Canadian rock massacre

When they're not busy complaining about Jim Carrey's big Oscar snub, Canadians are prone to wonder why their music is not more successful in other countries. Well, we watched the Juno Awards a couple of weeks ago, so we're here to tell you what you already know . . . it's because Canadian music sucks!

The triumphant climax of Canadian Music Week, the Junos—as opposed to the "No Jews," which are Germany's music awards—were front-page news all over Canada, which shows how little really goes on up here. Tragically, the Tragically Hip were not part of this year's festivities, but at least we got a big opening production number from the Barenaked Ladies, complete with scantily clad dancing girls and the RCMP. Barenaked Ladies, strippers, and mounties—there's Canada for you in a nutshell!

The show was hosted by the Moffats, who appear to be some kind of Canadian Hanson, except with an older brother, not to mention the fact that three of them are triplets. Judging from their (surprisingly well-written) cue-card monologue, Canadians aren't really that different from the rest of us—they like to make fun of Loverboy too! Later in the show, the Moffats will perform, and they turn out to be Teen Grunge Lite, as if their three favorite songs growing up were "Runaway Train," "Glycerine," and that Live tune from "Unplugged." You know the one: Slow, slow, faster, faster, loud, slow slow, faster, loud. Alternative rock killed music, and not just in Canada.

The night's first big winner is Providence theme-songer Chantal Krezaviuk, who snags "Best Pop Adult" artist. Her record is platinum in Canada, which means that she sold like, four copies, not counting sales in the Northwest Territories. According to front-page news reports, Chantal is married to the weird guy from Our Lady Peace, Maida Vale. They are Canada's hip rock couple, like a really dull Kurt and Courtney. Judging from their eyebrows, they appear to have the same esthetician. Have we mentioned that Chantal's music is the worst sorta Nyro-wannabe inoffensive chick piano rock?

If you are an astute observer of Canuck rock, you are probably wondering if Bryan Adams was part of this year's Juno mix, and he is indeed up for Best Male Artist, along with rising young talents Choclair (hip-hop), Edwin (formerly of I Mother Earth), and Paul Brandt (country, with the Southern accent—not native to Ontario as far as we know—to prove it). Also nominated is the very jowly Tom Cochrane, who has been neither young nor rising for many years. For some unknown reason, Bryan Adams wins. As always, the establishment goes with the dinosaur. Damn those unimaginative Canadian music industry power brokers. Damn Gord Davis! Damn Gord Geffen and Gord Yetnikoff!

But Bryan looks like a cross between Bob Dylan and Kurt Cobain compared to Amanda Marshall, Canada's very own Joan Osborne. This hopelessly awful blooz belter is everything that's wrong with Canadian rock. Frizzy-haired and high-heeled, Amanda looks like the Bride of Wildenstein, sings like a fifth-rate Star Search contestant, and dances like Celine Dion. Yes, you heard correctly. We said 'dances like Celine Dion.' Skin-crawling! Vonda Shepherd laughs at this woman. We particularly felt bad for the poor gospel choir that was forced to accompany this din: "Jesus, I've been good. I sing your praises every day, so why, God, why, are you making me do this? Was it because we joined Blur onstage in Toronto? I'm sorry, Jesus!"

Thankfully, Best Female Artist goes to Chantal, who's hot in a Canadian Courteney Cox kinda way. We thought she really sucked, but that was before we heard Amanda Marshall. Besides, Chantal's just a humble girl from Winnipeg (though at the Junos, who isn't?). Further proof that Canadians are the politest people on the planet: Chantal thanks her product manager. Real rock stars don't even know the names of their product managers! So go forth Chantal! CARAS has deemed you worthy of representing your country in the lower 48. Do it for Canada!

The show comes to a close with the really big guns—here's Alanis Morrisette (hey Alanis, why the long face?), who wins record of the year (wasn't that last year?) and also gets the job of inducting Sarah McLachlan into the Juno Hall of Fame. We are reminded that the Dowager Queen of Northern Song has accomplished much in this world, most notably pioneering Lilith Fair, a safe place for female artists to congregate with their male backing musicians, road crews, drivers, and chefs. Has anyone else noticed that Sarah's getting a tad frumpy of late? Still, she seems nice.

And ultimately, that's the problem up here. First hand experience has taught us the following equation: Good band = raging pricks. Bad band = "yeah, but they are really nice guys." Canadian music never had a chance.

 
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