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.
Best Plan by Wanting
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.
Un monde parfait by Nico Lelièvre
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.
Lights Out by Keshia Chanté
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.
Mille morceaux by Marc Dupré
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.
Can’t Get Over You by Jenna Nation
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.
Holding Steady by Kashka
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.
Livin’ on Summertime by Gord Bamford
If there was ever a summertime jam to play by the pool or beach or backyard barbecue, country superstar Gord Bamford supplied it.
Need You by Allie X
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.
Always Been by Lolaa
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.
First Move by Stacey
Crystal clear vocals, dreamy keyboard sequences, delicate piano arrangements, and more made this one hauntingly beautiful. Stacey is one to watch in the next couple of years.
Lost by Teen Daze
This one gently flutters in like a colourful butterfly before opening up droning vocal harmonies and bringing in featured vocalist Nadia Hulett’s twinkling serenade toward the close.
In Comes the Night by Bobby Wills
One of country music’s underappreciated talents, Bobby Wills is an amazing singer and is always able to craft a good tune. This is one of his best songs yet.
Halfway Home by Broken Social Scene
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.
Younger Heart by Blue Hawaii
This duo has a style all its own. The term trip hop has been used to describe this one. It’s a sultry number of chillout electronica.
Electric by Emily Rowed
It begins with a standard rootsy blues-rock vibe, but as the song carries on, interesting details and twists pour in and a progressive current begins to flow. It has a nice beat too.
21 Days by Scott Helman
This platinum recording artist unleashed this winner prior to the release of his 2017 album. It’s an ever so sweet guitar ditty, completely infectious. Very nice lyrics too.
Stay for Real by Young Galaxy
One of the most desirable progressive pop songs of the year, this one ranks right up there with most of the stuff Depeche Mode has done, subdued, earnest, and very satisfying.
Obvious by Natasha Zimbaro
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.
In Love with a Broken Heart by Hedley
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.
Black Moon by Amaara
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.
Tease by Ralph
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.
Sang-froid by Ludovic Alarie
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.
Loving Game by Peter Peter
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?
Self-Unemployed by The Luyas
From one of the finest alternative rock bands in the country, The Lyuas begin this was a cacophony of sound from which emerges something very diggable. The song title alone is genius.
Utopia by Austra
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!
Moonlight Shadow by Louise Burns
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.
Temperance by North Atlantic Drift
This is an instrumental number of ambient electronica. Hypnotic, soothing, and moody, the music will transport you to wherever you want to go, including another dimension. Just brilliant.
Spirit by The Belle Game
“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.
Country Song by The Courtneys
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.
Canadian Music Blog’s 2017 Song of the Year
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.