The best songs from Montreal that kept us company throughout 2023

These are the tracks that deserve a spotlight: The hidden treasures of Montreal's music scenes in 2023 that'll keep us moving into the new year.

Sasha Manoli

Sasha Manoli

December 22, 2023- Read time: 6 min
The best songs from Montreal that kept us company throughout 2023Photograph: © Christian Brault - Tourisme Montréal

As we bid adieu to yet another chapter in the strange chronicles of post-global pandemic living (seriously, are all years going to be this peculiar, or is it just us?), we're finding solace in how, amidst the chaos, Montreal is producing music as catchy, romantic, dancy, melancholy, jazzy, soulful, ethereal, poetic, and comedic as ever.

In a quest to encapsulate the essence of a nonspatial continuum that is measured in terms of events—aka the last 12 months—we’ve embarked on a mission to unearth the most underrated gems of the city.

These are the tracks that deserve a spotlight: The hidden treasures of Montreal that made us move and should take you into the New Year.


Le feu by Bibi Club

Friendship and finding yourself. Two topics we love.

Indie pop musical duo Bibi Club's "Le feu" is an ode to camaraderie and non-conformity inspired by formative Girl Scout years spent in the woods. With vocals from friends Camille Delean, Carmel Scurti-Belley, and Helena Deland, we are reminded that chosen family is sacred and that community exists where you make it.

Nasty Remix by Zeina ft. Saint Levant

Blending her inspiration for early 2000s R&B, her Arab culture, and indie pop Zeina’s Nasty Remix featuring trilingual rapper Saint Levant is emblematic of some of the rich cultural pockets in Montreal. The blending of genre, sounds and language is simply part of the city's unique lifestyle.

L'Habitude by Rau_Ze

Spawned by Rose Perron and Félix Paul, Rau_Ze is a soulful jazz, R&B, and pop group that has been leaving an impression on the Quebec music scene. The juxtaposition between the sophistication of jazz, nostalgic beats of 90s hip-hop, and soulful melodies with Montreal youth conjures summers of cigarettes, skateboards and park hangs where all our minds want to live rent-free forever.

Your Life by Patrick Holland

After a disillusioned quarter-life crisis where he traded his solo DJ career for a short stint in the band Tops as their bassist, composer and producer Patrick Holland is making sweet beats again. Released this year, “Your Life” is an opportunity to dance into your own quarter/mid/end of life crisis with its nostalgic early 2000 dance and disco references.

Iraq Forever by Narcy & Sandhill

Narcy is a Montreal hip-hop and activist legend. Of Iraqi descent, Narcy is known for socially conscious lyrics and an innovative sound, reflecting his commitment to exploring and celebrating the diverse cultural landscape of Montreal.

This tune is the perfect track to slip into a playlist to get on board with Arabic music's microtones, notes that lie between notes in the Western chromatic scale.

I DUNNO by Lou Phelps

Did you know Lou Phelps is Kaytranada’s brother? While true and a fact we’m sure he loves being referenced to as he establishes his career, it’s clear that talent runs in the family. As a Hip-hop artist, he pays homage to Montreal's vibrant rap culture with his evolving sound. This track has a warm sexy tone that is perfect for a -5°C walk home in the slush.

Deux yeux au fond d'une pièce noire by Jonathan Personne

Songwriter Jonathan Personne explores the city's artistic and alternative vibe with "Psychedelic Streets." The dreamy guitar riffs and introspective lyrics create a captivating soundscape that will make you believe in the Montreal “we can be young and live forever on dep beer” dream.

The Dust You Kick Up Is Too Fine by Sunset Rubdown

After a long hiatus, the icon yet esoteric Sunset Rubdown returned with a new album this year. This is the first track on the album, and its “I have zero fucks to give, just kidding, I’m very self-conscious” feels like the perfect summation to the year's end.

Spring Cleaning by Yzabo

Yzabo is an artist, singer, songwriter, and producer. Her influences are rooted in Pop, R&B, Jazz, Funk, and Soul. “Spring Cleaning” is a reminder that the new year is coming up and many of us will try to completely transform ourselves into different people for two weeks until we grow tired and realize the old beta version of ourselves was fine.

I Can Make It by CRi

CRi is a fixture in Montreal's electronic music scene. As we watch many protests pop up around the city for various causes, we are reminded of the undying optimism in Montrealers that CRi perfectly captures in their ethereal melodies. We can “make it” y’all.

Butter by Avery Jane

Avery Jane, a soulful singer from Montreal, adds a touch of elegance to this playlist with "Butter." Her smooth vocals and jazzy instrumentation create a laid-back atmosphere.

Inconnue by Radiant Baby

Get wrapped in this catchy French retro-futuristic song. Also, Radiant Baby moonlights as a therapist, according to a friend and from their account, we feel pretty good giving a 5-star review for both music and therapeutic services.

Left The Trenches by Skiifall

When we first heard Skiifall, we thought we’d stumbled on some UK jazz/electronic Hip-Hop because, apparently, we’re not very discerning when it comes to accents.

We were pleased to learn that Skiifall was an artist from the Côte-des-Neiges borough because, like many Canadians, we like a Canadian international success story so that when we meet Americans, we can point out that we, too, have cool artists.

Do I by Sasha Cay

Montreal-based singer-songwriter Sasha Cay enchants with her poetic song "Do I". Enough said.

Hollywood by Alex Nicol

Alex Nicol is a singer-songwriter who has been putting out a bunch of music these last couple of years that's worth a listen every time a release comes out.

Spring Bug by Helena Deland

Helena Deland is a singer-songwriter with ethereal vocals and introspective lyrics. When it’s February, put this song on.

Golden Eyes by Ghostly Kisses

Montreal can be a whimsical place. We tell people it can feel like a never-never land, although inflation and the looming gloom of Bill 31 threaten to destroy the Peter Pan effect of the city.

Regardless, singer-songwriter Margaux Sauvé keeps whatever part of that MTL dream alive for a whole three minutes and forty-five seconds.

Time Waits For No Woman by Hanorah

When it comes to lyrics, we're not always close listeners, so this soulful ballad sounded somewhat romantic until we read the liner notes and realized it was about sexism (duh). So if you’re a female-identifying person frustrated by the inequalities of the world, this jam by Hanorah is especially for you.

New Favorite by Shaina Hayes

Shaina Hayes is the kind of artist we can fully appreciate after spending a good chunk of our 20s hanging around Grumpy’s Bar downtown. Head Bartender/CEO grumpy guy Ram Krishnan’s love of local, country, and folk incepted many, if not all, of its resident drinkers. Shaina’s unique blend of country/folk hit the genre spot.

lookinforu by Emma Beko

This province does some cool genre-bending when it comes to Hip Hop. Emma Beko’s alternative style reminds us of the concentration of cool kids in the East End.

Hot Topic by La Sécurité

If you’re feeling a little angsty because the sun no longer appears and the trees are weeping with wet snow, this track from La Sécurité is great to blast. Our recommendation is to get it to a decibel where your phone's health app pings you with a “loud environment” alert. That’s when you know you're getting those endorphins flowing.

Quiet On The Set by Planet Giza

Deep and jazzy, this song gives some “The Neptunes” vibes (for the kids, that’s early Pharell Williams). This video from Planet Giza reminds us that dancing is hard and beautiful, and for some of us, we will only ever be able to imagine our bodies contorting like that but will never physically be able to achieve it.

Fantôme by Laurence-Anne

As life progresses, you will notice a pattern of being haunted by significant life events, injuries, and what someone said to you at that party once. If you are feeling haunted by the many challenges of living, Canadian pop singer Laurence-Anne has an excellent anthem for you.

Work Things Out by Suray Sertin ft. Jjad

What is a rave in 2023? We feel like they aren’t what they were in the late 90s/early 2000s. Hopefully, Candy Kids and their signature Happy Hardcore are RIPing somewhere in Music Hall of Fame for most obnoxious subgenre of music. Anyway, this track by Suray Sertin and Jjad is the kind of house/chillwave stuff we imagine a more sophisticated generation raving out to.

P.S. We’re one hundred years old.

Maman by pataugeoire & Sophia Bel

We're not great bakers, but this video has inspired us to make canned tuna cakes because (at 2:15) that is within everyone's capabilities. Some soft, some grungy, some weird this tune is the perfect city soundscape from a fab collab of pataugeoire and Sophia Bel.

Quoi-ce tu fais ça pour? by Lisa LeBlanc

During the pandemic, we watched a lot of Lisa’s delightful videos that broke down Acadia vs. French sayings. So thank you for that, Lisa. You helped the time pass. We always love your sense of style.

Lisa, you’re killing it not just in music but you’re real-deal talent.

This is just a love letter to you, Lisa.

Hit that subscribe button, fam.