There were many great songs that came out in 2011, coming in an assortment of various genres and styles. After reviewing an igloo full of Canuck tunes released through the year, we narrowed them down to our five favourites, and only one of them was a hit single. There were dozens of Canadian songs we liked, but these five we found especially exquisite. We present this list to you, not in any spirit of authority but of sharing. And we’d love to continue hearing about your favourites. We’ll begin each entry with a lyric line to give you a chance to guess what the song is.
5. There’s a white flag on the wind
This Montreal man, who has been with us since the beginning of the new millennium, has won half a dozen Juno awards and scored a platinum album. His style of rock leans more toward the bluesy side of the spectrum. He was born in Canada after his South African parents immigrated. He was involved with a couple of bands in the 90s and then recorded a slow-selling independent release which was finally re-released by MapleMusic bringing him into the limelight. He is trilingual, speaking English, French, and Spanish. This year, he released his fourth studio album called Collider and added “Band” to his name. The first single was “I Feel You”. We preferred the second single, released in August. Our fifth favourite Canadian song of the year is “Without a Map” by The Sam Roberts Band.
4. So the storm finally found me and left me in the dark
From her magnificent sophomore album Siberia, which we chose as the Canadian album of the year 2011 (see HERE), this hauntingly beautiful electronic ballad from Toronto’s LIGHTS is our fourth choice. She was the recipient of the JUNO award for new artist of the year in 2009. This is one of only two songs on the album that she composed by herself. With a voice sweeter than a maple dip doughnut from Tim Horton’s, a lyric that rivals the poetry of Leonard Cohen, and musical composition that honour’s Gary Numan’s “Complex”, the world’s first hit electronic ballad, #4 is “Cactus in the Valley” by LIGHTS.
3. We’ve just a wish and an empty vessel
We could describe this song as a power folk-pop tune with some Beatles-style highlights. The most overlooked singer-songwriter in the country, a native of St. Catharines, Ontario, was honoured in recent times by Michael Bublé recording a cover (Latin version) of one of his songs. Ron Sexsmith who won the JUNO for songwriter of the year in 2005 came out with his magnum opus this year, the Bob Rock-produced Long Player Late Bloomer. Though the album was filled with expertly-crafted songs, we’re settling on “Believe It When I See It” as our 3rd favourite of the year.
2. What’s your flavour, what’s your type?
This is the only hit single that made our list. It peaked at #19 on the Canadian singles chart and was the 64th biggest song of the year. It comes to us care of a rising superstar singer born in Ottawa, Ontario whose management and production team consists of the personnel responsible for Céline Dion’s crossover to the English market. Kristina Maria is Lebanese-Canadian and is one of the leaders in making slick and original Canadian dance music. We look forward to her debut album which should be on store shelves next year. Our second favourite Canuck tune of 2011 is Kristina Maria’s “Let’s Play“.
1. Didn’t think about it, just went with it
Our favourite song of the year is a more stripped down acoustic number with a crisp, strong beat. And listening to it is enjoyed best with a pizza of pepperoni, mushrooms, and green olives, a pizza now named after the singer in Canada. It was the third single released from the exquisite Goodbye Lullaby (fourth if you count “Alice”). Besides Avril Lavigne’s captivating voice, what stands out is the expert songwriting on this song. The pop punk princess, a seven-time JUNO winner from Napanee, Ontario co-wrote the song with Max Martin and Shellback. It comes as no surprise that she has sold over 30 million records worldwide. Anyone who can write and deliver such an addictive tune is bound for musical royalty. The song centers around the feeling of missing someone, and one can see Princess Avril’s real tears in its music video, which has thus far garnered 58 million views on YouTube. Our favourite song of 2011 is Avril Lavigne’s “Wish You Were Here“.
Do you have a favourite Canadian song or songs of 2011? Let us know: firstname.lastname@example.org.