12 Things to Know About This Week’s Charts, 22 August 2017

Many are in a frenzy with the announcement of a new Taylor Swift album and record companies are no doubt rescheduling releases away from November 10. The announcement from the gal who walked away from country music coincides with that of Country Music Television’s ceasing the play of music videos effective August 27. We don’t buy the assertion that video streaming is the culprit in dwindling viewership tuning in to watch MVs, interviews, and live performances. Radio stations haven’t thrown in the towel due to the existence of audio streaming. The real reason probably has more to do with the fact that showing broad-spectrum appeal programming like Terminator 2 and The Avengers makes more money for the avaricious suits.

Those savouring hat music can tune in to the CCMA awards Sep 10. The list of performers is now complete. See international cowboys Brett Young and Blake Shelton; female slayers Jess Moskaluke, Madeline Merlo, and Meghan Patrick; groups James Barker Band, High Valley, and The Washboard Union; and gents Dallas Smith, Chad Brownlee, Gord Bamford, Tim Hicks, Dean Brody, and Brett Kissel. 

And now, onto this week’s charts…

1. “Despacito” spends its 15th week at No. 1 tying Marc Ronson’s “Uptown Funk”. The record for the most weeks at the top of the Hot 100 is claimed by both The Black Eyed Peas’ “I Gotta Feeling” and Ed Sheeran’s “Shape of You” at 16 weeks. “Despacito” has already slipped to #3 in Australia where Pink is more popular and #5 in Britain where Dua Lipa is all the rage.

2. “Reminding Me” by Shawn Hook spends its 16th week on the Hot 100. Music Canada recently certified it platinum which is the British Columbian’s second single to make the grade.

3. Three tracks by Canucks debut on the Hot 100: “Figures” by Jessie Reyez #95, “Friends” by Justin Bieber (& BloodPop) #96, and “Bend” by Ria Mae #100.

4. The aforementioned “Friends” by the Biebs debuts on Hot Digital Songs at #15.

5. 2Frères are #1 for song sales in Quebec with “Comme avant”. Tops at BDS continues to be Andréanne A. Malette’s “Fou”.

6. Shawn Mendes champions Hot 100 Airplay, Hot AC, and All-Format Airplay with “There’s Nothing Holding Me Back”.

7. SonReal enters the Emerging Canadian Artists chart at #16 thanks to some “Problems”.

8. Girl rock band The Beaches (not to be confused with Beaches) receives the Artist Spotlight feature in Nielsen Music’s newsletter. New single “Money” is bubbling under the Modern Rock airplay chart.

9. Madeline Merlo’s “Motel Flamingo” debuts on All-Format Airplay at #48.

10. “Despacito” featuring Justin Bieber is tops at CHR and his “Friends” debuts at the radio format at #36.

11. “Drop Me in the Water” by Our Lady Peace graces Rock Radio at #38.

12. Vancouver newcomer Shawn Austin ventures onto the Country charts with “Paradise Found” (#49) and Pembroke, ON’s Jason Blaine squeaks in at #50 c/o “Born to Love”.


20 Biggest Canadian Artist Franco Songs of Hot 100 Era

The Canadian Hot 100 debuted in mid-2007, and since that time 67 French-language songs by Canadian artists have made it onto the chart. Nielsen/Billboard’s particular tweaks to the criteria over the years do not seem to have fallen towards Franco song favour, as fewer tracks have made the chart since 2007. The last French language song to appear on the Billboard Hot 100 was Céline Dion’s “Encore Un Soir” which spent a week at the end of May 2016. In 2008, 14 Franco songs made the chart. We have ranked the songs using a points system in which we subtracted each weekly chart position from 101 and summed the results. We broke a tie by looking at which song had the higher peak position. The most successful song of all was “Toi+Moi” from the 2012 Star Académie finalists which shimmied up to #31 and spent 18 weeks on the chart. The success of some songs is difficult to assess. For example, Coeur de Pirate’s “Oublie Moi” had the Anglo version “Carry On” and presumably stats for both were counted together. We have included it nonetheless.

When Friends Go, Witness the Emotion

What Justin Bieber and Grimes Have in Common

Due to scanty releases in the summer, we will be combining this week’s with next week’s in our new releases posting. It is worth mentioning at this point that the new #1 at iTunes is “Friends”, the latest single from Justin Bieber. Again, it is a collaboration for Mr. What Do You Mean. This time around, it is BloodPop, alias of Michael Tucker (from Dorothy’s Kansas). He used to record under the moniker Blood Diamonds you may remember from such choice cuts as Grimes‘ “Go”. The new Bieber track is reminiscent of Robyn.

What Carly Rae Jepsen and Katy Perry Have in Common

Billboard recently reported on the dearth of women atop the U.S. Hot 100. On the Canadian one, Sia was the last female as the main artist to champion the chart, which she did August 20, 2016 with “Cheap Thrills”. So, it has been a year. Even Katy Perry is having a hard time these days despite having more Twitter followers than anyone else in the world, the only one to have more than 100 million followers. Katy Perry will be on tour promoting her latest album, Witness. What does this have to do with Canadian music? Well, you’ll never guess who will be joining her in concert. Noah Cyrus will join her first as things kick off in Montreal September 19 and remaining onboard through to the Toronto concerts ending November 1. Then cometh Purity Ring. No way! Yes way. Edmonton’s Purity Ring will join Ms. Roar in Los Angeles November 7 through to the end of the year December 20 in Miami. In the new year, launching in New Orleans January 5 and marching through to Vancouver February 5, Katy Perry will be joined by Carly Rae Jepsen.

This Week’s Charts: Sky Stays This Blue

The sky has returned to blue over Vancouver after a smoky haze from the BC wildfires drained it of colour. The city, an international hub of filmmaking, witnessed a casualty as stuntman Joi Harris was killed during shooting of the film Deadpool 2 starring Ryan Reynolds. She apparently lost control of the bike and crashed into the ground-floor glass window of an office building. It serves as a reminder how dangerous the profession can be and how much we need to appreciate the work of these fine people behind the scenes.

In the city for motion picture project Richard Says Goodbye, Johnny Depp brought smiles to the faces of children and youth and the BC Children’s Hospital on Monday. He dressed up in full costume as his character Captain Jack Sparrow from the Pirates of the Caribbean movie series and spent five hours visiting every child in the hospital. He took his time with each one, never rushing. He didn’t take a break. He not once broke character. He gave hugs, spoke words of encouragement (“be brave”, “keep going”, etc.), played with children in diapers on the floor, and even participated in some foam sword duelling. Hospital staff were astonished by his humanity.

Let’s hope the sky stays this blue.

So far in 2017, we haven’t seen a massive hit by a Canadian as the main artist. There has been no “Call Me Maybe”, “Blurred Lines”, “Rude”, “Can’t Feel My Face”, “Sorry”, “Love Yourself”, or “One Dance”. The good news is, we still have four months to go. As far as a Canadian as a featured artist, the honours belong to Justin Bieber.

In the words of Nielsen Music’s Paul Tuch, “’Despacito’ (Universal) remains at the top the Billboard Canadian Hot 100 for the 14th week, continuing to set the pace on both the Streaming and Digital Songs charts. It sets the record for the most weeks at No. 1 on the Digital Songs chart at 16, surpassing Mark Ronson’s ‘Uptown Funk’ and Black Eyed Peas ‘I Gotta Feeling’. At 14 weeks at No. 1 Streaming, it now has the second highest weekly run at the top of that chart, only trailing the 16 weeks that Ed Sheeran’s ‘Shape of You’ spent at No. 1.”

The big chart news this week is that British Columbia’s Dallas Smith scores his latest number one single, “Sky Stays This Blue”. Nielsen’s Paul Tuch states, “He becomes the first Canadian male artist to have four Country number one songs in the Nielsen BDS era and the first Canadian male artist to have three Country chart-toppers from the same album, following ‘Autograph’ and ‘Side Effects’. With over 1400 detects this week, it is the highest one week spin total to date by a Canadian Country artist at the format.”

I hope your sky stays this blue
Hope your heart stays this red
Hope your road stays this golden
Your sun never sets

“Wake Up” to Dreamy New Singer Jessicka

Jessicka is a new singer from Vancouver and has signed with Light Organ Records, a label specializing in alternative music. Her debut single “Wake Up” is a dreamy synth pop number with crystal clear vocals and now translates itself into the visual plane with a music video. Jessicka plans on releasing an EP in the fall. Rumoured guests on the disc include Juno Award-winning violinist Jesse Zubot and members of indie group Mother Mother. “Wake Up” MV embedded below.  iTunes

Early August 2017 Releases and Other News

New releases have trickled in the past couple of weeks. We summarize them in the table below. The highest profile releases are probably Calgarian country star Lindsay Ell’s and BC rapper SonReal’s. Winnipeg’s Slow Leaves (i.e. Grant Davidson) is getting ample press with his folky album.

Some nifty singles have come out as well. There is one in particular we wish to highlight because it’s so good. When you’re from Calgary, country music is in your blood, and few do it better than Bobby Wills. His new single “In Comes the Night” heralds a mini album of the same name set for a September 8 release.

Speaking of country music, it was announced earlier today that Shania Twain will headline the 2017 Grey Cup (Canadian football championship) half-time show November 26 in Ottawa. Organizers have not gone with a Canadian act since 2013 (Hedley). Shania performed at the event in 2002, Edmonton.

Shania’s new album Now is out September 29. Her last album Up! Came out in 2002. Many new Canadian country artists have emerged since then, and we do wonder if she has had a chance to listen to them and if there is anything that impresses her … much.

A slew of international singers will be flying into Vancouver for the culturally rich Albatross Music Festival September 14-15 at the Hastings Racecourse. Canadians will be participating as well. Booked are Canadian Hot 100 charting JUNO nominee Elise Estrada, Nettwerk Productions’ Wanting (Qu), The United States’ Far East Movement, Mongolian traditional music group Nair Band, and South Korean superstar Tae-yeon (Girls’ Generation). We love to see events like this happening. More please!

The Album Johnson Crook Aug-04 Country Toronto
Infinite Punishment Get the Shot Aug-04 Metal Quebec City
Small World Def3 Aug-04 Rap Regina
Hamtramck ’16 (EP) Moon King Aug-04 Pop Toronto
Liquid Unbuttoned Aug-08 Alternative Toronto
Enough About Me Slow Leaves Aug-11 Folk Winnipeg
Go Getters Jon Cohen Experimental Aug-11 Alternative Montreal
One Long Dream SonReal Aug-11 Rap Vernon, BC
The Project Lindsay Ell Aug-11 Country Calgary
One Lands (EP) Ghost Love Aug-11 Alternative Montreal

CCMA Announces New Batch of Performers at September 2017 Gala

The Canadian Country Music Association® (CCMA®) announced today that Gord Bamford joined by Jim Cuddy, Tim Hicks, Meghan Patrick and The Washboard Union will all perform at the 2017 CCMA Awards gala. They will countrify the stage along with already booked performers Dean Brody, James Barker Band, Brett Kissel, Jess Moskaluke, Dallas Smith, and international guest, Blake Shelton.

Additionally, beloved Canadian sportscaster Ron MacLean will present Paul Brandt’s induction into the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame.

The 2017 CCMA gala will take place at the SaskTel Centre in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan on Sunday, September 10. The show will broadcast on CBC at 8 p.m. (8:30 p.m. NT) that night.

Four-time JUNO nominee Gord Bamford scored #1 country radio single “When Your Lips Are So Close” in 2013, a gold single. His Christmas in Canada album is platinum certified. Active since 2001, Gord has won 22 CCMA awards. Singer-songwriter Jim Cuddy (Blue Rodeo) will join him on stage.

Tim Hicks, since 2013, has established himself as one of the nation’s most popular country acts. He has two platinum singles and a gold album.

Meghan Patrick has quickly made a name for herself since signing to Warner Music Canada. Her debut album, Grace & Grit features her Top 10 hit “Still Loving You”, the top 15 singles “Be Country with Me” and “Grace & Grit” and her Top 20 debut “Bow Chicka Wow Wow”. She has three CCMA Award nominations.

Led by Aaron Grain, Chris Duncombe and David Roberts, The Washboard Union is a two-time CCMA Award winner. The band had 3 Top 20 singles (2 Top 10) last year with “Maybe It’s the Moonshine” and “Shot of Glory”.

Paul Brandt, winner of 8 JUNO Awards, is the most played Canadian country artist in the history of country radio (Nielsen/BDS). According to Nielsen, of the top 10 Canadian country songs, four were Paul Brandt singles, and his “My Heart Has a History” has been the most played Canadian country song since the chart began in 1996. Paul’s album Calm Before the Storm is certified at triple platinum.

Ron MacLean has worked with Brandt over the years at the Calgary Stampede and Roger’s Hometown Hockey and will present Paul’s induction into the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame.

The Charts: Arcade Fire’s Everything Now Debuts at #1

It’s been a few weeks since we’ve looked at the charts; that’s because there hasn’t been much excitement as far as CanCon goes.

This week, Arcade Fire’s Everything Now debuts at #1 on the Albums chart. It is only the second 2017 Canadian album to top the chart, the first being Drake’s More Life. Everything Now is the Montreal group’s fourth straight chart topper. The album accumulated 52,000 total consumption units and has the year’s second highest one-week sales total, behind Ed Sheeran’s Divide.

On the Hot 100, “Despacito” featuring Justin Bieber spends its 13th week on top. The MV has become the most viewed on YouTube and the first to break 3 billion. The track remains at #1 on Hot Digital Songs; however, when it comes to Hot 100 Airplay Shawn Mendes one-ups the amigos with “There’s Nothing Holding Me Back”.

Shawn Hook remains at the pinnacle of the Emerging Artists chart; “Reminding Me” is up to #32 on the Hot 100. New on Emerging Artists (#20) is urban artist Jessie Reyez with “Figures”, and Nielsen places the Torontonian in the Artist Spotlight this week. The track premiered on Beats 1 Radio. Jessie’s EP Kiddo, released in April, will be getting a major label release.

Mendes is king of All-Format Airplay and Hot AC. “Despacito” does the honours at CHR. AC radio prefers “Something Just Like This” by the C and C music factory that is The Chainsmokers and Coldplay. Chris Lane champions Country with “For Her” and Queens of the Stone Age at Rock for “The Way You Used to Do”.

New at All-Format Airplay is Drake‘s “Signs”, #40. The aforementioned Jessie Reyes hits up CHR with “Figures” at #26. USS is charming Rock with “California Medication”. Lindsay Ell‘s “Waitin on You” trots into Country at #40. AC radio is digging “Carnival Hearts” by Kayla Diamond, #35. Nothing new heats up Hot AC this week.

An Artist from Brampton Scores a Triple Platinum Album

Yukon Cornelius has been busy with the prospecting lately, as the workshop at Music Canada has had to prepare a bundle of gold and platinum certification awards and in sweltering summer heat too! The precious metals themselves were certified by Yukon; he licked them.

Popular new R&B singer Alessia Cara of Brampton, Ontario is to be presented with a platinum award for her JUNO-winning debut album Know-It-All.

Next, we need to Throw Down some gold for the Hicks. The debut album from country star Tim Hicks of Niagara Falls, Ontario has sold a cool 40,000 copies.

Shall we mention a golden hat trick by the Brodster? Why not! Dean Brody, originally from Jaffray, BC, sees debut album Trail in Life, third album Crop Circles, and fourth album Gypsy Road all dance with the golden nugget. His second album Dirt made the cut a while back for a clean, gilded sweep. Crop Circles and Gypsy Road both won JUNOs for Country Album of the Year.

Country act High Valley crosses over the County Line for some gold as well. The 2014 album saw the brothers from Blumenort, Alberta in top shape.

We have a triple platinum award! It belongs to another artist from Brampton, Ontario. His name is … Johnny Reid! 2009’s Dance with Me is now the crooner’s highest certified album representing 240,000 copies. The disc won the Country Album of the Year JUNO in 2010.

Finally, we find a shiny, platinum guitar pick in Pickering, Ontario, as Illuminate by Shawn Mendes plucks into 80,000 copies sold. It is the teenager’s second straight platinum album.

Congratulations Alessia, Tim, Dean, High Valley, Johnny, and Shawn!

When It Comes to Language, Canada Is Diverse, Radio Music Is Not

When in metro Vancouver, listen to the radio and hear the Anglophones sing their catchy songs; walk into the Metrotown mall and take a good look around you. How many Anglophones do you hear in the crowds? This is a confusing mismatch and one of the unacknowledged reasons why mainstream radio is losing its appeal.

Statistics Canada recently released 2016 census data on languages in Canada. It is a reminder that we are not just a heavily multicultural and multiethnic country but a multilingual one as well. As such, it would seem fitting that the music played on the radio is a reflection of such linguistic diversity. It has been proven beyond the shadow of a doubt that people can enjoy songs recorded in a language incomprehensible to them. In recent times, “Gangnam Style,” a Korean language song, and “Despacito,” a Spanish language one, have spent multiple weeks at #1 on the Canadian charts. There is incredibly good pop music being made in many languages around the world – Chinese, Danish, Japanese, Turkish, Italian, Arabic, you name it.

Metropolitan centres in particular are replete with linguistic diversity, and yet radio is still almost exclusively playing English language songs. This is not the case in much of the rest of the world. In Shanghai, for example, stations play songs not only in Mandarin but in foreign tongues for the locals: Cantonese, Japanese, Korean, English, and French. What’s good gets played regardless of language. Canada often boasts about its diversity, but this diversity is not reflected in the way that radio caters to those in reach of its broadcast. It seems oblivious to the reality of the demographics within its scope. Yes, there are multicultural stations, but those are conducted in various languages. The concept of having a radio station conducted in English, (or French for French Canada) playing music mostly in English (or French) but also some songs in other languages is one that those Canadians boasting about their country’s diversity seem unable to wrap their heads around.

It might be time to rethink the music that gets broadcasted. Perhaps engaging more people will rekindle broadcaster fortunes. It is important to note that the airing a song in an Allophone tongue is not simply to attract speakers of that language, but as stated above, it is to come with recognition that all have the potential to enjoy it. For example, a catchy Cantonese song may not simply draw Cantonese speakers, but Anglophones, Francophones, and other Allophones have the potential to relish it also.

Mother tongue refers to the first language a person learns. Fracophone refers to one whose first language was French, Anglophone English, and Allophone another language, something Statistics Canada refers to as “immigrant language”.

In Canada, there are now slightly more Allophones than Francophones. Regarding metropolitan areas with over a million people, in Montreal, there are significantly more Allophones than Anglophones. In Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary, and Edmonton, Allophones far outnumber Francophones, while Francophones significantly outnumber Allophones in Ottawa. In Toronto, French is not a top 10 language, and Allophones make up 46.5 of the population!

Canada-wide, the most common mother tongue after English and French is Mandarin Chinese. In both Montreal and Ottawa, it is Arabic. Cantonese is second (after English) in both Vancouver and Toronto. In both Calgary and Edmonton, it is Filipino (Tagalog).

Below are lists of the 10 most common mother tongues in Canada and the 1 million plus metropolises. To see more, the link to the Statistics Canada interactive page is here.


English 20,251,585
French 7,393,830
Immigrant languages 7,749,120
Aboriginal languages 213,230
1 English 20,251,585
2 French 7,393,830
3 Mandarin 610,830
4 Cantonese 594,030
5 Punjabi 543,495
6 Filipino 510,425
7 Spanish 495,090
8 Arabic 486,530
9 Italian 407,460
10 German 404,745


English 3,293,670
French 92,835
Aboriginal languages 735
Immigrant languages 2,738,800
1 English 3,293,670
2 Cantonese 260,355
3 Mandarin 233,880
4 Punjabi 186,030
5 Italian 164,510
6 Filipino 161,515
7 Urdu 148,625
8 Spanish 136,460
9 Tamil 121,785
10 Portuguese 111,445


French 2,650,710
English 555,510
Aboriginal languages 910
Immigrant languages 1,007,045
1 French 2,650,710
2 English 555,510
3 Arabic 181,440
4 Spanish 129,860
5 Italian 109,310
6 Mandarin 41,835
7 Greek 40,890
8 Romanian 34,325
9 Portuguese 33,105
10 Russian 27,640


English 1,393,365
French 33,345
Aboriginal languages 1,145
Immigrant languages 1,091,265
1 English 1,393,365
2 Cantonese 193,030
3 Mandarin 180,170
4 Punjabi 163,400
5 Filipino 78,830
6 Korean 47,920
7 Persian 43,235
8 Spanish 39,625
9 French 33,345
10 Hindi 28,525


English 976,300
French 26,115
Aboriginal languages 1,015
Immigrant languages 418,545
1 English 976,300
2 Filipino 47,840
3 Punjabi 42,140
4 Cantonese 36,325
5 Spanish 30,610
6 Mandarin 29,760
7 French 26,115
8 Arabic 21,810
9 Urdu 19,500
10 Vietnamese 14,435


English 675,900
French 422,230
Aboriginal languages 1,195
Immigrant languages 256,440
1 English 675,900
2 French 422,230
3 Arabic 47,630
4 Mandarin 20,710
5 Spanish 18,610
6 Cantonese 11,045
7 Italian 10,465
8 Persian 7,885
9 Portuguese 7,470
10 Filipino 7,430


English 963,425
French 32,790
Aboriginal languages 3,390
Immigrant languages 341,695
1 English 963,425
2 Filipino 42,525
3 French 32,790
4 Punjabi 30,110
5 Cantonese 23,955
6 Mandarin 20,675
7 Arabic 20,375
8 Spanish 19,840
9 German 15,845
10 Ukrainian 12,750


Are You Listening? LIGHTS Pedals into Platinum

Canadian recording artist LIGHTS, a multiple JUNO award winner, had her status upgraded today from gold to platinum. Music Canada has certified her debut LP The Listening a platinum album for sales in excess of 80,000 copies. The album contains her Top 40 hits “Drive My Soul” and “Saviour”; a total of five tracks from the album appeared on the Billboard Canadian Hot 100. She wrote all tracks herself, some co-written with Canadian producers Thomas “Tawgs” Salter and Dave “Dwave” Thomson. LIGHTS specializes in electronic, synthesizer driven pop/rock and has also released acoustic versions of her songs. The Listening has a five-star rating on iTunes with 900 casting votes (a high number for Canada). LIGHTS is currently working on her fourth album Skin & EarthThe Listening is a must-buy for those who love progressive pop music. Below is the music video for track “Saviour” with the iconic scene of LIGHTS playing keytar. Below that is “Drive My Soul” with its classic hair-raising vocals at 2:18.


Jess Moskaluke’s Kill Your Love MV Out Now

Jess Moskaluke is a JUNO Award winning platinum recording artist specializing in country music. She is from Langenburg, Saskatchewan and released her debut album Light Up the Night in 2014. She has been called Canada’s Carrie Underwood. Moskaluke has won the Canadian Country Music Association’s Female Artist of the Year award for the past three years. She struck platinum with her single “Cheap Wine and Cigarettes” and recently gold with Paul Brandt in “I’m an Open Road”. Jess’ album Kiss Me Quiet won the JUNO Award in 2017 for Country Album of the Year beating out discs from slayers Aaron Pritchett, Chad Brownlee, Dallas Smith, and Gord Bamford. All this, and she’s just getting started! Jess Moskaluke’s latest single is called “Kill Your Love”, and she recently released a music video which we have embedded below.  iTunes

Mappe Of Taps A Northern Star, A Perfect Stone

Whitby, Ontario’s Tom Meikle, through Paper Bag Records, presents his debut album A Northern Star, A Perfect Stone under moniker Mappe Of. Lyrically, he populates the disc with an interesting gang of characters: a disturbed boy setting fire to his family’s home, a vagabond in Australia who’s disavowed all family ties, a Canadian youth figuring life out overseas, and an elder dying from Alzheimer’s who can’t recognize his family.

Musically, the album is a dreamy, meta-dimensional sequence of alternative folk masterpieces. Mappe Of blends synthesizers with organic instruments including guitars (both acoustic and electric), trumpets, violins, kalimba, and autoharp. Tom says, “I’d like the music to be grounded in reality while simultaneously feel like it’s from somewhere else … I want to create a setting in which you can lose yourself. The ideal record for me is one where you can lie back on your bed, listen to the thing front to back and be taken somewhere.” Where you allow this album to take you is entirely up to you; it’s filled with sonic magic.  iTunes

Canadians Populate 2017 MTV VMA nominations

The Fantastic Four – Mister Fantastic (Shawn Mendes), Invisible Woman (Alessia Cara), Human Torch (The Weeknd), and Thing (Justin Bieber) have populated the MTV Video Music Award nominations for 2017. Nine of the 15 categories have a Canadian artist nominated, whether as the main or featured artist. Mendes receives 1 nomination, Cara 4, The Weeknd 5, and the Biebs 2.

Shawn Mendes’ “Treat You Better” is nominated for Best Pop Video.

Alessia Cara’s “Scars to Your Beautiful” is up for Video of the Year, the peculiar category of Best Fight Against the System, and Best Direction. Her “Stay” with Zedd is nominated for Best Dance Video.

The Weeknd is nominated for Artist of the Year. His “Reminder” receives nods for Video of the Year, Best Direction, Best Art Direction, and Best Editing.

Justin Bieber is nominated as a featured artist in both DJ Khaled’s “I’m the One” (Best Rap Video) and Major Lazer’s “Cold Water” (Best Dance Video).

Viewership of the MTV VMAs has tanked over the last few years, as the gala has become barely watchable with its irresponsible promotion of drug smoking and cringe-worthy displays of lechery, involving twerking, foam fingers, and the like. Katy Perry as this year’s host has her work cut out for her if things can be turned around.

Music videos were initially the #1 vehicle that converted underground artists, ignored by radio, to make it to the mainstream. This was especially true of British new wave acts in the early 80s. Nowadays, making music videos is par for the course for any artist who has the budget to make them.

New Wave Handled Nicely at Midnight for a While by Walkwaves

Markham, Ontario group Walkwaves is pleased to introduce its new album Midnight for a While. The band goes beyond the popular pool of smooth synth pop into the rougher seas of new wave and succeeds. At times funky, at others gritty, but always with catchy beats and expressive vocals, Walwaves strikes us as a more organic Depeche Mode. Opener “Get You Out” burbles along carefully before switching on some rumbling bass pulses; it’s a delicious track. The catchy “Girls on Snapchat” (see MV below) combines vocal crooning with detailed instrumentation.

While modern electronic musicians seem to perpetually use the same few synth/computer voices when there are thousands available, you’ll find a nice variety through the Walkwaves disc; find many on track “T.T.T.L.”. For something different, check out the atmospheric “Friend” one of the more experimental tracks which satisfies by throwing in unexpected musical twists. Closer “Nightfall” packs a nice punch to cap things off with a bang.  iTunes