Behind the Hoots: February

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Donovan Woods

“West ” – River Tiber, feat. Daniel Caesar (Lyrics by: Tommy Paxton-Beesley and Daniel Caesar)

On the road 
Nowhere to go 
The bluest note 
I speak in code
Own what you hold 
& hold your own 
Till I come home 
If I come home

It’s a known fact that a lot of Canadian artists (especially if you don’t make rock music) struggle to make it here at home (although thanks to Drake that might change). Often, they head down to the States, particularly out west in LA where they desperately try to make the right connections and collaborations that will take them there. River Tiber & Daniel Caesar perfectly capture this depressing state in the opening of “West” with the final lines alluding to the fact that if they make it, they might not come back.

Tiana Feng

“May 21, 2012” – Donovan Woods (Lyrics by Donovan Woods)

Now you know how literal my songs are

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Donovan Woods has the unique ability to turn a phrase in just a way that completely breaks your heart. Nestled in the chorus of “May 21, 2012,” Woods lays down this little walloper— a line that transcends the song to really capture all of Woods’ outputs. In the world of heartbreak, specifics are important and the sting of the line above gets more painful as Woods lists off the specificities in his break-up narrative: the date lies in the title and the site of “world war three” is a street near South Kensington in Toronto. He even asks, almost flippantly, “are there drug dealers in your parks?” Though these facts do not, most likely, replicate the facts of your own heartbreak, the pain that all these details holds is universal.

– Laura Stanley

“Outside the Wind is Blowing” – Elura (Lyrics by Elura)

Outside the wind is blowing
It’s moving so slowly, it’s coming my way
And it’s coming to take me away
It’s coming to blow you away

“Outside the Wind is Blowing” is the kind of haunting dark folk that we’ve come to expect from Elura. The lyrics are not particularly complicated, but they are effectively evocative nonetheless. The “wind” being referred to is clearly metaphorical. It would seem that something unpleasant is about to happen—something dreadful perhaps, such as an event or circumstance that will tear apart two lovers.

The impact of the lyrics is reinforced by the timbre of the lead singer’s voice. He not only sounds forlorn but also resigned to the inevitability of the coming calamity. The wind is a force of nature—it cannot be stopped.

– Mark Anthony Brennan

“Inverlea” – Naviger (Lyrics by Andrea Simms-Karp)

I’m not afraid of sentiment except when I so obviously am

We all experience crippling indecision and doubt so often in our lives, so the first track from Naviger’s Barn Raising comes across as painfully, painfully relatable. Though the song is about “bits and pieces of Ottawa,” the primary problem—the inability to express feelings and the hurt that comes from not knowing why someone has gone—is clearly in the foreground. The highlighted lyric is textbook confusion, and the problem becomes even more aggravating to our narrator with lines like “I’m pulling at your cuffs and I am fucking up your sweater.” Though the song later sounds like things might be looking up, one thing becomes clear; answers to our big questions don’t come easily.

Michael Thomas

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