6. Colleen Brown, Dirt
Has there ever been a more perfectly evocative album title? Dirt has Colleen Brown examining relationships from the ground up, with both their trials and tribulations expertly rendered by the Alberta singer-songwriter. Brown’s voice has always been a bit of an acquired taste, but on “Happy Love Song” and “7 Hours & 15 Days” she’s figured out an arrangement that doesn’t make her sound like she’s gasping for air half the time, to the benefit of not only Brown, but to the album in general. Her songs sound fresh and opened-up, and the addition of ghostly synths and brassy horns to Brown's sonic toolbox make Dirt a work that feels like Joni Mitchell’s early oeuvre reinterpreted for the 21st century: not only a meditation on the past, but an affirmation for the future.