Madison Picks the JUNOS (2019)

Arts Coverage, JUNO Awards, Music

I am on-location in London, Ontario and the 2019 JUNO weekend is well underway.

While the televised broadcast isn’t until tomorrow evening, the first batch of awards will be handed out at tonight’s Gala Dinner & Awards. While we wait for the official results, I thought I’d share my picks for each prize.

Two notes before we begin:

  1. These are subjective personal preferences, not predictions
  2. I’ve only opined on categories in which I’ve listened to each nominated album, and only if I have a relatively strong opinion on the nominees. So if you’re wondering why a category’s been excluded, that’s why.

Without further ado, the JUNOs should go to:


Album of the Year 

Nominees:

  • Darlène – Hubert Lenoir
  • These Are the Days – Jann Arden
  • Shawn Mendes – Shawn Mendes
  • My Dear Melancholy – The Weeknd
  • Outsider – Three Days Grace

My Pick: Hubert Lenoir’s Bowie-ish Francophone glam-rock odyssey is a delightfully catchy breath of fresh air.


Country Album of the Year

Nominees:

  • We Were That Song – Brett Kissel
  • A Small Town Christmas – Jess Moskaluke
  • Country Music Made Me Do It – Meghan Patrick
  • Feels Like That – The Reklaws
  • New Tattoo – Tim Hicks

My Pick: I’m torn between Brett Kissel’s We Were That Song and Tim Hicks’ rock-infused New Tattoo.


Alternative Album of the Year

Nominees:

  • ken – Destroyer
  • Baby Teeth – Dizzy
  • Dose Your Dreams – F*cked Up
  • TPC – Tokyo Police Club
  • In a Poem Unlimited – U.S. Girls

My pick: I liked pretty much every album on this list, particularly Dizzy’s suburban angst and Destroyer’s vintage synth arrangements, but TPC was the album that stuck with me.


Pop Album of the Year

Nominees:

  • Damaged – Bulow
  • Head Over Heels – Chromeo
  • Darlene – Hubert Lenoir
  • Shawn Mendes – Shawn Mendes
  • Intuition – Tyler Shaw

My Pick: Since I’m rooting hard for Hubert Lenoir to win Album of the Year, I’d like the JUNOs to show some love for Shawn Mendes or Bulow for this one. On tracks like “This is Not a Love Song” and “You and Jennifer,” Bulow’s Damaged combines the chilly atmospherics of Lorde’s first album with Jessie Reyez’s foul-mouthed frankness. And my perennial fave Shawn Mendes put out another strong album of pop with hints of arena rock gravitas. 


Rock Album of the Year

Nominees:

  • Rally Cry – Arkells
  • True Rockers – Monster Truck
  • Changing Colours – The Sheepdogs
  • Civilianaires – The Trews
  • Outsider – Three Days Grace

My pick: This category is so strong, I’m glad I don’t have to actually vote on it. Right now, I’m leaning towards Arkells’s powerful Rally Cry, which was one of my favourite albums of 2018. But I also adore the throwback classic rock of The Sheepdogs and Monster Truck (who get bonus points for featuring Dee Snider on a song), and I had “Jericho” from The Trews’s latest on replay for a while. Three Days Grace’s Outsider is also a solid collection of their trademark angsty alt-metal. You know what? I salute them all just for daring to rock.


R&B/Soul Recording of the Year

Nominees:

  • Twos – Anders
  • Pain & Pleasure – Black Atlass
  • Stone Woman – Charlotte Day Wilson
  • Being Human in Public – Jessie Reyez
  • My Dear Melancholy, – The Weeknd

My pick: While I enjoyed The Weeknd’s moody record, I thought that Jessie Reyez’s Being Human in Public was superior, showcasing Reyez’s trademark mix of tough confidence and poignant vulnerability.


Indigenous Music Album of the Year

Nominees:

  • The Ballad of the Runaway Girl – Elisapie
  • Wolastoqiyik Lintuwakonawa – Jeremy Dutcher
  • Standing in the Light – Leonard Sumner
  • Nitisanak – Brothers and Sister – Northern Cree
  • The Average Savage – Snotty Nose Rez Kids

My Pick: The Average Savage by Snotty Nose Rez Kids is a potent and scathing hip-hop album.


Metal/Hard Music Album of the Year

Nominees:

  • Algorythm – Beyond Creation
  • The Spark That Moves – Cancer Bats
  • Loved – KEN Mode
  • Prevail II – Kobra and the Lotus
  • The Wake – Voivod

My pick: Although I am quite fond of Voivod’s paranoid thrash and Beyond Creation’s sprawling prog rock-tinged death metal, Kobra and the Lotus’s Prevail II was my favourite record in this category.


Agree? Disagree? Let me know in the comments!


The JUNO Awards will air on Sunday, March 17th on CBC. In addition to Sunday’s broadcast, more awards will be handed out at the March 16th Gala Dinner and Awards, which can be live-streamed here.

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