Best Folk Album: The King is Dead – The Decemberists
This album is a perfect example of why folk music is starting to become more and more prevalent in popular music. Tracks like ‘This is Why we Fight’ and ‘Down by the Water’ have elements of folk, country, rock and pop blended together to create a complex sound. And yet they make it sound so simple.
Best Collaboration Track: “Paris” – Jay-Z/Kanye West
A great hip/hop/rap offering but two great hip-hop/rap giants: it has quotes from Will Ferrell and Jon Heder; it references fish filets, Gucci and Mary Kate and Ashley. It boasts lines like “That shit cray”, “Ball so hard” and “Doctors say I’m the illest/Cause I’m suffering from realness”. What isn’t there to love?
Best Album by a Toronto Band: USS Approved – Ubiquitous Synergy Seekers
The album is eclectic and unique, fusing all kinds of sounds together in perfect harmony. In 2011 they played in Toronto for Canadian Music Week, at the Mod Club, at The Edge Casby Awards and at The Sound Academy. They’ll be coming back to Toronto for Edgefest in July 2012. Stay tuned.
Best Canadian Representation: Take Care – Drake
Take Care is just another example of Drake’s enormous talent. He wins this category because everything about him is so Canadian. He always mentions his hometown of Toronto, he’s biracial, he’s friends with Justin Bieber and he was on Degrassi – it just doesn’t get more Canadian than that.
Most Overrated Musicians: Adam Levine of Maroon 5 and Pitbull
Adam Levine for having the nerve to compare himself to Jagger. Pitbull for not being able to produce a single hit without the collaborative efforts of another artist.
Worst Summer Song: “Pumped Up Kicks” – Foster the People
It’s a track commenting on teenage gun violence from the point of view of the vengeful shooter. Yet the upbeat, cheerful music with random whistling interludes give it a bubble gum pop-rock sound. They obviously want to create awareness for a serious issue, but when it’s disguised with unicorns and rainbows, no one’s really going to pay attention to the message.
Best Summer Song of the Year: “Young Blood” – The Naked and Famous
It’s a song about youth and hope, a song about possibilities and liberation. The music is uplifting, fun and can put anyone in a good mood. Everything summer should be.
Most Disappointing Albums of the Year: Mylo Xyloto – Coldplay King of Limbs – Radiohead
Coldplay for yet again demonstrating they’ve lost what they once had with Parachutes, and for continuing to lose themselves in the mainstream. Radiohead for producing an album with eight mediocre tracks, after making us wait four years for a follow up to the epic In Rainbows.
Worst Song of the Year: “The Lazy Song” – Bruno Mars
Everything about this song is painful. The background dancers in the video don monkey masks with sunglasses, his lyrics allude to him putting his hands down his pants and he himself is just absurd. I don’t know if I’m more annoyed at him for making this song, or the general public for accepting it.
Best Live Show: Ben Harper, Sound Academy, Toronto Eminem, Lollapalooza, Chicago Bon Iver, Massey Hall, Toronto
Ben Harper for his endless stamina and dedication to playing over three hours of live music non-stop. Eminem for throwing everything he had into his performance to ensure every fan out of thousands was entertained. Bon Iver for having such remarkable musicianship to bring an entire crowd to silence as they watched in awe.
Albums of the Year: Ceremonials – Florence and the Machine Bon Iver, Bon Iver – Bon Iver
They are equally unique and distinctive and stand out above the rest in their own way. The albums as a whole are musical genius. Florence’s voice is powerful and only amplified by the haunting music that accompanies it. Justin Vernon’s vocals for Bon Iver are ethereal and complemented by orchestral instruments and perfectly produced sounds.
Song of the Year: “Someone Like You” – Adele
There is nothing wrong with this song: from production, to lyrics and especially to vocals. It’s flawless. Well done Adele.