Welcome to a special all-Canadian Weekly Fiver, where I’ve picked five recently released Canadian songs of varying degrees of quality and thoroughly break them down for you.
Excellent Song of the Week
Frontman Nils Edenloff is probably sick to death of hearing the Billy Corgan comparisons, but man this band is literally if Smashing Pumpkins went folk- and that’s very much a good thing. Ever since they appeared on the radar back in 2010 they’ve been a reliable source of well-structured, dynamic tunes. They’re also positively furious on stage, which bodes well for when they play “Bad Luck Again” in the future. The song bristles with energy, getting louder and louder exponentially as it travels toward its tumultuous end.
Pretty Decent Song of the Week
AC Newman is probably one of the country’s most underrated songwriters. The guy is incapable of writing a bad melody; it’s like he thinks in hooks. The galloping “Avalanche Alley” could have used a little oomph in the last third, but it still provides a satisfactory amount of thrills. The punk call-and-response outro is a nice capstone that ends things on a triumphant note.
Meh Song of the Week
The Elwins are the first of their kin to actually incorporate a modern twist to their sound. While the rest of their jangly indie peers have either stuck with their whimsical guitar and drum sound or vanished completely, The Elwins have evolved. Modern drum production and warped vocal hooks finally bring the “Tokyo Police Club” club into the 2010s. There’s not much of a chorus, with the lyrics consisting of “Dream girl don’t be shy/ dream girl don’t be shyyyyyyyyy…….”, but hopefully more Toronto bands take a cue and update their sonic pallet.
Below Average Song of the Week
The title track from Matt Good’s latest record starts off fairly promising, like a spiritual successor to his first solo single- the devastatingly powerful “Weapon”- from 2002.
Then it literally loses the plot. The strings become a crutch, and end up as a syrupy addition rather than a complementary touch. Good doesn’t bother to develop anything other than a few verses, and the sudden drum fills turn out to be red herrings. There’s no big climactic chorus. There’s no chorus at all. There’s not even a proper ending! The last third is entirely instrumental, which would be acceptable if it actually did anything that the first two-thirds of the song didn’t. But it’s just more of the same, and it sounds like he just forgot to record the last two verses.
Disappointing Song of the Week
If we’re going to go all Canadian, might as well use all Canadian points of reference as well. “Fluorescent Light” fuses Arcade Fire style lyrics about modern anxiety with Carly Rae Jepsen‘s effervescent pop, but holds the soul of neither. Instead it lands firmly in a big puddle of Velveeta cheese and waits eagerly to be found by Degrassi‘s music director as a cheap alternative to either of the aforementioned artists. Yes indeed this will definitely be the soundtrack to a wholesome teenage night on the town before one of those teens accidentally does all the drugs.