Tag Archives: Ariane Moffatt
(See Part 1 - Songs #20 to #11 - which also includes eligibility rules and our selection process HERE.)
#10. “Gonna Take Some Time” by Len
Gold-selling, JUNO-nominated Toronto band Len released an album in 2012 which was our 6th favourite of the year, It’s Easy If You Try. “It’s My Neighbourhood” was released as the album’s first single. All tracks on the album are jam-packed with sun blasts of pop splendour. We felt that the grooviest of the lot was “Gonna Take Some Time”. Len’s core members are siblings Marc and Sharon Costanzo who are great at combining clever lyrics and rhymes with impressive hooks and unexpected sounds all in a rolled up wheel of spinning summertime fun like a scooter ride through a colourful urban jungle. This song has plunky guitars, a sax solo, and some cool choppy beats.
#9. “Mon Corps” by Ariane Moffatt
Heralding her 2012 album MA, which reached #2 on the weekly Billboard album chart, this mouth-watering electronic rock number, was released at the end of 2011 peaking on the charts this year. It rivals Marianne Faithful’s “Broken English” in style and the greatest hits of Mylène Farmer in substance. Ariane Moffatt is a JUNO-winning, platinum-selling recording artist whose creative genius flows at the rate of water over Niagara Falls. The synthesizer grunts and whirrs glisten over beats as original as the concoctions of Utada Hikaru. “Mon Corps” is both ominous and playful as her vocal delivery is both matter-of-fact and teasing. Brilliant song.
#8. “I Am a Bee” by Lily C.
To prove that mainstream popular music is not all that delighted us this year is this sweet adult contemporary number by emerging artist and Torontonian Lily C. This is delicate “happy pop” in the vein of Jewel, Darrelle London, and Liz Coyles. Off album Reaching for Sunlight, “I Am a Bee” is absolutely beautiful. Verse, chorus, and bridge are all perfect examples of song writing perfection and wing through the 4 minutes in their uniqueness and unity like, well, a bee, butterfly, and bird. Rubbery keyboard blips, driving guitar strums, solid bass, bubbly bells, and free-spirited percussion animate this ode to flight and freedom.
#7. “Riptide” by Marie-Mai
Strange that of all songs on Star Academie finalist, 6-time Félix winner, and Vancouver Olympics performer Marie-Mai’s gold-certified 4th studio album Miroir, we would choose one of the two English tracks, but this song is so good, we couldn’t resist. Marie-Mai has become so popular that two of the four Francophone hits that made the Billboard Hot 100 in 2012 were hers. Fabulous were Félix popular song of the year winner “Sans cri ni haine” (a French language cover of Robyn’s “Call Your Girlfriend”) and album opener “C.O.B.R.A.”. Marie-Mai co-wrote most songs on the album with the likes of Fred St- Gelais and celebrated Canadian songwriter Rob Wells. “Riptide” is the pulsating album closer which caps off a brilliant work.
#6. “Burning” (French Version) by Mia Martina
New Brunswick’s JUNO-nominated Acadian singer Mia Martina sounds stunning in English but her French versions simply floor us. Kaleidoscopic “Burning”, a hot high-society style number with a sensual saxophone, made it to #25 on the Hot 100, was certified gold, and finished as the year’s 64th biggest hit. Enjoying tremendous mileage from her 2010 album Devotion, “Burning” was the third single launched of five. The album contained an English version only, the French version being released as a separate single. “Burning” was the second most successful song from the album, 2010′s “Stereo Love” with Edward Maya being the biggest hit. Straight from Mia’s classy opening vocal, the whole song shines with glory.
#5. “Put Me On” by Diamond Rings
Yes, we do love our independent artists too. And how could you not adore a song that begins with the lyric, “Beneath the sliver of the autumn moon, between the pigeons and the northern loons”? Diamond Rings, the stage name of Toronto’s JUNO-nominated John O’Regan, released his sizzling second studio album Free Dimensional this year. It was our second favourite LP of 2012 bringing back that fabulous new wave 80s synth rock vibe with a modern spin. In “Put Me On”, edgy electric guitars (and even a mid-song solo) combine with cheeky synths and John’s baritone voice to deliver a classy contribution to the magnificent genre created by Kraftwerk and popularized by Gary Numan.
#4. “Body Work” featuring Tegan & Sara
Ah, house music, especially while doing the laundry, never sounded so good. JUNO-nominated Calgarian twins Tegan & Sara co-wrote this killer tune with American EDM master Morgan Page and vocalized the entire track. “Body Work” wrestled its way up to #32 on the weekly Hot 100, while in Morgan’s home country, the charts were not so welcoming. With a beat that could set off an earthquake, shimmering synths that get a sloth jiving, and twin stereo voices that could turn grapefruit into honey, this piece of wizardry attracted mainstream attention to the hitherto underground duo set to release a new album in early 2013.
#3. “Break My Heart” by Victoria Duffield
We named Shut Up and Dance, debut LP from Abbotsford, BC dance pop star Victoria Duffield as album of the year. She topped the Billboard Emerging Artists chart with the album’s title track, a platinum single and 49th biggest of the year. The irresistible “Break My Heart” was the third single released from the album and scaled up the Hot 100 to #35 on the weekly Hot 100. The album is filled with gems, and this dazzling dance tune of flashy Ryan Stewart tweaks, keyboard toots, and unbreakable pop hooks was our favourite. The song is enjoyed best with its suburban neighbourhood dance invasion music video and is so energizing, it’ll have grandpa doing cartwheels.
#2. “Clone” by Metric
Not an uncommon feature in motion pictures, the last time we remember a song about clones was back in the 1980s care of Alice Cooper. JUNO-winning new wave band Metric of Toronto whose members consist of three Js and an E released their fifth album this year, Synthetica, which made it to #2 on the Billboard Albums chart in June and was named by CBC’s Q as the 10th best album of the year. The song deals with the idea of making decisions based on society’s expectations (becoming a clone) or taking the road less taken. In any case, “it’s too late in the day” to change the course one set off on in the past. An extremely catchy song, with a swaggering groove, this one just compels you to keep hitting that replay button.
#1. “Call Me Maybe” by Carly Rae Jepsen
Was there every any doubt? At one point, we were diggin’ “Curisoty” slightly more than the biggest international Canadian hit of the year, but our enjoyment of “Call Me Maybe” was longer lived. Before the endorsement of Justin Bieber on Twitter, before Carly Rae Jepsen was signed by Scooter Braun and company, before the song topped the charts all around the world, before it even entered the Hot 100 at home, we heard this amazing tune when it first came out on Vancouver Radio Station Virgin 953 and instantly fell in love. It was like a tiny, humble seed planted in soil with questionable fertility and did nothing but grow, albeit slowly, until shooting up into a fruit-bearing tree that spread its branches around the globe. This really was the best song released in 2012, fresh-sounding, catchy, expertly produced, and intelligently composed by an exceptionally talented singer songwriter named Carly Rae Jepsen.
It is rare to find an honest year-end “best” album list. There are vested interests and kickbacks involved in those published by both online and print media. Individual people tend to be biased in favour of certain genres of music, musical instruments used, or types of artists (e.g. bands over solo artists) rendering their lists narrow. Blogs tend to discriminate against albums from popular artists because they use these lists to promote the obscure ones rather than simply state a true list of their favourites. In compiling our list, we did not care about the genre or style of music or the relative popularity of the artist. We simply listened to all 700 or so of the Canadian albums that were released in 2012. If the album held our attention throughout, and we found ourselves enjoying song after song, we shortlisted it. At the end of the year, we listened to the shortlisted albums several times and ranked them. Below is a list of the top 15 albums from the list, our 15 favourite Canadian albums of 2012.
What About EPs?
It is difficult to compare an EP to an LP as it contains only 3 to 6 songs. (An EP is considered a work that lasts a maximum length 25 minutes). We are thus not including EPs in this list. We would like to state, however, that of all Canadian EPs released in 2012, our favourite was Carly Rae Jepsen’s Curiosity.
#15. Albatross by Big Wreck
Like any genre of music, heavy metal can be enjoyable provided the front man can actually sing and the musical composition is inspired. Ian Thornley and Big Wreck deliver on both counts in the Canadian-American hybrid band’s first album in 11 years. This album gets your heart pumping, adrenaline flowing, and energizes you enough to clear snow from a football field in Quebec City in the time it takes it to dissolve on a Vancouver street corner. The music is like a diesel-powered snowblower ploughing through the snow and transforms at times into a melodic ice-dancing Zamboni. Albatross peaked at #5 on the Billboard Albums chart, won 2 CASBY awards, and spawned two hit singles, the title track and “Wolves”. Just make sure that when you do your head-bangin’ you’ve got a toque on, eh.
#14. Two by Jesse Labelle
Packed chock-full of the passion and intensity that made Corey Hart and Zappacosta such a joy to listen to a generation ago, the second album from Toronto’s Jesse Labelle is a beautiful tribute to romance—both lyrically and musically—under the expert production of Thomas “Tawgs” Salter. The album opens gently with the gorgeous piano ballad “Won’t Let You Down” and then moves into hit single territory (“Heartbreak Coverup” had a run on the Hot 100). “One Last Night” pokes fun at the supposed end of days from the Mayan calendar. The exciting drum pounding in “Straight Lines” moved us, the captivating wall of sound on “Moment That We Stop” impressed us, feeling the music itself pleading in “Tell the World” inspired us, and the playful swagger of “Something to Feel” charmed us. Jesse lets loose on “Magic Words”, gets theatrical on “Kryptonite”, sweet on “Lifetimes”, and rocks out on album closer “Pause”. Simply put, there is not a weak track on Two.
#13. Red Magic by Beat Market
For those of you wondering whether Canada has more to offer in the realm of instrumental EDM (that’s electronic dance music) than deadmau5, look no further than this brand new duo from Montréal: Louis-Joseph Cliche and Maxime Bellavance who go by the name Beat Market. They released an EP earlier this year before launching their self-produced debut LP, Red Magic. Making ample use of analogue synthesizers, the album showcases a more complex and sophisticated sound than many of the other acts out there. And yes, this album just may make your foot start tapping annoying the sleepoholics in the apartment below you, and when you, yourself, hit the sack with these vibes in your head, dreams of hangin’ at a video game arcade in Tokyo with some bubble tea in hand may just happen. Red Magic is the perfect party album and no doubt one of the strongest releases of the year in any musical genre, a very impressive piece of work.
#12. Tell the World by Kristina Maria
Do tell the world that Kristina Maria is an exceptional singer, so much so in fact that she brought Sony Music Senior Vice President Vito Luprano, a key figure behind Celine Dion’s rise to superstardom, out of retirement. After CRMA nominations, SOCAN awards, a feature on CBC’s The National, and 3 gold hit singles (“Let’s Play” was the 64th biggest song of 2011), she released her debut LP, Tell the World, which has thus far spawned an additional 2 charting singles. This fantastic dance pop album from the Ottawa native is jam-packed with instant classics from the beautiful power ballad “It’s All Games” to the bright lights and fun of “Up and Up” and the ground-shaking, sky-scraping anthem, “We Belong Together”.
#11. Le Treizieme Etage by Louis-Jean Cormier
“And now for something completely different,” our 11th favourite Canadian album of 2012 is the first solo release from Louis-Jean Cormier, front man of Polaris Prize winning indie band from Montréal, Karkwa. Le treizieme etage is melancholy, reflective, introspective, and at times psychedelic, centered on acoustic guitar with some electric jolts and electronic ambiance to make the listener feel as if he is waddling through dust on the dark side of the moon. Of all artists, the album reminds us, believe it or not, of Radiohead, not in sound waveforms but in the mood it elicits. Cormier’s singing style of half-whispered determined calm is a perfect match for the soft strums of the guitar that seem to come at you as if from the no-zone space of the thirteenth floor. This is a stunning piece of work.
#10. Voyageur by Kathleen Edwards
Five JUNO nominations for this Ottawan and counting. Like Ron Sexsmith, singer-songwriter Kathleen Edwards likes to combine musical genres that do not fit into any of the radio formats of the current time. The album is a voyage to a world where folk, country, and rock collide and combine. The result is a sound that has a universal appeal. Although the album did not contribute any hit singles, it is a joy to listen to from the percolating opener “Empty Threat”, to “Change the Sheets”, which she performed on American chat show Late Night with David Letterman, to the concluding haunts of “Middle of the Road”. The album itself, her fourth, made it to #2 on the Billboard Album chart, her highest chart peak to date.
#9. Self by Stef Lang
After an EP earlier this year (Fighting Mirrors) that contained radio hit “Paper Doll”, Stef Lang, who comes from the town that invented nanaimo bars (Ladysmith, BC), reflected on what was to be her next move besides being featured in two tracks off Delerium’s album Music Box Opera. She decided not to opt for a mainstream radio style preferring to craft the kind of music that met with her own taste. The result was Self, her second LP. Talk about a true independent trooper, Stef wrote, played, recorded, engineered and produced the album all by herself. If commercial tunes are like slices of bread, Self is like a gourmet sandwich. She has taken the basic elements and created something even more wholesome and savoury. The album opens with Stef on her signature blood-stained acoustic guitar in “Brick Wall” and the music grows into a graceful current of subtle, melancholy R&B accented with some perky funk and urban rhythms, particularly in such beautiful tracks as “Castle in the Cloud”, “For a Minute There”, and “DNA”.
#8. Travelling Love by Elisapie
Hailing from the remote town of Salluit in northern Quebec, JUNO-award winning, trilingual Elisapie released her sophomore work this year, Travelling Love, a folky pop/rock effort. It opens with a tour de force pulsating electro-pop ice-breaker, “The Beat”, followed by fabulous “The Love You Gave”. The disc includes “It’s All Your Fault”, a tribute to Leonard Cohen of whom Elisapie is a huge admirer. Elisapie delivers a hauntingly gorgeous ballad about her hometown that makes you yearn to fly up there. And if the album closer fails to rouse your spirits, then you ought to get them checked by your local soul doctor. Of its many strengths, one of the biggest reasons why this is such a stunning album is that, on all levels, the music on Travelling Love is unpredictable. You anticipate things will go one way, and they take an unexpected turn to something more exciting, all carried by a sweet voice and a perfectly balanced wall of sound.
#7. MA by Ariane Moffatt
Every album that Ariane Moffatt has released has nabbed the Felix for pop/rock album of the year, moreover one of them won a JUNO award. With several gold and platinum certifications under her belt, she decided to release a bilingual album, MA. Being a fan of Metric, she went for an electronic rock sound on this one with such sweeping electronic landscapes combined with the original beats of the likes of Utada Hikaru. But all in all it showcases the unique, creative genius of Ariane Moffatt. MA shot up to #2 on the Billboard Canadian Albums chart after lead single “Mon Corps” smoked up the charts in Quebec. CBC’s Q Radio named this as one of the 20 best albums in the world of 2012. We heartily agree.
#6. It’s Easy If You Try by Len
Toronto’s Len (siblings Marc and Sharon Costanzo) is best known for its international hit “Steal My Sunshine” back in 1999 and have been called one-hit wonders. Hey, there’s nothing wrong with that; Pink Floyd were one-hit wonders … well, almost (I think “Money” made the Top 40). Len received 3 JUNO nominations, one of them being for Best Alternative Album. In 2012, they released brand new album It’s Easy If You Try. This is an incredibly good pop album that is full of summertime fun; in fact, we think track “Gonna Take Some Time” easily rivals their big hit as an instant classic. This is definitely the kind of album you’d find playing at Austin Powers’ pad in swinging London. With more surprises and pop hooks than imaginable, this album is simply a blast.
#5. Bells & Whistles by Steph MacPherson
Steph is a Canadian whose roots lie in the land of the kiwi. Her style could perhaps be described as an added touch of Loreena McKennitt to Kathleen Edwards. This year she released her debut LP Bells & Whistles under Cordova Bay Records capturing the essence of her beautiful, crisp, clear voice over gorgeous piano and guitar melodies of both rousing joy and soothing reflection. The album commences with the title track that warns us there are such potholes along life’s journey that we could see all the way to China through the asphalt. If you finally make it past that song after hitting the replay button multiple times, you will find little gems along the way to the album concluder, “Open Book”, a breathtaking piano ballad that will leave you mesmerized.
#4. 20/20 by Saga
Progressive rock is still going strong in the Great White North, yet it is really the veterans of the genre who can’t be beat. JUNO-winning, platinum-selling Saga has continued to make records for 35 years! The sophisticated sound of classics “Wind Him Up” and “On the Loose” of yesteryear won devoted followers all the way over in Germany; in fact, 2012′s 20/20, one of the best albums the band has ever recorded, entered the charts at #13 in that country. Saga is the greatest contribution to Canadian culture that Oakville, Ontario has ever made. Ten glorious tracks of brilliant song writing, pulsating keyboards, mid-pitched reverberating electric guitars, base quakes, and theatrical vocals are everything we could ask for.
#3. TRST by Trust
Toronto band Austra’s Maya Postepski met Robert Alfons in 2009, and they experienced musical chemistry. They began writing songs and formed the band Trust the following year. EP Candy Walls was released in 2011 and generated enough excitement to draw the interest of Arts & Crafts Records who released the band’s debut LP in February 2012, a work entitled TRST. Their sound is dark and atmospheric, dreamy and hypnotic, sombre and intense, with sparkles of space dust from some eerie planet on a collision course with Earth. This is gothic electronic rock at its very best with synth grunts, blips, and pulses, and melodies taking on unexpected twists and turns on a joy ride to the edge of the unknown. It is the sort of record you would hear playing at a trendy clothing shop on Robson Street in Vancouver where customers with spiked hair sift through a rack of rayon shirts with metal clasps. Listening to it gives the feeling of entering a castle complete with torches and neon lights, a dungeon containing a flying saucer, and a secret chamber occupied by ghosts and a stargate.
#2. Free Dimensional by Diamond Rings
Diamond Rings is a solo artist from Toronto named John O’Regan. His debut album earned him a JUNO nomination for New Artist of the Year and enabled him to open for Robyn. For his second album, he recruited producer Damian Taylor who has worked with Bjork and The Killers. For those of you who grew up in the early 80s and are pining for some new music that echoes those new wave synths of Blancmange, Simple Minds, and The Spoons, look no further than Free Dimensional. “I’m Just Me” is the first single, the music video showcasing his glittery space cadet wardrobe, square, diamond-themed shades, Bowie haircut, dry ice, green laser beams, and black lights. But his flashy stage persona and signature baritone voice is not all that is to be admired. The music on this album is a big move forward from his last work; in fact, it is so good, we found only one Canadian album released in 2012 that we liked better. Oh, yes, and we’re hoping he’ll do “Put Me On” as a duet with LIGHTS on keytar.
#1. Shut Up and Dance by Victoria Duffield
Abbotsford, British Columbia’s Victoria Duffield, A+ student, actor, professional dancer, singer, and composer has more talent in her 17-year-old frame than most people accumulate in a lifetime. Single “Shut Up and Dance”, 49th biggest song of the year and platinum certified, heralded an album bearing the same name spawning an additional two Top 40 singles (so far) and includes a collaboration with Australian heartthrob Cody Simpson. The album is short: eight tracks with a run time of 28 minutes, most being co-written with hit-maker Ryan Stewart (Carly Rae Jepsen, Suzie McNeil). All tracks on this gem succeed to levels rivalling anything Michael Jackson, Britney Spears, or The Pet Shop Boys have concocted in their respective terms of reign over the airwaves. It has taken a long time for Canadian music to branch out into the dance genre, and this has finally been perfected on such a brilliant work as this. Moreover, big on melody and sophistication, it remains purified from the watering down urban, repetitive, and oversimplified styles that have saturated the market south of the border, coming at them and the rest of the world like a breath of fresh air. We are not surprised at all that Victoria Duffield topped the Billboard Year-End Emerging Canadian Artists Chart.
As 2012 was the year that saw malicious contempt towards the young, we are pleased that our choice happens to counter this. The Canadian Music Blog is proud to declare Victoria Duffield’s Shut Up and Dance as 2012′s Album of the Year.
Sarah McLachlan, while busy recording her new studio album, has announced a symphony orchestra tour around Canada and the United States. The tour includes a VIP package for the best seats and meet and greets, proceeds of which will be donated to her School of Music for children and youth in Vancouver. This special tour will begin in Toronto on June 22. You can get more info at Sarah’s website HERE.
Ariane Moffatt is becoming a bigger name since her new album MA debuted on the Canadian Billboard album chart at No. 2, just behind Adele. She is performing in New York and Paris. Despite its popularity, the MA CD is not being stocked at HMV stores in western Canada. We contacted HMV last week asking them to provide an explanation, and after a couple of assurances that they would respond within 1 or 2 days, they have not. The Canadian Music Blog feels that MA is a strong contender for 2012 Canadian album of the year. Yes, it’s that good!
On March 23, Canada’s new international superstar Carly Rae Jepsen will be a guest on The Ellen Show, a popular chat show in the United States hosted by comedian Ellen DeGeneres. “Call Me Maybe”, the song that catapulted her to superstardom has broken into the Top 30 in the U.S. – at #24 this week (Billboard Hot 100), and it has been sent to radio in the United Kingdom. We’re keeping our fingers crossed that the Brits will love it as much as we do. Meanwhile, at home, single “Curiosity”, title track of her new EP, has been added to the playlists of various radio stations in Canada.
Dragonette is going to be hopping around Northern America this year of the dragon with a tour of selected cities and towns, all beginning in two days in Austin, Texas, USA. Check it out at their website HERE.
Canadian indie singer-songwriter, Josh Reichmann, from the Etobicoke area of Toronto, has come out with a music video for “Burning Books” off After Live released last year. You can watch the video HERE. He is also finishing an album with band mate Sebastien Grainger titled Death From Above 1979.
Finally, Gitar is a trio from Toronto who will be releasing an LP called Seen as Unclean in the spring. The first single is a cover of Neil Young’s “Hippie Dream”. The band incorporates some urban, electro, and rock and roll elements in their unique style. Gitar is Mikhail Galkin, Tai Lee, and drummer Dan Rios. Check out their website HERE.
Absolutely thrilled to announce that acclaimed JUNO winner Ariane Moffatt will be releasing her new album on February 27th. It bears the title MA. All of her previous studio albums have won the Felix Pop-Rock Album of the Year Award. Her talent knows no bounds. Lead single “Mon Corps” received heavy radio airplay in Quebec and now she has a brand new English single called “In Your Body” which you can preview and download on iTunes HERE. A fan of Canadian band Metric, she is going with an electronic flavour on the new album. Tickets to her album launch event in Montreal have been sold out. We strongly encourage you to check out this fabulous Canadian singer-songwriter.
Ariane Moffatt Website
All studio albums released by Quebec’s ingenious Ariane Moffatt have nabbed the Felix for Pop-Rock Album of the Year. She’s even won a JUNO. And, she has a brand new album coming out soon. Lead single “Mon Corps” is receiving heavy airplay on mainstream radio stations in Montreal. It’s a brilliant electronic rock tune, a little reminiscent in style to Marianne Faithful’s “Broken English”. You can listen to the song at her website HERE and download from iTunes HERE. To promote her new album, she’ll be putting on shows in the province’s major cities in February and March.
Born: 1979, Saint-Romuald, QC
Genre: Pop Fusion
• Five songs nominated for the Felix song of the year award
• Felix Song of the year award (“Je veux tout”, 2008)
• Felix Female Artist of the Year Award, 2006
• All albums named Best Pop-Rock album by ADISQ
• 3 Juno Nominations, including a win for Fracophone Album of the Year (Tous les sens, 2009)
Studio Albums and Hit Singles
• Felix Pop-Rock Album of the Year
• Singles: “Fracture du crâne”, “Poussière d’ange”, “Point de mire” (Felix song of the year nomination)
2005: Le cœur dans
• Felix Pop-Rock Album of the Year
• Singles: “Montreal” (Felix song of the year nomination), “Will You Follow Me” (Felix song of the year nomination)
2008: Tous les sens
• Felix Pop-Rock Album of the Year
• Juno Francophone Album of the Year
• Singles: “Je veux tout” (Felix song of the year award), “Réverbère” (Felix song of the year nomination)
• Debuted at #2 on the Canadian Billboard albums chart
• Singles: “Mon Corps” (French), ”In My Body” (English)
Ariane Moffatt has released only three studio albums but all won the Felix for best pop-rock album of the year. And one of them won a Juno award.
Moffatt studied piano and jazz singing at the Cégep Saint-Laurent in Montréal. She entered and won several performance contests before enrolling in pop music and singing at the Université du Québec à Montréal. She hooked up with Marc Déry to further her training and ended up touring with Daniel Belanger as keyboardist and backup singer. He had her perform some of her own songs during his concerts as well. This led to her signing with Audiogram and releasing her debut album Aquanaute in 2002 which went platinum. “Fracture du crâne” and “Poussière d’ange” were popular, and its track “Point de mire” was nominated for song of the year at the Felix gala. Aquanaute was named pop-rock album of the year.
In 2005, Moffatt released Le coeur dans la tête which won her second pop-rock album of the year. As well, she was named Female Artist of the year. “Montreal” and “Will You Follow Me” were nominated for the song of the year award.
Her third album, Tous les sens, came out in 2008. Again, it won the Felix for best pop-rock album and, additionally, the Juno award for Francophone Album of the Year. “Je veux tout” won the Felix for song of the year. “Réverbère” was nominated the following year.
In 2012, Moffatt released MA which debuted at #2 on the Canadian Billboard albums chart. Most of the tracks on the album are English with a few French, Moffatt being fluently bilingual.
Like Nelly Furtado, Moffatt’s style of music is a fusion of different genres: folk, jazz, reggae, electronic, and pop.
Copyright 2011 by the Canadian Music Blog
As mainstream pop and rock was being taken over by contestants of Canadian Idol and Star Academie, artists who signed with record labels directly began to produce music that was on the fringes—either ultra-soft or ultra-hard. This resulted in a polarization of music. On the soft side was David Foster-produced jazz-singing virtuoso Michael Bublé, the biggest new star to arise in the middle of the decade. Folky Ariane Moffatt, Mes Aïeux, and Gregory Charles were other stars on the mellow side of the spectrum. On the hard side were grungy Nickelback copycat bands like Simple Plan, Billy Talent, and Three Days Grace. Heavily-tattooed Canadian Idol contestant, Jacob Hoggard, who finished 3rd in the second season, became the lead singer of grunge outfit Hedley. The only prominent artist, outside of the talent shows, to stand in the comfortable middle was Ontario’s Fefe Dobson.
Across the river from Quebec City, pianist-guitarist, singer-songwriter, Juno and Felix award winner Ariane Moffatt hit the airwaves. Her 2002 debut release, Aquanaute, was certified platinum due in large part to the hits “Pointe de Mire” and “Poussière d’ange”. Five of her singles were to be nominated for the Felix Song of the Year award, “Je veux tout” winning such a prize at the 2008 gala. The album on which the song appeared, Tous les Sans won the Juno for Francophone Album of the Year. Another female voice emerged this year, coming from Toronto’s former suburb of Scarborough. She was a beautiful model of mixed English, French, Aboriginal, and Jamaican ancestry. The singer-songwriter scored her first of three Top 10 hits, “Bye Bye Boyfriend”, her debut , self-titled, album attaining platinum sales. Her name was Fefe Dobson. Andrée Watters, from the northeastern Quebec City borough of Charlesbourg, released her first of three Felix song of the year nominees, “Si exceptionnel”. She won the Felix for best rock album of the year. Sadly, her brother Patrick was killed in a 2007 helicopter crash near Fort McMurray, AB, while combatting a forest fire.
The most significant male artist to debut this year was a multi-talented Vaughan, ON native with Portuguese roots named Shawn Desman. His “Shook” made it to #3 on the charts. His 2005 album Back for More won the Juno for best R&B release. Besides singing, he plays the piano, produces, dances, and does choreography.
From Mississauga, ON, high school band Pezz transformed itself into Billy Talent, signing with Warner Music. Sales of their first (self-titled) heavy metal release under the major label, reached triple platinum status and won the Juno for album of the year. Their song “Try Honesty” was nominated for a song of the year Juno.
Outside the country, the biggest Canadian hits this year were Avril Lavigne’s gorgeous power ballad “I’m with You”, Shania Twain’s soothing “Forever and For Always”, and Nickelback’s grungy “Someday”. Within the country, Celine Dion revamped Cyndi Lauper’s “I Drove All Night” (originally written for Roy Orbison) and topped the charts. Canadian Idol winner Ryan Malcolm’s “Something More” was also a #1 hit. Despite being a French song, “Meme Les Anges” made it to #2 on the charts due to Audrey De Montigny’s high-profile exposure on Canadian Idol. Celine Dion’s “Tout l’or des hommes” was as successful. Nicola Ciccone’s beautiful “J’t'aime tout court” was song of the year in French Canada and Nelly Furtado’s fusion piece “Powerless” in English Canada.
There were three albums released this year that sold half a million copies: Sarah McLachlan’s Afterglow, Nickelback’s The Long Road, and the compilation Star Academie (featuring songs sung by the various contestants of the show).
First and foremost this year was Vancouver’s Michael Bublé. He debuted last year with his self-titled album, and, thanks to the blockbuster film Spider-Man, he scored his first big hit in 2004. Buble was discovered by David Foster while singing at the wedding of Caroline Mulroney, daughter of the former Prime Minister. Initially Foster was reluctant to sign him because he was unsure how the market would react to Michael’s brand of music—traditional pop and big band jazz. With the support of Paul Anka, David eventually agreed. It turned out to be a wise decision because Buble’s albums have sold 35 million copies worldwide.
In Britain, a Canadian artist scored three Top 10 hits. But in his own country, he was not as noticed. The Canadian music industry, in the interests of commercialism, has tagged along with its southern neighbours and become a blacks-and-whites only club, largely closing its doors to recording artists of Asian descent, who represent a much greater population in the country than those with African roots. Because of this racialism, artists of any and every visible minority, in order to flourish, have, rather than creating a style of rock music they can call their own, reverted to adopting African American styles of R&B and rap. This was true of Indian-Albertan Raghav. (He did sneak in some Indian-style rhythms).
Rap-R&B singer Jérôme Philippe scored a Felix-nominated song, “Pour le ghetto”. Kevin Brereton, known as k-os, grew up in Toronto and delivered the beautifully-arranged Juno song of the year, “Crabbuckit”, somewhat of an alternative reggae piece. He has managed two platinum albums and a couple of Top 20 hits.
Several new bands hit the airwaves this year, most of them dabbling in various combinations of grunge, punk, and metal. The most successful of all of them was 8-time Juno nominee, Montreal quintet Simple Plan. Recording since 2002, they enjoyed their first big hit this year, “Perfect” (not to be confused with Hedley’s song of the same name). Oddly, the lead singer Pierre Bouvier has chosen to sing with an American rather than Canadian accent. The band’s second album, Still Not Getting Any, went 4x Platinum, making it the third most successful Canadian album released this year (after Shania Twain’s Greatest Hits and Avriil Lavigne’s Under My Skin).
Drummondville, Quebec’s Les Trois Accords paid homage to Saskatchewan in their Felix-nominated song. After releasing a platinum album, they scored a couple more hits through the decade. Finger Eleven, from Burlington, ON, gave the world the international acoustic guitar hit “One Thing”. Besides Avril Lavigne, the band was the only Canadian act to appear on the U.S. Billboard year-end chart. The Scott Anderson-led group scored an even bigger hit in 2007—the grungy “Paralyzer”.
Toronto’s independent punk label Underground Operations signed Closet Monster and Hostage Life who churned out the hits “We Re-Built This City” and “Sing for the Enemy” respectively. The Trews, originally from Antigonish, NS, enjoyed a Juno-nominated song, “Not Ready to Go”. Winnipeg’s The Waking Eyes had the Top 10 hit, “Watch Your Money”.
Uruguayan-Swiss Quebecer, Carole Facal, after dabbling with snowboarding in B.C., teamed up with Dorianne Fabreg to form the duo DobaCaracol, complete with dreadlocks. Later, as a soloist, Facal, under the stage name, Caracol, scored the hit “Le Mépris”. Montréal’s Marie-Chantal Toupin came out with the power-ballad “Naître” and enjoyed two platinum albums in the decade.
Three bands broke up in the new millennium and members formed a new outfit in St. Catharines called Alexisonfire. A platinum album released this year helped them garner the Juno for New Group of the Year in 2005. At the end of the decade, member Dallas Green announced his departure. He went solo under the name City and Colour.
Big hits this year from previously profiled artists included two top fives from Avril Lavigne: the rock masterpiece “My Happy Ending” and her first Top 5 hit at home: “Don’t Tell Me”. “A prophet knows no honour in her own country?” Although her singles did better elsewhere, her albums sold better at home than abroad. Canadian Idol winner Kalan Porter had the #1 “Awake in a Dream” which became the best-selling single of all time in Canada (8x Platinum). Star Academie’s Marie Elanie Thibert had the second best-selling single of all-time, “Toi L’inoubliable”. Shania Twain’s “Party for Two” fittingly made it to #2. The Felix song of the year was “Les Étoiles filantes” by Les Cowboys Fringants.
One of the biggest international hits of the decade came out this year from a Vernon, BC lad named Daniel Powter. He was bullied as a child for studying the violin (since when is there something wrong with the violin?). He switched to piano but struggled with dyslexia. “Bad Day” was released first in the U.K. where it made it to #2. At home, it was a Top 10 hit. But in 2006 the song not only made it to #1, it was the biggest song of the year in the United States. “Voyager vers toi” was a hit in Quebec for Marc Dupré. Hamilton’s Tomi Swick scored a radio hit called “A Night Like This” which helped him win the Juno for New Artist of the Year in 2006.
Third-place finalist of Canadian Idol, Jacob Hoggard, formed the successful Abbotsford, BC rock band Hedley who enjoyed six Top 10 hits through the decade, two double-platinum albums, and, until now, 15 Juno nominations. From the same city as Les Trois Accords, folk band Kaïn scored subsequent hits “Embarque ma belle” and “Mexico”. Ska band Bedouin Soundclash won the Juno for best new group and “When the Night Feels My Song” was nominated for best song. In 2007, they scored the Top 10 hit “Walls Fall Down”.
Brandon, Manitoba’s country singer Amanda Stott crossed over onto the pop charts with the #1 hit song, “Paper Rain”.
There were not too many hit songs this year from Canadian artists. The only other big hit, besides those mentioned above, was chart-topping “Alive” from Canadian Idol winner Melissa O’Neil who incidentally (and refreshingly) is half Chinese. Star Academie contestant Annie Blanchard won the Felix song of the year award with “Évangéline” and Michael Buble’s “Home” won the equivalent Juno award.
Hit albums this year were Nickelback’s All the Right Reasons (7x Platinum), Michael Bublé’s album of the year Juno winner It’s Time, and Céline Dion’s On ne change pas.
Nickelback’s lead singer Chad Kroeger started his own record label called 604 Records. It signed the Vancouver band Marianas Trench whose song “Say Anything” was a #3 hit. The Adam Gontier-fronted outfit Three Days Grace from Norwood, ON recorded the double-platinum Juno-nominated album One-X but did not manage any big hit singles. Speaking of double-platinum albums, Mes Aïeux achieved one and also won the Felix song of the year for folk hit “Dégénérations”. They have been named Group of the Year three times at the Felix galas. Combining male-female lead vocals, pop group Alfa Rococo enjoyed a few big hits in Québec, including “Les Jours de pluie” this year. Stabilo, a rock band from Maple Ridge, BC, scored the raio hit “Flawed Design”. Montreal’s alternative rock band Mobile won a Juno for New Group of the Year in 2007 thanks to their debut album released this year, Tomorrow Starts Today.
Sherbrooke, Quebec’s Vincent Vallières had been around since 1999 but began scoring some hits, like “Je pars à pied”. Retired hockey player Étienne Drapeau turned to singing and enjoyed the hit “Je l’ai jamais dit à personne”. Montreal’s Gregory Charles, of Trinidadian origin, had a very popular debut album, the triple-platinum I Think of You. Dumas’ “Au gré des saisons” was popular this year.
Exotic Indian-Irish-Italian beauty Cindy Daniel had a very big hit, “Sous une pluie d’étoiles” and Egypt-born Chantal Chamandy had the platinum-selling hit single “Feels Like Love”.
Nelly Furtado scored three Top 10 international hits this year and two more next year with her 5x Platinum album Loose which won the album of the year Juno. Her song “Promiscuous” was named song of the year. Canadian Idol winner Eva Avila topped the charts performing in American R&B style for her song “Meant to Fly”. Nickelback scored three big hits this year.
Coming up are mini-profiles on semi-major artists Billy Talent, Gregory Charles, Fefe Dobson, Marie-Élaine Thibert, Finger Eleven, Shawn Desman, Mes Aïeux, and Marianas Trench. Following that will be features on major artists Michael Bublé, Hedley, Simple Plan, Raghav, and Ariane Moffatt.
Copyright 2011 by the Canadian Music Blog