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10 Canadian music videos that had us glued to our screens this year

Jessie Reyez, Pup, Céline Dion and more delivered some of 2019's best visuals.

Jessie Reyez, Pup, Céline Dion and more delivered some of 2019's best visuals

From left: Shawn Mendes and Camila Cabello get intimate in the 'Señorita' music video and Célion Dion poses in her 'Imperfections' clip. (Shawn Mendes/YouTube, Celine Dion/YouTube; graphic by CBC)

With millions of viewers tuning in to see the latest clips being uploaded onto YouTube nowadays, it takes a standout music video to capture a person's attention. Sometimes that means coming up with something meme-worthy, the way that Drake has mastered it with past offerings like "Hotline Bling" and "God's Plan," but other times it could just be something simple and direct that emotionally hits you square in the chest. 

Below are 10 Canadian music videos that blew us away and made us want to hit replay over and over again. What were your favourite Canadian music videos of the year? Share with us at @CBCMusic.  


'Too Much,' Carly Rae Jepsen

The pop star translates her emotional overflow into a group of blond bob lookalikes who move, dance and instigate food fights with her as one big mobile entity. Feeling too much can be overwhelming, and even frowned upon, but how can you resist when it looks this freeing and celebratory? 

'Far Away,' Jessie Reyez

In just under three minutes, Jessie Reyez captures the highs of being in love but also the swiftness in which that can all be torn away from you. The video is a powerful statement on deportation and the devastating effects of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (I.C.E.) in Trump's America; a gutting experience that feels at once specific but also all too common.    

'Mehcinut,' Jeremy Dutcher 

The Polaris Music Prize winner's first music video is a gorgeous celebration of Indigenous art. What starts off as a solo performance soon blossoms into a collaborative dance, all topped off with the stunning reinterpretation of The Last Supper featuring appearances by A Tribe Called Red, Lido Pimienta and more. "Make Indigenous excellence visible," Dutcher wrote in a statement with the video's release. That's exactly what Dutcher did here and continues to do with his music. 

'Lesbian Break-up Song,' Safia Nolin 

Body shaming has been ingrained and internalized in many women's minds so it's often tough to view bodies, including our own, without judgment. Safia Nolin confronts these fears on "Lesbian Break-up Song" by appearing naked, challenging viewers to not "let your programming win; look at our bodies and try to consider them as neutral, whose function is only to exist." When you cast away those negativities and judgments, all that's left is beauty. This video is a celebration of all bodies and the beauty that everyone possesses.

 

'Imperfections,' Célion Dion

The Canadian pop icon juxtaposes her glamorous persona with raw images of her stripping down to her real, imperfect self. As noted earlier this year, this video is a "powerful statement on being a middle-aged woman at the height of her powers, whose every move comes under scrutiny." 

'Free at Last,' Pup

Toronto band Pup solicited more than 250 fan covers of their single "Free at Last," but initially provided those fans with nothing but the song's lyrics. With no idea of how the melodies or chords went, people set out to crack the mystery and the results were compiled into a music video that perfectly reflects the band's scrappy, DIY spirit. 

'Money in the Grave,' Drake feat. Rick Ross

While this video wasn't the immediate meme machine Drake's other music videos have proven to be, "Money in the Grave" is momentous for the Toronto moment it celebrated: the Toronto Raptors' first championship title. The video included footage of the 2019 OVO Fest where Drake carried the Larry O'Brien trophy out to a sea of proud Torontonians as a giant replica of that same trophy acted as the centrepiece onstage. Drake didn't technically help the team win, but he sure owned the celebration.

'Record Shop,' Said the Whale

"This video was created with 129 spinning records and no visual effects," Said the Whale's "Record Shop" states upfront. It also undoubtedly included numerous hours of meticulous work. The zeotropic effect that's on display is not a new trick, but still a satisfying watch nonetheless. Between this and Said the Whale's "UnAmerican" video, it's clear that the Vancouver band is unafraid to put lots of work into creating stunning visuals. 

'Falling Down the Stairs of Your Smile,' the New Pornographers

Sometimes life suddenly pulls you into something bigger, be it a relationship with another person or conforming to the structure of a new workplace. In this New Pornographers offering, a woman is pulled into a group of dancers who move in unison through a city until they reach a warehouse, where they change from their colourful clothes into corporate uniforms. It's visually fascinating to watch the choreographed moves but also, as director Mitchell deQuilettes notes, makes us question the idea that sometimes "we all need to become a part of the business system in order to survive." 

'Señorita,' Shawn Mendes and Camila Cabello

It's almost a rite of passage for musical couples to star in a music video together, and that's just what Shawn Mendes and Camila Cabello did on "Señorita." Even though the duo revealed that they didn't start dating until July, this steamy clip, which was released in June, convinced millions (the video is nearing 800 million views) that there was definitely an abundance of chemistry between the two. 

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