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article imageOp-Ed: Top 10 Canadian songs of 2013

By Michael Thomas     Dec 7, 2013 in Entertainment
As has been the case in years previous, 2013 has been a great year for Canadian music. What follows is a list of some of the best songs (in alphabetical order by artist) by Canadian acts in 2013, some far off the beaten path.
The list is in no particular order, with no preference for genre or geography, though several acts on this list hail from Toronto.
In the Comments, let us know your picks for the top Canadian songs of the year.
Basia Bulat - "It Can't Be You"
Ontario songstress Basia Bulat just recently released her third album, the haunting Tall, Tall Shadow, and "It Can't Be You" may be the most emotionally powerful tune on the record. The song tones down the grand instrumentation of many of the album's other tracks, leaving Bulat with just her voice and a charango. The result is a raw and passionate song that reverberates with sadness.
Ryan Cook - "Facebook Waltz
Country music is all well and good, but Ryan Cook elevates his craft to a new level with the sharply witty Wrestling With Demons. This song takes a country lament and spins it into a thoroughly modern tale of a guy who Facebook-stalks a woman he's attracted to, then changes his profile to more closely match hers. Needless to say, the man's pursuit doesn't end well.
Cygnets - "Day Seven"
Yes, this is actually a Canadian band despite the distinctly British accent on the lead singer. Cygnets, hailing from Edmonton, Alberta, specialize in a dark brand of synth-pop, and their latest single (paired with "Lilya Forever") ties in religious themes with fatalism and the band's general manic energy. Cygnets always play with a sense of urgency, and "Day Seven" ramps it up further than ever before,
Delta Will - "Good Will"
Delta Will is an interstellar visitor who occasionally inhabits the body of Toronto-based musician Charles Tilden, formerly of the band Parks & Rec. The alien entity plays a modernized version of blues, drawing from the old masters of the 20s and 30s but adding in equipment like laptops and loop pedals to create something all his own. "Good Will" is the best example of what Delta Will is capable of, turning blues riffs into a song that would fit comfortably into a dance party playlist.
HIGHS - "Summer Dress"
HIGHS are hands down one of the most exciting acts to pop up this year. With a heavily afropop-inspired sound and great pop sensibilities, they could be compared to acts like Vampire Weekend, but to hear their pristine harmonies is to hear a revelation. "Summer Dress" kicks off their debut, self-titled EP in stellar fashion, beginning with a propulsive, repeating guitar riff before adding in killer percussion and keys, plus the aforementioned vocals, ending in a busy but breathtaking track.
Jordan Klassen - "The Horses Are Stuck"
Multi-instrumentalist Jordan Klassen hinted at the greatness to come in this year's full-length Repentance with a brief EP early in 2012, but few could have guessed a track of this magnitude would result. The album from which this originates has a heavy dose of religious influence while never being overtly so — his songs sound like spirituals without being spirituals. "The Horses Are Stuck" begins with Klassen's simple plucking and simple lyrics, eventually swelling to include baritone-voiced hums. There's also a slight hint of sexuality, as Klassen morphs the opening line from "Come arrest me" to "Come undress me" the second time around.
Paradise Animals - "Day Fort"
Electronic trio (sometimes quartet) Paradise Animals didn't release an album in 2013, but they did release two stellar singles, "Tea Guide" and "Day Fort." The band always ends their live shows with "Day Fort," and for good reason. Inspired by a dream front man Mark Andrade had, "Day Fort" is just as wild as dreams often are. Andrade's smooth, deep vocals set a slightly creepy tone for the song, but the tune is likely to be delightfully bewildering, featuring interspersed screeches, several cowbell solos and a backing of pulsing electronics.
Maylee Todd - "Successive Mutations"
Toronto's Maylee Todd may have put out one of funkiest records of 2013, Escapology, but "Successive Mutations" showcases an entirely different side of the hyper-creative artist. Todd is a skillful harp player, and uses the instrument well to set the dreamlike atmosphere that the song inhabits. The dreaminess is blatant; the first line talks about going "away to a new land/Where dreams can guide your hand." Just when it sounds like it can't get any more beautiful, strings and a chorus of voices join Todd's own voice, elevating this to something nearly divine.
AA Wallace - "Temporal Suspension"
Having been known for years and years in the Maritimes as an accomplished producer and remixer, AA Wallace put out his own solo record this year, (disambiguation). It's full of pulsing, disco-esque beats, but the apex of the record is undoubtedly "Temporal Suspension," a song that pairs its delicious beat with a healthy dose of philsophical skepticism. "I don't believe in anything that does not believe in me," Wallace sings repeatedly later on, once you've had your fill of the gorgeous sounds his electronics produce.
We Are The City - "Friends Hurt"
Since their debut, We Are The City have matured tremendously, though their music has always had an emotionally-heavy slant. Violent, their sophomore full-length, draws emotion like few albums can this year — put simply, it's an emotional gut punch. "Friends Hurt" draws an immediate reaction just based on the title alone — as you reach into the song, the simple electronic backing serves to amplify the sadness inherent in the lyrics, much like the minimalism of Basia Bulat's "It Can't Be You" does. It reaches its pinnacle the first time the chorus comes along: "It hurts/When friends are hurting/My friends are hurting."
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com
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