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25 Canadian albums to look forward to in 2020

Jessie Reyez, William Prince, Alanis Morissette and more.

Jessie Reyez, William Prince, Alanis Morissette and more

2020 will bring us new albums from William Prince, Alanis Morissette and PartyNextDoor. (William Prince/Facebook, Getty Images, Getty Images; graphic by CBC)

With 2019 in our rear-view mirror, it's finally time to look ahead at the year to come in Canadian music. While new albums continue to get announced as we roll into 2020, the list of upcoming releases is already pretty long. Whether it's Justin Bieber and Drake teasing new music or Alanis Morissette staking claim to the summer with an album and anniversary tour for Jagged Little Pill, expect Canadians to dominate.  

Below are 25 albums we can't wait to hear in 2020. Which ones are you most excited for? Share with us @CBCMusic.


Artist: Holy F--k
Album: Deleter
Release date: Jan. 17

The members of Toronto electronic band Holy Fuck have remained fairly busy in the past few years, from Brian Borcherdt's project, Dusted, to Graham Walsh producing and engineering albums for Alvvays, Metz and Hannah Georgas. Three years after releasing Congrats, the band members are now returning for their fifth album, Deleter. Back are their propulsive dance numbers, this time accompanied by guest vocalists Alexis Taylor of Hot Chip, Liars frontman Angus Andrew and Australian musician Nicholas Allbrook.

— Melody Lau 

Artist: Andy Shauf
Album: The Neon Skyline
Release date: Jan. 24

After Regina singer-songwriter Andy Shauf's album The Party landed on the 2016 Polaris Music Prize shortlist, he took a break from his solo project to perform in the band Foxwarren. But 2020 will mark his solo return on The Neon Skyline, which promises to be his "most direct and emotionally rich work yet." The album tells the story of a man who visits his local bar, discovers his ex-girlfriend is back in town and runs into her. — ML

Artist: Destroyer
Album: Have we Met
Release date: Jan. 31

Dan Bejar's initial concept for his next Detroyer record was to create a "Y2K album," but he quickly scrapped that. From there, the former New Pornographers member compiled old work he had saved and recorded Have we Met, his actual new album, directly at his kitchen table. As Bejar noted in a press release, it all "came together in such a crazy way — all equal parts ecstasy and terror." — ML

Artist: Kim Harris
Album: Heirloom
Release date: Jan. 31

The title track from Kim Harris's sophomore album, Heirloom, begins softly, the singer gently letting the lines "to be unwanted/ when I warm so easy/ to the honey of you" float into the fog of the pre-chorus. But the electric guitar that comes in on the first chorus line — "Have you burned every thought of me?" — sets the tone: Heirloom is about rising from the ashes, not being set aflame. Working with Daniel Ledwell (guitar/horns/keys), Michael Belyea (drums), Glen Leck (bass), Kinley Dowling (violin), Mara Pellerin (French horn) and Stewart Legere and Margot Durling on backup vocals, Harris has one talented community behind her for this album, her powerhouse vocals holding emotional court across all 10 tracks. There's plenty of joy to revel in, too: just try to resist those handclaps in "Uproar," or the roll of the drums in "Once You Were Wondrous." It's been six years since her debut album, Only the Mighty, and it's high time for this next chapter.

— Holly Gordon

Artist: PartyNextDoor
Album: TBA
Release date: January

The Mississauga R&B artist and songwriter warned us in 2017 that he was "taking my time with this album," referring to his followup to 2016's PartyNextDoor 3. Well, almost three years later, the OVO Sound star is finally ready to release his highly anticipated third full-length. While an exact release date has not been revealed yet, PartyNextDoor has unleashed two new singles, presumably from his upcoming album, "The News" and "Loyal," the latter of which reunites him with his friend and collaborator, Drake. — ML

Artist: William Prince
Album: Reliever
Release date: Feb. 7

Peguis First Nation folk singer William Prince originally released his debut album, Earthly Days, in 2015 but a string of big breaks that led to an opening spot for Neil Young and reissuing the release through Glassnote Records has delayed his followup. In 2020, Prince will finally release his sophomore album, Reliever, which will build on his tender, thoughtful songwriting with beautiful odes to fatherhood and sweeping love songs like its lead single, "The Spark." — ML

Artist: Beauts
Album: Dalliance
Release date: Feb. 7

Beauts first teased their upcoming debut album with "The City Loves Me," a song-of-the-summer contender built on a catchy-as-hell bassline. But Dalliance, the post-punk band's debut full-length, takes a slight turn from that intricate opening jam, with band members Jeff Lawton (vocals), Palmer Jamieson (guitar/vocals), Joel Waddell (drums), Erik Van Lunen (bass) and Darryl Smith (guitars/synth/vocals) slowly building a tension that begins with second track "Good Measure" and later lands as a one-two-punch with "Receipts," "Drifters, All" and "Hurry." "Hurry hurry, hurry come and hold your hands to the fire," Lawton sings on the nearly six-minute penultimate track, a familiar echo of Matt Berninger creeping in as the urgency builds — and abruptly ends — in a very National way. Once Dalliance drops, there will be nothing casual about your love affair with this Halifax band. — HG

Artist: Tami Neilson
Album: Chickaboom!
Release date: Feb. 14

Whether she's swinging along to a country tune or soulfully crooning an R&B melody, Tami Neilson's voice is guaranteed to pack a punch. On the Canadian-born, New Zealand-based artist's latest album, Chickaboom!, Neilson wants to fill it to the brim with "popping firecrackers that, when stripped back to nothing but a guitar, percussion and two voices, would still go boom!" Hold on to your hats: Chickaboom! is guaranteed to be a thrill ride. — ML

Artist: Grimes 
Album: Miss_Anthrop0cene
Release date: Feb. 21

Grimes appeared on this exact list last year when we thought, after a full year of promising fans a new album, that the electro-pop artist would finally deliver her followup to 2015's Art Angels. Well, 2019 came and went without an album, but Grimes has unveiled a few more singles to tease the upcoming Miss_Anthrop0cene, which now boasts a Feb. 21 release date. So, with any luck, we won't be seeing Grimes appear on this year-end look-ahead this time next December. — ML

Artist: Sarah Harmer
Album: Are You Gone
Release date: Feb. 21

Sarah Harmer announced new music forthcoming via a simple tweet on Nov. 5, 2019 (one that didn't even have that new music attached to it yet), and the response was unanimous: fans were more than ready for the singer-songwriter's return. Harmer is calling Are You Gone — her first album in a decade — the "spiritual successor of sorts" to her 2000 breakthrough, You Were Here, which feels like a beautiful new-year gift. She's also reissuing her back catalogue on vinyl through label Arts & Crafts, which will include Songs for Clem (1999), You Were Here, All of Our Names (2004), I'm a Mountain (2005) and Oh Little Fire (2010). — HG

Artist: Allie X
Album: Cape God
Release date: Feb. 21

Oakville-born, L.A.-based artist Allie X has been not-so-quietly building an army of devotees to her electric, theatrical pop since 2014, when her debut single caught the attention of Katy Perry and set her off on a journey of meticulous releases and collaborations with the likes of Troye Sivan. Her grind is as obvious as her flair for experimentation and costume, yet, she's still not there yet; her outsider pop is about to find all of its people with the release of her forthcoming second album, Cape God. Anchored by her extraordinary voice, this year's singles pull influence from the Cranberries, Imogen Heap and Kimbra, proving that while the "X" in Allie X is meant to represent the unknown variable — possibility, really — her imminent breakthrough is certain. 

— Jess Huddleston

Artist: Rose Cousins
Album: Bravado
Release date: Feb. 21

The two singles from Rose Cousins' upcoming fifth full-length album sound, musically, like polar opposites: "The Benefits of Being Alone," a jaunty, horn-backed number, and "The Fraud," a quietly devastating piano ballad. But they're two sides of the same coin, the former striding confidently forward ("Don't you worry about me, in all my solo reverie"), the latter cracking through that strident surface to reveal the vulnerable reasons why alone feels safest ("Tell me how do you make it look simple/ falling down deep into love/ it takes all that I have just to stand here/ and more not to run"). While we're used to Cousins' heart-on-sleeve nature, Bravado feels like the start of something deeper — and with the singer-songwriter sitting in the producer's chair for the first time, we're eager to see where it goes. — HG

Artist: Rachel Mahon
Album: Canadian Organ Music on the Organ of Coventry Cathedral
Release date: Feb. 28

Coventry Cathedral in England's West Midlands was destroyed by bombing during World War II, and when it was rebuilt in 1962, significant funds from Canada went toward the Cathedral's new organ. Fast forward to 2020, and Canadian organist Rachel Mahon, who's assistant director of music at Coventry Cathedral, is honouring this trans-Atlantic bond on her debut solo album. She plays music by Healey Willan, Gerald Bales, Ruth Watson Henderson and Rachel Laurin on the cathedral's renowned Harrison & Harrison organ. "It's a privilege and completely exhilarating to play fantastic Canadian music on this world famous instrument which has such a close link with Canada," she says.

— Robert Rowat


Artist: Basia Bulat
Album: Are You in Love?
Release date: March 27

Basia Bulat teams up with producer Jim James, of My Morning Jacket, once again for Are You in Love?, her follow-up to 2016's Polaris Music Prize shortlisted Good Advice. On lead single, "Your Girl," Bulat buoyantly sings through heartache as she admitted in a statement: "Someone once told me you can't sing and cry at the same time but that wasn't true for me when we were recording this one." — ML

Artist: Jennah Barry
Album: Holiday
Release date: March 27

'Tis the season for long-awaited followup albums, and Jennah Barry's Holiday is next on the list. Her ever excellent Young Men came out in 2012, and since that release she's taken a break from singing due to vocal surgery, and started a family. Now the Mahone Bay, N.S., singer is back with nine tracks and a new perspective, one of deep breaths and AM radio hits. From the gutting lines on "Roller Disco" ("There was a line drawn thru our love/ without any space between/ but this circle is my own/ your line doesn't end with me") to the aching waltz of "No Dancer" to the heavy sigh of "Pink Grey Blue," Holiday is one heartbreakingly realistic dream sequence after another, beautifully arranged by Barry to include strings and horns alongside drums and guitar — including that lap steel. — HG

Artist: Quiet Parade
Album: The Will to Weather the Storm
Release date: April 17

The driving, glossy beat of the first single from Quiet Parade's forthcoming new album potentially signals a more urgent and pop-forward future sound for the Halifax-based band, and I'm here for it. There's still plenty of tender thoughtfulness in frontman Trevor Murphy's emotionally astute lyrics. A flood of feelings as we leave it all on the dance floor? That's the sound of the young hearts in my circle of friends at least.

— Andrea Warner

Artist: Alanis Morissette
Album: Such Pretty Forks in the Road
Release date: May 1

Next year not only marks the 25th anniversary of Alanis Morissette's seminal record Jagged Little Pill, but it will also see the release of the Canadian icon's first new album in eight years. The album's first single, the piano-pop "Reasons I Drink," is out now and Morissette will hit the road next summer with Liz Phair and Garbage. Is it too early to dub this the official Alanaissance? — ML

Artist: Aquakultre
Album: Legacy
Release date: May 8

Aquakultre, CBC Music's Searchlight 2018 winner, has had a busy few years. Since winning Searchlight, Aquakultre has performed at the CBC Music Festival, completed the 2018 Juno Master Class and toured across the country. Aquakultre has also grown from a solo act into a full-blown band, which will likely give its upcoming debut, Legacy, a fuller sound to boost his already catchy, soulful tunes. — ML

Artist: Jessie Reyez
Album: TBA
Release date: TBA 

After two successful EPs, a number of standout features and now a Grammy nomination, it seems like one of the only things left for Toronto R&B artist Jessie Reyez to do is put out a full-length album. While expectations are high for a release from Reyez sometime in 2020, her focus is strictly on the music. "The pressure is obviously there, but I need to stay humble and pure," she told i-d about her highly anticipated release. "I've got to be able to die with it and be proud." — ML

Artist: The Weeknd
Album: Chapter 6
Release date: TBA

Last November, the Weeknd revealed to fans at a Toronto concert that he was working on a new album: "Chapter 6, coming soon." A full year later, the Toronto R&B star is finally giving us a glimpse at what he's been working on this whole time. "Heartless" and "Blinding Lights" mark the beginning of this new chapter, two polar opposite tracks that only hint at the exciting new directions he could be going in. — ML

Artist: Jessy Lanza
Album: TBA
Release date: TBA

Hamilton electronic artist Jessy Lanza has been mostly absent since her 2016 Polaris Music Prize shortlisted album, Oh No, save for a few one-off remixes. But in early October, Lanza made a low-key announcement posting a photo on Facebook with the caption: "Outtake from LP 3 cover shoot today [...] LP 3 2020." Not much else has been revealed but best believe it's time to dust off those dancing shoes. — ML

Artist: Justin Bieber
Album: TBA
Release date: TBA

In late October, Justin Bieber offered up his new album in exchange for a simple gesture on Instagram: "If this gets 20 million likes Justin Bieber will release an album before Christmas." Alas, that post never reached its goal and has since been removed. But that new album is still on its way — just after the holidays, is all. Posting a teaser on Twitter that just says "2020," the pop star clearly has something big planned for his fans in the new year. — ML

Artist: Drake 
Album: TBA
Release date: TBA

Drake often makes guest appearances at Toronto concerts, but when he stopped by DaBaby's show at Rebel in December, he came armed with an extra surprise. "Imma go back to the crib and try to finish this album up so we can turn up 2020," he announced to fans before exiting the stage. Given the rapper's prodigious output — in this decade alone, he delivered nine projects — it shouldn't come as a shock that Drake is already gearing up for his next release. — ML

Artist: Braids
Album: TBD
Release date: TBD

We don't have much information yet, but we're finally getting a followup to Braids' 2015 Polaris shortlisted album, Deep in the Iris. The sole new single, "Eclipse (Ashley)," was inspired by a trip that singer Raphael Standell-Preston and her friend Ashley took to see a solar eclipse. Ashley suggested they "should take this opportunity to think about what eclipses us in our lives," as Standell-Preston has explained, resulting in this layered, piano-driven track that is just as ethereal and intangible as that might sound. The not-yet-named album also marks the Montreal-based band's first release since former band member Katie Lee opened up about why she left in 2012, detailing what she called her former bandmates' "performative allyship." Pitchfork reported in November that current members Standell-Preston, Taylor Smith and Austin Tufts have recently reconciled with Lee. — HG

Artist: Loony
Album: TBD
Release date: TBD

When will Loony release her debut? Who knows. What we do know is that "Some Kinda Love," the new song from the Scarborough-based emerging artist, is beautifully influenced by contemporary R&B/soul artists like Solange and Lianne La Havas. There are jazz flourishes, staccato beats, and a movement to the song that's evocative of a walk with someone who makes your heart skip a beat every other step. Loony's voice is exquisite, as is her live band on this track, which makes it all the harder to sit patiently waiting for more information about when in 2020 we can expect her long-awaited debut. — AW