11. Hey Ocean! "It's easier to be somebody else" (2008)

Hometown: Vancouver, British Columbia
Notable Songs: 'A Song About California', 'Alleyways', 'Moving On'

Hey Ocean! are a young trio from Vancouver, British Columbia. Fronted by the always adorable Ashleigh Ball and carried by two different guys named David (represent!), the band has an upbeat, pop sound that is well grounded in jazz. Basslines, guitar chords, and drumbeats all borrow generously from jazz traditions, resulting in a pop album that sounds considerably different than all of the other unique pop albums out there.

A big part of this is due to Ashleigh Ball's voice, the predominant voice on the record. Husky and yet seemingly paradoxically filled with joy, it is at once similar and completely different than, say, Amy Winehouse. This is a party album, filled with happiness even when it's sad. It is about love, the joy of life, and adoration of the world around us.

And of course, it seems to hit a chord among, well, everyone. For christmas, I put a few songs by the band on a CD I made for my mom. She put those songs on repeat, and begged me for a copy of this album. Strangely, my sister, who also had a few Hey Ocean! songs on her ipod, asked for more as well. As for me, this has been an album that's played in the background for the better part of nine months.

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