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.
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.
After listening to several thousand songs released in 2018 whether as singles, tracks 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, below is a list of our 30 favourite Canadian artist songs of 2018 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. Hit singles released in 2017 but achieved their peak chart success in 2018 are included. As well, songs released as singles in 2017 but were included on an album released in 2018 were considered. We have used the artwork for the single where one exists, failing that, the LP or EP that includes the song. We would like to give honourable mentions to “Empire” by Sarah MacDougall, “Hotel Delmano” by Munya, and “Signals” by To the Trees.
Trust us, the 30 songs below are all really, really good and make us proud to be Canadian.
This talented man won the Prism Prize in 2016 for his “Avalanche” music video. He released solid studio album Youth in 2018, and this track tickled us most, given its wispy vocals, addictive keyboard pulses, and thumpy beats.
Off excellent album Nightcrawler, New Brunswick’s Simon Daniel put together this sumptuous brew of brooding tones, at times sounding like a cross between Radiohead and Travis.
Timmins, Ontario recording artist Céleste Lévis is an ADISQ nominated finalist of The Voice Season 3. Her thick honeyed vocals are a perfect match for “Je n’arrive pas à revenir” with its delicate arrangements that build into a towering climax complete with some delicious synthesizers.
This earth quaking R&B number struck number one on April 10, as fans speculated it was about Selena Gomez. “Call Out My Name” is the opening track off The Weeknd’s EP My Dear Melancholy.
A radio hit it certainly was, “Kiss Me” was lead single off reggae-pop group Magic’s third studio album, Expectations, arguably its best yet. We love how it ends with some horns.
Vancouverite Kelly Yu slayed China with a Mandopop megahit this year, and while it was definitely a winner, we preferred “Fèngpéi” (Accompany), a piano ballad with a great catchy chorus.
From one of the best EPs of the year, “Sight Of” from Lesser Evil is an instantly likeable chillout nugget with funky grooves. It teases vocally and claps its way along ever so coolly.
One of Canada’s most successful recording artists of all time made a big comeback in 2018. In fact, this inspiring piano ballad was one of only two songs by a homegrown female soloist to make the Top 40 through the year.
From one of the year’s best pop albums, “Seule comme une étoile” from Maïa of former group Ladies of the Canyon, injects a soft flowing dose of soul-stirring piano and haunts like a Sarah Brightman song.
Speaking of great pop music, how about that EP from Allie X? Arguably “Science” was its most likeable track. It sits somewhere between The Human League and Electric Youth and fits easily into an imagined soundtrack for both Miami Vice and Ryan Gosling’s Drive.
A synth pop duo that conjured up a magical album was Toronto’s Brave Shores. It was difficult to pick a standout track but “We Are the New VR” has such a dazzling, uplifting wall of sound quality, we have to place it here.
The Toronto queen of underground new wave is the one to watch in 2019. Airy vocals, captivating beats, and dreamy synths make her music ever so exquisite. “MTV” has some nice vocal harmonies in the chorus and hearkens back to the 80s, appropriate for a song about MTV.
Edmonton multiplatinum JUNO winner, Ruth B released this song which struck us for sounding different from what everyone seemed to be doing in 2018. Its teasing synth pulses and raspy beats should hook you immediately.
Canada is taking its shot at ambient electronic music and becoming a world leader at it. One of our finest outfits is North Atlantic Drift. “Good Intentions II” at just under four minutes does not overstay its welcome gently pulling you along in its breathtaking flight.
BC’s The Coriolis Project gives ambient music more of an edgier rock sound, as explicitly evident on a cut like “Branches”. It switches on an atmosphere that swings serenely, thanks to some nice ride cymbal percussion, and ultimately excites with riveting guitars and ultra spicy synth riffs.
Quadruple platinum artist Coleman Hell of Thunder Bay delivered perhaps the best lyrics of the year thanks to this knee-slapping stroke of genius dedicated to those who suffer from so-called mental illness. Our favourite stanza:
“So I wrestle my demons
‘Til I go off the deep end
Where I’m drowning and I can’t come up for air
I’ve tried every medication
And I’ve gone in hibernation
Hiding in my room like a bi-polar bear”
A sweeping tapestry of ambient soundscapes animates Viñu-Vinu’s excellent album Echoes from Afar which opens with track … “Afar”. This is a creepy waking dream, a deliciously dreary ride through both spook and calm.
From our EP of the year, “Seuls à deux” by Éric Charland has it all. A finely crafted, catchy, and coherent adult electropop tune reminding us a little of Jason Bajada.
The surprise R&B album of 2017 was Jenna Nation’s You Don’t Know and of 2018 is Adrian Underhill’s CU Again. It is smooth, mellow R&B inflected adult contemporary with splashes of alternative. Pastel grooves swish through the gentle earworm “I Want It All” which harnesses a simple melody that is ever so catchy.
It was very difficult to choose a track from our 2018 album of the year, Connection by EDM house wizard Diversion. We finally settled on this, a moderate tempo track amidst faster and slower numbers. The vocals of featured singer Yemi Bolatiwa make it even better. Dense and rich with fantastic beats and ground-shaking bass, “Would You Just” is pure euphoria.
Title track of Beatrice Deer’s boss 2018 album, “My All to You” is a driving stomp along pleaser oozing with fragrant swagger. So simple and yet so satisfying, it forces you to do one thing: hit the repeat button.
This definitely qualifies as one of the best tracks emanating from Canada’s most recognizable name in EDM – deadmau5. Monophobia features the vocals of Rob Swire. Wait for the electrifying synth and beats to kick in and you’re in for the feel-good anthem of the year.
It took ten long years, and a young woman from Calgary finally did it. She became the first homegrown female soloist in a whole decade to reach #1 at country radio. This song did pretty well in the US too, making it into the country Top 20, a rare event for a Canadian song these days. Another rarity is for a singer to melt hearts by voicing a single word, in this case “boy”. Plucky guitar leads up to the most sing-along worthy chorus in a long time. This song deserved every milestone it passed. Off 2017 album The Project, the Canadian Music Blog declares “Criminal” by Lindsay Ell as 2018’s song of the year!
We are counting down our favourite music videos of 2018. A good music video as far as we are concerned is one that keeps a person’s attention even with the sound turned off. We admire MVs that are cinematic, adventurous, fun, sentimental, clever, artistic, original, that have attractive wardrobe choices, breathtaking shots, architectural or natural wonders, or a stellar message. With high standards, we prefer MVs that are low on violence, lechery, expletives, self-mutilation, and do not display the use of toxic substances, all of which are ugly to us. We select videos that are beautiful to look at, colourful, with crisp, clear photography and brightness/contrast controls properly balanced. Below is a list of our 10 favourite Canadian MVs released in 2018. As YouTube often changes the addresses of videos, we have not embedded the MVs here but have provided links to them for your convenience. (Do note that these may become invalid in the future). As usual, we allowed only one entry per artist on the list and have provided a screen capture for each video below.
Dead Can Dance? Well, apparently Deadpool can, especially when Céline Dion is performing a show-stopping power ballad on stage. But what we’re really wondering is – is that Ryan in the costume or a professional dancer? The best-selling Canadian artist of all-time took theme song of feature film Deadpool 2 – “Ashes” – and put a big smile on our faces with this niblet of joy. Link
Ham’l’n JUNO winning rock band The Dirty Nil, somewhat alternative, somewhat punk, somewhat costumed up, takes a van to a warehouse venue and performs amidst colourful lights and pyrotechnics. It’s a blast. Link
2018 was the year of celebrity Canadian marriages, perhaps inspired by the Royal Wedding. Tyler Shaw was among those who tied the knot, but he has always been Mr. Romance. This certainly comes through in the beautifully done music video for Billboard Hot 100 hit “With You”. With it, he has placed a total of seven songs on the chart. Link
Impératrice Marie-Mai flirts between black and white and pastel colours in a drool-inducing slick slice of cool that is her music video for “Empire”. She’s been able to decorate the Billboard Hot 100 with seven Franco hits, a truly amazing feat. Two platinum albums isn’t too shabby either. Link
“No Depression” will greet you when you watch this adorable MV. Afie Jurvanen a.k.a. Bahamas gets a puppet version of himself who embarks on a soul-searching mission through the wilderness, only to settle down roasting hot dogs at a campfire with the real version of himself. Link
The MV for chart-topping hit and third biggest song of the year, “God’s Plan”, documents Drake‘s donating the video’s entire budget to Floridians in need. He tells shoppers that anything they buy in the store is on him. He donates $25,000 to a high school. And there are some other surprises. On Instagram he commented that it was “the most important thing I have ever done in my career.” Link
It took four days and 2,250 pieces of paper but in “UnAmerican”, Said The Whale finally put out this handmade effects-filled video containing no visual effects after tons of meticulous preparation. The MV combines still photos (printed frames of a filmed live performance) with a continuously moving canvas resulting in an eye-popping work of art. Link
On top of a green blotter that evokes nostalgia back to days before the whiteboard and after the blackboard, an ambidextrous artist (director Meags Fitzgerald) puts all her skills to good use live before the camera: drawing, cutting, shaping, arranging, crafting, illustrating a host of art pieces. In our route to becoming adults, for some reason, somewhere along the way, we lost our desire to make art like this. Hopefully the MV for Rich Aucoin‘s “The Middle” will bring back such inspiration. Link
Vancouverite Kelly Yu had an amazing year, scoring one of Mandopop’s biggest hits and releasing her second album, Undefined. In the MV for track “Fèngpéi” (Accompany), follow Kelly around the Bund in Shanghai, one of the word’s most recognizable urban locales. Though colourful videos have proven the most attractive, so-called earth tones work well here, as does her choice of wearing a beige trench coat. The MV includes enough details to keep the eyes pleased – photographs, toys, paintings, books. Link
Iceland is a favourite place for many artists to shoot music videos; even the Biebs did one there. This artist released a video on her birthday, marking her big comeback. She is known for having made some of the most gorgeous music videos, 13 of which are Vevo certified at over 100 million views, and she certainly succeeds here. Her ghostly figure carrying a lamp emerges from a cave to amble along jagged cliffs overlooking the dark teal waters of the ocean and whitecaps crashing on the beach. And let’s not forget the breathtaking underwater shots. Canadian Music Blog declares Avril Lavigne‘s “Head Above Water” as 2018’s music video of the year! Link
Toronto’s Rosemary Fairweather has been slipping singles into the ocean of Canadian music since 2016, pearls discovered by music lovers at Beats 1, The Fader, Stereogum and more. We were lucky to discover this enigmatic figure early on and named her song “Moonlight” as the third best song of 2016. Rosemary’s first batch of singles plus a couple more songs were gelled together on album Heavenly with CD pressings available in Japan. Through Universal Music Canada, Fairweather dropped a new single in 2018 – “MTV” – and a few days ago launched a music video which we have embedded below. Rosemary Fairweather has a smart DIY attitude concocting dreamy, mysterious synth pop chimes, and sprinkling fairy dust with her tantalizing vocals. iTunes
One of Canada’s most beloved recording artists is planning a nationwide arena tour next year. His name? Corey Hart.
Working on a set of new songs with producer Bob Ezrin to be released next year, Hart plans shows in 16 Canadian cities in May and June. Tracking the sun, he flies from east to west, rising in St. John’s May 31, 2019 and setting at Rogers Arena in Vancouver June 25. Fans from PEI will have to swing down to Moncton and from Saskatchewan over to Edmonton, Calgary, or Winnipeg.
Corey Hart managed 18 Top 40 hits over the years, and scored the biggest hit of the year 1985 – “Never Surrender”. His debut album First Offense was eventually certified triple platinum, while his followup Boy in the Box struck diamond (10x platinum) for sales of a million copies. Album #3, Fields of Fire, sold double platinum, and platinum awards were granted to Young Man Running and his self-titled 1996 album. In 2016, he received a star on the Walk of Fame.
Corey won two JUNO awards out of 21 nominations, which given the extent of his success seems low. Bear in mind though that he was often nominated in the same categories as Bryan Adams who seemed to attract trophies like a magnet.
While Hart’s music was curiously not embraced by the charts in Britain, success in the United States seemed to come naturally: gold and platinum albums and nine Top 40 hits on the Billboard US Hot 100 including a pair in the Top 10. His most successful song there, as in Canada, was “Never Surrender” (#3).
The new EP, Dreaming Time Again, drops May 3 with lead single and title track coming out January 14. On social media, Corey Hart thanked his fans for encouraging hm to return back to music.
Tour dates are below, and underneath that find embedded a brand new video for song “Another December”.
COREY HART’S 2019 NEVER SURRENDER TOUR
May 31, 2019 – Mile One Centre – Saint John’s, NL
June 4, 2019 – Scotiabank Centre – Halifax, NS
June 5, 2019 – Avenir Centre – Moncton, NB
June 6, 2019 – Centre Videotron- Québec City, QC
June 8, 2019 – Budweiser Gardens- London, ON
June 10, 2019 – Sudbury Community Arena – Sudbury, ON
June 11, 2019 – Leon’s Centre – Kingston, ON
June 12, 2019 – Canadian Tire Centre – Ottawa, ON
June 14, 2019 – Budweiser Stage – Toronto, ON
June 15, 2019 – Bell Centre – Montreal, QC
June 18, 2019 – Bell MTS Place – Winnipeg, MB
June 20, 2019 – Scotiabank Saddledome – Calgary, AB
June 21, 2019 – Rogers Place – Edmonton, AB
June 22, 2019 – Prospera Place – Kelowna, BC
June 24, 2019 – Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre – Victoria, BC
June 25, 2019 – Rogers Arena – Vancouver, BC
Go to coreyhart.com for more details.
When it comes to country music, MacKenzie Porter is the real deal. Raised on a cattle ranch in small town Alberta, she championed the musical realms of voice, piano, and of course fiddle releasing her first solo single “I Wish I’d Known” in 2012. This came after years of acting, a second career stream that kicked off in 2007 with children’s show Dinosapien. Porter’s second single “Never Gonna Let You” placed her on the Billboard Hot 100 and remains her biggest hit at country radio peaking at #11. She released her debut, self-titled album in 2014 which included her popular song “If You Ask Me To”. The LP was nominated for a JUNO award. The last time we heard new music from Porter was in 2015 with her radio hit “Rodeo”.
Part of the reason for her absence from the music scene is that in 2016 she landed a leading role in Netflix-Showcase sci-fi television series Travelers. Now on a break from the show, she is working feverishly on a new disc to be out in 2019 and has dropped two new songs, “About You” and “Drive Thru”.
In case you were wondering, MacKenzie is the younger sister of Canadian Idol winner Kalan Porter.
Of the new music, she says, “I moved to Nashville and have been writing every single day for two and a half years when I’m not filming my show and it just took me some time to develop the kind of new music I want to put out.”
The exquisite new tracks continue Porter’s preference for letting songs grow from a personal place, as she believes telling one’s own story makes music more relatable. “Chances are if I’ve gone through it [others] have gone through it,” she states. “About You” revolves around the theme of ruining a relationship and not getting a second chance, while “Drive Thru” has her not allowing another to set his own terms on a relationship.
Enjoy the official lyric videos below.
Though it eluded gold certification, significant radio spins, and Hot 100 entries, British Columbian recording artist Grimes tickled the critics pink with her 2015 electronic pop album Art Angels which made many year-end best of lists including #1 placements with Stereogum, Idolator, Exclaim (Pop/Rock category), and NME. The disc was nominated for Album of the Year at the JUNOs. The music video for track “Venus Fly” won Video of the Year, granting Grimes her second trophy; her first was for previous album Visions (Electronic Album of the Year).
A year ago, Grimes stated she would not be releasing new music anytime soon blaming the “trash” nature of the music industry. In June 2018, she previewed a couple of new songs, collaborated with Poppy on “Play Destroy”, with Loona on “Love4eva”, Jimmy Urine on “The Medicine Does Not Control Me”, and she recorded the theme song for Netflix’s series Hilda.
Previously joining forces with Hana under the name “Trashique” for a cover of Tegan and Sara’s “Dark Come Soon”, Grimes (stage name of Claire Boucher) features the Montanan singer on brand new track “We Appreciate Power”. She has let loose a lyric video which we have embedded below.
Apparently inspired by North Korean all-female group Moranbong Band, the new song is dark, apocalyptic and rock leaning giving it a so-called industrial feel, while it preserves Grimes’ Art Angels style of drenching simple composition with rich production.
A press release states “‘We Appreciate Power’ is written from the perspective of a Pro-A.I. Girl Group Propaganda machine who use song, dance, … and fashion to spread goodwill towards Artificial Intelligence (it’s coming whether you want it or not). Simply by listening to this song, the future General AI overlords will see that you’ve supported their message and be less likely to delete your offspring.”
Grimes is currently working on her fifth album. A release date has not yet been announced.
I put on a front, make it look like I don’t care
In reality, I feel you, see you everywhere
Wonder if you ever sit and wonder about me?
Tell me, does it kill you, everything that we could be?
Edmonton’s Ruth B. is a quintuple platinum recording artist thanks to her breakout hit “Lost Boy”. In 2017, she won the Best New Artist JUNO. Ruth’s debut LP Safe Haven was certified gold by Music Canada, and as her fans eagerly await album number two, the singer and songwriter recently released a new song called “Crave”. We could not be happier with it. Rather than doing what everyone else is, she has created something different. Its teasing synth pulses and raspy beats should hook you immediately. Have a listen below. iTunes
British Columbian recording artist Carly Rae Jepsen has released her first new song not associated with the Emotion era. The latter saw a critically acclaimed album including a gold single, a disc of album outtakes as Side B, and final single “Cut to the Feeling” arguably the best track of all.
Her new song “Party for One”, currently sitting at #6 on iTunes, heralds her upcoming fourth studio LP which is expected out in 2019.
The music video for “Party for One” has received glowing reviews from Billboard and surpassed a cool million views in its first 24 hours of release. The MV, which you can view here, turns the sting of heartbreak into a celebration of being single and enjoying a party for one. iTunes
Wednesday night, Avril Lavigne performed her new smash “Head Above Water” on US chat show Jimmy Kimmel Live. She nailed the performance as always with some commanding vocal work to the cheers of the crowd. Today, on her birthday, she released the official music video, and it is easily the most beautiful of the year with eye-popping cinematography of cliffs and caves, beach and sea. It was filmed in Iceland and directed by Briton Elliott Lester. Below we have embedded the Jimmy Kimmel performance as well as the official “Head Above Water” MV. The song recently topped the iTunes worldwide chart and is the first single off Avril Lavigne’s upcoming sixth studio album, her first since 2013.
“Head Above Water”, the new single from Canadian singer Avril Lavigne, has topped the iTunes Worldwide Chart with #1 placements in a number of countries. It currently sits at #2 on iTunes Canada. This is the diamond certified singer songwriter’s first single in three years, the last offering being “Fly” dedicated to the Special Olympics.
Having battled Lyme disease, Lavigne has not been able to release a new album since her self-titled disc in 2013. That album was certified gold and spawned four charting songs including platinum “Here’s to Never Growing Up” (#17) and radio supported “Let Me Go” featuring Nickelback frontman Chad Kroeger (gold, #12).
“Head Above Water” follows along the course of piano driven power ballads like “Let Me Go” and “Fly” and lyrically focuses on her determination to survive the brutal effects of Lyme.
For those who were longing for an Avril Lavigne comeback, all we can say is … boy, what a comeback!
Avril Lavigne has won seven JUNO awards and sold an estimated 90 million records worldwide. iTunes
Platinum Canadian recording artist Marie-Mai is taking off in her latest single “Je décolle” which follows hit song “Empire”. The new tune is a catchy dance pop number, and with its music video release comes the announcement of a new album expected out November 9. Marie-Mai’s last album, M, came out four years ago in 2014. She is scheduled to put on shows promoting the new disc in early 2019 at Montreal’s Bell Centre (February 15 & 16) and Quebec City’s Centre Vidéotron (March 2). Enjoy the MV below.