The Juno Award for Single of the Year, in its current variation, has been doled out annually since 2003, with the hardware awarded for the best hit song of the previous eligibility season.
With the big show in Regina fast approaching, the Star is previewing each song in this catchiest of categories, featuring one nominated hit single each day this week.
Previously known for her folk-oriented, singer-songwriter type sound — harnessed on albums like 2008’s Is It OK — Toronto’s Serena Ryder leapt into fresh sonic territory last year with her latest album, Harmony. The record’s revved-up, R&B inflected pop flavour was especially evident on lead single “Stompa,” nominated for Single of the Year at the Junos this weekend.
The song features a gnarly, distorted guitar riff on loop, with tinkling piano keys and a crooning Ryder delighting in the therapeutic qualities of music and movement.
After it was released last year, Astral Media’s executive vice president of content and platforms, Rob Farina, hit the nail on the head when he described the song as “a mash-up of the Black Keys and Adele.”
This sounds like a recipe for mass appeal, and as the Star’s Ben Rayner wrote of the song at the time: “It’s quickly found a home at every major Canadian radio format except country and currently sits on the playlist of every commercial station in town. Even 102.1 the Edge, that bastion of hypermasculine ‘modern rock,’ is on board.”
Not bad for the girl from Millbrook.
Release date: Sept. 27, 2012
Writing credits: Serena Ryder and American producer and composer Jerrod Bettis
Charted: No. 8 on the Billboard Canadian Hot 100
Fun fact: Ryder used to be in a band called Hot Butter Charlie and the Oils.
Standout lyric: “When you can’t seem to shake off all the feelings that are breaking little pieces of the music that’s in you, all the pain that you feel, I can prove it’s not real.