As we wrap up a terrific 2017, M and L have put together our respective top twenty year-end lists.  We weren’t really surprised at how little overlap there is between our lists – only seven albums – as some of our musical preferences are radically different.  But on one thing we both agree: Canadian music is absolutely splendid, and we’re sure that even better music is coming in 2018.

~ M’s List

By the time I compiled my favorite 20 albums of 2016, our blog was only a few months old and it seemed a little easier to crank out such a list.  2017 proved to be much more difficult!  As a music fan, it is easy to simply scroll through my list of favorite artists and add check marks to those that put out new material.  As a music blogger, I have to walk a fine line between music fan and music journalist.  It would be ill served to offer up the best albums from my personal favorites (although some will naturally make the list based on the quality of their music).

Backtracking through the last 12 months of releases, there are some here on my final list that not only had I not heard of this time last year, but whose music I may not have even considered.  But after spending a year with these 20 artists and their most recent material, these proved to be the most definitive releases of 2017.  Apologies of course to those who did not make the list – there is simply not enough room here to appease everybody and include them all.

Even as I type up this final draft, there are bound to be tweaks to the ‘scribbled sheet of paper’ sitting next to me right now.  There are bound to be many that I have outright forgotten – lost in a sea of so much choice.  And there are some that simply had to be on this list.  The 20 albums here are listed alphabetically, as given the difficulty in whittling down the list to begin with, having to further sort and rank accordingly would cause way too many headaches.  So without further ado, here are 20 albums from 2017 that stood out for me as being the cream of the crop from the Canadian music scene.

  1. Alvvays – Antisocialites
  2. Quinn Bachand’s Brishen – Blue Verdun
  3. Cameron – Self Titled
  4. Gord Downie – Introduce Yerself
  5. Elliott BROOD – Ghost Gardens
  6. Fast Romantics – American Love
  7. Feist – Pleasure
  8. Gunner and Smith – Byzantium
  9. Kacy & Clayton – The Siren’s Song
  10. Terra Lightfoot – New Mistakes
  11. Lowest Of The Low – Do The Right Now
  12. Matt Mayes – Once Upon A Time In Hell
  13. David Myles – Real Love
  14. Oh Susanna – A Girl In Teen City
  15. Bill & Joel Plaskett – Solidarity
  16. The Sadies – Northern Passages
  17. Stars – There Is No Love In Florescent Lights
  18. Trent Severn – Portage
  19. Leif Vollebekk – Twin Solitude
  20. Wilderness Of Manitoba – Across The Dark

~ L’s List

There isn’t a single album on M’s list with which I disagree (and I’m kicking myself for some omissions in the regional articles, based on his list). But my listening tends to be a bit more eclectic and so I’ve cast my net a bit more widely here.

One of the greatest joys in doing this blog is discovering new artists with whom I was previously unfamiliar.  Like M, I’ve included some artists here who were nowhere on my radar a year ago.  If you readers have explored even a fraction of the music we’ve covered in 2017 and found some new artists for your own playlists, then we’ve done what we’ve set out to do.

Here is my list, without further ado (also organized alphabetically):

  1. Ludovic Alarie – L’appartement
  2. Julie Aubé – Joie de vivre
  3. Beyries – Landing
  4. Quinn Bachand’s Brishen – Blue Verdun
  5. Rose Cousins – Natural Conclusion
  6. Rodney DeCroo – Old Tenement Man
  7. Harpoonist & the Axe Murderer – Apocalipstick
  8. Kacy & Clayton – The Siren’s Song
  9. Karpinka Brothers – Talk Is Cheap
  10. Jan Lisiecki – Chopin: Works for Piano and Orchestra
  11. David Myles – Real Love
  12. Declan O’Donovan – Broken Sky
  13. Oh Susanna – A Girl in Teen City
  14. Over the Moon – Moondancer
  15. Diana Panton – solstice/equinox
  16. Joel/Bill Plaskett – Solidarity
  17. The Sadies – Northern Passages
  18. Leif Vollebekk – Twin Solitude
  19. Wailin Jennys – Fifteen
  20. Winona Wilde – Wasted Time

Picture credit: By Michael Vesia (own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons