As we mentioned earlier, the MuchMusic Video Awards took place last night, and though a lot of the biggest names involved—from host Selena Gomez to winners Lady Gaga and Far*East Movement—were imminently familiar to American audiences, this was still, of course, a Canadian program, and not all of the Canucks involved were as internationally known as Justin Bieber. Given that we don't often allow a lot of shine for our friends north of the border, we figured now would be as good a time as any to give you guys—as well of ourselves–a little primer on some of the biggest names in Canadian pop right now, or at least those big enough to take home some of the top honors at last night's festivities.
SHAWN DESMAN - "ELECTRIC / NIGHT LIKE THIS"
Desman is a Jason Derulo-like pop/R&B singer of Portugese descent (via Vaughn, Ontario). His "Electric" / "Night Like This," which won the Video of the Year MMVA, is a fine medley of the singer's two most recent singles off 2010's album Fresh, the former an upbeat jam and the latter more of a mid-tempo shuffle. It's possible that neither would be terribly striking on their own, but sharing the load, they make for a solid combination—even if the video is some pretty weak Fall Out Boy-esque high school fare.
DOWN WITH WEBSTER - "WHOA IS ME"
Easily trumping The Ready Set for the best "woah"/"woe" pun of the 21st century are Pop Video of the Year winners Down With Webster, a six-man rap-rock band from Ontario, signed to Motown Universal, of all places. Judged by any North American set of standards, "Whoa is Me" would still come off as impossibly goofy (chorus: "You say woah / Woah is me / I'm so woah"), but that probably explains why Far*East Movement were such big winners as last night's awards as well. Can't say we're not huge fans of this one, and we're especially confused as to why the band's drummer would be wearing an old-school Kobe Bryant jersey. Your one-time countrymen Jalen Rose and Morris Peterson are very disappointed in you, guys.
CLASSIFIED - "THAT AIN'T CLASSY"
Halifax, Nova Scotia's finest, Classified has been grindin' in the Canadian rap game for a decade-and-a-half, only recently getting any kind of chart recognition for his efforts. Hip-Hop Video of the Year winner "That Ain't Classy" sees Classified boasting of his tactfulness (and punning off his own name a little bit) with solid flow, though bragging about NOT popping 'Crist and macking on chicks does seem somewhat antithetical to the American hip-hop experience. One lyric comes off as particularly timely: "You never see me lose it trying to justify my music / At award shows cause I didn't win I know it." As Kanye would say, I guess we'll never know.
JDIGGZ F/ NEVERENDING WHITE LIGHTS, "THIS TIME"
Taking home Indie Video of the Year—a designation that seems like it means about as much in Canada as it does in this country—was "This Time," a collaboration between Toronto rapper JDiggz and Windsor pop/rock band Nevernding White Lights. It sounds about what you'd expect that Canuck equivalent of a B.o.B. and OneRepublic collaboration to sound like, which is to say, blandly motivational, mildly stirring, and ultimately just kind of mediocre. "I figure that if I'm gonna go in, I might as well own it / It's my time to shine, I'm on my shiznit and I know it," raps JDiggz. This beat out fellow nominees Metric and Tokyo Police Club? Yikes.
What do you guys think? Do they have the right idea up north? Or are we better off with the devil we know?