Songs about Montreal

I love to make lists.

Just for fun, I’ve compiled a list of songs about Montreal, the city where I live and my favorite subject to write about (see this, this and this).

Lots of singers, both local and international, have used the francophone metropolis as a muse over the years. Here are the best ones according to moi.

Locals, en Français: 

Malajube- Montréal, -40c

Sample lyric:

Oh Montréal
T’es tellement froide
Une ours polaire dans l’autobus
J’m’inspire du pire
Pour m’enrichir
Et je t’aime tellement que j’hallucine

(loose translation: Oh Montreal, you are so cold, a polar bear in the bus, I’m inspired by the worst to enrich myself, and I love you so much that I hallucinate)

Arianne moffatt- Montréal

Sample lyric:
Je reviens a Montreal
Le coeur emballe de courage
Je serais rentree a la nage
Si je n’avais pas eu tant de bagages

(loose translation: I’m coming back to Montreal, my heart wrapped in courage, I would’ve swam back home, if I didn’t have so much luggage)

Xavier Caféine- Montréal

Sample lyric:

Cette ville va me rendre fou,
Cette ville va me rendre complètement fou,
Elle va me rendre complètement fou

(loose translation: This city is going to drive me crazy, This city’s going to drive me completely crazy, it’s going to drive me completely crazy)

Loco Locass: Spleen et Montreal

Sample lyric: Poetry that sort of pastiches Baudelaire. Way too complicated to translate. More about depression then it is about the city of Montreal, but it still describes the feeling of urban isolation.

Claude Dubois: J’ai souvenir encore

Sample lyric:

J’ai peu de souvenirs d’une vieille maison
Que l’on dût démolir, rongée par les saisons
Adieu, rue Sanguinet
Adieu, mon coin Vitré
Mais ce soir, je te laisse
Un peu de mes pensées

(loose translation: I have few memories of an old house, that we had to demolish, damaged by the seasons, goodbye Sanguinet street, goodbye my Vitré corner, But tonight I will leave you, a little bit of my thoughts)

Tomas Jensen: Montréal

Sample lyric:
Au milieu du Parc La Fontaine entouré de chiens et de chiennes
Et de leur mère tenus en laisse qui chuchoteraient comme à la messe.
Au milieu des chants des oiseaux, qui sait si ce jour-là il fait beau, ils me siffleraient des chants d’amour. En tout cas c’est ce que j’me dirais car Montréal,
C’est pas la ville rose mais quand même elle s’impose c’est pas dur, de mourir d’amour à Montréal.

(loose translation: In the middle of Lafontaine Park, surrounded by dogs and their masters held in leashes that whisper like at mass, In the middle of the bird’s chirps, who knows if that day the weather is nice, they’d sing me love chants. Anyways, that’s what I’d tell myself because Montreal, it’s not the pink city but it imposes itself, It’s not hard to die of love in Montreal.)

Bernard Adamus: Rue Ontario (song starts at 2:30)

Sample lyric: A bit too vulgar to post (not that I mind personally, but this just isn’t what this site is about). It describes a part of town known for it’s brothels, drug dens and interesting characters.

Les soeurs Mcgarrigle: Complainte pour Sainte-Catherine

Sample lyric:

Moi j’ me promène sous Ste-Catherine

J’ profite de la chaleur du… métro

Je n’ me regarde pas dans les vitrines

Quand il fait trente en dessous… d’ zéro

(loose translation: I walk around under Ste-Catherine, I don’t look at the store windows, When it’s 30 under zero)

Sans Pression/ Treizième étage- Le coeur de Montréal (Kind of kitsch but still catchy!)

Locals, in English: 

Oscar Peterson- Place Saint henri

No lyrics, just pretty music

Rufus Wainwright- Hometown waltz

Sample lyric:

You travel the world and find all the answers
Everything operates on the unattainables
And then you hear your mother laugh attached to the phone
Could have walked around the block ’cause all roads lead to home

Bran Van 3000- Montreal

Sample lyric:

One day God walked on old Mount royal

Just to dream up the human form

Threw stones and cans and comic books in a kettle

And you came out like a shining goddess heavy metal

Local, en Espagnol:

Poirier- Que Viva

International artists:

Tété- Montréal

Tété hails from France/Senegal.

Sample lyric:

L’automne à Montréal
Ou rien
Entre l’orange et le
Carmin.

(loose translation: Fall in Montreal, or nothing, Between the orange and the carmine.

The Devlins- Montreal

The Devlins are originally from Dublin, Ireland.

Sample lyric:

My feet are slippin’ in the snow can’t understand what’s on the radio
I’m just trying to count the cost of all these days spent on my own
I’ll meet you later in a bar
Somewhere on St. Laurent Street

Grand corps malade- À Montréal

Grand Corps Malade is a french slam poet.

Sample lyrics:

Je prétends pas connaître la ville, j’suis qu’un touriste plein d’amitié
Mais j’aime ce lieu, son air, et ses visages du monde entier
J’me suis arrêté pour observer la nuit tomber sur Montréal
Et l’dernier clin d’œil du soleil changer les couleurs du mont royal
Les phares des voitures ont rempli les interminables avenues
J’me suis senti serein, un peu chez moi, un peu perdu

(loose translation: I don’t claim to know the city, I’m just a tourist full of friendship, But I like this place, it’s air and it’s faces from allover the world, I stopped to watch night fall over Montreal, And the last blink of the sun change the colors of Mount Royal, the car lights filled the endless avenues, I felt serene, a bit at home, a bit lost)

Irving Berlin- Hello montreal

Irving Berlin is a Russian-American music composer famous for writing God Bless America and White Christmas.

Merton (the chatroulette piano improv guy famous for this video)- The Montreal Song

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2 thoughts on “Songs about Montreal

  1. Tracy Carter

    Trying to find a song heard during summer 1967 when I lived there.
    The 1st 2 lines
    “The site of a most unusual city was picked, way back when the new world first began”
    My dad and I lived this song sang it frequently and would love to re connect to it.
    Hope you can help

    Reply

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