31 March 2022

31 March 2022 - Lights - Salt and Vinegar

Is it cheating if we do an entire month dedicated to a country and make 1/4 of it about one artist?

Well, Canada should be proud of Lights.  This is a recent single and I couldn't not include it this month. The song is dark and cool and a clear potato chip reference (no indication that All Dressed was an alternate title).

So, anyway, I figured I'd end the month for real with one more Lights song.  

I'm leaving this placeholder for the later acoustic version of this song.  You know it's coming.

31 March 2022 - Alannah Myles - Black Velvet

I've already talked about how packed last March was.  Which is why I had to revisit it.  I just had TOO MUCH material to ignore this. 

I'm gonna have to do it next year, too.  You heard it here first.  We're way overbooked this year.  

I have to say, I originally intended the song I posted on last Valentine's Day to be posted as part of #MapleLeafMarch. However, this song is better known - having spent two weeks at #1 in the US - and considered to be more iconic.  The song won the 1991 Grammy for Best Female Rock Vocal Performance and the 1990 Juno Award for Single of the Year. 

The verses bring a sultry blues feeling, with a more rocking chorus.  The song itself being a tribute to Elvis Presley, it makes sense that it would straddle the line between blues and rock.  It has become a Canadian classic.

30 March 2022

30 March 2022 - JESSIA - I'm Not Pretty

Meet Jessia (real name: Jessika Harling).  She's from British Columbia.  She's got a TikTok account, and on January 1, 2021, she posted a video.
@jessiamusic TikTok is too beautiful 😂 #Welcome2021 #RareAesthetic #belly #🍑 #pretty #fun #fyp #neverseentwoprettybestfriends #wtf #bop #trash #newyear #new ♬ original sound - JESSIA

It would change her life. Elijah Woods saw her TikTok and, in his words, "It's a bop."

@jessiamusic #duet with @elijahwoodsmusic TAG HIM!!! OMG OMG OMG!!!!! #fyp #pretty #belly #🍑 #new #newyear #MyStyle #omg #viral #wut #yes #duetme #music #react ♬ original sound - elijah woods

They finished building out the song and wthin a week, this TikTok account holder had a single out.  

And, last year, during #MapleLeafMarch, this Canadian released a video for this song.  Nearly 9 million views later, she is nominated for four Juno awards in 2022, including one for this song.  

The song is clearly about body image and acceptance issues - and it's pretty chill and fresh.  The video features a lot of fresh peaches.  No idea why.  

For those coming back for a second round, here's the remix featuring Bebe Rexha.  It replaces the second verse with an even more positive one.   

29 March 2022

29 March 2022 - Babygirl - You Were In My Dream Last Night

This song has been in moderate rotation for me for about three months at this point.

I was today years old when I found out, accidentally, that Babygirl was Canadian.  And by today years old, I mean a few weeks before you are seeing this - but IN MARCH.   \I was absolutely going to post this song someday - it is legitimately one of my favorites.  But I really had to do it this month when I found this out.

And, when I watched the video, I recognized a lot of places in Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada, a town that I can practically navigate blindfolded.  No joke.  Map in my head.  Especially the flying saucer restaurant. 

The song is a sweet ditty about missing someone who was, well, in my dream last night.  I discovered it while doing a random Spotify playlist search while on an airplane where Spotify streaming was free.  Why this song wasn't a bigger hit everywhere is a mystery to me. 

Babygirl is a two piece, and they perform this song beautifully in its acoustic form.

28 March 2022

28 March 2022 - Charlotte Cardin - Anyone Who Loves Me

Not everyone from Quebec sings in exclusively French.

Take 2014 La Voix runner up and 2022 Juno nominee Charlotte Cardin. From Montreal, she has sung songs in both English and French - and had hits outside of francophone Canada.  This song, from her fabulous nominated debut album Phoenix, was one of those hits, and it crossed over to adult contemporary radio. 

I just hope they were able to dry off the piano they used in this video.

In this live version for Virgin Radio, the lyrics are a little cleaner.  It's also a little more stripped down, showcasing Cardin's huge voice.  

27 March 2022

27 March 2022 - Brett Kissel - Make A Life, Not A Living

Canada isn't that much different from the United States.

You know, they have country music, too.

This song, released in March 2021 and nominated for the 2022 Juno Award for Single of the Year, was a #1 Canadian Country hit and a top 50 POP hit.  Lyrically, it's self-explanatory, but if you needed a sledgehammer, the video shows Kissel - from eastern Alberta, which is pretty much country - ditching an office job for life on the farm - and yes, that's his real family in the video.  

26 March 2022

26 March 2022 - Jérôme 50 - 1, 2, 3, 4

American audiences are familiar with The Voice.  The singing competition is quite popular.

Well, there's a francophone version of it in Quebec, called La Voix, and it has yielded a fairly significant number of artists. Singer-songwriter Jérôme Couture came in third on the first season of the song - and the field was so deep, even HE got a record deal with Dare To Care Records.  

Born in L’Ancienne-Lorette and now residing in the greatest bastion of francophone Canada, Quebec City, he continues to make music as Jérôme 50.  This is not a Feist cover.  This is his song.  

25 March 2022

25 March 2022 - FouKi ft. Jay Scøtt - Copilote

Meet Montreal artist FouKi.  He's a 2022 Juno nominee, and this is one of the songs from his nominated album.

What is a Juno?  Think of them as Canadian Grammys.  

Anyway, FouKi, with guest star Cœur de Pirate Jay Scøtt, bring a compelling mix of trap, hip hop, and R&B sounds... in French.

24 March 2022

24 March 2022 - Maude Audet - Tu ne mourras pas

Thanks largely to the record label Bravo Musique, formerly Dare To Care Records, there has been a revival of French-language Canadian music in my Spotify playlists.  Sure, it's dominated by œne artist, but it's by no means exclusive.

Literally translated as "You Will Never Die", it is about a lover who has, well, died.  In the narrator's heart, though, that person will never die.  It's a sad. beautiful song.

Lest you English speakers doubt me, Ms. Audet has provided a translation. You see, she is bilingual and sings in both French and English.

23 March 2022

23 March 2022 - Alex Nevsky ft. Cœur de Pirate - Jeter un sort

I'm going to open this post with a promise.  

No œ in tomorrow's post.  Not doing the Lights things again.

My intention was to do a whole French language week by Canadian artists.  And, well, so far, kinda did that.  It's just - well...

Alex Nevsky is an excellent artist in his own right.  A singer-songwriter, he's built a great career with daring music that is beautifully written.  This song - whose title literally translates as "Cast A Spell" - is a haunting, enchanting look at love.

Yes, they co-wrote this, but nothing I said in the last paragraph is untrue.

Ok, I just had to share this - it's footage of the two of them in the studio.... recording this. It's lovely to see this interaction.

22 March 2022

22 March 2022 - Roch Voisine - Hélène

Roch Voisine was born in New Brunswick - which a lot of people don't know is a truly bilingual province - they really speak French there, and not just Quebec.  

He was destined to become a Canadian treasure.  

His breakthrough came in 1989 with this song, from the album of the same name.  It was a worldwide hit, nowhere bigger than in France, where it topped the charts for two months.

Yeah.  He did an English version, too.  It wasn't nearly the hit this was.   So, here it stands, alone.   


That's right.  I did just call Cœur de Pirate "Quebec's Sweetheart". She retweeted me. Fight me.  

This version, a bit more orchestral than the original, did chart in France and Belgium, too. 

21 March 2022

21 March 2022 - Peter Peter ft. Cœur de Pirate - Tergiverse

Peter Peter is a French-Canadian pop-rock singer.  He used to be in a band called Post Scriptum.

I can't really think of anything else to say about this song..... hmmmm.  It'll come to me.  

The song itself is a delightful pop song that will have you singing along.  If you know French.  

Peter Peter revisited the song in 2014 as part of the 30th anniversary celebration of Quebec record label Audiogram (we've seen other celebrations of this before).  This is a more stripped down, solo version, but it's still a delightful pop song.

Oh!  Right!  We forgot to mention the original is a duet.  In this version of the video, which is the identical music to the first one, you can clearly see Cœur de Pirate.  Can't believe that slipped my mind. 

20 March 2022

20 March 2022 - Spiritbox - Circle With Me

You know, we don't publish enough metal on this blog.  So, why not remedy that with some Canadian metal by Spiritbox?

Formed in 2017 out of the ashes of Iwrestledabearonce (Husband and wife duo guitarist Mike Stringer and vocalist Courtney LaPlante were both replacement members of the Louisiana band) , Spiritbox, from British Columbia, make music that's kind of hard to define as simply metal.  

The Canadian band is unusual in that their main fan base seems to be in the States.  They've had some success on the US Hard Rock charts, none bigger than this 2021 single of theirs.    

19 March 2022

19 March 2022 - Bonjour Brumaire - Prunelle

I promise I'm not doing a thing.  It may LOOK like I'm doing the same thing I did last week.  I am not. 

Cœur de Pirate is not in this video because she left the band prior to.... this video.  She's actually the keyboardist of record on the song.  The keyboardist in this video is Karine Novelle, who replaced Ms. Martin in the band.

But Bonjour Brumaire wasn't about their keyboardist, who was not yet wielding the heart of a pirate.  No, it is the lyrics and vocals of Youri Zaragoza, which are emotive and unusual, that really sell this song, which is yet another love song.  

18 March 2022

18 March 2022 - Jayli Wolf - Child Of The Government

In the US, we gloss over Native American issues.  

In Canada, they make relatively popular songs about them.

Jayli Wolf grew up thinking she was half-Mexican - but found out she was half First Nations at the age of eight and has reconnected with those roots as an adult.  And, with this, her breakthrough single, she took First Nations issues head on, detailing for a broad audience the atrocity known as the Sixties Scoop, when a lot of native Canadians were removed from their communities by the Canadian government, with Catholic Church assistance.

For those who can't read the text at 3:13 fast enough:

"From the 1950s into the 1990s the Canadian Government & the Catholic Church were responsible for taking, or “scooping” more than 20,000 First Nation, Métis, and Inuit children from their families and communities; known as The Sixties Scoop. They were placed in foster homes or adopted (accounts of children even being sold) into non-Indigenous families across Canada, the United States, & beyond.

Along with the loss of cultural identity, the government went so far as to change some children’s true ethnicity on file. Many experienced severe sexual, physical, and emotional abuse.

Jayli’s father was one of these children."
The song is delivered in a somewhat detached style, but is important enough for the CBC to call it one of the top ten Canadian songs of 2021.  

17 March 2022

17 March 2022 - The Tragically Hip - Bobcaygeon

How the hell can I do a Maple Leaf March without the Canadian treasure that was the Tragically Hip?

This may be their best known song in Canada.  It is considered one of their greatest. Like almost every Hip song, it went nowhere in the States.  In this case, it might be a good thing.  Let me explain.

In the early 1990s, there were a series of antisemitic riots in Toronto, when members of the Neo-Nazi group the Heritage Front engaged in a street fight with a group calling themselves Anti-Racist Action.  A lot of Americans would never associate such violent antisemitism with Canada - and yet, it really happened, and this was the second time (there were similar outbursts in 1933).  

These riots didn't happen in Bobcaygeon - which was chosen just because it rhymed with "constellation" - but the video makes clear reference to them, and the themes of the song reference them so directly.

At any rate, Bobcaygeon relished the reference in the song, hosting a large viewing party for the Hip's farewell concert.

This was not Bobcaygeon.  This was Kingston.  But trust me - Bobcaygeon was watching.

16 March 2022

16 March 2021 - Maisy Stella & Lennon Stella - While You Sleep

In November 2020, Lennon Stella posted a video on Instagram of a lullaby she had written and performed with her sister Maisy.

This song ended up being fully fleshed out on the soundtrack for the 2021 critically acclaimed film The Fallout.  Maisy got top billing on the album, so she gets it here, too.

16 March 2022 - Lennon Stella - Kissing Other People

I tend to write my posts in advance.  And, for March 16th, I had a pair of posts planned and written.

Then, I got busy and, well, I had to move one of the posts to February 1st when I didn't get it posted in time.  Well, since they went together, I had to move the OTHER post to February 2nd.  

That turned out to be the best thing I could have done for this month of Canadian music.  You see, I didn't want this year to be a complete repeat of last year - I wanted new artists.  And, so, as I told you a few days ago, I went hunting through the Juno nominees list.  

Well, I wrote up the whole month of posts, and here I sit, reviewing my posts.

I had forgotten March 16th. 

Not wanting to just have music from the last year, I decided to go back a year to the 2021 Juno nominees.

And right there, under the "Single of the Year" nominees, was none other than Nashville star and Stella sister Lennon Stella.

This was the nominated song.  It's a pop gem from an artist I didn't expect to post this month.  But how could I not?

The song also works in a more countrified acoustic version. Shot at Hutton Hotel in Nashville, it's a sublime performance.

15 March 2022

15 March 2022 - The Stellas - In This House

The Stellas are a husband and wife country duo from Whitby, Ontario. Brad and MaryLynne Stella.  

This song was a 2013 Canadian Country Music Association winner for the duo, who harmonize so well. It's a beautiful love song about making room for the one you love. 

Brad and MaryLynne have two daughters.  Their names are Lennon and Maisy.  

Yeah.  I'm doing a thing.

14 March 2022

14 March 2022 - Bedouin Soundclash ft. Cœur de Pirate - Brutal Hearts

Knowing that I planned to post THIS song and NOT do what I did last week again, I did check.  No.  Bedouin Soundclash has not collaborated with Lights on anything that I could find. But they DO have an album called Light The Horizon, and today's song is from that album.

Anyway, they are a band - a Canadian band, from Toronto.  Their lead vocalist, Jay Malinowski, along with the rest of the band members, co-wrote the song, as well as all the songs from their 2010 album Light The Horizon. So, why single out this one guy?  

Anyway, the song is cool and smoky and ska-infused and audibly interesting.  

By the way, yes, they have performed it live.  And it's spectacular.

13 March 2022

13 March 2022 - MONOWHALES - All or Nothing

Then I found the Juno nominees list. Americans - Juno Awards - they're like the Grammys but they give out bowls of poutine instead of little gramophones.  

Geez, people, I was kidding.  It's not poutine.

Meet 2022 Breakthrough Group of the Year nominee MONOWHALES.  From Toronto, Ontario, Canada, they've had some success on alternative radio in a country where they are required to play a certain percentage of Canadian artists on the radio.

That's true, by the way.  15%-35%, depending on the station's content.  Wanna know why we can fill a month every year with just Canadian music?  That's a large part of the reason why.

However, it doesn't hurt that a lot of the music is really really good.  You don't get nominated for awards as an independent artist if you are making crap.  And this song, full of emotion delivered by vocalist Sally Shaar, is anything but crap.  

MONOWHALES have a habit of performing an acoustic version of this song, and here is that.

If you saw my social posts, you saw that there was a little Canadian surprise at the end.  Here it is.  It's too short for Totally Covered, but I couldn't not share it.

12 March 2022

12 March 2022 - Lights - Up We Go

Last June, I wrote the following:

"For years, I had kind of a blindspot to Lights - I had trouble getting into her music.  This is despite several friends of mine being huge fans, including the one who called her an "absolute queen".  When I was researching music for #MapleLeafMarch, though, I decided it was time to give her a second chance."

Well, if you look at my Spotify stats all time, in just one year, Lights is now my second-most listened to artist.  Ever.  There's no artist we've posted more in the last year than Lights (I guess I could have spaced that out a little more). Hell, we even made a Lights song post #1000 (which is where we got that quote from). So, yeah, I think I'm on board.  

This song, the lead single from the 2014 Little Machines album, represents one of the biggest hits Lights has had thus far.  The video is a one shot - single take.  No edits. 

Lights does an acoustic version of everything.

On a personal note, today is my birthday.   So, because of that, I'm going to share this INSTRUMENTAL version of the song.

11 March 2022

11 March 2022 - Lights x MYTH - Dead End

Since I screwed with you all damn week, it seems only fitting that I end this week with an actual Lights song. 

This song, a 2020 collaboration with MYTH, was the title song and lead single from a album of remixes and new songs.

Lights & MYTH also performed a lot of the songs from this album, live at Joshua Tree in California.  I have taken the liberty of queuing this song up for you - but please, listen to the whole thing.  It's incredible.

10 March 2022

10 March 2022 - Lights ft. Shad & Holy Fuck - Everybody Breaks A Glass

OK, we've screwed around with you long enough.  

Here's Shad, doing a live performance.

OK, OK, we'll stop. 

If you haven't noticed, this entire week has featured other Canadian artists collaborating with Lights.  And also, if you haven't noticed, we question your reading comprehension skills.

This song is a single, from her 2012 album, Siberia.  Like the rest of the album, it is fantastic.

10 March 2022 - Shad ft. Lights - Remember to Remember

Two days, two Canadian hip hop artists.  There's no other reason to include this post. 

From the 2013 album Flying Colours, the song is very much in your face.  It reminds me of a younger Kanye West, who has clearly had an influence on Shad's music.  The song is produced and co-written by Shad and Mike Tompkins.

Oh, there was a third songwriter, and she appears in the video.

09 March 2022

9 March 2021 - Maestro Fresh-Wes ft. Lights - Desire

Straight from his Wikipedia page:

Wesley Williams (born March 31, 1968) is a Canadian rapper, record producer, actor, and author. He is known professionally by his stage names Maestro Fresh-Wes.

He was born in Maple Leaf March, so how can we not feature him?  He's also one of the first Canadian hip hop artists to achieve mainstream success, so that's an achievement.   Originally from Toronto, Williams relocated to New Brunswick in 2020 - and who could blame him?

This 2013 single features vocals from another Canadian.

08 March 2022

8 March 2022 - Felix Cartal ft. Lights - Love Me

Do we have a theme this week inside the month?


It's clearly Canadian DJs, right?  

Let's talk about Felix Cartal.  This Vancouver-based DJ and producer is best known for his splashy collaborations, and this one is among his best known and most danceable - making a splash on the US Dance charts in addition to its Canadian Top 40 splash.  Although this single was released in 2019, the album on which it is features, Expensive Sounds for Nice People, was not released until 2021. 

Lyrically, it's about unrequited love.  It doesn't get much more straight forward than that. 

Live versions of this song exist.  This one is from a December 31, 2020 CBC broadcast, and features Cartal on bass. 

this also happens to be one of my favorite Lights songs and since she does everything acoustic here you go.

07 March 2022

7 March 2022 - deadmau5 ft. Lights - Drama Free

Two deadmau5 posts?  

Well, I didn't have to do it this way, but it was more fun.  

As I alluded to earlier, without alluding to it, there's a second version of this song - with vocals provided by another Canadian artist.  This isn't their most recent collaboration (there's this, for example), but it is probably their best known.  This song was a dance hit in 2018, actually preceding the release of the Polar soundtrack.  

The great thing about this song is that there are live versions of them doing the song together.  This version is clearly a longer version - but really, the first half is "Drama Free" and the second half is "Midas Heel".  It doesn't matter.  Just enjoy it.  

I can't not post this.  We know that Lights does acoustic versions of everything. That includes this.  

7 March 2022 - deadmau5 - Midas Heel

For our second go-round of this Month o' Great White North, we weren't going to leave out deadmau5.  If you know this song, and have read this blog once or twice, you know that we aren't JUST going to talk about the pride of Niagara Falls, Ontario, but let's start there, and keep this post drama free.

Joel Zimmerman is one of the most successful electronic musicians and DJs in the world - and yeah, that's probably partially due to the mouse head.  His work is unique and critically acclaimed - and Canadian.  He's been at it for more than 20 years.

So when looking for an artist to do a soundtrack for the Netflix movie Polar, a dark and critically panned comic book adaptation, of course deadmas5 is who comes to mind.  The first single from this soundtrack was this excellent electronic piece, which is of course all we're going to talk about.  

I know this isn't really much of a video here - it's kind of dark and could use more lights - but it gives you a great idea for what the song is and what the deadmau5 sound is.  

06 March 2022

6 March 2022 - Glass Tiger - Don't Forget Me (When I'm Gone)

Quick, American reader - name one Glass Tiger song. 

If you grew up in the 1980s, it's probably "Don't Forget Me (When I'm Gone)", their only hit in the States.  Sure, these guys were Canadian hitmakers - but they only got across the southern border once.  

If you didn't grow up in the 1980s, you probably are wondering who the hell Glass Tiger is.  

If you happen to be Canadian, you're probably shaking your head in disgust right now, because they actually had two top 10 hits in the States and everything I said about them being a one hit wonder was a complete lie.  

05 March 2022

5 March 2022 - Rheostatics - Bad Time To Be Poor

This #MapleLeafMarch has not been nearly as much fun as it was last year.  

Mostly because I had most of these songs in draft for a year and had to stare at them, their omissions teasing me like some siren, calling me back to Canada.

Take Rheostatics.  They're iconic, they're unique... and they didn't fit in last year (probably because I overdosed on Cœur de Pirate). Even this year, I'm slotting them in on a Saturday.  Do not take that as any reflection of their influence on Canadian music.  They're not a band that generated a lot of hits, but they DO persist, still.  

So, take this song, a classic from the 1996 The Blue Hysteria album, and enjoy it.  

04 March 2022

4 March 2022 - Grimes - Player Of Games

Is Grimes Canadian?  Yes.

Is this song about Elon Musk? Also yes.

The song itself is an emotional electronic rollercoaster that is on brand for Grimes. Of course, the visual adds to it, but it's not necessary to drive home the charged message.

03 March 2022

3 March 2022 - Gordon Lightfoot - If You Could Read My Mind

How many songs did Gordon Lightfoot write that blew me away?  

This is a song that Lightfoot wrote that was intensely personal - in the wake of his divorce from his wife, Ingrid.   A small lyrically change requested by this daughter made this from an angry to a mournful song - and an absolutely treasure that was a worldwide hit in the early 1970's.  

Fifty years after the song's initial release - yes, that's 50 with a five - Lightfoot performed the song from his front porch in celebration of Canada Day 2020.  The 81-year-old singer/songwriter brings a different, more knowledgeable feel to the song.  It is still an absolute work of art and still blows me away.  

02 March 2022

2 March 2022 - Drake - Hotline Bling

Let's just get the Drake out of the way this month.  

We chose a doozy, though.  Canada's rap king came through big on this worldwide hit, which also won two Grammy Awards.  And Drake brings the emotion, too - he has a presence that few others can reach, and yet can still pull off the angry sadness that goes with the lyrics of this song.  

Cowritten by Drake, Timothy Thomas, and producer Nineteen85, I wasn't joking when I said it was a worldwide hit - and a top 30 year-end hit in BOTH 2015 AND 2016.  It was a big hit with legs.   Not bad for the guy from DeGrassi.

01 March 2022

1 March 2022 - Cœur de Pirate - Carry On / Oublie-Moi

I made it quite clear how I feel about her Roses album at the end of last year.

What I have not yet mentioned is that she's been compared to London Grammar - basically, a "London Grammar for Quebec".  Canada does not need London Grammar.  They have Cœur de Pirate.  Even though France and Belgium have made her a bigger hitmaker than Canada has....

There's probably a lot of other stuff I haven't mentioned, either.  But I digress.  Carry on. 

Roses was a bilingual album.  This is the song that tied the two halves of the album together (as a bonus track that's included in literally every streaming service's version of the album).   Lyrically, they aren't exactly the same - "Oublie-Moi" is not nearly as cheery.  However, bookending the album with two versions of the same song - it gives the album a cohesive feel, almost like a Mobius strip.  

Don't worry.  She'll be back this month.  

1 March 2022 - Arcade Fire - Ready to Start

I had SO MUCH Canadian music queued up for last March, I could not nearly fit it all in.   

Arcade Fire is one band I really wanted to fit in, but I was way too busy cramming in as much Sarah McLachlan and Cœur de Pirate as I possibly could, I just didn't have room.  No, seriously, I bumped them from March 31st to literally fit both of those artists in again.  

But that's fine. We'll let them open this month.  Welcome to the 2nd annual #MapleLeafMarch.  Now enjoy your Arcade Fire.