Laura BarrettYukon ho!, by Veda HilleAn amazing song: her lyrics conjure a whole world, and she creates full-bodied moods from a relatively minimal instrumental setup. I hope that I can approach her talent someday!
J-BruCan We Do It Again, by Timbaland and MagooThat song was the first time I heard an MC speak truth. I mean real truth. Magoo’s whole verse was about how he raps about jets and yachts but has never even been on one, D-O-P-E! That verse changed my outlook on hip-hop...
Graham Ferguson, HellacaustBlackened by MetallicaI bought the album at a flea market, not knowing what to expect, when I was 11 years old. The harmony guitar intro made the hair on my arms and neck stand up...then when it kicks in I heard what to me was the fastest thing ever. Guitar, to me, changed from that point on.
David Trenaman, Construction & DestructionNight Flight, by Led ZeppelinI first heard this song when Mrs. O’Sullivan pulled me aside in the fifth grade and gave me a well-listened-to vinyl copy of Physical Graffiti. I don’t know half of what Robert Plant is saying, but the way he sings it and the way John Bonham drums it never gets old for me.
Myles Deck, Myles Deck and the FuzzAll Murder, All Guts, All Fun, by SamhainThis was Glenn Danzig’s post-Misfits band and they only existed for about four years. As a teenager obsessed with horror and sci-fi, a song about going on a rampage and the apocalypse resonated with me.
Cheryl Hann, PicnicfaceThe River by Bruce SpringsteenI know it’s lame. But dammit! The Boss can spin one hell of a yarn. I’ve never not teared up during that song. So many dead dreams. Damn this blue collar!!
Paul Hammond, 6015 WillowKindling, by ShoulderShoulder was a London, ON, post-hardcore group from ’93-’95 who totally helped shape the way I feel about music and punk. It speaks about the responsibility that comes with writing, especially lyrically in the context of popular music (even punk and hardcore), since those words often get taken to heart by youth.
Jeffrey Parker, 6015 WillowGod Bless Yukon, by SpenglerOne song off of what is one of the best Canadian albums ever...made even better by the fact that it was recorded by a bunch of kids from Halifax.
Kristina Parlee, The MaynardsLet’s Live for the Present by The Continental Co-etsI bought this seven-inch re-issue in the mid-’90s when I was first getting into buying vinyl. It’s an all-girl garage band from the ’60s and I loved the fact that these unassuming-looking ladies were playing rock ’n’ roll. The song is awesome---twangy, surfy guitar, pounding drums and charmingly off-kilter harmonies.
Mike EvinGod Only Knows by The Beach BoysI first heard it as a kid, watching a TV movie about The Beach Boys. This song came on during a scene in which womanizing brother Dennis Wilson is in a contemplative mood in the studio, after his first wife caught him cheating. Discovering the song has stuck with me for 20 years. I still feel like that was actually Dennis Wilson, even though it was only an actor.
Nick Flanagan, The Brutal KnightsCult of Personality, by Living ColorFor guidance on how to deal with Toronto promoter, Dan Burke.
Daniel Woodhead, Spiral BeachWill you punch my lights out if I say The Hokey Pokey?
Lachlan MacDonald, HorsesThousands Are Sailing by The PoguesThe story in this song is full of conflict and hope and despair and desperate poetry, and is just written so beautifully and profoundly. If I could write a song this good I would never write another song again.
Colleen Collins, Construction & Destruction.First We Take Manhattan, by Leonard Cohen, sung by Jennifer Warnes. My dad had this album, and I would play it loudly in the living room when I was about nine or 10. The way it sounded blew me away, and its apocalyptic bent, and the way the lyrics hovered just over my full understanding, and the way Warnes sings, “I'm guided by this birthmark on my skin” (I had a birthmark too!) preoccupied me for a while...
Amy CampbellThat Song About The Midway, by Joni Mitchell. When I heard it I knew I could spend my whole life in the practice of songwriting and never be finished honing my craft.
Mike Dubué, Hilotrons Johnsburg, Illinois, by Tom Waits. When I was 16 and really depressed, I’d listen to that over and over and over and over.
Basia BulatAny song by American folk singer Odetta. I feel like songs change my life every day---maybe I give too much emotionally to what I’m listening to. I’m going to see Odetta the day before I fly out to the Pop Explosion---seeing her might change my life.