After listening to several thousand songs released in 2019 whether as singles, tracks on EPs or LPs, we have settled on our 21 favourites. To create a fairer and tidier list, we allowed only one entry per artist. Note that we have included instrumental tracks even though, technically, a “song” is a piece of music that is sung. We included cover songs only if we felt they were better than the originals. We have used the artwork for the single where one exists, failing that, the LP or EP that contains the song. We have indicated JUNO award winners (JW) and nominees (JN) with postnominals.
Regardless of genre, language, and relative popularity of the artist, below is a list of our 21 favourite Canadian artist songs of 2019 including our Song of the Year!
The Party We Could Have
by Nathan Micay
Off album Blue Spring and excellent EP Butterfly Arcane, “The Party We Could Have” is an instrumental track that can jack up the universe. Nathan Micay revs up the club engine and presses down hard on the gas. When those gleeful handclaps, rumbling bass, echoing pulses, hissing percussion effects, and growling synthesizers seep into the auditory canal, everything gets electrified and euphoric.
by Alessia Cara (JW)
Hailing from Brampton, Ontario, Italian Canadian R&B specialist Alessia Cara has won a pair of JUNO Awards and also became the first Canadian act in history to win a Best New Artist Grammy in the United States. As the lone main artist, she has placed eight songs onto the Hot 100. Moreover, “Stay”, her collaboration with Zedd, dipped into the Top Ten and has reached quadruple platinum planes. Alessia released EP This Summer in 2019 which spawned charting single “Rooting for You”. We liked breezy track “October” the best, as it contains melody.
Sur ses doigts
by Total Gipsy
An ambient electronic track with some teeth running at only 2:27, “Sur ses doigts” has enough intrigue to … intrigue us. It is a cut off superb 2019 album Digital & Analogue from the enigmatic figure who operates under the alias of Total Gipsy, a lucky acquisition from Haiti.
DJ Saved My Life
by Mia Martina (JN)
Nobody does party music better than Mia Martina. The New Brunswicker has placed eight songs onto the Hot 100 thus far including double platinum Top 10 hit “Stereo Love”. Mia took a fairly good 80s song from Indeep and made it better. “DJ Saved My Life” appears on her exquisite album Daydream.
by Eli Rose
Tropical beats, singing that flows, and a lovely voice make Eli Rose’s “Carrousel” a winner. The talented artist who digs the Adidas was quickly snatched up by Canada’s leading record label Universal Music to release her self-titled album (which made our best albums of the year list). This is Franco pop music in top form and one catchy song!
by Tenille Townes
There’s Tenille Townes, Tenille Arts, and of course there’s The Captain … and Tennille. 2019 was good to Ms. Townes. She topped Canadian country radio with 2018’s magnificent “Somebody’s Daughter” and cracked the Top 10 with 2019’s “White Horse”. Tenille cleaned up at the Canadian Country Music Association awards winning four trophies. It took the Albertan singer a decade to hit the big time having released music since 2009 and we’re glad she did because she is awesome. Her sweet and raspy vocals give her a unique sound, and the songs she is co-writing are really good. “White Horse” was our favourite of hers in 2019.
by The Weeknd (JW)
By his endorsement of Mercedes-Benz, The Weeknd wants to put more money into multimillionaire Ola Källenius’ offshore bank accounts. Setting aside the music video for this track from the R&B slayer being a long ad for the automaker, we have a great synth-driven new wave song which expands The Weeknd’s repertoire. Released along with his misogynistic single “Heartless”, “Blinding Lights” was much more palatable despite its boisterous “Hey, Hey!” sounding like a threat to someone caught red-handed in a criminal act.
Still I Miss U
by Blue Hawaii (JN)
JUNO nominated duo Blue Hawaii furthered the quality of its unique brand of downtempo electronic pop with savory album Open Reduction Internal Fixation. Half of the tracks could be placed here. We are going with the sultry croon and burble filled swoon of “Still I Miss U”. Additional synth arpeggios inject a freestyle effect making this one heck of a catchy bop.
by Sleepy Tom (JN)
Featuring Lights (JW)
While Lights’ collaboration with Felix Cartal drew more attention this year – and it was a fine production fer sure, eh – we were taken away by her effort with Sleepy Tom, “Amateurs”, title-track off his EP. Brisk pacing and a chorus that packs quite a punch make this one a winner.
by Jacques Greene (JN)
Another electronic track graces our list. “Understand” is off JUNO nominee Jacques Greene’s excellent album Dawn Chorus. There are a number of entries that could be placed here from that fine LP. This one is an interesting combination of the frantic and the ominous, like we’re on the run from some dark, menacing entity. Nicely done.
by Louise Burns
The lyrics alone are captivating enough in Louise Burns’ driving electronic pop nugget “Cherry”, off her boss album Portraits. She sings of “tender years and nights of tears and teenage emotional scars”. But musically, it is just as compelling with an exciting progression. This song is for all those who want to forget and move on but whose memory is relentlessly haunted by the past.
by Grace Lachance
Ottawa’s amazing Grace Lachance decked the 2019 halls with exquisite EP When Lightning Strikes. “Grow” is the perfect number to showcase her beautiful and powerful vocals. It has an electrifying sparkle and whips you up into a soaring atmosphere with a big, booming chorus.
I’ll Be There
by Shay Lia
Shay Lia was the featured singer in track “Leave Me Alone” from Kaytranada’s 99.9% Polaris winning album. In 2019, she ventured out on her own career path releasing superb R&B disc Dangerous which was itself nominated for the Polaris Music Prize. We figured there would be a … 99.9% chance that fabulous cut “I’ll Be There” would make our year-end best songs list. And … it has.
More jaw dropping and lip dripping R&B, done beneath the colourful glow of a neon neo light, proceeded from the genius of Akua (Carson) of London. “Heaven” builds gradually from a velvety slow-burn to a shuffle of bass and soft cords, and finally to an exhilarating electronic heavy chorus. Simply delicious.
by Michelle Treacy
After scoring a Billboard Hot 100 charting single, that being “Armageddon”, Michelle Treacy joined CTV production The Launch, a reality music competition series in which singers work with producers and writers to tailor an original song suited to their vocal talents. Michelle was one of the winners from Season 2, and “Emotional” the resulting song, one that was produced by the legendary Nile Rogers (his credits include David Bowie’s Let’s Dance and Madonna’s Like a Virgin albums). “Emotional” contains Nile’s trademark funky guitar combined with Michelle’s intricate vocal nuances which make this one heck of an irresistible tune.
by Spoons (JN)
One of the 80s bands still going strong, Spoons, dropped fabulous new wave album New Day New World in 2019. That’s a lot of news. There are a number of tracks we could place here. Perhaps the most progressive entry on the disc is also the most diggable, and that is “Landing Lights”. The tune sports perky beats and cosmic teardrops, and we haven’t had so much fun when “the skies are rough”.
by MacKenzie Porter (JN)
Actress and JUNO nominated country singer MacKenzie Porter of Medicine Hat, Alberta released a batch of singles in 2019. She pulled off an unprecedented feat, scoring two number one hits in the year at country radio (“About You” and “These Days”), something no female artist has done for a very long time. In fact, MacKenzie is the first Canadian female in 22 years to score consecutive country number ones. The last one to do it was Shania Twain. While all of her 2019 singles were rad, our favourite was “24/7/365” which houses one of the catchiest choruses of the year.
by Electric Youth
From our album of the year winner, Memory Emotion, by electropop duo Electric Youth, track “Evergreen 143” is enshrouded in mystery. It’s melodic, delicately crafted, and a touch creepy. It is perhaps best enjoyed while taking bus #143 from Burquitlam Station on the Evergreen extension SkyTrain line to Simon Fraser University.
by Radiant Baby
Synthpop specialist Radiant Baby released his debut full-length album in early 2019, Restless, opened by exquisite 80s themed song “Firecracker”. It sounds so authentic a replication of the decade’s style, you will think it’s a song from out of those years. It even has a saxophone solo which is simply glorious.
by Céline Dion (JW)
The best-selling Canadian recording artist of all-time graced store shelves with album Courage this year, a double album by traditional standards (the deluxe edition contains 20 tracks). Some of the songs were all right; others were superb. “Imperfections” seemed to be the attention grabber. We liked best the entries that made good use of one of the most beautiful and powerful voices in pop music, such as “Change My Mind”, bonus track “The Hard Way”, and most especially “Baby”, written by Sia Furler, Greg Kurstin, and Maureen “Mozella” McDonald. Sometimes it’s the simplest keyboard riffs that are the catchiest. This one nails it.
Canadian Music Blog’s
2019 Song of the Year
This Calgarian recording artist scored a number one hit in the United Kingdom when very few Canadians had heard of her. When we finally did take notice and let her scrumptious music lead us to the dancefloor, she won three JUNO awards for her efforts, and the song that charmed the Brits reached double platinum sales at home. She even collaborated with such aces as scream-inducing Birmingham band Duran Duran, EDM wizards Skrillex and Diplo, and the ever-ubiquitous Pitbull. Following her award-winning album responsible for a second charting song, she released several non-album singles which seemed to bubble under the brilliance of the songs that made her famous. It was a struggle, as she was the victim of a serious car accident resulting in traumatic brain injury. But here’s the thing about Canadian recording artists. Canadian recording artists bounce back. In 2019, she put forth her best song ever. She catapulted a juggernaut. And, like a massive boulder, this devastating dance pop number crashed down the walls of boredom and apathy, and saved 2019 from being an exercise in mediocrity. Canadian Music Blog declares “Sweet Love” by Kiesza as 2019’s song of the year!