Reflektor by Arcade Fire (Montréal, QC)
Known for creative workmanship, the organic quality of their music, and half-whispered vocals, the 6-time JUNO award winners from Canada’s second biggest metropolis have also won Grammy and BRIT awards, one of the few Canadian acts ever to do so. This, the sextet’s fourth studio LP, and a double album, has the group becoming more electronic in sound. Legendary British icon David Bowie is featured on the refreshingly bilingual title track which became the band’s first Top 40 hit single and sported a flashy music video.
Loved Me Back to Life by Céline Dion (Charlemagne, QC)
Like all superstars who manage to continue their popularity, the most successful Canadian recording artist of all-time is able to keep up with the changing trends in musical style while never losing her foothold on the foundation of her persona. This was 2013’s best-selling album at quadruple platinum sales. The vocal excellence is a given, but here Céline pulls off a surprisingly masterful handling of genuine modern pop music while at the same time never losing sight of her AC roots, and giving the R&B tracks first-rate class. She has won 20 JUNO awards.
Nothing Was the Same by Drake (Toronto, ON)
The “Drizzy” one is without a doubt the most successful Canadian rapper both within and without the country. He has won three JUNOs to date. His platinum, third album, Nothing Was The Same, once again offers his introspective, nasally discourse, mood swings, and occasional singing, atop lavish percussion, ghostly loops, and melancholic-claustrophobic soundscapes. At times, he pours some vibrant new wave and off-kilter R&B into the mix broadening the music’s appeal. Guests appearing on the work include Jay Z, 2 Chainz, Detail, Big Sean, Majid Jordan, and Jhene Aiko.
To Be Loved by Michael Bublé (Burnaby, BC)
Working with Bob Rock (who co-produced his previous two albums), the production on Bublé’s latest studio album is crisp and slick. There are 10 covers and four originals, recorded in Vancouver and Los Angeles. It contains hit single “It’s a Beautiful Day” as well as collaborations with Jann Arden and Bryan Adams. While the album marks familiar Bublé territory—swinging jazz-pop—some peppering with soulful Motown and rock have served to broaden its appeal. This became a double platinum album. Michael has seen 11 previous JUNO wins and has five nominations this year.
Harmony by Serena Ryder (Millbrook, ON)
This platinum album already won a JUNO: Adult Alternative Album of the Year in 2013. Serena has won 4 JUNO awards in total to date. With Harmony, she switched from her previous introspective folk to boot-stomping, upbeat popular rock, and the album has spawned three Top 40 hit singles: “Stompa”, “What I Wouldn’t Do”, and “Fall”. The first, at triple platinum certification, is one of the most domestically successful digital singles in history from a Canadian artist. Although Serena has seen success since her debut in 1999, Harmony launched her into major stardom.