– Kyle W. Brown, Editor-In-Chief

In our last Sounds Good of the semester, editor-in-chief Kyle Brown decided to review some of the Canadian albums that have hit the shelves in the past couple of months, offering you some thoughts in terms of Christmas gifts that support hometown artists.

Drake – Take Care

The hype surrounding this album was more than well-deserved. The kid from Toronto silenced any critics who were anticipating a sophomore slump from the young phenom. Instead, he tightened up both his rapping and singing, and continued writing self-aware and at times vulnerable lines that he has become famous for. “Marvin’s Room” is sure to be the ultimate drunk-dial tribute, touching any of those who have picked up the phone to call a past love, meanwhile he speeds it up on “Hell Yah Fuckin’ Right” with an opening verse that discusses what he’s learned in his short life of fame to date. At its heart, Take Care is above all an honest album – whether its heartbreak, fame, lies and sex, Drake speaks all. Perhaps Drake’s approach to the album is best summed up in one line from the title track: “My only wish is I die real.”

Arkells – Michigan Left

Not too far down the shore of Lake Ontario, the Arkells know a thing or two about honest, gritty lyrics themselves. The five-piece from Hamilton finally released their second album last month after fans craved new music from the band since the successful Jackson Square in 2008. The first single off the album, “Whistleblower,” is a tribute to the working class, much like “Oh The Boss Is Coming” off the first album.

That’s not the only shout-out to the boys’ hometown though, as “Where U Goin” is actually set in a McMaster University residence. Their success doesn’t stem from cutesy namedrops of Steeltown, though. It lies in their ability to tell tales that can be felt across our generation, from staying over at girlfriend’s apartments and being picked up by a rich friend in his Audi. “Kiss Cam,” arguably the best track on the album, features soulful frontman Max Kerman belt out about a declining relationship that’s “stuck in the nosebleeds,” while “On Paper” talks about his inability to express his feelings to a girl at a bar who had the same name as his last love. A smoother sound with much more of a honed-in pop feel will make this album one to pick up for sure.

Nickelback – Here and Now

Yeah right. You really think I’d listen to this shit?

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