New Releases May 4, 2018: Kiran Ahluwalia, Éric Lapointe, Felix Cartal…

Canadian music makers are going to need to create more pop songs if they want to capitalize on the current state of affairs, and more pop albums have hit the markets in this week’s batch of new releases.

In a snapshot of the twenty most purchased tracks at iTunes Canada, we drafted the following chart showing that pop hits are the most liked, followed by rock, then rap, and finally country. Points were tallied for each of the four genres. The genre of the #1 song was awarded 20 points, 19 points for the #2 song and so on, down to 1 point for the genre of the 20th most popular song. We’ve kept things simple so that pop includes songs designated as “dance”, rock includes “alternative”, rap “R&B”, and country “folk”.

Highlights of this week’s new Canadian artist releases include the following. Kiran Ahluwalia is a double JUNO winner and specialist of world music. The new album is entitled 7 Billion. Among the choicest of Franco music is fresh disc L’amour et le chaos from electropop duo Alfa Rococo. For a little atmosphere check out the artistic Arms of a Dream from Alberta’s Reuben and the Dark. Two-time JUNO nominee and rocker Éric Lapointe tops iTunes albums with his latest effort, Délivrance. BC punk band D.O.A. is still at it and contributes Fight Back. Also from the west coast is 3-time JUNO nominee Felix Cartal and EDM LP Next Season. Legendary 70s rock group Offenbach is all about a Renaissance. Finally, definitely give a listen to nicely done synthpop EP Voyager léger from double JUNO nominee Yann Perreau. Find these and lots more goodies in the table below.

7 Billion Kiran Ahluwalia World
L’amour et le chaos Alfa Rococo Pop
Arms of a Dream Reuben and the Dark Alt
Daniel Jesuslesfilles Alt
Délivrance Éric Lapointe Rock
Driving in the Dark Mariel Buckley S-S
Fight Back D.O.A. Punk
Home Away from Home The Lay Awakes S-S
In City & Country The Young Novelists S-S
Next Season Felix Cartal Pop
Renaissance Offenbach Rock
La chute de Sparte (EP) La Bronze Pop
Voyager léger (EP) Yann Perreau Pop

We leave you with exquisite new track “Anybody Out There” from Vancouver platinum recording artist Tyler Shaw and Toronto’s Amaal Nuux.


Céline Dion Leaves Some Ashes in the Deadpool

Queen Céline rises from … the ashes … to deliver a new song which will be included on the Deadpool 2 soundtrack. Deadpool 2 is the sequel to, as you guessed it, Deadpool. It stars Canadian actor Ryan Reynolds. The upcoming film (release date: May 18, 2018) was shot in Vancouver. Briefly, it is based on a comic book character who appeared in the X-Men series. Reynolds plays Wade Wilson, an operative turned mercenary who was offered an experimental treatment for his terminal cancer. It left him with special abilities including healing powers.

The music video for “Ashes” by Céline Dion was released this morning. The day is not over, and it has already surpassed 2.5 million views on YouTube. Of the song, Dion says:

“Over the years I’ve received some incredible songs and I’ve been involved in some amazing projects. ‘Ashes’ is one of those songs and ‘Deadpool 2’ is off-the-charts! Take the most insane ride of your life when ‘Deadpool 2’ opens on May 18 … you’ll be laughing your “ashes” off!”

The track will be included on the motion picture soundtrack along with classics by A-ha, Air Supply, Cher, Dolly Parton, Pat Benatar, and Peter Gabriel. The album will be available the day the film opens; “Ashes” is available for digital download now.  iTunes

The last time Céline made the Top 40 of the Canadian Hot 100 was in 2013 when “Loved Me Back to Life” peaked at #26 without much radio support.

Selected Canadian Artist Releases, April 13, 2018

Below we list selected Canadian artist releases for the week of April 13, 2018.


“Ariane” by Choses Sauvages (Alternative)
“Loud” by Tim Hicks (Country)
“Somnambule” by Coeur de pirate (AC)


Berceuses sous la hotte by Marie Paquin (S-S/Folk)
Cue by Jaunt (Alternative)
Dates by Dates (Punk)
Wrong Side of the Moon by Melody Stang (S-S/Folk)


Arriver jusqu’à toi by Laura Gagné (AC)
Feux de bengale by Joannie Benoit (S-S/Folk)
M. Chandler by M. Chandler (Rock)
Le sage by Michel Thériault (Rock)
Science by Robotaki (Pop)
Zay by FouKi (Rap)


We leave you with the new music video for Meghan Patrick’s “The Bad Guy”. Meghan is the reigning CCMA Female Artist of the Year. The track is from her January 2018 album Country Music Made Me Do It.

Lindsay Ell Scores First Female Canadian #1 Country Song in 10 Years!

From the city of Crowchild Trail, Benny the Bear, and the Saddledome, Calgary’s Lindsay Ell, discovered by Randy Bachman when she was just 15, has just done something no other female Canadian artist has been able to do for 10 long years.

Releasing her gold, magenta, and vermillion tinged album The Project in 2017, hailed by Billboard magazine as the best country album of the year, Lindsay let loose the blistering track “Criminal”, and it has decimated the charts. It is the number one country radio single in the land, and the first from a maple-femme artist since Terri Clark’s “In My Next Life” from 2008. “Criminal” has also entered the Top 20 in the United States’ nationwide country airplay chart!

For many years, a Canadian artist was unable to scratch the surface of the country charts until Gord Bamford’s fireball, “When Your Lips Are So Close” in November 2013. This was followed by a string of number ones by Canadians, but all gentlemen: “Bounty” by Dean Brody, “Wastin’ Gas” by Dallas Smith, “Airwaves” by Brett Kissel, “Autograph” by Dallas Smith, “Side Effects” by Dallas Smith, “I Be U Be” by High Valley, “Chills” by James Barker Band, “Sky Stays This Blue” by Dallas Smith, “Sleepin’ Around” by Dallas Smith, and “8th Day” by Dean Brody.

On the accomplishment, Lindsay states, “I am humbled and grateful to be the first female artist to have a #1 since 2008 on the Canadian country radio charts. Sometimes you work so hard for the things you want, they feel surreal when they happen. Thank you country radio for believing in me and making this possible. Thank you to each and every fan for never giving up on me. I will try my best to continue to make you proud.”

Ell is currently on tour with Brad Paisely and will join Sugarland for 20+ dates in the summer. She is set to play with Keith Urban in Canadian arenas in September. Check out her website for dates.

By scoring a number one country hit, Lindsay Ell has blown the field wide open for Canadian women. 

We embed the MV for “Criminal” below. As you can hear, it’s very catchy with delicious vocal hooks and excellent guitar work from Lindsay Ell herself.

Releases for April 6, 2018: Paul Brandt, Young Galaxy, Sloan…

Selected New Singles

Being semi-facetious, let us state … for the record … that it was a Canadian who delivered the first rap track, back in 1964. His name was Lorne Greene, and the piece in question was “Ringo”. That ought to be the standard by which all modern rap tunes are judged. Carrying on the Greene tradition is Canada’s own Drake. After dominating the Hot 100 for 10 weeks with “God’s Plan”, he drops “Nice for What”. Is it nice or not? You be the judge.

Also hot at iTunes (currently Top 25) is a new one from Arkells – “People’s Champ”. The Motown-heavy romp heralds the band’s upcoming fifth album and comments on a politician who looks like he has a puss caterpillar on his head. Guess who.

Country music’s finest voice is a matter of debate but certainly ranking high up there is Kira Isabella, and she lands a sure-fire winner, “Little Girl” as in “Don’t ever let ’em make you feel little, girl.” It continues her rally for female empowerment found on such choice cuts as “Quarterback”.

It seems like it’s been a while since we’ve heard from youthful ace of funk Francesco Yates though he did release a song back in February. He’s back with new single “Do You Think About Me”. Francesco was featured in Robin Schulz’s international smash “Sugar”, triple platinum at home.

Selected New Extended Plays

Regarded by many as the most successful Canadian country male soloist of the modern era, Calgary’s Paul Brandt is a triple platinum, 8x JUNO award winner. His new EP is The Journey YYC, Vol. 1 and presents six songs packed with more energy than a multivitamin. This one’s a keeper.

A pleasant surprise is Waterloo’s To the Trees with a self-released, self-titled affair. The band specializes in syth rock. The nifty disc seems to get better with each song; the final two hit the spot for us. This one’s worth checking out for fans of the genre.

More extended plays in the table of new releases down below.

Selected Hot New Albums

Nova Scotia’s Sloan releases its first album in four years and its 12th since things began in 1992, hence its title 12. Four of the group’s albums have gone gold and a JUNO win can be claimed. Atlantic rock doesn’t get much better – hear influences from America, The Beatles, and early Pink Floyd.

Singer-songwriter Royal Wood contributes Ever After the Farewell. He goes for a roots sound on many tracks, bringing in some gospel and folk seasonings. The album was produced by Jamie Scott (Ed Sheeran, Rag ‘n Bone Man). Royal Wood has garnered a pair of JUNO nominations thus far.

JUNO nominated pop machine Hey Ocean! of Vancouver discusses The Hurt of Happiness on its new record. Perhaps western Canada’s version of Stars, with the male-female singing combo over rich sythpop, the album is a glossy atmospheric adventure.

Annie Poulain is a JUNO nominee in the jazz field. Her Dix pianos une voix features, as the title suggests, 10 pianists who accompany her vocals. Overall, it’s a soothing record perfect for weekday evening unwinding.

Selected Cool New Albums

Blackout Summer from Dusted? Yes. The Toronto based outfit should appeal to fans of soulful alternative music, a little dark, a bit dreamy, with focussed hooks and punchy beats. As Yoda might say, “Very nicely done, this one is.”

Thomas Carbou, the genius who brings world music into jazz, dedicates three pieces to each of the four Directions, hence the album name. As you guessed, North, South, East, and West dabble in instruments, sounds, styles common in those respective parts of the globe, and it’s all fused into wonderful jazz.

Last but not least, Exclaim mag gave the following album a rating of 9/10. That’s a pretty accurate score as far as we are concerned. One of the best albums of 2018 belongs to Down Time by synth band Young Galaxy of Montreal. The album contains phenomenal 2017 track “Stay for Real”. We’ll give this one a more detailed writeup later.

Find a table of 24 selected Canadian artist LPs and EPs out this week in the table below.

12 Sloan Rock
Blackout Summer Dusted Alternative
Canada’s Global Orchestra Kune World
Chasing Clouds Camaromance S-S/Folk
Debouler vers le ciel Emile Gruff Rock
Directions Thomas Carbou  Jazz
Dix pianos une voix Annie Poulain Jazz
Down Time Young Galaxy Alternative
Every After the Farewell Royal Wood S-S/Folk
The Fifth Matthew V Pop
The Hurt of Happiness Hey Ocean! Pop
Lone Wolf Lowell Alternative
Ms. Behave Rosie & The Riveters S-S/Folk
Premier Juin Lydia Kepinski Alternative
Sa couleur Ame Pop
Salvation The Penske File Rock
Separate Rooms Megan Bonnell S-S/Folk
The Up Here Place Look Vibrant Alternative
Wolastoqiyik Lintuwakonawa Jeremy Dutcher Classical
Amours jetables (EP) Melissa Ouimet S-S/Folk
Deslembranca (EP) Mikhaëlle Salazar  World
Homage (EP) Flash Lightnin’ Rock
The Journey YYC, Vol. I (EP) Paul Brandt Country
To the Trees (EP) To the Trees Rock

March 9, 2018 Releases: Three Days Grace, Fanny Bloom, Dear Rouge…

We have surpassed 100 Canadian artist albums released in 2018. As usual, this week’s new discs offer a variety of styles.

If you like your rock hard with noughties’ bratty male vocals, you are in for a treat, as multiplatinum group Three Days Grace launches album number six – Outsider. TDG has been nominated for seven JUNO awards. The new album is currently at #3 on iTunes.

JUNO nominated duo Dear Rouge from Alberta is back with a new album – Phases. It’s energetic, feel-good synth inflected rock. Saskatoon double JUNO nominee Suzie Vinnick, a specialist of roots and blues, delivers the goods on album Shake the Love Around.

Félix award winner and alternative pop ace Fanny Bloom hits the mark on her new disc, Liqueur. Find some beautiful folk rock from BC’s Shred Kelly (Archipelago). For a pleasant surprise, give Feast of Panthers by Ensign Broderick a whirl; he does glam rock right. Finally, Années lumière is a wonderful EP from singer-songwriter Alicia Deschênes.

Find these and more new Canadian artist releases in the table below after which we present new single “Landslide” from all-female pop-rock trio Caveboy. Growing rapidly in international popularity, Charlotte Cardin now has an MV for song “Paradise Motion”. We toss that in as well. Enjoy the new music.

Archipelago Shred Kelly Folk Rock
Compte à rebours Les bouches bées S-S/Folk
Distractions Random Recipe Pop
Feast of Panthers Ensign Broderick Glam Rock
Girls Girls Girls Miesha & The Spanks Garage
Highway to Spell Jeremy Fisher Junior Childrens
I’m Bad Now Nap Eyes Alternative
Liqueur Fanny Bloom Alt Pop
Music for Taverns… Sean Burns & Lost Country Country
Outsider Three Days Grace Hard Rock
Phases Dear Rouge Alt Rock
Rebelle Angee Wings Pop
Samedis créatifs La Brigade des Moeurs Rap
Shake the Love Around Suzie Vinnick Blues
Slowly Paradise Eric Chenaux Alternative
This City Heavyweights Brass Band Jazz
Tough Luck Scenic Route to Alaska Indie Rock
Années lumière (EP) Alicia Deschênes S-S
Bridges (EP) San James Alternative
EP.1 Garnotte Prog Rock


Synthpop For Esmé, Cheers for”Doubtmouth”

During my travels, I tuned in once to a program on CCTV9 – the English language television channel in China. Three people were chatting and sharing their opinions on a subject. There were two men, one Chinese and one French, and an American woman. (I mention the nationalities to simply illustrate that the problem is global). All were young, probably in their 20s. What I found that was both fascinating and disturbing was that when one of the men shared an opinion, the other man did not express disagreement directly, but offer something along the lines of, “Oh, that’s really interesting that you see it that way,” before offering his different opinion and the two would have a cordial discussion exploring the subject and bonding over their different insights, ignoring the woman. When the woman offered an opinion, the two men immediately brushed it off saying directly, “No, no, that’s not right,” and proceeded to discuss it themselves ignoring her. I could actually see the woman fall into silence and physically shrivel back into her chair. This pattern continued throughout the program.

It’s frustrating, isn’t it.

For Esmé is a synthpop project from Toronto that also explores the psychology of gender-role socialization. Lead singer Martha Meredith, a former student of psychology at Queen’s University, says she has worked in four jobs with all-male teams. She discovered that if she spoke the same way as the men, she would be treated negatively. Martha learned in her studies that, in experiments, when men and women asserted the exact same opinion to a group (word for word), the subjects “overwhelmingly shifted their opinions to agree with the man when he speaks, and are more likely to push back and oppose the same view from a woman.” She wonders what we can do to change this bias in society. Such questions will be explored on For Esmé’s upcoming album, Righteous Woman, out May 25. It follows album Sugar from 2015.

Lead single “Doubtmouth” is available now. Meredith says the song “moves through the doubt that chokes us, and the labels that shrink us, to find a voice and body that refuses to be quieted.” Have a listen below.   iTunes   Deezer   Spotify   SoundCloud

Connect with For Esmé:   Facebook   Twitter   Instagram

Gelsea Mae Launches New Single “Wildfire”

Canadian pop recording artist (and actress) Gelsea Mae has released new single: “Wildfire”. We caught up with her for an interview which we post below.

CMB: It has been nearly a year since your last single release – “Shoulda Known Better” which along with predecessor “Need You Now” generated some buzz around you as a recording artist. Could you highlight some of the successes you experienced with these songs.

Gelsea: “Need You Now” has continued being featured on top playlists by Spotify and Spotify Canada and spun on some radio stations across Canada including Virgin Radio, which I am very proud of. Both songs have also been placed on movie soundtracks, which I can’t talk about at the moment. Needless to say, both “Shoulda Known Better” and “Need You Now” have created an extremely positive platform for me as a newcomer and I am very grateful for the following that I have, who have continued to support me with my music.

CMB: You just released “Wildfire” on Valentine’s Day. Could you tell us a little about it – which came first, the lyrics or the music?

Gelsea: The lyrics, always.

CMB: And lyrically, what is the song about?

Gelsea: It’s about the exhilarating early stages of being in love, known as “The Honeymoon stage.” That crazy, passionate, kind of love that gives you that rush of adrenaline and excitement that feels uncontrollable. Like a “wildfire,” love is uncontrollable and in my experience, can happen very fast.

CMB: How would you describe the music in terms of the style or genre?

Gelsea: Top 40’s Pop/EDM. The Chainsmokers, Illenium, Zedd, Flume, Gryffin and Kygo, inspire me a lot on the producing aspect of things when i’m in the studio in terms of sound and vibe.

CMB: Any plans for a lyric and/or music video?

Gelsea: Yes, currently in pre production.

CMB: Behind every successful recording artist is often a good team. Could you mention some of the people behind the making of “Wildfire”.

Gelsea: A lot of people tend to think I have a big team behind me when i’m creating music, but once again, it’s just Ryan Stewart and I in the studio. I had a few sessions with other writers and producers, but it just didn’t feel right. I think Ryan really understands me as an artist and we’re really good at bouncing ideas off of each other and we just seem to click.

CMB: Are there any other planned releases in the near future?

Gelsea: I’ll be releasing another single called “High Again” on February, 25, 2018, my Birthday!

CMB: Besides working on new music, what else have you been up to this past year?

Gelsea: I’ve been busy filming. I shot 10 projects within the last year, 7 of them being Hallmark movies. I am grateful to be apart of the Hallmark family, playing Zoey on a series called “Darrow And Darrow.” I’ve also been busy traveling, blogging as an influencer and collaborating with a bunch of different companies. I recently just got back from a work trip to Bali and I look forward to traveling more this year.

CMB: Is there anything else you wish to communicate with your fans?

Gelsea: Stay tuned for more exciting news . . .

You can check out Gelsea Mae’s blog here
And of course don’t forget to grab a copy of “Wildfire” at iTunes
Stream on Deezer
Stream on Spotify

We Were Here with Lights

British electronic rock pioneer John Foxx (Ultravox) in singing about a dystopian future, presented us with songs like “Burning Car” on 1980’s Metatronic album. Fast forward to 2018, and Lights sets fire to one in the MV of her newly released pop banger single “We Were Here”. Lights has moved from synthpop to electronic rock to electropop, and now standard pop with comic books on her latest album Skin & Earth proving she can do it all. The song has entered the Top 50 at radio, one of the very few from a Canadian female. Lights has made some of the best and iconic Canadian music videos over the years. The “We Were Here” MV clocks in at 350,000 views in its first two weeks. You can find it at the usual platforms. The platinum recording artist has won a pair of JUNO awards and is up for a pair this year. She is currently on tour across the U.S. and Canada which winds up in early April.  iTunes

Victoria Duffield’s Bouncing Back Is Just “Wow”!

Last time around we reported on how British Columbian platinum dance music recording artist Victoria Duffield was abandoned by her team and parted ways with Warner Music leaving her wondering what she was going to do next. As she reminded us:

“It’s been three years since my last album. I had vocal surgery, parted with my label, parted with my manager, wrote and recorded 100 songs, moved on from 100 songs, and couldn’t even remember the feeling of turning on the radio and hearing my voice. Three years is a lifetime in the music business. I started looking online for new career options.”

It turns out that a photoshoot in Toronto led to her hooking up with a couple of producers from the city – Gabriel Gallucci and TRVTH – and they formed a new team (her choreographer Luther Brown has remained loyal and is part of the new group).

“I was not quite ready to silence my creative voice. A week later, I flew to Toronto, met two guys who shared my musical vision, and I now have 10 songs that I’ve never been more proud of – and more importantly, I have never felt so good.”

The JUNO nominee disclosed on Breakfast Television that she had written 100 songs, but it was the new 10 that she selected to press onto her upcoming third album, an independent release entitled Day 1.

“I am calling the shots this time. No label, no manager, no problem. I’m doing this album my way. With new experiences, mindsets, feelings, and life stories, I’ve got a lot to share in my new music and have a new energy to back it. With my sights set on the world, I’m not asking for permission I’m just doing it. With a fresh start, it only made sense to call my album ‘DAY 1.’ I made a feel-good album because I’m all about that feeling of feeling good.”

The lead single, fresh onto the platforms, is entitled “Wow” and we embed the official lyric video below. As you can hear, Victoria has shifted her style in keeping with the current climate.

“The lead single ‘WOW’ is an important song to me to start my new chapter. Everybody deserves to have ‘wow’ people in their life who think they’re amazing. My song ‘WOW’ is about recognizing your worth, going after it, owning it, and not settling for anything less.”

While “Wow” certainly gives us a taste of the upcoming disc, Victoria elaborates further on the making of the new album.

“‘DAY 1’ was created in six weeks, riding the magic of the introduction of our power trio of Gabriel Gallucci, TRVTH, and me. All 10 tracks were curated and executed in one studio space, from initial project planning, songwriting, production, recording, mixing, mastering, and business strategizing. Coming in with a very strong idea of what I wanted, Gabriel and TRVTH caught on with the vision right away and things took off.”

Victoria also brought in some hot songwriters to add some pizzazz to the songs including Tyler Shaw.

“Co-produced by Gabriel and TRVTH, they were able to capture my essence completely. Led by my ideas of what I wanted to tell through each song, the three of us wrote the entire album, bringing in specific co-writers and musicians for certain songs to add flavour. With a focus on working with people who share the same positive and motivated outlook on life, the guys and I brought in writers Jonathan Pike, Tim North, Demetri James, and Tyler Shaw, and live musicians Tal Vaisman and Stacey Shopsowitz, who were all integral parts of making the album what it is. All 10 songs were then mixed and mastered by Gabriel, leaving me with a trademark sound that I describe as a “3D experience.” I’ve never been this excited about my songs and the sound of my music before. This project launch is just the start to our plans.”

Victoria expresses gratitude towards all her fans who have been with her since the beginning.

“As I begin a new chapter, I am grateful for all the support I received since I released my debut single Shut Up And Dance in 2011. The song garnered me a platinum award and a #1 video on Much was the most played song at radio by a Canadian artist for nine weeks straight and contributed to amassing more than 100,000 spins at radio.”

She also feels grateful for many more career highlights.

“MMVA and Juno Award nominations followed, as well as CRMA wins and three national tours, including one of my favourite accomplishments to date as the opening act for the Backstreet Boys. Now I’m ready to share my message and music with everyone through my third album, ‘DAY 1.'”

And now, without further ado, here is the lyric video for “Wow”.  iTunes

Past the Past to Jess Moskaluke

Country music superstar Jess Moskaluke is platinum certified and a JUNO award winner. The Saskatchewan native has sent her latest single release to radio, the most popular track off disc Past the Past – its title track. “Past the Past” is a lovely piano ballad which helps bring to the ears just how great a singer Jess is. She launched the music video for the song on Friday and we embed it below for your enjoyment. The MV was directed by Joel Stewart and shot at Jess’ hometown theatre in Langenburg, Saskatchewan.  iTunes

Coleman Hell Drops New Song “Manic”

The mind is a precious thing. Mental illness. Let’s talk about it. It is not to be confused with personality disorders or diseases of conscience. All who choose to do so-called “substances” develop mental illness because it is in the very nature of such poisons to derange the mind. An example of mental illness is the experiencing of audio and/or visual hallucinations. Some people, however, have mental illness as what is called a “primary disorder” either through nature or nurture. Experiencing intense trauma or prolonged periods of extreme stress can lead to shell shock. There are too problems with the nervous system which make one prone to mania or depression (or both taking turns). It’s a vast and tricky topic to navigate through, but Thunder Bay’s Coleman Hell addresses it ever so well in his new single “Manic”. The lyrics are so good, we quote them below, followed by the MV.

I can’t get out of my bed
Think there’re magnets in my mattress
Might as well just be a casket for all I care
Oh no, here we go again
The bad thoughts are creeping in
The bad thoughts are creeping in

When I feel crazy I hide it
Then fall apart in private
Where my mirror’s the only one who sees my tears
There’s a method to my sadness
It’s a chemical imbalance
And my head is damaged way beyond repair

I’m a manic depressive
Emotionally repressed
Melancholic alcoholic mess
I wish my inner thoughts were dinner conversation
I wished on every star in every constellation

Manic depressive

Some days I wish I was dead
Think I’m broke and I can’t fix it
It’s an intangible sickness but it’s there
Oh no here we go again
The bad thoughts are creeping in
The bad thoughts are creeping in

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

I’m obsessive-compulsive
And self-destructive
Hey, what did you expect?
And neurotic
I’m just one big ball of stress

I wish my inner thoughts were dinner conversation
I wished on every star in every constellation
I wish that I was calm and wasn’t always anxious
But the bad thoughts are creeping in
The bad thoughts are creeping in

Manic depressive

The Launch of 2018, Part 2

Elijah Woods x Jamie Fine Pin a Number One

With Logan Staats taking care of business last week, the second semaine of CTV’s The Launch saw a pair from Ottawa take the tiara. Mentors Scott Borchetta of Big Machine Group (tent of Taylor Swift), OneRepublic frontman Ryan Tedder, and Sugarland singer-songwriter Jennifer Nettles oversaw the launch of electro-pop music master Elijah Woods and singer Jamie Fine with their treatment of the Tedder-penned song “Ain’t Easy”. Borchetta was completely bowled over by Fine’s vocals describing her as a “street Adele”. Woods discovered her four years ago hearing her sing over a friend’s smartphone, and the two began working together a few days later. The song topped iTunes immediately upon release. Watch how things came together in the studio via the video embedded below.

Drake Bowls a Spare

There is only one thing that can knock out a pinned number one – a perfectly aimed bowling ball, and Drake let one loose. The above “Ain’t Easy” was knocked to #2 at iTunes by the Drake fastball, a new song entitled “God’s Plan”, part of a traditional (i.e. two-track) single. (“Diplomatic Immunity” sits on the B-Side.) In the new #1 song in Canada, Drake raps about how he thinks a higher power will not let him fail despite ill-will from his haters.

The JUNOs Get Bare Naked

The JUNO Awards recently announced this year’s inductee into the Music Hall of Fame – Barenaked Ladies along with ex-member Steven Page. BNL became extremely popular in Toronto long before breaking out nationally, and then internationally. The collective, that initially received some heat for its name, scored two Top 40 hits in Britain including “One Week” which made it to #5 there. Album Gordon was certified Diamond in Canada. BNL has won eight JUNO Awards to date. The group’s popularity was at its peak in the 1990s.

Gord Bamford and the New releases

Albertan platinum country star Gord Bamford releases his latest album Neon Smoke this week. JUNO winner Dubmatix joins Jamaican act Sly & Robbie for some reggae on Overdubbed. Heavy metal group Anvil is still rockin’ releasing its 17th studio album Pounding the Pavement. Singer-songwriter discs this week include one from two-time JUNO winner Bahamas (Earthtone) and newcomer Sarah Cripps, a self-titled work. A couple of sumptuous jazz albums are out. Chillout instrumental city jazz comes by way of The Francois Richard Quartet and Liberation. A New Standard from Thompson Egbo-Egbo is a bright piano-led sizzler. Rap LPs include Oddball Slang from Ontarian Fresh Air and an eponymous disc from Alberta’s Cadence Weapon.

Chillout R&B is at its finest on EP Joseph from Birthday Boy & Trish. Indie rock flies on Cycles deux from L’Indice. In the kingdom of pop, find excellence on La tristesse n’est qu’une saison by Eric Charland and T’écrire by Mégane Cyr.

We leave you with the brand new single/MV from good ol’ Coeur de pirate, “Prémonition”.

Carly Rae Jepsen Cuts to a Plethora of Year-End Lists

The Empress of Canadian Pop Carly Rae Jepsen has released a new track with Charli XCX and will be busy performing on Katy Perry’s Witness tour, but there is much speculation she will be making 2018 a very memorable year with a new album. We are delighted that her 2017 banger “Cut to the Feeling” populated so many year-end lists. Indeed, it was perhaps her best song since “Curiosity”. Whether you’re a fan or not of Carly’s music, it is heartwarming to see a Canadian artist charm so many music critics around the world. We summarize some of the placements below with quoted excerpts.

Noisey: #100

“It’s a skyscraper of a song that both describes and enacts the modus operandi of pop music as an entire project, rising so high with every new chorus that you’re dizzy by the time it’s done.” — Lauren O’Neil

Pop Matters: #64

“It is a classic formula executed to perfection, building from tense verses to a chorus that explodes like fireworks. Nolan Lambroza’s production is shimmering and radiant, the perfect backdrop for Ms. Jepsen, who conveys the song’s feeling of euphoria with her trademark charisma.” — Adrien Begrand

Rolling Stone: #44

“Canada’s hook hero saved 2017 with her bracing rejoinder to Xanax-pop malaise, a rainbow-bright collision of ‘Lucky Star’ synth bursts and processed-handclap beats. Jepsen’s boisterous vocal adds extra urgency to this jump-along anthem’s much-needed e•mo•tional rescue.” — Rolling Stone Staff

Pitchfork: #30

“It is the dark and glittering sound of running full speed on a boardwalk at night, of sitting on a roof under the stars, these perfect places with proximity to the infinite.” — Jenn Pelly

Billboard: #25

“This was a belt-it-from-your-car distillation of all things wonderfully Carly Rae: yearning for something grandly romantic (‘I wanna dance on the roof, you and me alone’) with a breathless, stratospheric chorus, not unlike ‘Run Away with Me.'” — R.M.


“It’s a luscious jolt of bombastic energy, the perfect pick-me-up at the end of a hard day (or a physically and mentally challenging race).” — Josh Kurp

Cosmopolitan: #15

“Guaranteed to cause spontaneous, involuntary dancing, no matter where you are or how you’re feeling.” — Eliza Thompson

NME: #12

“From the opening handclaps accompanied by CRJ’s trademark husky vocals, you know that ‘Cut to the Feeling’ is going to be a Class A banger; but it’s only when you reach the utterly bombastic and outrageously vivacious chorus when you realise what a truly excellent pop song has been created.” — NME

Stereogum: #9

“Two years later, one final argument in praise of E•MO•TION: Carly Rae Jepsen’s modern classic was so stacked that they couldn’t find room for this enraptured blast of fresh air.” — Chris DeVille

CBC Music: #6

“Without a doubt, this was the feel-good song of 2017. Carly Rae Jepsen cranked out some of her best hooks since ‘Call Me Maybe’ on this splashy summer hit.” — Editorial Staff

Slant Magazine: #4

“Jepsen’s voice breaks in her ecstatic admission that ‘I’ve been denying how I feel,’ and she dons an almost British affectation during the bridge when she sings, ‘Show me devotion/And take me all the way,’ atop some ‘Edge of Seventeen’-style guitar riffing. — Cinquemani

Entertainment Weekly: #4

“This E•MO•TION-era gem, left off both her 2015 LP and its b-sides collection before finding a home in the movie Leap!, reaches the same giddy heights of ‘Call Me Maybe.’ — N.F.

Canadian Music Blog: #1

“It will bring joy to your heart, sweeten your dreams, and make you fall in love with the charmer or charmers. Slam and dunk.” — CMB Team

The 30 Best Songs of 2017

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.

25Holding 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.

24Livin’ 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.

23Need 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.

22Always 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.

21First 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.

20Lost 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.

19In 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.

18Halfway 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.

17Younger 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.

16Electric 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.

1521 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.

14Stay 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.

13Obvious 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.

12In 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.

11Black 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.

10Tease 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.

9Sang-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.

8Loving 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?

7Self-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.

6Utopia 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!

5Moonlight 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.

4Temperance 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.

3Spirit 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.

2Country 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.

1Canadian 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.