Sure, you could wait until March 15 for the 2020 Juno Awards to be “officially” presented at some arena in Saskatoon in an endless ceremony hosted by Alessia Cara (who also has the most nominations — wow, what a totally crazy coincidence!). But screw that; we’ve all got better things to do. So I’ve gone through the list of nominees and picked the winners based on a minimum of research, a bunch of vague whims and whatever snarky thought happened to pop into my head. Now we can all put this annual national nightmare behind us and get on with our lives. You’re welcome. Unless you lost, in which case, tough titty. Anyway, enough with the quippy host banter. On to the awards:
AND THE WINNER IS: Avril Lavigne — for the second year in a row! No, seriously; she beat out most of these people in 2019. It made no sense then, either. So a repeat makes just as much sense now. Then again, Alessia Cara is hosting. And Justin Bieber could sneak in the back door (so to speak) if his upcoming album is any good. Well, OK, not good. We know it won’t be good. But kids are stupid and have no taste. So really, you never know.
SINGLE OF THE YEAR
Out Of Love | Alessia Cara
Sweet Little Lies | bülow
La Di Da | Lennon Stella
Hang Ups | Scott Helman
Señorita | Shawn Mendes & Camila Cabello
AND THE WINNER IS: Whichever one sold the most copies or got the most online streams or something — I assume this is one of the many categories decided by sales figures. If I had to guess, I’d go with Shawn Mendes & Camila Cabello, though I am extremely proud to say I don’t think I’ve heard any of these songs and do not intend to.
INTERNATIONAL ALBUM OF THE YEAR
Thank U, Next | Ariana Grande
WHEN WE ALL FALL ASLEEP, WHERE DO WE GO? | Billie Eilish
No.6 Collaborations Project | Ed Sheeran
Free Spirit | Khalid
Hollywood’s Bleeding | Post Malone
AND THE WINNER IS: Whichever artist is willing to visit Saskatoon in March! Or send their brother Finneas!
ALBUM OF THE YEAR
The Pains Of Growing | Alessia Cara
INSCAPE | Alexandra Stréliski
Shine A Light | Bryan Adams
love | Michael Bublé
Bad Habits | NAV
AND THE WINNER IS: Somebody whose first or last name begins with the letter A or B! More specifically, Alessia Cara or Bryan Adams — though it is nice to see Michael Buble getting out of the house again. As for Alexandra Stréliski, I’m sure she’s as bewildered as everybody else by her inclusion.
ARTIST OF THE YEAR
AND THE WINNER IS: Somebody your daughters like, totally, love — though I would love to see the online outrage if they actually gave it to Bry.
GROUP OF THE YEAR
Elijah Woods x Jamie Fine
Walk Off the Earth
AND THE WINNER IS: Walk Off The Earth — if only for the fact that a) They’re the only actual group in this list of duos; b) One of their members died, ensuring them the sympathy vote, c) The absence of Arcade Fire, New Pornographers, Rheostatics, Simple Plan, Mounties, Lowest Of The Low and and about a dozen other, you know, ACTUAL GROUPS who made albums last year basically renders this silly roster moot. Another fun fact: Three of these “groups” were nominated for Breakthrough Group last year, but lost to Washboard Union — who are not nominated here. Because Junos.
BREAKTHROUGH ARTIST OF THE YEAR
AND THE WINNER IS: bbno$ — only because I want to watch some random Canadian TV personality try to pronounce his name. Apparently, it’s Baby No Money. And yeah, of course I had to look that up. What am I, 12?
BREAKTHROUGH GROUP OF THE YEAR
The Blue Stones
AND THE WINNER IS: I’m pretty sure this is a trick category made up of names that the Juno people made up. Either that, or I sincerely do not understand the meaning of the word Breakthrough, since I would not be able to pick any of these acts out of a police lineup. Nor would you, I wager.
SONGWRITER OF THE YEAR
AND THE WINNER IS: Well, you’d like to see it go to Patrick Watson or Hey Rosetta’s Tim Baker, but I think we all know which teen queen in a cheap suit is going to win this.
COUNTRY ALBUM OF THE YEAR
V | Aaron Goodvin
The Fall | Dallas Smith
Black Sheep | Dean Brody
State of Mind | Hunter Brothers
Wild As Me | Meghan Patrick
AND THE WINNER IS: Um, some guy wearing a hat or a woman in a pickup truck? Isn’t that who usually wins?
ADULT ALTERNATIVE ALBUM OF THE YEAR
A Pill for Loneliness | City and Colour
A Blemish in the Great Light | Half Moon Run
acākosīk | iskwē
Thanks for the Dance | Leonard Cohen
Wave | Patrick Watson
AND THE WINNER IS: The only guy on this list who won’t care if he wins — because he’s dead.
ALTERNATIVE ALBUM OF THE YEAR
Destroyer | Black Mountain
Foxwarren | Foxwarren
Here Comes The Cowboy | Mac DeMarco
Pony | Orville Peck
Morbid Stuff | PUP
AND THE WINNER IS: Anybody but the increasingly annoying Mac DeMarco, please. And why is Orville Peck not nominated in the country category? Because that would make too much sense?
POP ALBUM OF THE YEAR
The Pains of Growing | Alessia Cara
Head Above Water | Avril Lavigne
Crystalline | bülow
8:47 | Elijah Woods x Jamie Fine
HERE WE GO! | Walk Off the Earth
AND THE WINNER IS: Alessia, I presume — though I would prefer to see her and Avril locked inside the Octagon to fight to the death for the prize. I think we all know who would walk out victorious in that scenario. And I’m fairly sure Chad and Deryck would back me up.
ROCK ALBUM OF THE YEAR
…but for the sun | Big Wreck
PEOPLESKILLS | Headstones
Order In Decline | Sum 41
Master Volume | The Dirty Nil
A War On Everything | The Glorious Sons
AND THE WINNER IS: Probably not The Dirty Nil, since they rock way too feaking hard for this bunch. People seem to love Big Wreck for some damn reason that’s beyond me, so that’s probably as safe a bet as any.
VOCAL JAZZ ALBUM OF THE YEAR
Nothing Never Happens | Bria Skonberg
Stay Tuned! | Dominique Fils-Aimé Ensoul
MONTRÉAL | Elizabeth Shepherd
Wishes | Jazz Affair
Friday | Monkey House
AND THE WINNER IS: Somebody who won’t be getting their award on-air and is thus unimportant.
JAZZ ALBUM OF THE YEAR: SOLO
MiGRATIONS | Jacques Kuba Seguin
UNSTOPPABLE | Joel Miller
Black Sea Suite | John Stetch
Absolutely Dreaming | Ted Quinlan
The Chronicles of Fezziwig | The Mark Kelso Jazz Project
AND THE WINNER IS: About as important as the award above. Also: Fezziwig? You can’t be serious.
JAZZ ALBUM OF THE YEAR: GROUP
Undertones | Al Muirhead’s Canadian Quintet
Jump Up | Brad Turner Quartet with Guest Seamus Blake
Trouble in Mind | Dave Young Trio
Abundance | Ernesto Cervini’s Turboprop
On Firm Ground / Tierra Firme | Jane Bunnett & Maqueque
AND THE WINNER IS: Making me seriously question once again why we need to award three different jazz albums every year.
INSTRUMENTAL ALBUM OF THE YEAR
INSCAPE | Alexandra Stréliski
The Silent Wish | Bill McBirnie with Bernie Senensky
Calm and Cents | Kevin Hearn
SymphRONica UpfRONt | Ron Davis’ SymphRONica
Toothsayer | Tanya Tagaq
AND THE WINNER IS: I presume this is where Alexandra Stréliski might triumph. And just curious: Why is Tanya Tagaq in this category? Isn’t she technically a vocalist? Are we calling a throat a musical instrument now? Is up down? Are dogs cats? Does nothing make sense in the Junos any more?
FRANCOPHONE ALBUM OF THE YEAR
Après | Fred Pellerin
L’étrange pays | Jean Leloup
La nuit des longs couteaux | Koriass Disques
La nuit est une panthère | Les Louanges
Tout ça pour ça | Loud
AND THE WINNER IS: Somebody who surely must be wondering why there are three different jazz albums of the year but only one award devoted to the other official language of our nation.
CHILDREN’S ALBUM OF THE YEAR
Greatest Hits, Vol. 4 | Big Block Singsong
A Cheerful Little Earful | Diana Panton
It’s GForce | GFORCE
This Is Us | Girl Pow-R
Sharon, Bram & Friends | Sharon & Bram
AND THE WINNER IS: Well, I hosted a bunch of videos for Girl Pow-R last year, so I presume it has to be them. Besides, I’ve heard all the other acts have drug problems and criminal convictions (Note for stupid people: I totally made that up — only two are actual junkies).
CLASSICAL ALBUM OF THE YEAR: SOLO OR CHAMBER
detach | Angela Schwarzkopf
Alone & Unalone | Ensemble Paramirabo
Beethoven: Violin Sonatas Op. 12 | James Ehnes
Elles | Marina Thibeault and Marie-Ève Scarfone
John Zorn: Cat O’Nine Tails, The Dead Man, Memento Mori & Kol Nidre | Quatuor Molinari
AND THE WINNER IS: Any album featuring the music of John Zorn is already a winner in my book.
CLASSICAL ALBUM OF THE YEAR: LARGE ENSEMBLE
The Bound of our Dreams | Canada’s National Arts Centre Orchestra/Orchestre du Centre National Des Arts du Canada, conducted by Alexander Shelly
Beethoven: Complete Piano Concertos | Jan Lisiecki with Academy of St. Martin in the Fields
Sibelius 1 | Orchestre Métropolitain de Montréal, conducted by Yannick Nézet-Séguin
The John Adams Album | Orchestre symphonique de Montréal, conducted by Kent Nagano
Chopin: Concertos Nos. 1 & 2 | Orchestre symphonique de Montréal, conducted by Kent Nagano feat. Charles Richard-Hamelin
AND THE WINNER IS: Well, the largest ensemble name belongs to Canada’s National Arts Centre Orchestra/Orchestre du Centre National Des Arts du Canada, conducted by Alexander Shelly. Ergo, winners! See! Handing out Junos is easy!
CLASSICAL ALBUM OF THE YEAR: VOCAL OR CHORAL
When There Is Peace: An Armistice Oratorio | Chor Leoni Men’s Choir
Schubert: Schwanengesang; Brahms: Vier ernste Gesänge | Gerald Finley
Handel: Dixit Dominus; Bach & Schutz: Motets | Ottawa Bach Choir, conducted by Lisette Canton
Summer Night | Peter Barrett, Martha Guth, Allyson McHardy, Helen Becqué
Schubert: Winterreise | Philippe Sly with Le Chimera Project
AND THE WINNER IS: Again with the three album of the year? I tell you, everybody other category is getting shafted. I say we get out the torches and pitchforks and storm CARAS! Who’s with me?
CLASSICAL COMPOSITION OF THE YEAR
Evta | Ana Sokolović
“Everything Is… Distorted” | Bekah Simms
Under Sea, Above Sky | Jared Miller
The Coming of Sobs | Rose Bolton
Kickin’ It 2.0 | Vincent Ho
AND THE WINNER IS: Someone whose parents will still tell them it’s not too late to go back to law school. Or how about real estate? That’s dependable.
RAP RECORDING OF THE YEAR
88GLAM2 | 88Glam
Tomorrow Could Be The Day Things Change | Classified
Light Path 8 | KILLY
Bad Habits | NAV
Freaky | Tory Lanez
AND THE WINNER IS: Proof that this category needs some new blood — Classified is the only artist who wasn’t up for this prize last year. And he’s, well, Classified.
DANCE RECORDING OF THE YEAR
Love Me | Felix Cartal & Lights
Only When It Rains | Frank Walker x Astrid
I’m Not Alright | Loud Luxury and Bryce Vine
Gravity | RALPH
We Found Love | Sultan + Shepard x Showtek
AND THE WINNER IS: Well, it’s a battle between &, and, +, or x — so Sultan + Shepard x Showtek gotta have the edge. Side note: Dear Ralph — Nobody’s going to vote for you ever with a name like that.
R&B/SOUL RECORDING OF THE YEAR
Black Dove | Amaal
CASE STUDY 01 | Daniel Caesar
Feel It Too | Jessie Reyez, Tory Lanez, & Tainy
The Gumption | Tanika Charles
Chixtape 5 | Tory Lanez
AND THE WINNER IS: The Gumption is the only one of these I heard, which surely means Tanika Charles is doomed. Sorry, T.
REGGAE RECORDING OF THE YEAR
Wah Gwaan | Exco Levi
Jah Children | Jay Douglas
The Warning Track | Lyndon John X
Never Broken | Petraa
Another Man | STORRY
AND THE WINNER IS: I believe that anytime you can award a song titled Wah Gwaan, you must.
INDIGENOUS ARTIST OR GROUP OF THE YEAR
Stories from a Downtown Apartment | Celeigh Cardinal
Yellowstone | Digawolf
nipiy | nêhiyawak
Siqinnaarut | Northern Haze
ataataga | Riit
AND THE WINNER IS: Somebody who should be filing a Human Rights Complaint over the fact that the pop, jazz and classical categories all have separate artist and group awards, but the Indigenous acts are all lumped together in one. When will the racism end, CARAS?
CONTEMPORARY ROOTS ALBUM OF THE YEAR
Coyote | Catherine MacLellan
Easy Keeper | Del Barber
Little Bones | Irish Mythen
Passages | Justin Rutledge
Mohawk | Lee Harvey Osmond
AND THE WINNER IS: Lee Harvey Osmond has my vote. So probably not him, then.
TRADITIONAL ROOTS ALBUM OF THE YEAR
Once A Day | April Verch
By Appointment Or Chance | Miranda Mulholland
Sketches | Natalie MacMaster
Sugar & Joy | The Dead South
Assiniboine & The Red | The Small Glories
AND THE WINNER IS: Coming soon to a folk festival or coffeehouse near you. And possibly making your latte, in the case of the latter.
BLUES ALBUM OF THE YEAR
Pocket Full Of Nothin’ | Big Dave McLean
Mad Love Dawn | Tyler Watson
Hand Me Down Blues | Durham County Poets
That’s Where It’s At | Michael Jerome Browne
The Northern South Vol. 2 | Whitehorse
AND THE WINNER IS: I like Whitehorse, but I dunno if Luke Doucet and Melissa McClelland look bluesy enough for this. Maybe if they wore more hats.
CONTEMPORARY CHRISTIAN/GOSPEL ALBUM OF THE YEAR
The Heart Of Christmas | Brian Doerksen
Pursue | Brooke Nicholls
Wherever I Go | Dan Bremnes
ILL Street Blues | Fresh IE
The Advent Of Christmas | Matt Maher
AND THE WINNER IS: Unimportant — what I want to know is why we give out awards to one religion’s albums and not others. Where are the Islamic, Hindu, Buddhist and Judaic Album of the Year categories? When will the persecution and hatred end, CARAS?
WORLD MUSIC ALBUM OF THE YEAR
BAROKAN | Djely Tapa
Sombras | OKAN
Africa Without Borders | Okavango
Risorgimento | Romina Di Gasbarro
Galactic Gala | Silla and Rise
AND THE WINNER IS: Someone who will still have trouble getting in and out of the U.S. every time they book a gig south of the border.
JACK RICHARDSON PRODUCER OF THE YEAR
AND THE WINNER IS: That guy who comes over to your house and spends way too much time fiddling with the EQ on your stereo.
RECORDING ENGINEER OF THE YEAR
John ‘Beetle’ Bailey
AND THE WINNER IS: Somebody who dreams of being nominated in the category above.
ALBUM ARTWORK OF THE YEAR
Chad Moldenhauer (Art Director), Ian Clarke ( Designer), Warren Clark and Lance Inkwell (Illustrators) | SELECTIONS FROM CUPHEAD – Kristofer Maddigan
Kevin Hearn (Art Director), Antoine Moonen (Designer), Lauchie Reed and Harland Williams (Illustrators) | THE SUPERHERO SUITE – Kevin Hearn and Friends
Kris Knight (Art Director & Designer), Jason Sniderman (Art Director), James Mejia (Designer), Chris Peters (Illustrator), Stefanie Schneider (Photographer) | BLOODCRUSH/BLOODMYTH – Ensign Broderick
Sean Brown and Keavan Yazdani (Art Directors) | CASE STUDY 01 – Daniel Caesar
Terri Fidelak (Art Director, Designer, & Illustrator), Carey Shaw (Photographer) | MALICE, MERCY, GRIEF & WRATH – Belle Plaine
AND THE WINNER IS: Probably someone with an asymmetrical haircut and way cooler clothes than you.
MUSIC VIDEO OF THE YEAR
Bun Dem | Caraz (Sarahmée)
Record Shop | Johnny Jansen (Said the Whale)
Topographe | Jonathan Robert (Corridor)
Back Off | Le GED (Laurence Nerbonne)
Little Star | Sarah Legault (iskwē)
AND THE WINNER IS: Somebody who would probably starve to death without arts grants.
ELECTRONIC ALBUM OF THE YEAR
Battle Lines | Bob Moses
Memory Emotion | Electric Youth
Dawn Chorus | Jacques Greene
A Beat Tape For Your Friends | Keys N Krates
Beyond The Senses | REZZ
AND THE WINNER IS: Bob Moses were on Ellen. Surely that counts for something in this world.
METAL/HARD MUSIC ALBUM OF THE YEAR
Evolution | Kobra And The Lotus
Martyr | Lindsay Schoolcraft
Through A Wall | Single Mothers
Play to Win | Striker
Orphans | The Agonist
AND THE WINNER IS: Lucky that Voivod, KEN mode and Cancer Bats all put out their albums in 2018.
ADULT CONTEMPORARY ALBUM OF THE YEAR
Shine A Light | Bryan Adams
Unplugged Vol. 1 | Lauren Spencer-Smith
Both Sides | Marc Jordan
Melt | Nuela Charles
Empower | Renée Lamoureux
AND THE WINNER IS: If Bryan Adams can’t win this, what can he win?
COMEDY ALBUM OF THE YEAR
General Anxiety Disorder | Adam Christie
Straight White Fail | Jarrett Campbell
The Abyss Stares Back | Monty Scott
Lil Bit of Buddle | Sophie Buddle
I’m Not Well | Steph Tolev
AND THE WINNER IS: Dave Chappelle!