strums coupled with delicate analog synth notes. Ludovic Alarie’s concept album was all about the apartment, and the rustic sounds of this choice cut do make us feel like kickin’ back in the bachelor (or bachelorette) pad.
Bilingual songs? More please! English and Spanish? Not really; we’re Canadian. English and French? Now you’ve got it. Peter Peter brought us back to the 80s with this exquisite synthpop song – verses in French and chorus in English. The album was nominated for the Polaris. Need we say more?
More synthpop cometh. “Future Politics” was almost as endearing as “Utopia”. The latter has a chorus that is both creepy and warm, opened by an enticing drum roll. You won’t believe it until you hear it!
From our Album of the Year, Young Mopes, this was ever so slightly our favourite track. It’s shadowy, dreamy, but also uplifting. Drums slap, bass flickers, and keyboards exhilarate. The vocal delivery is sensitive and impeccable, one of Louise’s best songs to date.
“Spirit” by Vancouver’s The Belle Game is easily one of best songs of 2017 released anywhere in the world. It begins with a drum beat and synth pulse, adds electronic textures, and Andrea Lo’s angelic voice surges above. Then those addictive beats kick in, heavier synths burst forth, and we are on a joy ride to the stars. Pure excellence, pure elation.
They make it seem so simple, and it is so simple. One guitar, one bass, one drum set, three lovely voices, kick-butt riffs, a measured tempo, and presto, we have one of the most exhilarating rock songs of all-time.
In a year made soggy by downpours of vocal warbling that resembled disarrayed wails coming from within an insane asylum’s padded white walls; in a year stifled by the secret that underwhelming click beats and flaky synthetic finger snaps have long, long, long overstayed their welcome; in a year when EDM lost its spark by mimicking a failing car engine that keeps conking out needing to be jumpstarted again and again—in such a year, something magical happened.
Two years ago, an album was released that championed most end-of-year best album lists. It was long and then shortlisted for the Polaris Prize in Canada. A deluxe version of the album contained three additional songs.
Due to popular demand, last year, a companion album was issued forth containing bonus tracks recorded during the album sessions. This collection of throwaways was deemed by Billboard as better than 90% of the pop songs of 2016.
But after all that, this year, the artist quietly and patiently reached up her sleeve and placed an ace down on the table. She had kept the ultimate leftover, the best song for last.
She has been called by many affectionate names. But with this song, “Pop Music’s Last Stand” seems to resonate most. Those of you who still curse wasting three hours of your lives watching The Tommyknockers can earn that time back by keeping this on repeat for the same length of time. It will bring joy to your heart, sweeten your dreams, and make you fall in love with the charmer or charmers.
Slam and dunk. The Canadian Music Blog declares “Cut to the Feeling” by Carly Rae Jepsen as 2017’s Song of the Year.