2013 was a year of blurred lines, loving someone out of a coma, riding serenely, and realizing we are the same, a year of responding to floods and hurricanes at home and abroad. We said hello to Stompa and goodbye to Stomin’ Tom. We saw new artists emerge from Edmonton as the city mourned the loss of one of its founding fathers. Atlantic Canada found its inner ninja when grief-struck by Rita’s departure. Country music lost Pier Béland but rebounded when two Canadian songs topped its charts. While misogyny found itself being questioned, grandmothers found themselves loved.
Most Successful Singles
The best-selling single of the year, which also finished at #1 on the year-end Billboard Canadian Hot 100 chart, was 6x platinum “Blurred Lines” by Ameri-Canadian Robin Thicke. This is the first time that a Canadian citizen has topped the year-end chart in the Billboard Canadian Hot 100 era. The second biggest Canadian hit of the year was “Stompa” by Serena Ryder (14th of the year). Classified’s “Inner Ninja” which featured David Myles was certified quadruple platinum making it one of the four best-selling digital Canadian singles in history domestically. In all, 23 singles by or featuring Canadian artists made the year-end Top 100, two entries less than in 2012. The most successful Francophone single on the Billboard Canadian Hot 100 was Marc Dupré’s “Nous sommes les mêmes” making it all the way up to #47 on the weekly charts. Les Trois Accords’ “J’aime ta grand-mère”, at #9, was the top Franco song on CKOI’s year-end Top 50. More…
Most Successful Albums
Among albums released in 2013, the best-selling was Céline Dion’s Loved Me Back to Life, the only album whether by a foreign or domestic artist to attain quadruple platinum sales by year’s end. Internationally, the year’s best-selling Canadian album was Michael Bublé’s To Be Loved. According to the United World Chart, it sold 2.3 million copies placing it at 10th of the year. At home, it was a double-platinum release. Among the most successful Francophone albums was Marc Dupré’s Nous sommes les mêmes, certified gold by year end. Three 2013 Franco Christmas albums went gold as well: Noël a deux by Marie-Eve Janvier & Jean-François Breau, Noël blanc by Maxime Landry, and Paul Daraîche’s Ces Noëls d’autrefois.
Platinum certifications were awarded to Justin Bieber for Believe: Acoustic, Drake’s Nothing Was the Same, and Johnny Reid’s A Christmas Gift to You.
Albums that went gold, besides those mentioned above, were Tegan & Sara’s Heartthrob, Walk Off the Earth’s REVO, City and Colour’s The Hurry and the Harm, Blue Rodeo’s In Our Nature, Avril Lavigne’s Avril Lavigne, and Hedley’s Wild Life.
A total of 38 Canadian albums released in 2013 appeared in the Top 10 of Billboard’s weekly Canadian Albums chart, six less than last year. Ten of them topped the said chart. These chart toppers were Classified’s Classified, Justin Bieber’s Believe: Acoustic, Pierre Lapointe’s Punkt, Michael Bublé’s To Be Loved, City and Colour’s The Hurry and the Harm, Robin Thicke’s Blurred Lines, Drake’s Nothing Was the Same, Arcade Fire’s Reflektor, Céline Dion’s Loved Me Back to Life, and Johnny Reid’s A Christmas Gift to You. More…
New Artist Profiles
The Canadian Music Blog added profiles on five artists whose popularity intensified significantly in 2013. Toronto’s Henry Lau released solo album Trap in 2013, taking a break from Super Junior-M. It’s title track was released in three languages. The Korean version became a Top 20 single on US Billboard’s K-Pop chart. Marc Dupré scored a massive hit by Francophone standards. Title track of gold certified album Nous sommes les memes reached #47 on the Billboard Canadian Hot 100 and was named Song of the Year by the ADISQ Félix gala. Metric scored their second Top 30 hit and album Synthetica won their third JUNO award. Serena Ryder became a multiplatinum artist thanks to “Stompa” and scored three Top 40 singles through the year. Her 2012 album Harmony became a platinum seller in 2013. She was the top Canadian Billboard Hot 100 artist of the year. 2013 also hoisted Walk Off the Earth up to multiplatinum status due to hit “Red Hands”. They were the top emerging artist of the year according to Billboard. More…
Among big names in music who passed away in 2013 were country stars Pier Béland and Stompin’ Tom Connors, Atlantic folk singer Rita MacNeil, and founding father of the Edmonton music scene Wes Dakus.
The JUNO awards, hosted by Michael Bublé, were held in April in Regina to recognize 2012 music. Carly Rae Jepsen won both the Song of the Year (“Call Me Maybe”) and Album of the Year (Kiss) JUNOs. The 2014 JUNOs recognizing the best of 2013 Canadian music will be held at the end of March in Winnipeg.
The ADISQ Félix Awards to honour the best in Canada’s Francophone music released in 2012-2013 were held at the end of October in Montréal. The Song of the Year award went to Marc Dupré for “Nous sommes les mêmes”. Stylish “La journée qui s’en vient est flambant neuve” by Avec pas d’casque was named music video of the year. Awards for electronic, alternative, rock, AC, and pop albums of the year went respectively to Jérôme Minière (Danse avec Herri Kopter), Gros Mené (Angus Dei), Louis-Jean Cormier (Le treizième étage), Céline Dion (Sans Attendre), and Marie-Mai (Miroir).
Misogyny: Journalists’ Theme in 2013
While the Brits were mourning the announcement of a hiatus by one of their bands, all of whose studio albums had topped the charts, and while the Americans were caught up in feverish discussions about prurient displays by some of their stars, Canadian entertainment journalists working for entities in financial turmoil attempted to blow the whistle on the year’s best-selling single citing it as misogynistic. Our questioning their sincerity turned out to be justified when, at year end, these very same critics hypocritically named a much more misogynistic work, littered with foul language, by a controversial American rapper with ties to the Kardashian empire, as one of their favourite albums of 2013.
While idly criticizing recording artists for misogyny, few seemed motivated to improve their own sphere of activity by granting more equal representation of male and female artists. Rock stations in Canada continued allowing music sung by men to dominate their airwaves; of their top 40 most played songs of 2013, 38 were voiced entirely by men with two having vocals shared by male and female singers. Rock stations even aired songs outside of the genre, provided they were performed entirely by men, such as pop music by The Capital Cities and folk music by The Lumineers. Country stations were heavily dominated by male artists as well who made up 84% of year-end top 50 spins.
Imitation: Intentional Rip-Offs or Pure Coincidence?
Justin Timberlake’s 20/20 Experience, which topped the year-end Billboard 200 as 2013’s best-selling album in the United States featured an album cover and title that closely matched a 2012 album from Canadian progressive rock band Saga. While one might be sympathetic towards a struggling artist stealing some ideas from a popular one to get noticed, the act of one of the biggest names in music with tremendous wealth and creative resources at his disposal potentially ripping off a Canadian band at shadow’s edge of the spotlight left a bad taste in our mouths. There are also some who feel that Beyoncé’s music video for “Superpower” bore too much resemblance to Anjulie’s “Stand Behind the Music”. Whether these were in fact rip-offs or merely coincidental and whether the Canadian artists affected were flattered or resentful is unknown.
Calgary Holds Its Biggest Rock Concert in History
To help raise funds for a city marred by widespread flooding and to assuage the hearts of the locals, Calgary held its biggest rock concert in history with over 30,000 in attendance at McMahon Stadium. Among the acts on the bill were Nickelback, Loverboy, Tom Cochrane, Jann Arden, Randy Bachman, Johnny Reid, Ian Tyson, The Sheepdogs, Corb Lund, Matthew Good, and The Sadies.
Response to Super Typhoon Haiyan
The moment he wrapped up his worldwide Believe tour in early December, Canadian superstar Justin Bieber headed straight away to The Philippines to show support and bring some happiness to the nation most devastated by super typhoon Haiyan which killed thousands and rendered millions homeless. Bieber launched a charity campaign to raise money providing assistance to those affected. Electronic rocker LIGHTS auctioned off outfits she wore in her music videos as well as the dress she wore when she received her first JUNO award raising thousands of dollars. Elise Estrada who was born in The Philippines composed original song, “All It Takes Is a Moment” all proceeds of which went to victims of the tragedy. She also put together a music video for the song.
Canadian Music Blog Picks
At year-end, The Canadian Music Blog revealed its 2013 picks in lists ranking its favourite EPs (5), music videos (10), albums (15), and songs (20). The Canadian Music Blog declared Voyage Love by Le Couleur as EP of the year, “Let Me Go” by Avril Lavigne (featuring Chad Kroeger) as music video of the year, Heartthrob by Tegan and Sara as album of the year, and “All For You” by Lexi Strate as song of the year.