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The 20 best Canadian music videos of 2018

Grab some popcorn: let's take a look back at the year's most captivating, funny and viral music videos.
A look back at the best Canadian music videos released in 2018. (Melody Lau)

When people aren't busy watching unboxings, tutorials or late-night talk show bits, they're probably watching music videos online. This year, we got a lot of great music videos — and not all of them were from Drake. (Although, yes, Drake is represented on the list below a few times.)

Scroll down and see the best Canadian music videos of 2018, and share your favourites with us @CBCMusic.


Drake, 'God's Plan,' 'Nice For What,' 'I'm Upset' and 'In My Feelings'

Perhaps with the exception of one music video (the live performance clip for "Nonstop"), Drake has proven this year that he is the king of music videos. Each one of Drake's solo video releases became viral sensations, sparking lists, GIFs, tweets and more. These were visuals that displayed heart ("God's Plan" donated the video's entire budget and documented the donation), star power (the many famous women who appear in "Nice For What"), nostalgia ("I'm Upset" hosted a Degrassi reunion) and virality (highlighting Shiggy's viral dance challenge with "In My Feelings"). And while Drake does deserve some credit, most of this praise should be given to the director of all of these videos, Karena Evans, for showing not only an understanding of Drake's visual brand but also injecting a sense of coolness and larger-than-life personality into something that often only gets played on small screens.

Shawn Mendes, 'Lost in Japan'

Even though pop star Shawn Mendes was only five years old when Sofia Coppola's Lost in Translation came out, he still managed to pull off a pretty incredible homage to the cult hit with his "Lost in Japan" video. Even better, Mendes trades the melancholy of the original for a fun, romantic romp that will surely make you dream of hopping on a plane and heading straight to Tokyo.

Carly Rae Jepsen, 'Party For One'

Smushing your face in a loaf of bread, eating spaghetti in a bathtub, unpacking sex toys and dancing around in your underwear — these were all appropriate ways of celebrating Carly Rae Jepsen's triumphant return with "Party For One." It's also how characters in Jepsen's latest music video embrace alone time in their respective hotel rooms. This video is a cheerful reminder that sometimes there's nothing more satisfying than a night in to indulge in some self-love.

Jessie Reyez, 'Body Count'

Reyez likens the shaming of women who are unabashedly sexual to the Salem witch trials in her "Body Count" video. It's a powerful visual that shows how women have been persecuted over the years and how, unfortunately, that continues to be the case today.

Born Ruffians, 'Love Too Soon,' 'Forget Me,' 'Miss You'

July Talk's Leah Fay and Peter Dreimanis take a break from performing to direct a beautiful trilogy of videos for songs off of Born Ruffians' latest album, Uncle, Duke & The Chief. The end result plays out like a moving indie romance between a man (played by lead singer Luke Lalonde) and a life-sized dummy. It's a bit of an absurd concept, but it's filled with heart and catchy melodies. Don't be surprised if you shed a tear or two as you're watching it.

The Sorority, 'Wildin''

The women of the Sorority drive down memory lane as each member recalls relationship fails in "Wildin'." This fun, vibrant clip doesn't wallow in the past though. Instead, they roll their eyes at men who are clingy or obsessed, and ultimately shrug it off because sometimes it can be easy to move on. And freeing yourself from situations like that can be as gratifying as feeling the wind in your hair as you speed ahead with your best friends in tow.

Rich Aucoin, 'The Middle'

An ambidextrous illustrator (director Meags Fitzgerald) flexes some serious skills here as she draws, crafts and animates images that make us miss the days of binge-watching episodes of Art Attack. We may not be able to replicate all the incredible art in "The Middle," but it will inspire you to pick up a pen, some paper and maybe a pair of scissors.

Harrison feat. Ralph, 'Your Girl'

Singing beer cans, bags of chips and cigarette boxes? Sign us up! In "Your Girl," a man falls into a surreal world where inanimate objects turn into singing party companions. Or, perhaps, that's just what one too many beers can do to you. Either way, please invite us to the next rager.

Lou Phelps, 'Come Inside'

Who else thinks that Quebec rapper Lou Phelps would make a good TV host? Well his music video for "Come Inside" makes a good case for this as Phelps flips on his TV to land on The Lou Phelps Show. The video is weird and surreal — at times looking like it took cues from that episode of Atlantawhere the entirety of its runtime is spent in a cable TV talk show, including fake commercials — but it's a trippy experience that looks more appealing than alarming.

The Weather Station, 'Impossible'

People (or forces?) control Weather Station singer Tamara Lindeman from the moment she wakes up, manipulating all her movements from brushing her hair to scrolling on her phone as she eats breakfast. The video for "Impossible" is a dreamlike day-in-the-life that questions free will, habits and what is or isn't the work of your subconscious. Think about that the next time you wake up and reach for your phone in the morning.

Kimmortal, 'I'm Blue'

Vancouver artist Kimmortal constructs a bedroom in their video for "I'm Blue," which represents the inside of their head. It can be easy to get stuck inside one's mind, especially when you've lost yourself in a relationship — as Kimmortal sings about on this track — but that moment of re-discovering who you are is as beautiful and cathartic as this clip makes it look.

Said the Whale, 'UnAmerican'

Four days, 2,250 pieces of paper and a lot of meticulous planning: Said the Whale's "UnAmerican" video definitely gets a shout-out on this list for pure effort alone. But director Johnny Jansen truly pulls it off, merging the motionless (the photos, which were printed frames of a filmed live performance) with a constantly moving canvas and transforming it into something that is incredibly captivating to look at.

Cœur de pirate, 'Prémonition'

A tumultuous relationship plays out in a tense, balletic dance in Cœur de pirate's mesmerizing video for "Prémonition." What starts off as some stares and pushes between two lovers (played by Béatrice Martin and dancer Arnaud Deprez) slowly unfolds into dance that reveals moments of love and abuse. Choreographed by Leo Walk, who has also done incredible work with Christine and the Queens, "Prémonition" is a video that's heartbreaking to watch but it's impossible to take your eyes off of it.

Alessia Cara, 'Growing Pains'

This one-take clip for Alessia Cara's "Growing Pains" takes place on a giant, transforming set that traces the hardships of being an adult. Cara gets pushed around, slapped onto a medical table and generally forced to conform, but as anyone who knows Cara well enough, that's just not the way she rolls. Growing pains can be rough, but Cara assures us that if we just stay true to ourselves, we'll come out the other side stronger and wiser.

Grimes, 'We Appreciate Power'

Grimes' long-awaited return came in the form of an artificial intelligence propaganda song and video for "We Appreciate Power." Whether or not you've submitted to our future AI overlords yet, you can't deny that Claire Boucher knows how to craft a memorable video, this time stringing together a series of striking visuals of her and her collaborator Hana posing and performing. Boucher's vision of the future may be bleak but it's a dystopian universe we'd like to explore a little more.

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