Songs you need to hear this week, Juno nominees edition
A quick guide to some of the 2019 Juno nominees
We've been analysing the list of nominees for the 2019 Juno Awards and taking particular note of the surprises, snubs and shoo-ins in the various categories.
With that in mind, we're focusing our regular songs you need to hear this week feature on some of this year's Juno nominees: Dan Mangan, anders, Meghan Patrick, Aerialists, Azari, Dizzy, Élisapie, Bülow and Killy. Scroll down to familiarize yourself with their Juno-nominated music — and, in some cases, their latest releases — ahead of the awards gala.
Remember: wherever you are on March 17, you can watch the Juno Awards live from Budweiser Gardens in London, Ont., at cbcmusic.ca/junos.
'Walls Come Down,' Meghan Patrick
The lie of perfection is what will probably kill a lot of us, but Meghan Patrick's most recent single from her Juno-nominated album, Country Music Made me do It, is a welcome and compassionate invitation to take a sledgehammer to those shiny façades and deal with the real stuff — all our cracks and fractures — underneath. In fact, in a perfect embodiment of the song itself, the production is so slick it almost obscures the open-hearted honesty of Patrick's lyrics. "Walls Come Down" is as much a call to action as it is a raucous, catchy, country crossover tune.
— Andrea Warner
While anders made a big splash in 2018 with "Love no More," his collaboration with Loud Luxury that flaunted his pop sensibilities, it's nice to see a different side of his artistry getting some love with a nomination for his sophomore album, Twos, in the R&B/soul recording of the year category. From that album, "Undone" is a self-reflective lament on break-ups and the isolation that sets in when relationships have run their course. (Naturally, the intoxicating bedroom vibe prescribes make-up sex as a viable cure.)
— Robert Rowat
Toronto electronic group Azari & III officially broke up in 2013, but its members have stayed busy since, including Dinamo Azari, who is now performing as just Azari. For his newly Juno-nominated track, "Gotasoul," Azari teams up with vocalist James Baley for a pulsating club number, one that pays equal homage to house music and ballroom culture. Baley repeats the phrase "I got a soul" over and over throughout the track, almost like a hymn that's summoning bodies to the dancefloor, where one can exorcise their demons and completely give into the here and now, the rhythms and beats; a moment of pure ecstasy.
— Melody Lau
'Not a Love Song,' Bülow
Last year, Bülow's hit song "Not a Love Song" was spun relentlessly on pop radio and was streamed more than 26 million times on Spotify in 2018. This year, it's up for the Juno Award for single of the year. While her original recording features bouncy, up-tempo synths, Bülow performed a stripped-down acoustic version for CBC Music's First Play Live. In an interview with Billboard, Bülow stated that Avril Lavigne was one of her biggest inspirations. Much like the pop-punk "Sk8er boi" legend, Bülow isn't afraid to push the envelope. On her unabashed single, she proclaims: "You're a nice guy/ and you're looking for a nice girl to fall for you, for a lifetime/ but that's not my vibe."
— Natasha Ramoutar
"Sink to the bottom/ only to wind up belly-up on your bedroom floor/ innocuous form." Oshawa band Dizzy only released its debut album, Baby Teeth, in August 2018, but the words and work from Katie Munshaw and brothers Charlie, Alex and Mackenzie Spencer have stuck with us in a way that feels much longer than that. Nominated for breakthrough group of the year, Dizzy's dream pop is both vulnerable and astute, with coming-of-age observations from suburbia that never feel trite or tired. "Swim" is a standout track off Baby Teeth, but honestly, start anywhere on the 11-song album and you'll get lost in the water soon enough.
— Holly Gordon
'No Sad No Bad,' Killy
Hip-hop artist Killy blew up the charts in 2017 with his viral track "Killamonjaro," and has continued to crush it ever since, dropping a full-length record in March 2018 and another EP just six months later. "No Sad No Bad," from his Juno-nominated debut, is a great entry point for listeners new to Killy's sound (he works with some of the most innovative producers in the business) and his distinctive lyrical flow. There's also tremendous depth, breadth and humour in his work, including this "No Sad No Bad" standout: "No sad, no bad days in L.A./ Imma sail the seven seas just to separate myself from the fakes." — AW
Élisapie released The Ballad of the Runaway Girl last year after a six-year break, giving us a stunning, complex mix of original material and formative Indigenous rock and folk songs from the '60s and '70s. On Ballad, Élisapie — who was born in Salluit, Nunavik, and is now based in Montreal — examines her past and present, and on opening track "Arnaq" ("woman" in Inuktitut) she has created an ode to women and femininity (the portraits in the video, of women from Élisapie's hometown, are striking). Sung in Inuktitut, English and French, The Ballad of the Runaway Girl is a strong contender for Indigenous album of the year. (Check out her First Play Live session here.) — HG
'Losing my Religion' (R.E.M. cover), Dan Mangan
After winning two Juno Awards in 2012, Dan Mangan is back in 2019 with a nomination in the alternative album category for More or Less. (Check out his First Play Live session here.) This week, Mangan grabbed our attention with a cover of R.E.M.'s "Losing my Religion," which appears in the trailer for the new CBC/AMC TV series Unspeakable. Mangan's unaffected voice is perfectly suited to this song's tone of disillusionment, and he builds powerfully to the concluding "Try, cry/ why try?" — RR
'Group Manoeuvre,' Aerialists
Aerialists is a transatlantic quintet comprising artists from Scotland, the U.S. and Canada who fuse their love of folk and rock to create a unique brand of music they call prog-trad. These are seriously accomplished musicians, brimming with energy and determination to take their traditional sounds in new directions. They've made the harp funky! Here's the title track from their debut album, Group Manoeuvre, nominated for instrumental album of the year. — RR