The 10 Best Canadian Songs of the Month: March 2021

This month’s roundup of Canadian releases is all about the fresh sounds bringing us into a new season. Here are the best homegrown bangers of March.

Complex Original

Image via Complex Original


The snow’s gone, our parkas are back in storage and ‘warming up the car’ isn’t a thing anymore. Just by looking around, it’s easy to peg when winter melts into spring, but there are sonic signs too. It’s almost as if there’s a binary between what a winter track and a spring release are. Case in point? “Peaches,” Justin Bieber’s breezy new offering featuring Daniel Caesar and Giveon, embodies the quintessential spring sound with smooth production and soulful chord progressions. On Liza’s “Done Is Done,” the angelic, choral-sounding backup vocals from Nevon Sinclair are the R&B equivalent to a calming sound bath. This month’s roundup of Canadian releases is all about the fresh sounds bringing us into a new season.

Chiiild, "Sleepwalking"

Fresh off of a collab with Emotional Oranges, Montreal-based multi-hyphenate Chiiild is back with a pensive single to kick off the rollout for his upcoming album, due out this year. The track is perfectly balanced with deep, somewhat dark lyrics and a high-tempo beat that’s easy to dance to. On the chorus, there’s a recurring guitar riff that sounds almost country-esque, bringing the genre-fusing artist to new frontiers. —Sumiko Wilson

Drake f/ Rick Ross, "Lemon Pepper Feestyle"

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On the three-pack that Drake dropped at the top of the month, “Lemon Pepper Freestyle” was the most savoury for both Drake stans and hip-hop purists alike. The track joins the ranks of yet another iconic Maybach Music-OVO crossover, laden with lifestyle bars and a masterfully-sourced soulful sample. It sticks to the same formula as past collabs between Drake and Rick Ross, which isn’t surprising since they’re each well-known for knowing what works and sticking to it. But it’s not void of any maturation. Nestled between bars about ex-fiancees and sailing in Croatia, Drake takes us inside his new reality as a dad: “Teacher-parent meetings, wives get googly-eyed/Regardless of what they husbands do to provide/Askin’ if I know Beyoncé and Nicki Minaj.” —Sumiko Wilson

Mustafa, "Ali"

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Delicate and folk-inspired, “Ali’’ soothes you through Mustafa’s melodious vocals. His poetic vision is as clear as ever as he pays tribute to a close friend. Both haunting and mending, “Ali” may just be the Toronto poet and songwriter’s most touching tune yet. His debut album, When Smoke Rises, is out May 28 via his own label Regent Park Songs. —Sydney Brasil

Rochelle Jordan, "All Along"

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Rochelle Jordan is by no means new (her debut dates back to 2011) but with “All Along” she’s heading in another direction. Early RoJo was strong, but felt like an attempt to adhere to the Aaliyah-esque R&B landscape (see “Follow Me”). But on her upcoming project Play With the Changes, due out in April, she does just that. This project opts for a more electronic sound to score her signature smooth vocals. And with producers KLSH and Machinedrum behind the boards, it’s a perfect match. —Sumiko Wilson

Haviah Mighty and TOBi, "Good On My Own Tonight"

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On “Good On My Own Tonight”, Haviah Mighty and TOBi—two of Toronto’s most promising voices in hip-hop—link up to trade bars over a beat co-produced by Haviah herself. The beat was made with Haviah’s regular collaborator Mighty Prynce, who has mastered the art of making beats sophisticated enough to sound exciting but understated enough to avoid outshining her bars. —Sumiko Wilson

Justin Beiber f/ Daniel Caesar and Giveon, "Peaches"

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“Peaches” embodies the R&B sound that Justin Bieber thought he was tapping into on his last album, Changes. When Bieber premiered the track during his Tiny Desk concert, it was stripped down enough to lean into the beauty of the track’s chord progressions—the single’s most resonant trait. Production also highlights the contrasting vocal tones of Bieber and his two features, fellow Canadian Daniel Caesar and R&B heavyweight Giveon. Bieber’s pop twang is balanced by Caesar’s smooth vocals and Giveon’s silky baritone. Each of their verses are intercut with a state-hopping call-and-response style chorus that we’ll probably be singing until next spring. —Sumiko Wilson

Manila Grey f/ James Reid, "Backhouse Ballin’"

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It’s been a big March for Filipino-Canadian R&B duo Manila Grey. When they dropped “Backhouse Ballin’,” they also let fans know their album No Saints on Knight Street would be dropping at the end of the month. Since then, they grabbed a Juno nod for Breakthrough Group of the Year and their single has gone on to top the charts in Manila, seeing their journey as one of the fastest-rising voices of Canada’s Filipino diaspora come full circle. Paired with the calming vocals of James Reid, “Backhouse Ballin’” feels like chilling on a couch as the party’s ending. —Sydney Brasil

Liza, "Done Is Done"

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Liza is one of Toronto’s hidden R&B gems. In her first release since dropping “Rolla” at the top of the year, she eulogizes a past lover on “Done Is Done.” The track plays like a requiem for lost romance, tapping into the finite nature of relationships with lyrics like “Dead roses don’t come back to life” and “Dug a grave for our love/Shouldn’t you do the same?” To tie together the concept of lost time, producers Akeel Henry and Kofo featured percussion that sounds like a ticking clock or metronome. Clever! —Sumiko Wilson

Ali Gatie f/ Ty Dolla $ign and Marshmello, "Do You Believe"

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Fresh off the release of his EP The Idea of Her last week, Ali Gatie is continuing on his path of releasing powerhouse singles. His signature melancholia hangs around even with Marshmello’s presence, and with the addition of Ty Dolla $ign’s verse, “Do You Believe” is a bona fide hit waiting to happen. —Sydney Brasil

Marie-Clo, "Lève tes voiles"

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On “Leve tes voiles,” genre-bending artist Marie-Clo leans more R&B. The track is part of the Ottawa singer-songwriter’s new three-pack Shell(e) Pt III. The EP culminates the Shell(e) trilogy: three three-song mini-projects woven together with lyrics that break down the complicated essence of femininity. —Sumiko Wilson

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