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Arts in Review

The musical Juno experience — listen in

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I’m pointing out the obvious when I say that the Junos are all about the musical experience.

So I’ve put together an auditory supplement — the Junos aren’t about text on a page, and they aren’t even really about the awards. It’s about the music, and how it connects us to Canada and to each other.

Here’s a little playlist to start you off:

There are tons of bands occupying Regina right now, and I haven’t even come close to listening to them all. You can find a more comprehensive playlist streaming on CBC, but this is what my experience has been so far.

1. k.d. lang — “Hallelujah”

There was a time in my life when I did not fully appreciate k.d. lang. Luckily for me, I grew out of it. She has one of the most beautiful female voices I know. When I saw her on Q last Thursday night, she talked about how she chose to “unzip” herself from the fame-obsessed side of music. Keeping it real.

2. Dragonette — “My Legs”

Dragonette was nominated for Dance Recording of the Year for the second year in a row, although they lost the bling to Anjulie. This tune is the perfect pre-drinking song; damn catchy and an anthem to go out and do something.

I can’t stop my legs, my legs go out late dancin’
I try to wash my face, my lips say “put on make-up”
Can’t stay home ’cause my body’s got itself all dressed up

3. Classified, feat. David Myles — “Inner Ninja”

There is a huge difference between uplifting rap and angry rap, and this is uplifting rap. So uplifting, in fact, that it won these two maritimers a Juno. Who can resist a song that starts with a quote from a ninja movie?

Apparently Classified picked the quote out and sent it to Myles, who deemed it perfect. A rap hit was born.

4. The Matinee — “Young and Lazy”

These BC boys are just all-around solid. It’s the kind of comfortable rock you could hear Tom Cochrane playing — with just enough of a grounding in indie roots rock to make it fresh. Think road trips. Think drinking beer in the summer.

5. Great Lake Swimmers — “See You on the Moon”

This song is my secret pleasure. I’m going to be straight with you: it’s a kids’ song. But it is still extremely applicable to any university student and a large number of adults:

Maybe I’ll be an astronaut and work for NASA.
maybe I’ll see you on the moon.

There’s lots of things that you can be,
when you grow up, just wait and see.

It’s so cheerful. It’s bound to stave off that career anxiety. And let’s face it; some of us are looking at walking across the stage in June. We need some cheerful staving.

6. Great Lake Swimmers — “The Great Exhale”

Here’s the more serious side of GSL, if you’re not entirely on board with the kids’ music. There’s a depth to a lot of the lyrics on this album, with layers of emotion and culture to explore. It makes you feel closer to nature, it makes you feel closer to Canada, and above all it gives the listener a sense of home. Brilliant.

7.  Bahamas — “I Got You Babe”

It’s not the cover song you’re expecting, but something completely new and relaxed. Bahamas is the quintessential summer song experience.

8. Barlow — “Perfect Wave”

Barlow’s been off the map for almost a decade, but he came back better than ever this year with a new EP and is expecting a full album within the year. This song’s an oldie but a goodie, from the first album, sketching out the unlikely romance between a baptist and a model, a straight-edge and a pre-med frat boy. The general theme is try anything you can while you’re alive, because you’re not going to be able to try anything when you’re dead. Another cheery tune for life-anxious graduates.

9. Hannah Georgas — “Somebody”

Georgas is a firecracker on stage, both vulnerable and vicious. Her voice is a lot like Ingrid Michaelson, but she takes a step further. You can tell she’s had her heart broken and is ready to take her revenge in a quiet, musically kickass kind of way.

I just hope that someday,
Somebody’s gonna break your heart.

10. Library Voices — “Generation Handclap”

Despite the fact that this band declined my request for an interview, I still have a soft spot for their infectious tunes and clever lyrics. This song won me over with the line, “You be Coupland / I’ll be Murakami.”

Because I am an English major and I love both of those authors. It’s like an inside joke, except I get it! I get it.

11. Moxy Fruvous — “River Valley”

There was no way we were getting through this playlist without some Moxy Fruvous. As I mentioned in an earlier post, this was Jian Ghomeshi’s satirical and political 90s band. This tune still rings true, even today.

Who will save the river valley? That’s my drinking water
This was once a sacred place, now look at what we’ve got here
Me and Pete went swimming last night, he’s my friend from boy scouts
All the fish were floating upright, we got scared and we got out
Mother says, “Don’t play down where your father does his job
You know he’s got to make a living, or move to Russia.”

12. Michael Buble — “Haven’t Met You Yet”

This is one of the cutest un-love songs I know. He’s charming, he’s cute, he’s hopeful, and that croon could make any girl fall in love with him.

Obviously it worked, because he announced at the Juno Gala tonight that he and his wife are expecting their first kid.

13. Tom Cochrane — “Life is a Highway”

On Q last Thursday, Cochrane said that the song was originally “Love is a Highway,” but changed the key first word after a trip to Africa. That was the point where he started focusing energy on relief efforts, and that landed him the humanitarian Juno this year.

You might be thinking of the quintessential cross-country roadtrip or of the ways we’re all connected from country to country. Either way, you’re right — and it’s a classic.

14. Leonard Cohen — “Hallelujah”

I’m going to tell you something I tell very few people. I used to think that Leonard Cohen and Leonard Nimoy were the same person. I definitely still think they look alike. There you go; my own private Juno-themed conspiracy theory.

But seriously — Leonard Cohen. I couldn’t write a Canadian playlist and not include him.

Speaking of things I couldn’t NOT include, here’s the music video for “Call Me Maybe.” It’s adorable.

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