On her second Juno Award-winning album an observant Charlotte Cardin offers quiet beats but not enough emotion

99 Nights by Charlotte Cardin
Screenshot 2024 03 27 At 1.42.17 Pm
Screenshot 2024 03 27 At 8.07.57 Pm

Singer-songwriter Cardin performs her hit song Confetti at the Juno Awards last Sunday where she won twice – for Best Album and Best Pop Album


On her second album an observant Cardin offers quiet beats but not enough emotion

Charlotte Cardin brings a certain world weary tone to her sophomore album 99 Nights, a musical diary of a summer two years ago coloured by relationship trouble. However, while far from bouyant, she uses her raspy-edged voice to assure us she’s “in a good state of mind, already cried all I could cry for” in album opener Puppy.

Over the album’s 12 tracks she maintains a quietly driving mid-tempo beat spiked with a couple of dance floor tunes. That musical meter is matched by similarly subdued vocals. But, on several cuts, what may be meant as understated and knowing merely sounds tedious.

She shares occasionally wry, insightful – sometimes funny – observations peppered with the requisite expletives common in today’s stream-friendly playlists:
In Daddy’s A Psycho she’s “out of fucks to give”.
On Somebody First, vying for the upper hand with a maybe-ex-maybe-not-boyfriend, she sings “Made a promise to myself, I won’t let you fuck somebody first” but ends the song with, “Made a promise to myself, I won’t let you fuck nobody but me.” Certainly Cardin’s no Pussy Riot. But then, she’s sharing notes on social mores and not fighting a world power.

What’s Jim Carrey got to do with this?

With 33.7 million streams on Spotify, Cardin’s ubiquitous dance floor hit Confetti threw her into the spotlight last fall. But it’s the tune Jim Carrey that piqued my curiosity. The Canadian-born actor started his career in the 90s as a wacky funny man. A few years ago he turned off the crowd-pleasing persona, started painting canvasses in earnest and sharing interviews that were more political than comic. What was Cardin’s interest?

She told the Globe and Mail in August: “I was going through a bit of hard time during the summer we were writing this album, so my producer suggested I listen to some of [Jim Carrey’s] talks about the ego. I…watched all his interviews and speeches about how our fears and desires to fit the mould are the main things holding us back from achieving our goals and growing into the person we should be.

“I related to it so much that the next day I got into the studio and I was like, ‘Okay, let’s write a song about me marrying Jim Carrey so he can help me get rid of the ego and finally achieve that freedom that I’m looking for.’ ” She gives the song a clear-voiced treatment and it’s one of the most energetic on the album. The humour and change of pace contrast with the emotional restraint that shades a few too many of the tracks.

“Always been loud in a quiet way” Cardin sings in the opening line of Confetti. Indeed she proves she can be candid and frank in a number of these songs. She applies her well-phrased singing to frequently smart lyrics which are more observant than average pop-oriented work. She could use a bit of vocal kick and employ more range to brighten the sound.

She changes things up on the closing track, Next to You, making it one of the record’s best. Personal and emotionally vulnerable, she puts her heart into the piece. It benefits from her sensitive vocal accompanied by a stark piano and orchestral arrangement. From whispered lines to full-throated tones, she navigates both lyrics and emotion with elegance. She offers a glimpse of another side to herself: “I wanna be new…I’m just looking for a better me.” I hope she takes her own advice. She may be on to something.


Montreal-born, Paris-based Cardin won two Juno trophies at last week’s presentations – Best Pop Album and Best Album – bringing her total Juno wins to six. She picked up four prizes in 2022 for her debut album Phoenix.

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30 March 2024


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