Archive for the ‘Electronic Dance Music (EDM)’ Category

2015 was a pretty good year for music, even better for Canadian music, with Justin Bieber, Drake and The Weeknd dominating everything. As per usual, these highlights (and lowlights) are just my opinion, and have no bearing on commercial success. I also must disclaim that I haven’t listened to every single album/track that was released this year.

Best New Artist – Jamie xx

Okay so this is a bit of a cheat, mostly because Jamie xx isn’t exactly new. He’s resident DJ for incomparable indie band The xx. His beats are infectious and not your standard EDM style. This year, he decided to branch out on his own with his debut album, In Colour. And it blew everyone’s mind.

 

Worst New Artist – Shawn Mendes

I’m generally not one to pop open the haterade on young Canadian artists, but man this guy’s annoying. He’s so average, yet each one of his singles appears all over the radio. I will props him on writing (most of) his own stuff, but it’s just not that good – he’s not doing anything that hasn’t been done before.

 

Best Canadian Album – The Gates by Young Empires

Okay before you all hyperventilate because Drake or The Weeknd didn’t win this, it’s because my goal is to expose you all to new music. This list would be boring if it was predictable, so this is me changing it up. This is a solid album start to finish. It’s musical, thoughtful and shows an evolution in their sound.

 

Best Soundtrack – Empire

Empire is a one of a kind TV show. Entertainment mogul Lucious Lyon and his sons taking over the music industry, whilst dealing with their family drama that goes layers deep may not sound appealing, but it is. Even if the show doesn’t interest you, the music alone is worth tuning in. The talent on this show is commendable, seeing as they all (apparently) sing their own stuff, plus it’s loaded with guest stars galore. It’s just so addictive.

 

Best Remix – “The Hills” by The Weeknd feat. Eminem

Whether you’re a fan or not, you can’t deny The Weeknd’s musical abilities. His flawless voice, its velvety smoothness is purely eargasmic. As if this track wasn’t fantastic enough,  when you add Eminem’s rhymes on it, there’s just no contest.

 

Worst Remix – “Bad Blood” by Taylor Swift feat. Kendrick Lamar

It’s high time we all get over Taylor Swift. She’s becoming a little too high maintenance, what with wanting to trademark everything she touches and taking her music off streaming services because she wasn’t making enough money. So imagine my surprise, when Kendrick Lamar joined her on this petty track. I mean, come on: his album is called To Pimp a Butterfly, and he’s from  Compton! This collab is adding zero value to his street cred and makes no sense at all.

 

RIP – Scott Weiland

This was a pretty personal one for me. I spent a lot of my teenage years cozying up to Stone Temple Pilots. “Plush” is one of my all-time favourite tracks, and one of the first I learned on guitar. He also fronted supergroup Velvet Revolver. He had such a unique voice, such a presence, but also such a big drug problem. The 90s wouldn’t have been the same without him.

 

Artist who Broke the Internet – Adele

When she released “Hello”, everyone fell apart. Millions and millions of views on YouTube. TV appearances, announcing a tour, shattering so many sales records, and continuing to do so. She may not be your style, but how can you not belt along to her lyrics? It’s so therapeutic.

 

Artist You Want to Befriend – Alessia Cara

A cool 19-year-old  singer-songwriter from Brampton, ON, who got signed to Def Jam Recordings. Her big hit “Here” tells the tale of the not-so-cool high school girl who ends up at typical teen party because her friends wanted to go. It’s smart, it’s honest, it’s funny and I seriously want to hang with her.

 

Best Choreography in a Video – “Hotline Bling” by Drake

This was a no-brainer.

 

 

Best Live Show – Foo Fighters at Fenway Park

I’ll extend this out to the entire leg of their tour where Grohl had to perform while sitting on a chair/throne because he broke his leg. In spite of that, the level of performance they gave was monstrous. He didn’t get tired for one second during the near 3 hour set. No complaints, no holding back. They played the crap out of their music and it was just such a joy to be a part of it.

 

Most Disappointing Album – A Head Full of Dreams by Coldplay

It’s no secret I’ve had a volatile love/hate relationship with these guys. Their last album Ghost Stories saw them maybe turning a corner, but they’re lost for good now. It’s basically a dance/pop album which is incapable of tugging at any heartstrings – something they used to master.  Basically, Coldplay is trying to latch on to the latest EDM trend, to make their music more mainstream. They also have dancing monkeys in their video; it’s just sad now, really.

 

Guiltiest Pleasure – “Sorry” by Justin Bieber

I know, I can’t believe I’m admitting it. It’s just so darn catchy.

 

Most Underrated Artist – Lianne La Havas

Lianne dropped her second album Blood this year, and it seemed like no one noticed. She’s got a beautiful voice, full of emotion (think Lauryn Hill and India Arie put together.) Everyone needs to pay more attention to her, starting now.

Most Transformed Artist – Daniel Johns

He used to lead singer of 90s grunge band Silverchair. Heavy guitars, loud lyrics, long hair and apathy written everywhere. Now all of a sudden, Johns resurfaces as some hunky, electro-pop star, that makes his voice do things fans of Silverchair never even thought possible. See for yourselves.

Worst Break-Up – Gwen Stefani and Gavin Rossdale

My inner 90s child’s heart broke when this news surfaced. They were supposed to be the music couple that made it all the way, the ones that lasted. They met on tour back in the 90s – she with No Doubt, he with Bush. It was so perfect in so many ways. And now it’s been ruined. As has my belief in humanity.

 

Best Summer Song – “2 Heads” by Coleman Hell

Hell is from Thunder Bay, and this track is fun, different, and makes you dance along to that country vibe. It just feels like summer.

 

Album of the Year – How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful by  Florence + the Machine

There’s just something about Florence’s voice, artistry and her drama. She can sing any song, and give you goosebumps doing it. Every track on this album will probably change your life somehow. It’s worth a listen.

 

Song of the Year – “Don’t Wanna Fight” by Alabama Shakes

This track is an addiction. Gets you on a crazy high, feeds your soul, and makes you tingle all over. Brittany Howard’s vocals have so much fire in them, and once you add the funk in their music, you have sheer perfection.

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Okay, so I’m aware that summer ended a few weeks ago; for me, the arrival of October marks the official demise of summer. When leaves start changing colour, when daylight savings time kicks in, when Thanksgiving happens, when pumpkin spice is on everyone’s mind. If you’re feeling nostalgic about the summer, try these on for size.

5.”Where Are Ü Now” – Skrillex and Diplo feat. Justin Bieber

Bieber’s foray into the electronic world and it wasn’t too shabby. The beats courtesy of Skrillex and Diplo have a Middle Eastern vibe. Bieber’s vocals go well with the track, and it’s a decent attempt at him trying to change his image. Most of all though, it makes you want to dance, and isn’t that what summer’s all about?

4.”Renegades” – X-Ambassadors

This song needs to be on every road trip playlist. You feel like you’re in a car, heading somewhere great on an epic adventure. Or that image may have come from the Jeep ad where this track is also featured. These rockers from NY are getting their sound out there, and even have a blind keyboard player. It’s a makes you feel like anything is possible kind of track, and comes with a solid video too.

3.”The Gates” – Young Empires

This is one of the tracks that makes you feel like dreaming a little. Sends your mind into spirals of thoughts and feelings, making you believe in the potential of what’s to come. It sounds similar to Midnight City’s “M83”, but still a force on its own. Plus they’re Canadian, so there’s that too.

2.”Lean On” – Major Lazer and DJ Snake feat. MO

We all know this is a super ultra mega hit and it’s still going strong. The combination of music, vocals and even the arrangement of the track is pretty addictive. Makes you want to feel like finding someone to lean on.

1.”2 Heads” – Coleman Hell

A bit of an underdog on this list, which is probably why it’s at the top. Hell is a singer/songwriter/producer from good old Thunder Bay (I’m not joking.) Hell turns things up a notch here, and delivers vocals full of yearning, and lyrics full of emotion. Coupled with a little banjo and this track becomes unstoppable.

Since the summer is essentially over now – though based on the weather, it’s unclear if it ever really came – I thought I’d finish off with another set of summer jams. The tracks listed on the first instalment, have already reached the annoyingly overplayed status. This set of tracks serve as a summer’s outro, helping us reflect on the month(s) passed, and all the #blessed moments we had.

5. “Jealous (I Ain’t With It)” – Chromeo

I know what you’re all thinking. This technically should have been included in the first round, but even by that time, it was being played ad nauseam. Except now it’s gone past the point of being sick of it, back to being tolerable and catchy. It’s got a killer 80s vibe to it, he’s Canadian and this video is pretty fantastic.

4. “Don’t Tell ‘Em” – Jeremih feat. YG

Normally I’m not a fan of remixes, sampling or any sort of cut-and-paste producing, but for some reason I don’t mind it here. I don’t even know who Jeremih (pronounced Jerem-eye) is, but he managed to peak my interest in how he sampled Snap’s 90s dance classic “Rhythm is a Dancer,” and slowed it down to a smooth drawl. There’s just something about the track that just makes you want to bump and grind. Or maybe that’s just me?

3. “Stolen Dance” – Milky Chance

Maybe a bit of an odd choice here. A German electronic-rock duo, whose lead singer sounds like he’s been smoking 2 packs/day since he was a kid (à la Tom Waits). Who would have thought they could create anything playful, fun or uplifting? Yet somehow they did. I dare you not to dance.

2. “Waves (Robin Schulz Remix)” – Mr. Probz

I still prefer the original, slower, morose version of this song – I’m so emo – but the guitar riff and the beats in this one are just too damn good. They completely change the tone of the track. The lyrics are just as sad, just as painful; the video also kind of depressing. But the energy adds some positivity, like there’s still some hope for things to get better.

1. “Rather Be” – Clean Bandit feat. Jess Glynne

What can I say? It makes you smile, while you fondly remember all the places you’ve been, all the things you’ve done, and all those simple moments you want to relive over and over. Because there’s no place you’d rather be.