Holding court this year in Hamilton, Ontario, the 2015 Juno Awards feature a slew of nominees ranging from those that feel obligatory to those that make you want to shout, “Yes! You got it right!”. After a disappointing night at the Grammys where few wins seemed like more than safe choices/Taylor Swift aversion for its own sake, we’re hoping that the Junos rise above and do our country proud.
While music industry awards don’t mean much to many artists, given their reliance on the ludicrous sales=quality measure (see: Fifty Shades of
Domestic Violence Grey), it is nice to see talented artists get their due. Let’s see how the big categories have shaped up, and who’s likely to take home the hardware in March.
Single of the Year
Who will win: Drake. Yawn.
Who should win: While Drake has made a huge name for himself in Canada and beyond, I’ve never been wowed by his music. It’s always felt average to slightly above at best: fun enough to throw my hands up to, but nothing I listen to deliberately. In a category crowded with tracks that seem chosen here for the mainstream youth appeal more so than genuine songcraft, I’m going to cheerlead for Sam Roberts Band. I’d be cool with Magic! taking this one, though.
Album of the Year
Who will win: Leonard Cohen… unless the voters have lost their minds.
Who should win: Leonard Cohen. I shouldn’t even have to explain why. Choosing Nickelcrap or Hedley over this man would be the first sign of the apocalypse. I will literally teleport to Hamilton, birth a carnivorous cow onto the stage and let it eat the voters who chose otherwise, should he lose to them.
Artist Of The Year
Who will win: The Weeknd, methinks. I could see deadmau5 as a viable alternative, or possibly Sarah McLachlan as a perennial darling. That said, even Sarah would probably vote for Cohen.
Who should win: Tough call. Again, Cohen should take this because who knows if the man will make more music for our ears? I’d be down with The Weeknd or mau5 taking this one if Cohen claims the other trophy.
Group of the Year
Who will win: As inexplicably as the voters choose the likes of Nickelback for this award, I think the power of Dallas Green in You+Me and the high note year of Arkells will result in either snagging this one.
Who should win: I’m with Arkells. You+Me is a cheat of an entry and while Mother Mother are also enjoying steady mainstream accolades, Arkells have blown up this year courtesy of their stellar album, High Noon.
Breakthrough Artist of the Year
Who will win: Kiesza.
Who should win: I’m going with Mac DeMarco because he has more long-term potential in my books.
Breakthrough Group of the Year
Who will win: Despite Magic! having broader success, even within these nods, I’m betting the salivating of critics will give this to Alvvays.
Who should win: July Talk. Oh, this isn’t 2014, when they should have won. Sigh. Still bitter. USS really should take this one, in my opinion. Their output is more solid and I feel like they really did breakthrough at last in 2014.
Alternative Album of the Year
Who will win: Alvvays will probably take it via media darling factor, although July Talk‘s live show buzz (and Leah Fay‘s starring role in Diamond Tongues) may make them more prominent in voter minds. Then again, Tanya Tagaq is also in the spotlight, and rightfully so. Y’know, this one’s anyone’s game.
Who should win: July Talk. This is a band that has the passion and cleverness to pay astute attention to not only their music, but their live show and music video aesthetic. They’re bringing back straight-up rock and delivering it with gender equality. While they may not fit the genre boxes the industry loves to force artists into, their sound is distinctly theirs and appeals broadly. I wish that they could share with Tanya Tagaq in a tie, though.
Pop Album of the Year
Who will win: I think this year belongs to Lights, considering I didn’t even know Lavigne dropped a disc and Magic! is good, but really riding on that one-single high.
Who should win: Lights deserves the hardware.
Rock Album of the Year
Who will win: Staging this event in Hamilton suggests the smart money is on Arkells. Sam Roberts is a viable alternative.
Who should win: High Noon was a stellar outing, fusing everything wonderful about the 80s with sociopolitical commentary and rocking good times. Roberts has done better, in my opinion. Refer to my aforementioned cow birthing warning, should this go any way besides Arkells.
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