Nielsen Music Canada Releases Decade-End Charts

In its year-end report for 2019, Nielsen Music Canada also published some decade-end data including a batch of Top 10 lists. Find them below with introductory comments. Canadian artists in the charts appear in red.

Fuelled by the success of albums 21 and 25, Adele crowns the Top Artists by Album Sales chart. Three Canadians make the top ten. Michael Bublé (3rd overall) released four albums. All sold well, but particularly Christmas which has been certified diamond. Justin Bieber (5th overall) also released four including his Christmas album, Under the Mistletoe. Céline Dion (7th) launched four as well, the most successful of which, at quadruple platinum, was Loved Me Back to Life.

1 Adele 2,966,000
2 Eminem 1,948,000
3 Michael Bublé 1,774,000
4 Taylor Swift 1,738,000
5 Justin Bieber 1,539,000
6 Beatles 1,224,000
7 Celine Dion 1,177,000
8 Elvis Presley 1,052,000
9 Mumford & Sons 1,048,000
10 One Direction 998,000

As far as song sales go, Taylor Swift is the champ. She began the decade with “Today was a Fairy tale” topping the Canadian Hot 100 in February 2010. It was one of six #1 hits for the Pennsylvanian through the 2010s. The only Canadian artist to make the Top 10 was Drake. His “One Dance” was certified diamond and was one of four chart toppers through the decade.

1 Taylor Swift 6,591,000
2 Eminem 6,440,000
3 Rihanna 6,040,000
4 Katy Perry 5,813,000
5 Pitbull 5,022,000
6 Maroon 5 5,006,000
7 Drake 4,421,000
8 Ed Sheeran 4,287,000
9 Bruno Mars 4,244,000
10 Adele 4,164,000

People were more interested in streaming Drake songs in audio and video than buying them, as he finished the decade as the most streamed artist with over 3 billion. We are not sure about the numbers for these, as they should be much higher. For example, Justin Bieber’s “Sorry” music video has racked up over 3.2 billion views, higher than Drake’s tally of 3.1 billion. Perhaps the numbers are weighted (“track equivalent streams”). The Weeknd is a second Canadian artist to make the Top Ten at 6th overall.

1 Drake 3,063,535,000
2 Eminem 1,922,883,000
3 Ed Sheeran 1,891,517,000
4 Post Malone 1,814,483,000
5 Ariana Grande 1,383,661,000
6 The Weeknd 1,332,176,000
7 Taylor Swift 1,263,757,000
8 Rihanna 1,054,367,000
9 Xxxtentacion 988,155,000
10 Kanye West 985,501,000

In terms of audio only streams, Drake again reigns supreme with The Weeknd a notch higher at 5th.

1 Drake 2,610,926,000
2 Post Malone 1,441,119,000
3 Eminem 1,199,499,000
4 Ed Sheeran 1,184,126,000
5 The Weeknd 1,002,886,000
6 Ariana Grande 871,752,000
7 Kanye West 849,112,000
8 Kendrick Lamar 758,162,000
9 Xxxtentacion 744,480,000
10 Travis Scott 730,674,000

Drake (5th) and The Weeknd take drops when streams are determined by video only. Justin Bieber appears in this Top Ten chart at 8th.

1 Eminem 723,384,000
2 Ed Sheeran 707,391,000
3 Taylor Swift 558,380,000
4 Ariana Grande 511,909,000
5 Drake 452,610,000
6 Katy Perry 448,239,000
7 Maroon 5 431,486,000
8 Justin Bieber 426,819,000
9 Rihanna 415,834,000
10 Imagine Dragons 390,321,000

Although he scored no Top 40 hits through the decade, 80s-90s icon Bryan Adams is the most spun artist at radio. Rock bands The Tragically Hip (6th) and Nickelback (7th) join him in representing Canada for this chart.

1 Bryan Adams 2,747,000
2 Maroon 5 2,623,000
3 U2 2,362,000
4 P!nk 2,341,000
5 Taylor Swift 2,281,000
6 The Tragically Hip 2,254,000
7 Nickelback 2,073,000
8 Katy Perry 2,060,000
9 Rihanna 2,019,000
10 Aerosmith 1,883,000

In terms of Airplay Audience, Bryan retains the title while The Hip(3rd) and Nickelback (5th) inch up a bit. Shania Twain enters the Top Ten at 9th being the must radio audience reached country act.

1 Bryan Adams 16,786,134,000
2 U2 14,193,754,000
3 The Tragically Hip 12,888,560,000
4 Maroon 5 12,858,977,000
5 Nickelback 11,772,806,000
6 P!nk 11,411,506,000
7 Rihanna 11,337,927,000
8 Madonna 10,948,682,000
9 Shania Twain 10,574,318,000
10 Katy Perry 10,487,833,000

Adele one-twos the 2010s with her blockbuster albums 21 and 25 respectively. Michael Bublé’s Christmas is the top Canadian disc at #3.

1 Adele 21 1,582,000
2 Adele 25 1,093,000
3 Michael Buble Christmas 968,000
4 Eminem Recovery 613,000
5 Taylor Swift 1989 542,000
6 Mumford & Sons Babel 431,000
7 Mumford & Sons Sigh No More 395,000
8 Katy Perry Teenage Dream 376,000
9 Ed Sheeran X 375,000
10 Imagine Dragons Night Visions 357,000

The following list looks very suspect. Although digital downloads have been in decline, the songs that made the Top Song Sales chart are all recent ones. Songs like “Blurred Lines” and “Call Me Maybe” have received 8 or 9 times platinum certification indicating sales of 700, 000 copies, far ahead of the chart’s #1 entry “Despacito”. This chart could be a complete flub by Nielsen or the data collector may have used a different kind of metric in determining the numbers and rankings.

1 Luis Fonsi & Daddy Yankee ft. Justin Bieber Despacito 577,000
2 Ed Sheeran Shape Of You 491,000
3 Ed Sheeran Perfect 434,000
4 Imagine Dragons Believer 317,000
5 Camila Cabello feat. Young Thug Havana 274,000
6 Imagine Dragons Thunder 264,000
7 Chainsmokers feat. Halsey Closer 231,000
8 The Chainsmokers & Coldplay Something Just Like This 231,000
9 Lady Gaga & Bradley Copper Shallow 224,000
10 Lil Nas X Old Town Road 210,000

The next chart makes more sense. As streaming increased in popularity through the decade, the songs that made the final Top Ten cut are recent ones. In terms of both audio and video, “Despacito” featuring Justin Bieber wins the race, while Drake’s “God’s Plan” finishes in 9th.

1 Luis Fonsi & Daddy Yankee ft. Justin Bieber Despacito 300,890,000
2 Ed Sheeran Shape Of You 294,647,000
3 Lil Nas X Old Town Road 244,096,000
4 Ed Sheeran Perfect 231,232,000
5 Post Malone feat. 21 Savage Rockstar 211,703,000
6 The Chainsmokers feat. Halsey Closer 208,910,000
7 Camila Cabello feat. Young Thug Havana 202,608,000
8 Mark Ronson feat. Bruno Mars Uptown Funk 197,165,000
9 Drake God’s Plan 181,295,000
10 Imagine Dragons Believer 179,282,000

Audio only song streaming sees Ed Sheeran’s “Shape of You” bump “Despacito” off the top spot. Drake’s “One Dance” (7th) joins his “God’s Plan” (6th).

1 Ed Sheeran Shape Of You 147,112,000
2 Luis Fonsi & Daddy Yankee ft. Justin Bieber Despacito 145,239,000
3 Post Malone feat. 21 Savage Rockstar 142,507,000
4 Lil Nas X Old Town Road 128,635,000
5 Ed Sheeran Perfect 122,572,000
6 Drake God’s Plan 120,836,000
7 Drake One Dance 120,494,000
8 The Chainsmokers feat. Halsey Closer 115,059,000
9 Kendrick Lamar Humble. 111,939,000
10 French Montana feat. Swae Lee Unforgettable 111,843,000

With 6.6 billion YouTube views and 156 million video streams, “Despacito” is tops for video streaming with Justin Bieber’s “Sorry” coming in 8th. It had 106 million video streams and 3.2 billion YouTube views.

1 Luis Fonsi & Daddy Yankee feat. Justin Bieber Despacito 155,651,000
2 Mark Ronson feat. Bruno Mars Uptown Funk 150,163,000
3 Ed Sheeran Shape Of You 147,535,000
4 Lil Nas X Old Town Road 115,461,000
5 Wiz Khalifa feat. Charlie Puth See You Again 111,570,000
6 Ed Sheeran Perfect 108,661,000
7 Taylor Swift Shake It Off 106,516,000
8 Justin Bieber Sorry 105,676,000
9 Camila Cabello feat. Young Thug Havana 105,067,000
10 Maroon 5 Girls Like You 97,180,000

Carly Rae Jepsen’s 8x platinum “Call Me Maybe” (6th) was the top Canadian artist song spun at radio across all formats with 262,000 spins. Although “Run to You” was the bigger radio hit from his Reckless album back in the day, modern DJs prefer Bryan Adams’ “Summer of ’69” (7th). 2009’s “I Gotta Feeling” from the Black Eyed Peas crowns the chart.

1 Black Eyed Peas I Gotta Feeling 283,000
2 Kid Rock All Summer Long 276,000
3 Avicii Wake Me Up 274,000
4 The Police Every Breath You Take 271,000
5 Mark Ronson feat. Bruno Mars Uptown Funk 265,000
6 Carly Rae Jepsen Call Me Maybe 262,000
7 Bryan Adams Summer Of ’69 261,000
8 Lumineers Ho Hey 261,000
9 Bon Jovi Livin’ On A Prayer 258,000
10 Adele Rolling In The Deep 256,000

A song about predatorial stalking was loved most by the decade’s radio disc jockeys; The Police’s “Every Breath You Take” triumphs the Airplay Audience chart. Avril Lavigne’s “Complicated” leads a string of Canadian artist entries from 3rd to 8th which you can view below.

1 The Police Every Breath You Take 1,748,060,000
2 Black Eyed Peas I Gotta Feeling 1,677,367,000
3 Avril Lavigne Complicated 1,660,880,000
4 Bryan Adams Summer Of ’69 1,658,915,000
5 Daniel Powter Bad Day 1,502,363,000
6 Carly Rae Jepsen Call Me Maybe 1,493,499,000
7 Tom Cochrane Life Is A Highway 1,474,510,000
8 Nelly Furtado Say It Right 1,458,021,000
9 Eurythmics Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This) 1,456,005,000
10 U2 I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For 1,451,528,000

Spins at the Contemporary Hit Radio format see “This Is What It Feels Like” featuring North Vancouver’s Trevor Guthrie take the cake. Five entries by Canadian artists back it.

1 Armin Van Buuren ft. Trevor Guthrie This Is What It Feels Like 78,000
2 Drake feat. WizKid & Kyla One Dance 72,000
3 Loud Luxury feat. Brando Body 70,000
4 Ed Sheeran Shape Of You 69,000
5 Avicii Wake Me Up 68,000
6 Drake feat. Majid Jordan Hold On, We’re Going Home 66,000
7 The Weeknd Can’t Feel My Face 65,000
8 The Chainsmokers feat. Halsey Closer 64,000
9 Justin Bieber Sorry 63,000
10 Mark Ronson feat. Bruno Mars Uptown Funk 63,000

The next chart is a valuable one as Francophone charts are hard to come by. The Top 10 Francophone songs at radio place Alex Nevsky’s “On Leur A Fait Croire” at #1 with 46,000 radio spins through the decade. All but one of the artists are Canadian, the lone foreigner being Belgium’s Milow who howls at the moon in 3rd.

1 Alex Nevsky On Leur A Fait Croire 46,000
2 Patrice Michaud Mechaniques Generales 42,000
3 Milow Howling At The Moon 42,000
4 Karim Ouellet L’amour 42,000
5 Alex Nevsky Les Colories 39,000
6 Vincent Vallieres On Va S’aimer Encore 39,000
7 Jean Leloup Paradis City 39,000
8 Coeur De Pirate Carry On/Oublie-Moi 36,000
9 Alex Nevsky Polaroid 36,000
10 Alexe Gaudreault Placebo 34,000

The Hot Adult Contemporary format, supposedly targeting young adults, witnesses Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe” in first place. Songs from Alessia Cara, Serena Ryder, and Magic! also make the Top Ten.

1 Carly Rae Jepsen Call Me Maybe 76,000
2 Armin Van Buuren feat. Trevor Guthrie This Is What It Feels Like 66,000
3 Alessia Cara Scars To Your Beautiful 66,000
4 Adele Rolling In The Deep 65,000
5 Avicii Wake Me Up 65,000
6 Justin Timberlake Can’t Stop The Feeling! 64,000
7 Serena Ryder Stompa 64,000
8 Magic! Rude 63,000
9 Taio Cruz Dynamite 63,000
10 Mark Ronson feat. Bruno Mars Uptown Funk 63,000

Adult Contemporary radio preferred The Black Eyed Peas’ “I Gotta Feeling” with Carly Rae Jepsen (3rd) being the only Canadian in the Top Ten.

1 Black Eyed Peas I Gotta Feeling 55,000
2 Train Hey, Soul Sister 52,000
3 Carly Rae Jepsen Call Me Maybe 51,000
4 Lady Antebellum Need You Now 47,000
5 Adele Rolling In The Deep 47,000
6 Justin Timberlake Can’t Stop The Feeling! 46,000
7 Avicii Wake Me Up 44,000
8 Taio Cruz Dynamite 44,000
9 Kelly Clarkson Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You) 44,000
10 Mark Ronson feat. Bruno Mars Uptown Funk 44,000

Emerson Drive is the only Canadian act to appear in Country radio’s Top Ten most spun songs of the decade; “That Kind of Beautiful” makes 8th. Eric Church one-twos the 2010s.

1 Eric Church Drink In My Hand 62,000
2 Eric Church Springsteen 61,000
3 Florida Georgia Line Cruise 61,000
4 Jake Owen Barefoot Blue Jean Night 60,000
5 Kip Moore Somethin’ ‘Bout A Truck 60,000
6 Darius Rucker Wagon Wheel 59,000
7 Thompson Square Are You Gonna Kiss Me Or Not 58,000
8 Emerson Drive That Kind Of Beautiful 57,000
9 Zac Brown Band Homegrown 57,000
10 Blake Shelton Honey Bee 57,000

Mainstream Rock flew the flag of Nirvana which takes the 1st and 3rd spots. No Canadian act made the Top Ten.

1 Nirvana Smells Like Teen Spirit 41,000
2 Guns N’ Roses Sweet Child O’ Mine 39,000
3 Nirvana Come As You Are 38,000
4 Guns N’ Roses Welcome To The Jungle 37,000
5 Metallica Enter Sandman 37,000
6 Ozzy Osbourne Crazy Train 37,000
7 Pink Floyd Another Brick In The Wall (Part II) 37,000
8 AC/DC You Shook Me All Night Long 36,000
9 Aerosmith Sweet Emotion 36,000
10 AC/DC Back In Black 36,000

Modern Rock loved the Arctic Moneys’ “Do I Wanna Know?” As with “mainstream rock”, no Canadian act made the Top Ten at “modern rock”.

1 Arctic Monkeys Do I Wanna Know? 22,000
2 AWOLNATION Sail 21,000
3 Foster The People Pumped Up Kicks 21,000
4 Black Keys Tighten Up 20,000
5 Cold War Kids First 20,000
6 Mumford & Sons I Will Wait 19,000
7 Milky Chance Stolen Dance 19,000
8 White Stripes Seven Nation Army 19,000
9 Franz Ferdinand Take Me Out 19,000
10 Black Keys Lonely Boy 19,000

The 2010s Decade Hot 100 Honour Roll

Not counting various artist tracks, 287 unique Canadian artists debuted songs on the Billboard Canadian Hot 100 through the 2010s decade. Landing a song on the Hot 100 does not guarantee that a big car will be waiting for you outside or that money will be coming in suitcases through the door, but it is a significant achievement. Find below a list of these 287 artists in an honour roll. Nearly half (142, 49.5%) landed more than one hit. For these artists, find indications of how many tracks each placed on the charts whether as the main, co-main, or featured artist in parentheses. Drake is champ in terms of the number of entries with an amazing 150 in total!

2012 Star Academie Finalists
Aaron Goodvin (2)
Adventure Club
Alanis Morissette
Aleesia (2)
Alessia Cara (11)
Alex Lacasse
Alex Nevsky (2)
Alfa Rococo
Ali Gatie
Allie X
Alx Veliz
Alyssa Reid (8)
Andee (2)
Andrew Allen (2)
Anjulie (3)
Annie Villeneuve
Arcade Fire (6)
Ariane Moffatt
Arkells (2)
Artists Against Bullying
Ash Koley (2)
Audio Playground (4)
Autumn Hill (2)
Avril Lavigne (11)
Baka Not Nice
Barenaked Ladies (2)
Belly (5)
Big Wreck (2)
Billy Talent (5)
Bit Funk
Blake McGrath
Bleu Jeans Bleu
Bobby Bazini
Bobby Wills (3)
Daniel Caesar (2)
Brett Kissel (8)
Bryan Adams
Candy Coated Killahz
Carly Rae Jepsen (9)
Carolyn Dawn Johnson (2)
Celine Dion (8)
Chad Brownlee (10)
Chad Kroeger
Charlotte Cardin (2)
City and Colour (7)
Classified (8)
Coeur de Pirate
Cold Creek Country
Coleman Hell (3)
Dallas Smith (15)
Dan Talevski (3)
Daniel Powter
Danko Jones
Danny Fernandes (4)
Darryl Riley
David Myles (2)
David Thibault
David Usher
deadmau5 (11)
Dean Brody (18)
Death From Above 1979
Delaney Jane (2)
Deric Ruttan (3)
Diego Gomes
Doc Walker (4)
Down with Webster (8)
Dragonette (7)
Drake (150)
Dru (2)
Duck Sauce
Dwayne Johnson
Eleven Past One
Elijah Woods x Jamie Fine (3)
Elise Estrada (2)
Emerson Drive (8)
Eric Lapointe (2)
Eric Zayne
Faber Drive (3)
Famba (2)
Fefe Dobson (3)
Felix Cartal (3)
Final State
Finger Eleven (2)
Francesco Yates (3)
Frank Walker (2)
George Canyon (5)
Glenn Morrison (2)
Gord Bamford (9)
Gord Downie and the Country of Miracles
Head of the Herd
Hedley (17)
Hey Ocean
High Valley (11)
Hunter Brothers
Jade Eagleson
Jake Mathews
James Barker Band (2)
Jann Arden
Jasmin Parkin
Jason Benoit
Jason Blaine (5)
Jazz Cartier
Jean Leloup
Jean-Marc Couture
Jerome Couture
Jess Moskaluke (2)
Jesse Labelle (2)
Jessie Reyez (4)
Jocelyn Alice
Johnny Reid (5)
Jonas & The Massive Attraction
Jonathan Painchaud
Jonathan Roy (2)
Josh Ramsay (2)
JP Saxe
JRDN (5)
Justin Bieber (65)
Justin Nozuka
JV Project
k.d. lang
Kardinal Offishall (6)
Karim Ouellet
Karl Wolf (7)
Kay (2)
Keshia Chante (2)
Ketsia (3)
Kevin Bazinet
Kiesza (2)
Kira Isabella (4)
K’Naan (3)
Kreesha Turner (2)
Kristina Maria (6)
Kuba Oms
Lennon Stella (3)
Leonard Cohen (2)
Les Colocs
Les Cowboys Fringants
Les Soeurs Boulay
Les Trois Accords
Lindsay Ell
Loco Locass
Loud (3)
Loud Luxury (3)
Lucky Rose
MacKenzie Porter
MAGIC! (6)
Majid Jordan
Marc Dupre (3)
Marco Calliari
Marianas Trench (11)
Marie-Mai (5)
Massari (2)
Meaghan Smith
Mes Aieux
Metric (4)
Mia Martina (8)
Michael Buble (10)
Michelle Treacy
Monster Truck
Mother Mother
My Darkest Days
My Name Is Kay
NAV (17)
Nelly Furtado (5)
Neon Dreams
Neverest (2)
New City
Nickelback (8)
Nikki Yanofsky (2)
Our Lady Peace
Pardon My Striptease
PartyNextDoor (12)
Patrick Watson
Paul Brandt (5)
Prty H3ro (2)
Raghav (4)
Randy Raymond
Ria Mae (5)
Richard Vission
Ricky J
Robin Thicke (2)
Roch Voisine
Rosette (2)
Rush (3)
Ruth B
Ryan Gosling
Said the Whale
Sak Noel
Sam Roberts (2)
San Sebastian
Sarah Jeffery
Sarah McLachlan (2)
Scott Helman (4)
Serena Ryder (5)
Serge Fiori
Shad and Dallas
Shane Yellowbird
Shania Twain (2)
Shark Tank
Shaun Frank (3)
Shawn Desman (5)
Shawn Hook (6)
Shawn Mendes (21)
Simple Plan (4)
Sleepy Tom
Small Town Pistols
Stef Lang (2)
Stephan Moccio
Stereos (3)
Steven Lee Olsen (3)
Stompin’ Tom Connors
Sultan & Ned Shepard
Sum 41
Suzie McNeil (2)
Sweet Thing
Tebey (3)
Tegan and Sara (7)
Tenille Townes
Terri Clark
The Canadian Tenors
The Midway State
The New Cities (3)
The Reason
The Reklaws
The Road Hammers (2)
The Sheepdogs (3)
The Strumbellas
The Tragically Hip (3)
The Trews (2)
The Weeknd (54)
Theory of a Deadman (2)
These Kids Wear Crowns (3)
Three Days Grace (5)
Tim Hicks (7)
Tory Lanez (22)
Trevor Guthrie (4)
Tyler Medeiros (2)
Tyler Shaw (8)
Ubiquitous Synergy Seeker (2)
Victoria Duffield (5)
Vincent Vallieres (3)
Virginia To Vegas (5)
Vita Chambers
Walk Off the Earth (8)
Wes Mack (3)
William Deslauriers
Yan Etchevary
Yes Mccan
You+Me (3)
Young Artists for Haiti
Zeds Dead

The 100 Biggest Canadian Artist Hits of the 2010s Decade

1,036 songs involving Canadian artists debuted on the Billboard Hot 100 through the decade!

We tracked these and assigned points to each. Every weekly Billboard Canadian Hot 100 chart position for a song was subtracted from 101 and then the results were tallied. We then sorted the songs from the highest to lowest points and determined the top 100. If tied, we gave the higher rank to the higher peak position. If those were tied as well, then we gave the nod to the song that spent the most weeks on the charts.

We consider Canadian artist songs to be songs where the main artist is a Canadian citizen or one of two co-credited main artists. We also count songs where the main artist is foreign but 100% of the featured artists are Canadian. If, for example the main artist is American and there are two featured artists, one being British and the other being Canadian, we do not consider this a Canadian artist song.

All songs on this list debuted on the Billboard Canadian Hot 100 between January 1, 2010 and December 31, 2019. Songs that debuted in 2009 are excluded even if they continued to chart into 2010. Songs that were still on the charts at the end of 2019 are marked with an asterisk (*) indicating that their chart performance may not be over yet. There are only three of these.

Let’s count these beauties down from #100 to #1. Which one is your favourite?

Decade Rank – Title – Artist – Peak Position – Peak Date – Weeks on Charts

100 – When We Stand Together – Nickelback – #10 – 2011-Dec-07 – 20 weeks
99 – I Was a Fool – Tegan and Sara – #19 – 2013-Jul-10 – 22 weeks
98 – Desperate Measures – Marianas Trench – #20 – 2012-Aug-01 – 25 weeks
97 – Pray for Me – The Weeknd & Kendrick Lamar – #5 – 2018-Mar-20 – 20 weeks
96 – Headlines – Drake – #18 – 2011-Nov-09 – 23 weeks
95 – U Can Have It All – JRDN – #20 – 2010-Dec-15 – 24 weeks
94 – It’s You – Ali Gatie – #25 – 2019-Oct-29 – 26 weeks
93 – Breathing Underwater – Metric – #22 – 2013-Oct-02 – 28 weeks
92 – Hurt Me Tomorrow – K’Naan – #12 – 2012-Aug-22 – 22 weeks
91 – Love Me Harder – The Weeknd & Ariana Grande – #10 – 2014-Dec-03 – 20 weeks
90 – No Guidance – Chris Brown ft. Drake – #7 – 2019-Jun-18 – 22 weeks
89 – Never Be Like You – Flume ft. Kai – #21 – 2016-Oct-04 – 28 weeks
88 – Jealous – Chromeo – #12 – 2014-Jun-04 – 23 weeks
87 – Find Your Love – Drake – #10 – 2010-Jun-23 – 21 weeks
86 – Electric – Shawn Desman – #23 – 2011-Feb-16 – 26 weeks
85 – Let Your Hair Down – MAGIC! – #20 – 2014-Nov-19 – 25 weeks
84 – Passionfruit – Drake – #2 – 2017-Mar-28 – 22 weeks
83 – Shut Up and Dance – Victoria Duffield – #12 – 2011-Dec-14 – 24 weeks
82 – Look Alive – BlocBoy JB ft. Drake – #4 – 2018-Feb-20 – 20 weeks
81 – Kiss Goodnight – Tyler Shaw – #24 – 2013-May-08 – 27 weeks
80 – We Are Stars – Virginia to Vegas ft. Alyssa Reid – #14 – 2014-Apr-23 – 25 weeks
79 – Lost Boy – Ruth B – #14 – 2016-Jun-20 – 28 weeks
78 – Wavin’ Flag – Young Artists for Haiti – #1 – 2010-Mar-17 – 20 weeks
77 – Body Bounce – Kardinal Offishall – #16 – 2010-May-26 – 25 weeks
76 – I’m Not Alright – Loud Luxury & Bryce Vine – #13 – 2019-Oct-08 – 23 weeks
75 – What’s My Name – Rihanna ft. Drake – #5 – 2010-Dec-22 – 22 weeks
74 – Mercy – Shawn Mendes – #22 – 2017-Jan-31 – 30 weeks
73 – In My Blood – Shawn Mendes – #9 – 2018-Apr-03 – 24 weeks
72 – Heaven In Our Headlights – Hedley – #14 – 2014-Aug-27 – 25 weeks
71 – Ghost – Fefe Dobson – #14 – 2010-Aug-11 – 27 weeks
70 – Invincible – Hedley – #9 – 2011-Nov-16 – 25 weeks
69 – Money in the Grave – Drake – #5 – 2019-Jun-25 – 24 weeks
68 – Fake Love – Drake – #10 – 2016-Nov-08 – 25 weeks
67 – Beauty and a Beat – Justin Bieber – #4 – 2012-Dec-19 – 24 weeks
66 – Sound of Your Heart – Shawn Hook – #23 – 2015-May-27 – 34 weeks
65 – Night Like This – Shawn Desman – #22 – 2010-Sep-08 – 28 weeks
64 – Stuttering – Fefe Dobson – #10 – 2010-Dec-29 – 27 weeks
63 – Con Calma – Daddy Yankee ft. Snow – #6 – 2019-Jun-18 – 29 weeks
62 – Lalala* – Y2K & bbno$ – #10 – 2019-Oct-01 – 27 weeks
61 – Your Man – Down with Webster – #12 – 2010-Apr-14 – 29 weeks
60 – Chills – Down with Webster – #19 – 2014-Apr-02 – 34 weeks
59 – As Long As You Love Me – Justin Bieber – #9 – 2012-Sep-26 – 27 weeks
58 – Closer – Tegan and Sara – #13 – 2013-Feb-06 – 32 weeks
57 – Hideaway – Kiesza – #5 – 2014-Aug-13 – 30 weeks
56 – Scars to Your Beautiful – Alessia Cara – #14 – 2016-Nov-22 – 30 weeks
55 – Jackie Chan – Dzeko & Tiesto ft. Preme & Post Malone – #7 – 2018-Jul-31 – 28 weeks
54 – Something Big – Shawn Mendes – #11 – 2015-Feb-11 – 31 weeks
53 – Jet Lag – Simple Plan – #11 – 2011-Jul-13 – 29 weeks
52 – Earned It – The Weeknd – #8 – 2015-Mar-18 – 29 weeks
51 – Nice for What – Drake – #1 – 2018-Apr-17 – 25 weeks
50 – Brand New Chick – Anjulie – #16 – 2011-Aug-31 – 33 weeks
49 – Going Bad – Meek Mill ft. Drake – #3 – 2018-Dec-11 – 29 weeks
48 – Take Care – Drake – #15 – 2012-Feb-15 – 31 weeks
47 – What I Wouldn’t Do – Serena Ryder – #8 – 2013-Aug-14 – 30 weeks
46 – Stay – Alessia Cara & Zedd – #9 – 2017-Apr-11 – 29 weeks
45 – Wild Things – Alessia Cara – #14 – 2016-Apr-18 – 33 weeks
44 – If I Can’t Have You – Shawn Mendes – #2 – 2019-May-14 – 29 weeks
43 – Life of the Party – Shawn Mendes – #9 – 2014-Oct-15 – 34 weeks
42 – Too Good – Drake – #9 – 2016-Jul-12 – 30 weeks
41 – Good Time – Carly Rae Jepsen & Owl City – #1 – 2012-Aug-29 – 31 weeks
40 – I Feel It Coming – The Weeknd – #10 – 2017-Mar-21 – 33 weeks
39 – Summer Paradise – Simple Plan – #8 – 2012-Jul-11 – 35 weeks
38 – Seniorita* – Shawn Mendes & C. Cabello – #1 – 2019-Aug-27 – 27 weeks
37 – Crazy For You – Hedley – #7 – 2014-Apr-16 – 33 weeks
36 – Goodbye – Glenn Morrison ft. Islove – #12 – 2013-Nov-27 – 37 weeks
35 – Red Hands – Walk Off the Earth – #9 – 2013-Apr-03 – 36 weeks
34 – Cold Water – Major Lazer ft Justin Bieber – #1 – 2016-Aug-02 – 30 weeks
33 – Anything – Hedley – #5 – 2013-Nov-27 – 33 weeks
32 – Here – Alessia Cara – #19 – 2016-Jan-11 – 39 weeks
31 – Inner Ninja – Classified ft. David Myles – #5 – 2013-Mar-13 – 38 weeks
30 – Alone Again – Alyssa Reid – #11 – 2011-Apr-13 – 41 weeks
29 – Stereo Love – Mia Martina – #10 – 2010-Nov-10 – 42 weeks
28 – Let Me Love You – DJ Snake ft. Justin Bieber – #4 – 2016-Oct-18 – 32 weeks
27 – 2 Heads – Coleman Hell – #15 – 2015-Nov-09 – 43 weeks
26 – In My Feelings – Drake – #1 – 2018-Jul-17 – 35 weeks
25 – Work – Rihanna ft. Drake – #1 – 2016-Feb-29 – 37 weeks
24 – I Don’t Care* – Justin Bieber & Ed Sheeran – #2 – 2019-May-21 – 34 weeks
23 – This Is What It Feels Like – AV Buuren ft. Trevor Guthrie – #6 – 2013-Jun-26 – 37 weeks
22 – There’s Nothing Holding Me Back – Shawn Mendes – #6 – 2017-Jul-18 – 39 weeks
21 – Hold On, We’re Going Home – Drake ft. Majid Jordan – #5 – 2013-Oct-09 – 39 weeks
20 – Stompa – Serena Ryder – #8 – 2013-Jan-30 – 44 weeks
19 – God’s Plan – Drake – #1 – 2018-Jan-30 – 39 weeks
18 – Hello – Dragonette & Martin Solveig – #8 – 2011-Mar-02 – 44 weeks
17 – Kiss You Inside Out – Hedley – #2 – 2012-Aug-15 – 41 weeks
16 – Starboy – The Weeknd – #1 – 2016-Nov-29 – 39 weeks
15 – Hotline Bling – Drake – #3 – 2015-Nov-02 – 44 weeks
14 – Treat You Better – Shawn Mendes – #7 – 2016-Jul-26 – 41 weeks
13 – Where Are U Now – Skrillex & Diplo ft. Justin Bieber – #5 – 2015-Sep-07 – 52 weeks
12 – What Do You Mean – Justin Bieber – #1 – 2015-Sep-07 – 45 weeks
11 – One Dance – Drake – #1 – 2016-Apr-25 – 45 weeks


10 – Love Yourself – Justin Bieber – #1 – 2016-Feb-15 – 47 weeks
9 – The Hills – The Weeknd – #1 – 2015-Oct-19 – 48 weeks
8 – Stitches – Shawn Mendes – #10 – 2015-Oct-12 – 51 weeks
7 – Blurred Lines – Robin Thicke – #1 – 2013-May-22 – 51 weeks
6 – Can’t Feel My Face – The Weeknd – #1 – 2015-Aug-31 – 47 weeks
5 – Sorry – Justin Bieber – #1 – 2015-Dec-21 – 52 weeks
4 – Body – Loud Luxury ft. Brando – #3 – 2018-Aug-28 – 54 weeks
3 – Despacito – Luis Fonsi & Daddy Yankee ft. Justin Bieber – #1 – 2017-May-16 – 53 weeks
2 – Rude – MAGIC! – #6 – 2014-Apr-30 – 69 weeks
1 – Call Me Maybe – Carly Rae Jepsen – #1 – 2012-Feb-01 – 74 weeks

The 100 Best Songs of the 2010s Decade

We are counting down our 100 favourite songs of the 2010s. While our end of year lists looked at works from Canadian artists only, we have decided to open things up as we stand at the gateway to the twenties. We wanted to see how Canadian artist songs fare compared to their international counterparts. By international we mean songs from around the world recorded in any language. All genres were taken into consideration. Covers were allowed provided they bested the originals. We have allowed multiple entries from the same artist. A song by definition is a piece of music that is sung. Thus we have excluded instrumentals in this list. We have used the single artwork where available, failing that the album on which the song appears.

It is important to note that the reader may find discrepancies between this list and the end of year lists. For example, a song which finished ahead of another in an end of year list may appear behind the other in this decade list. The explanation is that, over the years, some songs grew on us while others we tired of quickly. New songs came to our attention as well. The end of year lists remain true statements of how we felt about those songs at the time of publishing, and the list below is an honest account of how we feel about the songs now at the end of the decade. We prefer songs with good, pleasant vocals and that have melody.

♦ Die Young ♦

Peaking on the charts at #4 in November 2012, platinum certified “Die Young” was the lead single from Ke$ha’s sophomore album Warrior. Co-writing this delicious pop song was Canadian record producer Henry “Cirkut” Walter. Due to its title, the song was retracted from airplay at some radio stations due to sensitivities following a mass shooting at an American elementary school. The song’s message however was, in the words of Ke$ha herself, “to live each and every single day like it’s your last and to always remain having a youthful spirit”.

Carly Rae Jepsen
♦ LA Hallucinations ♦

“LA Hallucinations” provides us with a fun bop of a ride in which Carly Rae Jepsen elbows “Buzzfeed­buzzards and TMZ crows” for spreading false rumours about her. One of many standouts from her critically acclaimed album Emotion (shortlisted for the Polaris Music prize), this particular track was one she co-wrote with fellow British Columbians Zachary Gray (The Zolas) and Ajay Bhattacharyya (Data Romance).

Britney Spears
♦ Hold It Against Me ♦

In January 2011, this terrific number topped the charts. It was included on Britney Spears’ seventh studio album Femme Fatale and was written and produced by Max Martin and Dr. Luke who originally offered it to Katy Perry. It was decided however that the song was more suitable in style for Ms. Spears. The result is perfect.

Katy B
♦ Crying for No Reason ♦

Canada turned its back on Katy B; her raved about CD Little Red was not even made available in the Dominion by Sony. Katy did end up winning a JUNO award for her collaboration with Keys N Krates (“Save Me”, Dance Recording of the Year 2016). “Crying for No Reason” was the most successful single from Little Red in her native UK reaching #5 on the British charts with her rich R&B vocals soaring over the balladry of house electronica.

♦ Bad Habits ♦

“Bad Habits” is a standout track from Astronautica’s excellent album Gemini. The Los Angeles based producer specializes in chillout electronica, dressing it with her sultry R&B vocals. The funky song is something one would expect playing in some neon-lit sofa-dotted club attended by someone like Olivia Thirlby. Very cool stuff.

Justin Bieber
♦ Catching Feelings ♦

The pop and EDM delicacies that Justin Bieber put on his brilliant album Believe weren’t the only genres of song to be enjoyed. He proved he could craft some acoustic numbers just as savory with songs like “Fall” and this one, “Catching Feelings”. The Biebs was stomaching blows of bullying from all circles in those days – both for-profit and social media, and tucked into the delivery of this tune seems to be a sadness that is heartbreaking.

Livy Jeanne
♦ Fake It Past Goodbye ♦

Edmonton’s award winning star Livy Jeanne made the country Top 40 with “Wrong Side of the Dirt” but it was “Fake It Past Goodbye” and its walloping chorus that took us when it came to her superb debut full-length album Dashboard Renegade.

♦ Lighthouse ♦

G.R.L. was five fine, young women including Canada’s own Emmalyn Estrada. The singing group was assembled by Robin Antin who was behind other successful projects like The Pussycat Dolls. The group struck quadruple platinum in Australia thanks to “Ugly Heart” and platinum in Canada thanks to a feature in Pitbull’s “Wild Wild Love”. Things shattered down in heartbreak when member Simone Battle died. The remaining four came out swinging with what turned out to be their last hurrah before the group reformed; the brilliance of “Lighthouse” lit up the whole decade.

♦ Jour 1 ♦

The adorable French teen machine cranked out this knee slapping thrill in 2014, her first to break into the land of Eiffel’s Top 10. Its charm helped the singer’s debut album Chambre 12 sell over a million copies there and become one of only four albums to achieve double diamond certification.

Kelly Ann Wilson
♦ Anchor ♦

Kelly is from one of the most beautiful regions in the country – the Ottawa valley. And what an inspiration for country music that land must provide. It is certainly evident in her song “Anchor” which rolls along so smoothly and yet with so much horsepower, you’ll have this thing on repeat for an hour, like we did.

Jolin Tsai
♦ Dr. Jolin ♦

Our first Allophone song of the list comes from the queen of Chinese dance pop, Jolin, off her wonderful 12th studio album Muse. “Dr. Jolin” with its spicy EDM synth pulses was the 24th biggest song of 2012 on Hit FM Taiwan’s end of year Top 100.

Katy Perry
♦ Roar ♦

We cannot think of the decade in pop without Katy Perry. She took a lion’s share of the genre’s success. “Roar”, lead single from her album Prism, topped the charts in August 2013 to close out the summer with a … roar. The song’s message furthered Perry’s commitment to the theme of self-empowerment.

♦ Loudspeaker ♦

All-girl trio Muna formed at university in Los Angeles and specializes in electronic pop and new wave. “Loudspeaker”, off debut album About U, packs a nice punch with some interesting vocal hooks. Drop the headphones and listen to this one on some loudspeakers.

♦ Nowhere ♦

Off the highly praised and somewhat successful album Love Life, the Canadian singer’s sixth studio album, this Tricky Stewart & The Dream penned electronic R&B anthem gave the genre some much needed sparkle.

Louise Burns
♦ Drop Names Not Bombs ♦

Departing rock band Lillix, Louise Burns was taken on by independent Vancouver label Light Organ Records as a soloist, and she released her debut album Mellow Drama in 2011. It was longlisted for the Polaris Music Prize, undoubtedly helped by the flowing jingle jangle of this brilliant cut.

Maylee Todd
♦ Baby’s Got It ♦

Maylee Todd is a marvel. Not only was she able to recreate the wholesome fusion of 1970s boogie, funk, bossa nova, and soul, and with some delicious vibraphone, but we feel she has actually improved upon the genre. While Todd’s 2010 effort saw her finding her way, she hit her stride with Escapology in 2013. The invigorating grooves of “Baby’s Got It” iced the cake on Claudja Barry and got us back on the dance map.

Jessie Ware
♦ Imagine It Was Us ♦

Tacked onto the Gold and US editions of Jessie Ware’s debut album Devotion, dance-pop number “Imagine It Was Us” was its richest and most engaging track. The song sports a clap-along beat, funky guitar, and gliding keys, all carried by the English singer’s soulful vocals.

Britney Spears
♦ Body Ache ♦

Co-written by EDM guru David Guetta, this ace appeared on album Britney Jean. The bright hammered keys are reminiscent of Globe’s “Departures” and are perhaps the song’s most infectious feature aside from the recognizable vocals of the 21st century’s queen of American dance pop.

♦ Toes ♦

Lights captured our attention with the most successful single off her sophomore record Siberia; “Toes” wiggled its way up to #62 on the charts. While her first album The Listening was a synthpop effort, she went for a more electro-alternative style on Siberia. “Toes”, however, stands like a pivot, straddling both fields with smart, razzle-dazzle production and a tantalizing chorus to boot.

Victoria Duffield
♦ Save Me ♦

Save me from boredom. And this irresistible, high octane thump number does just that. Off debut album Shut Up and Dance, Canada’s answer to Britney Spears, Victoria Duffield, just 17 at the time, teamed up with the godfather of Canadian dance pop, Ryan Stewart, to pen this winner.

Ft. Selena Gomez
♦ I Want You to Know ♦

The Russian-German fashioner of EDM features the vocals of Justin Bieber’s ex love interest, and the result is splendid. “I Want You to Know” hit #19 on the charts. The song appeared on Zedd’s 2015 album True Colors [sic] and was co-written with OneRepublic’s Ryan Tedder.

Foster the People
♦ Helena Beat ♦

While “Pumped Up Kicks” got spun like mad on the radio, Torches album opener “Helena Beat” won us over to the alternative vibrations of Foster the People. Calling out the horrifying nonchalance of Hollywood drug culture, the song whirrs with synths, jabbing guitars, and of course a tap-along beat. Nifty stuff.

♦ Lights Out ♦

The German duo went all … out on its eponymous debut record. “Lights Out” was our favourite cut, brooding synth pop that bursts out in beats, arpeggios, and an effective chorus.

♦ This Year ♦

Speaking of great choruses, (Kate) Cooper, an enigmatic figure who hails from the land down under, served this nice pop nugget in 2014. You were more likely to hear it on television than the radio, as it was used to promote some TV series.

Alexe (Gaudreault)
♦ Mirage ♦

While there seemed to be a lack of good Franco pop in France – the decade saw their charts inundated with English language songs – Canada’s Alexe Gaudreault showed the world how to craft French language music properly. “Mirage” from her eponymous, debut album was one of many hits the disc spawned, filled with swagger, and ever so catchy.

Foster the People
♦ Coming of Age ♦

How a great song like this from a popular band missed or merely nicked the charts is very strange indeed. A minor hit in Canada and Australia it failed to chart in the UK and band’s native USA. “Coming of Age” was the lead single from Foster the People’s second album, Supermodel.

Jaki Song
♦ End of Time ♦

This sweeping electronic soundscape from Montreal based Jaki Song appeared on her now collectors’ item album New Sun. Juicy beats and spicy vocals lifted the delicious track above similar attempts at championing the genre.

Mia Martina
♦ Tu me manques (Remix) ♦

Most attempts at remixes through the decade fell short of bettering the originals. This was one exception. While the album version of “Missing You” from EDM singer Mia Martina was savory, the remix, an infectious wall of sound, has your feet racing for the dancefloor. We like the French version even better. Of all places in the world, this pounder hit #2 on the Russian charts.

Justin Bieber
♦ Beauty and a Beat ♦

The Biebs scored quite the hit with this super fun blast off album Believe. “Beauty and a Beat” featuring the brief but effective segment from US rapper Nicki Minaj found a home at #4 on the charts in December 2012.

Mia Martina
♦ Burning ♦

Mia Martina knows how to throw a musical party. This saxed-up anthem is entertainment at its best and contains one of the most memorable vocal riffs of the decade. “Burning” off debut album Devotion was a #25 hit in February 2012. For something even better, check out the French version.

Michael Learns to Rock
♦ Scandinavia ♦

Title-track and final cut off excellent album Scandinavia – arguably the Danish soft rock group’s best – knocks the ball out of the park with an emotionally powerful chorus. It makes you want to pay a visit to the little mermaid in Copenhagen.

Avril Lavigne
Ft. Chad Kroeger
♦ Let Me Go ♦

In October 2013, this irresistible power ballad with a choice pairing of Lavigne and Nickelback frontman Chad Kroeger scaled up to #12 on the charts. While radio support faltered in other gold and platinum certified tracks from Avril’s eponymous album, once Chad was in the mix, they were onboard. Be careful not to mishear the lyric “Love that once hung on the wall” as “Love that one song on the wall”.

Jolin Tsai
♦ The Third Person and I ♦

Co-penned by Singaporean whiz JJ Lin, “The Third Person and I” is a standout from Jolin Tsai’s finest album Play and surprisingly carries with it an alternative rock vibe. Unsurprisingly … it was the eighth biggest song of 2014 at Taiwan’s Hit FM.

♦ Siberia ♦

Opening track from synth-tickler Lights’ sophomore record Siberia should grab you immediately, hitting you with a great wall of ethereal sound and sounding a little sad. Thick bass pumps, sparkling synthesizers, and of course Lights’ honey drenched vocals singing out the beautiful poetry—it’s all simply perfect.

Dami Im
♦ Super Love ♦

With one of the most memorable intros in pop music, this song written about her husband’s sacrifices for her reached #11 on the Australian charts. The beautifully crafted “Super Love” from Dami Im has it all: synthpop, dance pop, gorgeous balladry, big vocals, and even a touch of R&B.

Kacey Musgraves
♦ Happy & Sad ♦

Containing one of the most uplifting choruses we’ve ever heard, “Happy & Sad” is from Kacey Musgraves’ alternative country LP Golden Hour, most of which was mixed by Alberta’s Shawn Everett. The album won the Grammy Award for Album of the Year. This is one of its greatest tracks.

Jolin Tsai
♦ Love Player ♦

One heck of a dancefloor thumper, “Love Player” is off Jolin Tsai’s fabulous 2010 album Myself. The style of the mid-tempo song in many ways nudged the Mandopop superstar in a new direction which shaped much of her 2010s’ music.

Carly Rae Jepsen
♦ The One ♦

When Carly Rae Jepsen has her game on, she delivers some of the catchiest pop songs on the planet. Off her Emotion Side B, a disc of bonus tracks from the Emotion recording sessions, this was definitely a standout track.

Samantha Jade
♦ Sweet Talk ♦

Australia’s Samanta Jade won the X Factor, in large part, due to her amazing reinterpretation of Kanye West’s “Heartless”. What makes this Top 40 hit in the land down under work so well is her swoon-worthy vocal delivery. The funky “Sweet Talk” was co-written by Charli Taft, responsible for many K-Pop hits, and Brian Lee whose credits including Carly Rae Jepsen & Owl City’s “Good Time”.

♦ Clone ♦

An overlooked track from the synth-rock group’s award winning album Synthetica, Metric’s cute ditty “Clone” builds nicely, gliding along at a measured pace with synth ripples and savory hooks.

Kacey Musgraves
♦ Slow Burn ♦

“Texas is hot, I can be cold; Grandma cried when I pierced my nose” – a quirky lyric that doesn’t quite rhyme but one that sticks – opens the opening track of Kacey’s award-winning album. “Slow Burn” has such a simple guitar riff that somehow manages to be completely captivating in its beauty and is a song that stays on repeat for a very long time.

♦ Breathing Underwater ♦

A surprise CHR hit for the synthrock band, Metric’s “Breathing Underwater” reached #22 on the Hot 100 in October 2013. Its big chorus and delicious vocal work from Emily Haines help make it a winner.

Avril Lavigne
♦ Rock N Roll ♦

Known for making some of the best music videos around, the MV for this one is no exception. The song itself is an exhilarating, powerhouse electric guitar infused number opening Avril’s excellent self-titled 2013 album.

Lexi Strate
♦ Diamond Eyes ♦

The ultra spicy singer charmed to the blazes with this fresh and mysterious song which moves at a stately pace and provides a nice touch of funky guitar. The music video is a treat as well.

Avril Lavigne
♦ Here’s to Never Growing Up ♦

Platinum certified and reaching #17 on the charts in April 2013, though receiving only limited radio support, the lead single from Avril Lavigne’s eponymous album is a nice tie-in to her beginnings as a mall circumambulating skater teen. Watch her ride the wheels, complete with her signature tank top & tie combo, down party decked high school halls in the MV.

Tegan and Sara
♦ Drove Me Wild ♦

This is the only track on the twin sisters’ best album Heartthrob that was co-written with Sultan + Shepard. It was not released as a single but was praised by some critics. “Drove Me Wild” offers a cool ride through new wave avenues.

Gary Numan
♦ The Fall ♦

The strongest track from Gary Numan’s marvellous album Dead Son Rising, this rock out industrial number proved the genre still had some spark in the 2010s. Gary Numan’s best songs (he’s released over 20 studio albums) are often the ones where he belts out the choruses, and “The Fall” is a prime example.

+ Tegan and Sara
♦ Feel It in My Bones ♦

Besides his “Jackie Chan” collaboration with Dzeko, “Feel It in My Bones” featuring the vocals of Canadian twin sisters Tegan and Sara, was the only platinum single scored by The Netherlands’ wizard of EDM. It broke just into the Top 30 in April 2010 receiving radio support. The sisters also co-wrote the track with Tiësto making it their first true collaboration.

Lexi Strate
♦ Antidote ♦

Swing-bop at its finest, “Antidote” helped Lexi Strate win Breakout West’s Pop Artist of the Year award. With one of the most unique and savory voices in the world, the rising star can also boast lending her cords to some of the catchiest pop songs through the decade. This was one of them.

♦ Punks Don’t Dance ♦

Led by exquisite vocalist Marissa Dattoli, Crystalyne’s delicious dance-pop number “Punks Don’t Dance” should have been a major hit. Oh what a beat and oh what fun. Don’t miss out on this one!

Let’s Eat Grandma
♦ Falling into Me ♦

Easily the standout track from the British duo’s highly acclaimed I’m All Ears album, this timeless climactic piece of alternative electronica cascades into ecstasy closing out with a nice sax bit.

My Crazy Girlfriend
♦ Crazy Stupid Love ♦

An underground pop hit for this Los Angeles group with a lead singer who sounds a bit like Taylor Swift, “Crazy Stupid Love” by My Crazy Girlfriend was a total blast in 2014.

Nikki Yanofsky
♦ I Believe ♦

Used to promote the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver, “I Believe” was composed by Stephan Moccio and Alan Frew (Glass Tiger). Handling vocals was 16-year-old jazz sensation Nikki Yanofsky of Montreal. A French language version of the song was handled by Annie Villeneuve. The song inspired Canadian athletes who broke the gold medal tally record winning 14. “I Believe” topped the Hot 100 in February 2010.

Carly Rae Jepsen
♦ Warm Blood ♦

Our favourite track off Carly Rae Jepsen’s critically acclaimed third LP, Emotion, “Warm Blood” has the singer’s vocals take on all sorts of tones and moods. At points, it even sounds like she’s giving us an evil laugh. The hypnotic atmosphere of “Warm Blood” received much tweaking from Carly and the track’s producer Rostam Batmanglij. The final take is downright creepy and delicious.

Bobby Bazini
♦ C’est La Vie ♦

A modern-day wonder of blue-eyed soul, Bobby Bazini has scored two platinum albums, the second of which was the best-selling album domestically in 2014. Lead single off his third LP was “C’est la Vie” which peaked on the Hot 100 in November 2016. Those bluesy keys are simply irresistible.

Katy Perry
♦ Firework ♦

From one of the best albums of the decade and a great representation of its pop music, “Firework” is one of the disc’s choicest moments. Both lyrically and musically, it uplifts and inspires. It topped the charts in early December 2010.

Charli XCX
♦ Superlove ♦

After scoring a hit as a featured artist (Icona Pop’s “I Love It”), Charli XCX was ready to chalk one up as the main artist. Her breakthrough came with “Boom Clap” in 2014, but it was 2013’s “Superlove” that set things up. The song landed a mild placement at #62 on the UK charts and benefits from its quick pacing and speedy, enthusiastic delivery. Pure fun.

Lindsay Ell
♦ Criminal ♦

It took ten long years, and a young woman from Calgary finally did it. She became the first homegrown female soloist in a whole decade to reach #1 at country radio in Canada. “Criminal” did pretty well in the US too, making it into the country Top 20, a rare event for a Canadian song these days. Plucky guitar leads up to the most sing-along worthy chorus in a long time. This song deserved every milestone it passed.

Britney Spears
♦ Till the World Ends ♦

Ranked as the 3rd best EDM track of all time by Noisey, “Till the World Ends” gave pop superstar Britney Spears another notch in her belt. Off her superb 2011 album Femme Fatale, the song reached #4 in May 2011.

Katy B
Ft. Jessie Ware
♦ Aaliyah ♦

Oh, what a tidy and intricate web this rich, deep house track weaves. Enticing keyboard riffs drenched in reverb, with two of the sultriest vocals in 2010s’ music: British cool cats Katy B and Jessie Ware, a collaboration made in heaven. “Aaliyah” works on so many levels.

Morgan Page
+ Tegan & Sara
♦ Body Work ♦

Laundered house music never sounded so good. 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 Hot 100. With a beat that could set off an earthquake, shimmering synths that could get a sloth jiving, and twin stereo voices that could turn grapefruit into honey, this piece of wizardry is one for the record hooks.

♦ Lontana Da Te ♦

When it comes to musica italiana, few do it better than Rome’s Syria (Cecilia Cipressi). Active since the mid-90s, she launched fabulous album 10+10 in 2017 including this super catchy gold nugget of pop-rock.

Stefie Shock
♦ Want You to Want Me ♦
(Original Version)

From radio DJ to gold-certified recording artist, Stefie Shock is one keeping new wave alive thanks to this shaft of brilliance. With so many male voices AutoTuned to a higher register or scratching away in falsetto, Stefie’s refreshing baritone (perhaps an emulation of Serge Gainsbourg) reminded us what real male voices sound like. Almost as good is the album version of the song which is more suitable for the dancefloor.

Rosemary Fairweather
♦ Moonlight ♦

The enigmatic figure who is Rosemary Fairweather received rave reviews for her airy dream-like soundscape in “Moonlight”. The intimate vocal work and synth driven ambiance helped secure for her a record deal with Universal Music.

Kylie Minogue
♦ Into the Blue ♦

The late-80s debut album from Australian dance-pop superstar Kylie Minogue was probably the finest LP crafted by British hitmaking team Stock-Aitken-Waterman. Oddly, while continuing to score a slew of hits in Europe through the 90s, her music was snubbed by the US and Canada until she released her Fever album in 2001. Much of the same regional bias followed with her post-Fever releases. “Into the Blue” is one of her most delicious songs complete with growling synths and addictive beats. The 2014 song charted at 12th in the UK and 9th in Ireland.

Diana Wang
♦ Home ♦

For a relatively obscure independent artist from The Netherlands to attract over 30 million views to a music video is quite an accomplishment. Diana Wang took us “Home” and we are all the better for it. Her exuberant vocals do justice to one of the few R&B songs out there that has melody, and what a melody!

Shawn Hook
♦ Sound of Your Heart ♦

This double platinum single followed earlier dance-pop radio hit “Million Ways”. Piano pop sizzler “Sound of Your Heart” with its great chorus peaked at #23 on the Hot 100 in May 2015.

The Belle Game
♦ Spirit ♦

“Spirit” by Vancouver’s The Belle Game was a highlight for 2017. It begins with a drum beat and synth pulse, adds electronic textures, and Andrea Lo’s angelic voice surges above. Then those addictive beats kick in, heavier synths burst forth, and we are on a joy ride to the stars. Pure excellence, pure elation.

♦ Wild West ♦

With “Wild West”, a song that should have been a big hit, Lissie pulls off an impressive neo-trad feat, roots music dressed in progressive attire. The song builds to a rewarding climax, and her vocals, in letting loose, provide an exhilarating emotional boost.

Tom Chaplin
♦ Quicksand ♦

The Keane frontman released a solo album, and we are grateful, especially for the turbo charged burst of emotional elation that is “Quicksand”. Tom has one of the handsomest male vocals in popular music today as evidenced by his performance on this stupendous song.

Glenn Morrison
♦ Goodbye ♦

Just wait until the beat kicks in – pure delight. “Goodbye” is one of the finest examples of the decade’s EDM, achieving double platinum sales, and peaking at #12 on the Hot 100.

Le Couleur
♦ Vacances de 87 ♦

Featuring French Horn Rebellion, this requisite staple of the dance club gets the bongos sounding, the cymbals tinkling, the beat pounding, and most importantly the bass funking. It fires up the synths, begins tickling the guitars, pairs the American boy with a Canadian girl, and alternates between male Anglo and female Franco vocals. What could serve as a more addictive treat? We absolutely adore how the song’s grand finale provides that extra bass hook.

The Courtneys
♦ Country Song ♦

They make it seem so simple, and it is so simple. One guitar, one bass, one drum set, three lovely voices, kick-butt riffs, a measured tempo, and presto, we have one of the most exhilarating rock songs of the 2010s.

Jonas &
The Massive Attraction
♦ Cover Me ♦

“Cover Me” makes the heart feel as if it is soaring through dense material, backed with invigorating power and restorative juices, a feel-good anthem with a wall of sound that is rich, intricate, and plentiful. Jonas Tomalty is for sure one of Canada’s finest rock vocalists.

Tegan and Sara
♦ I Was a Fool ♦

This serene, breezy Top 20 hit and platinum single was the second released from Heartthrob. It sizzles and swaggers its way back to a retro 80s new wave vibe. “I Was a Fool” opens with piano, provides a solid backbeat, is delivered with the sweetest of vocals, and burns into the grooviest of choruses in natural stereo sound from the twin sister duo.

♦ Cactus in the Valley ♦

Composed entirely by Lights herself, “Cactus in the Valley”, off the Canadian recording artist’s second studio album Siberia, is hauntingly beautiful with an effective combination of eerie music and warm vocals.

Shawn Hook
♦ Million Ways ♦

Shawn Hook scored this charting dance-pop number by a stroke of luck. When his scheduled co-writer cancelled a session due to his child’s soccer practice, Shawn was forced to team up with another composer – Grammy Award winner Victoria Horn. The result of the 6-hour session was one of the catchiest gems of the decade, “Million Ways”. The whistling conclusion is a smart touch too.

♦ Silenced by the Night ♦

Lead single for fourth album Strangeland from UK progressive rock band Keane. It was the group’s 12th charting single in Britain and 2nd last before its hiatus announcement. “Silenced by the Night” has all the elements that one would expect from Keane: first-rate composition, soaring vocals, dazzling keyboards, and an overall uplifting, emotionally powerful sound.

Kira Isabella
♦ Quarterback ♦

This is one of those songs that grabs you lyrically first and then the great music begins to take hold. This country singer made the gutsy move of accepting a song American A-listers, including Carrie Underwood, shied away from taking on because of its sensitive subject matter – getting a girl drunk to take advantage of her. On all levels, “Quarterback” is magnificently powerful.

Jonathan Li
♦ One Life ♦

“One Life” has such a feel-good, clap-along beat and catchy guitar hook that we never grew tired of it. It’s one of those party pop anthems that makes you glue down that repeat button. The song is off Jonathan Li’s second album, Our Stories Matter.

Carly Rae Jepsen
♦ Cut to the Feeling ♦

Following first the release of critically acclaimed album Emotion in 2015 and second the 2016 drop of a bonus disc of album throwaways that were better than 90% of the pop songs of the year, Carly Rae Jepsen reached up her sleeve and dropped an ace called “Cut to the Feeling”, the best song she came up with since her 2011 Curiosity EP.

Lexi Strate
♦ All for You ♦

This is a jewel of songwriting and expert production, an intelligent dance track filled with complex percussion, bright keyboards, and a galvanizing chorus. But what makes it so exquisite is the voice, a voice which is so uniquely gorgeous, so soulfully zesty, and so very, very charming.

♦ Manquer de toi ♦

Rosa’s superb “Manquer de toi” (Miss You) is both the top French language song and top rock song on our decade-end list. The Canadian singer’s voice is stunning, and the songwriting in the genre is unparalleled with one of the memorable guitar solos we’ve ever heard.

Ella Koon
♦ So In Love ♦

Ella Koon was born in Tahiti, grew up in Hong Kong, and attended high school in Britain. She speaks four languages fluently. As an independent artist, she enjoyed chart success with “Coral Island” and won awards in China. With a signing to Warner, she released her dance-pop debut single “So In Love”. Composed by hitmaker Khalil Fong, an interesting twist is the song has a high-powered electric guitar side-stepping into the chorus.

Hilary Duff
♦ My Kind ♦

Written by Jason Gill and Elina Stridh the entrancing, upbeat “My Kind” appeared on Hilary Duff’s brilliant fifth album Breathe In. Breathe Out but was not released as a single, though she did give it a music video. Her vocals are as seductive as ever, and this is the song to get you moving.

Kristina Maria
♦ Let’s Play ♦

So irresistible, dance-pop track “Let’s Play” reached #19 on the Hot 100 in June 2011, one of the Canadian singer’s three gold-certified singles. It was later included on her debut album Tell the World. There is mystery in the music, and Kristina Maria’s vocal work is fabulous, making this a must-have addition to one’s music library.

Avril Lavigne
♦ Wish You Were Here ♦

The third single from Avril Lavigne’s fourth album Goodbye Lullaby, “Wish You Were Here” was co-written with Max Martin and Shellback. It charted in March 2011 and reveals a vulnerable side of Avril with sensitive vocal delivery. The chorus is amazing, and though the singer releases many great songs through the 2010s, this was perhaps the finest of them all.

Diamond Rings
♦ Put Me On ♦

What’s not to love about a song that contains the lyric, “Beneath the sliver of the autumn moon, between the pigeons and the northern loons”? Diamond Rings, stage name of John O’Regan, included this delicious number on his sizzling second studio album Free Dimensional. Bringing back that marvellous 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.

Jess Moskaluke
♦ Good Lovin’ ♦

Name a country song you can dance to. Jess Moskaluke’s “Good Lovin” is one, but rather than the beat coming from the drums, it gets the boots stomping thanks to a ground-shaking bass. From album Light Up the Night, the song was composed by Enderlin, Bundy & Flowers. This is the top country song on our end of decade list.

Alicia Moffet
♦ Why Do Boys Lie ♦

What happens when award winning songwriter Marc Jordan (Rod Stewart, Josh Groban) and multiplatinum composer Rob Wells (Ariana Grande, Olivia Newton-John) pen a song for an award-winning singer whose voice is breathtaking enough to ruffle feathers on the wings of angels? Absolute magic! This was the formal debut single from the pitch-perfect teen prodigy. Carrying an infectious melody, delivered with graceful piano, and knocked out of the ballpark by a soaring voice, this hair-raising anthem of excellence is simply stunning.


♦ Set Fire to the Rain ♦

In February 2012, Adele’s 6x platinum “Set Fire to the Rain” peaked at #2 on the Hot 100 (unable to unseat Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe) and was the third single released from the Brit’s blockbuster album 21. Smart songwriting abounds (similar to “When Your Mind’s Made Up” from the Once soundtrack) and accompanies Adele’s flawless vocal delivery. Music and voice contain nuances that make the song highly engaging with detailed piano licks and glorious climaxes.

Katy Perry
♦ Teenage Dream ♦

Another #2 hit, this time in September 2010, Katy Perry’s “Teenage Dream”, title-track from her smash album, was unable to dethrone Eminem’s “Love the Way You Lie”. Several songwriters were involved in this delicious pop song including the ubiquitous Max Martin. A super catchy guitar riff and infectious beat make this a winner of winners.

Alexz Johnson
♦ Voodoo ♦

Off her debut album of the same name, “Voodoo” begins with a slapping beat and choppy guitars. Keyboards kick in and we’re off the races. Alexz’s voice adds a dash of soul to a song that builds gradually into a satisfying work of sculpted excellence.

Victoria Duffield
♦ Break My Heart ♦

The energizing sizzler “Break My Heart” was the third single released from Victoria’s debut album Shut Up and Dance and broke into the Top 40 in October 2012, eventually going gold. 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.

♦ Wings ♦

The British songstress’ biggest hit to date, “Wings”, co-penned by OneRepublic’s Ryan Tedder, peaked at #8 on the UK charts in September 2013. It is from the singer’s second album Fire Within. “Wings” did even better in other European countries and topped the charts in Ireland. Complex parts from the various instruments make for an intelligent track and masterpiece of composition and arrangement, and the whole is handled perfectly by Birdy’s delicate vocals.

♦ Fushizen Na Girl ♦

The top non-English language entry on our best of the decade list, “Fushizen Na Girl” (Artificial Girl) is from EDM female trio Perfume of Hiroshima, Japan. It was the group’s first single release of the decade and appears on its third studio album JPN. What a beat! In a word, this song is wonderful and was composed by the Max Martin of Japan, Yasutaka Nakata. “Fushizen Na Girl” peaked at #2 on the Japanese weekly Oricon Singles Chart. Be sure to check out as well the spectacular music video.

Armin van Buuren
Ft. Trevor Guthrie
♦ This Is What It Feels Like ♦

Trevor Guthrie with his Brad Pitt looks and fabulous pop vocals is the ex lead singer of now defunct band soulDecision which scored major hits like “Faded” and “Ooh It’s Kinda Crazy” circa Y2K. Trevor wrote this song inspired by his neighbour being diagnosed with brain cancer and submitted it to Dutch EDM master Armin van Buuren. The extremely exhilarating “This Is What It Feels Like” peaked at #6 on the Hot 100 in June 2013 and was the 19th biggest hit of the year. The song has been certified triple platinum. Feel yourself strike the sky with towering elation.

Every Last Chance
Ft. Marissa Dattoli
♦ Spotlight ♦

This heart-gripping explosion of possessive dance music was created by a Vancouver-based project in conjunction with Canada’s godfather of dance pop, producer Ryan Stewart. It features the gorgeous vocals of Marissa Dattoli, lead singer of band Crystalyne. This is the top non-charting single on our list.

Carly Rae Jepsen
♦ Call Me Maybe ♦

Following up two Top 40 hits and gold certified singles, Carly Rae Jepsen, released this new song in 2011 not knowing what would happen. “Call Me Maybe” was fresh-sounding, catchy, expertly produced, and intelligently composed by the exceptionally talented singer-songwriter, a pure pop song embraced by fellow celebrities like Justin Bieber, Katy Perry, and of course Cookie Monster. Its music video surpassed a billion views. It became the most downloaded song of the year around the planet at iTunes, and Billboard named it as having the best chorus of the 21st century. In other words, when the smoke cleared away, Carly Rae Jepsen had slayed like nobody’s business.

Canadian Music Blog’s
♦ Song of the Decade ♦

How could there be a 2010s song that bettered Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe”? Well, you have to think about a song … from the same artist.

Its story, somewhat successful but also a missed opportunity, very much parallels the story of the music industry through the 2010s.

Released soon after “Call Me Maybe” became a cultural phenomenon, it was the song Canadian radio treated as a supplementary one rather than a followup. As a result, its becoming merely a Top 20 hit, as the charts were determined mostly by airplay in those days, was misinterpreted as a song that could be better. It was remade for Carly’s LP Kiss. Now remade, the music video shot for her big Canadian hit never saw the light of day. Needless to say, the remake was not as good as the original, and the song, a sizable smash in Canada failed to break out globally. “Good Time” became the international followup to “Call Me Maybe” which Jepsen performed with synthpop sensation Owl City. Because that song was a collaboration, the American media did not give credit to Carly for the successful followup.

But it is the title-track off Carly Rae Jepsen’s EP (which cast “Call Me Maybe” into public consciousness before the Kiss LP was put together and released) that somehow brewed beneath the overshadowing hype of the “here’s my number” … number. The original version of the song, co-written and produced by Canadian dancepop maestro Ryan Stewart, is an absolute stunner. So compelling this driving tune is, possessing every nerve, invading every artery, elevating consciousness to the highest planes of paradise. We hear relentless keyboards, pounding bass, happy drum slaps, and quite possibly the finest musical bridge ever composed.

Yes, curiosity will never let me go.

And with it, Carly Rae Jepsen finishes the decade and our list with a one-two punch.

Canadian Music Blog declares Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Curiosity” (original version) as the 2010s song of the decade.

Carly Rae Jepsen
♦ Curiosity ♦
(Original Version)

The 100 Best Albums of the 2010s Decade

Some exceptional albums came out during the noughties decade: Keane’s Hopes and Fears, Gigi Leung’s Suddenly This Summer, Utada Hikaru’s Heart Station, Jay-Jay Johanson’s Rush, Alizée’s Gourmandises, Gary Numan’s Pure, Twins’ Touch of Love, and Lights’ The Listening. The tens were fabulous too. We have compiled our 100 favourite albums of the decade and present them ranked below from 100 to 1. While our end of year lists looked at works from Canadian artists only, we have decided to open things up as we stand at the gateway to the twenties. We wanted to see how Canadian artist albums fare compared to their international counterparts. By international we mean albums from around the world recorded in any language. All genres were taken into consideration. Albums of cover songs were included only if we felt the tracks were better than the originals. We have allowed for multiple entries by the same artist. Excluded are EPs (discs whose total runtime sits below 25 minutes or collections of album bonus tracks). Also excluded are various artist compilation albums, remix albums, Christmas albums, live albums, and greatest hits albums.

It is important to note that the reader may find discrepancies between this list and CMB’s end of year lists. For example, an album which finished ahead of another in an end of year list may appear behind the other in this decade list. The explanation is that, over the years, some albums grew on us while others we tired of quickly. New albums came to our attention as well. The end of year lists remain true statements of how we felt about those albums at the time of publishing, and the list below is an honest account of how we feel about the albums now at the end of the decade.

♦ Black Moon ♦

Triple threat Kaelen Ohm, recording artist, actress, and award-winning filmmaker released album Black Moon under moniker Amaara in 2017. Technically an LP (with six tracks, it has a run time of 27 minutes), Black Moon is drenched in dream pop atmospherics. Amaara, having served as a member of Reuben and the Dark, proves she can make just as satisfying music as a soloist. The music frolics airily through lullabies, fantasies, and fairy tale magic. The exceptional title-track perfectly delivers her style. “Dreamcatcher” blends the ominous with the soothing before breaking into a soft flow. Amaara’s Black Moon is a hauntingly beautiful album for those seeking something magical.

♦ Slowdive ♦

Monarchs of shoegaze, Britain’s Slowdive released its first album in 22 years in 2017, a self-titled affair. It sounded like the players had never left the scene. Opener “Slomo”, sluggish and dreary, seems to pick up from the band’s “Crazy for You” days in 1995. Outstanding number “Star Roving”, buttressed by many layers packs one heck of a punch. And through the haze and the daze this magnificent album generates, one emerges at the other end wondering what just hit him. A welcome return.

Foster the People
♦ Torches ♦

Los Angeles is home to many talented underground acts, but Foster the People broke out early thanks to hit single “Pumped Up Kicks”. Weird, wacky, and fun, it’s the sort of novelty track that resonates with the masses. The group followed up the single with album Torches and its bouncy opener “Helena Beat”. The disc is drenched with jangly guitars, whirring keys, quirky vocals, and funky verses cascading into infectious choruses. This is a great band.

♦ Golden Age ♦

Ladies and gentlemen, we are in serious danger … of enjoying ourselves, thanks to album number two from Phèdre, offshoot of Toronto’s Hooded Fang. The duo transported itself to Berlin to lay down the tracks for Golden Age, a celebration of experimental and very catchy electronica. The vocals, intentionally at times slightly off-key and delivered in a spirit of boredom, add an extra dimension. In fact, the entire package seems to have been borne by the winds of a tesseract. Phèdre reminds us of music’s great potential to excite, and they have succeeded in tapping into this gold mine of creativity unleashing the magic sparklers of all things weird and wonderful.

Jessie Ware
♦ Devotion (Gold Edition) ♦

Those used to a wall of sound may need some time to let the sparse arrangements on Jessie Ware’s R&B inflected Devotion grow on them. Rather than presenting the pizzazz of a complex cacophony, Jessie settles for stringing up little hooks and etching subtle grooves that eventually caress those tympanic membranes. A number of versions of the album are available. Whichever you get, make sure it includes “Imagine It Was Us” quite possibly the Brit’s best song.

♦ I Become a Shade ♦

Montreal synth-tickling trio Seoul prunes the roadside foliage providing for a picturesque, velvety drive through shady climes. I Become a Shade is the band’s debut LP, a seamless merging of the organic and the ambient, a sombre ride that never falls into despair. We feel as if we are cruising at high speeds on petrol fumes alone or perhaps aboard a Maglev train. It is a solid album throughout, all tracks hitting the mark, whether they pause for a bit of reflection or decide to get a bit funky. The ethereal “Galway” is a nice treat to close the work.

♦ Rosa ♦

Exotic would be an apt word to use in Rosa Laricchiuta’s path to her debut album. She’s a Montreal-born singer of Italian descent discovered in a karaoke venue which led to a tour of Asia performing in the poshest of venues and wound up as a finalist in Canada’s The Voice. But that’s not all. Melissa Etheridge was so impressed with her that she invited Rosa to join her on tour. Meanwhile, king of Francorock, Éric Lapointe, took it upon himself to get her debut album launched under the auspices of Sylvain Cossette’s record label. And of all genres of music, the powerhouse vocalist has selected rock, and we are grateful. The eponymous album, Rosa, includes great guitar work, powerful rock drumming, and well-written nuggets of catchiness surrounded by an amazing voice.

♦ Everything in the World ♦

Wanting (Qu), originally from the ice sculpture capital of Harbin, China, settled into Vancouver as a teenager and on her trusty keyboard began writing songs. She felt she had something to offer and submitted a batch to Terry McBride of the Nettwerk Music Group (home to such artists as Sarah McLachlan). The rest, as they say, is history. The singer and songwriter’s knack for penning good tunes is very evident on her debut record Everything in the World. The music here is just beautiful. While she hits the mark on English language tracks “Drenched” and “Life Is Like a Song”, she does the same on Chinese language numbers “Today” and her megahit that swept the masses in the land of her birth, “You Exist in My Song”.

You Say Party
♦ You Say Party ♦

This post punk group released its fourth album in 2016 following a hiatus. The band tragically lost drummer Devon Clifford during a gig in 2010. The remaining four decided to use drum machines rather than recruit a new percussionist. The result effectively gives the music a more emotionally drained, droning sound, which is fitting, as the album tries to make sense out of the band’s loss and uncertain future. The cover art is an accurate reflection of the gloomy atmospherics the disc explores. It’s an honest and authentic representation of the dark detour the group was forced to take, slightly experimental, as the four players explored unfamiliar terrain but emerged with an impressive work of art.

♦ Gravity the Seducer ♦

In 2005, English-Bulgarian electronic outfit Ladytron put out one of the finest new wave songs of the new millennium, “Destroy Everything You Touch” off album Witching Hour. Success often leads to record label switching, and the group crossed the floor from Island Records to Canada’s Nettwerk. Gravity the Seducer, burbling with perhaps a smoother brew, came in 2011. The glittering chimes of “White Elephant” herald swinging “Mirage’s” pastel cool. The album offers slow burning charmers like “Ambulances” as well as haunting numbers like “90 degrees”.

Young Gun Silver Fox
♦ AM Waves ♦

The Brit-American duo of Andy Platts and Shawn Lee smartly recreates soulful 70s soft rock (think of America or The Doobie Brothers) and gives it a fresh, modern twist. AM Waves is the pair’s second album together. Homogenizing warm breezes, palm trees, convertibles, AM radios, vocal harmonies, downtempo grooves, and electric keyboards, we are so grateful for such an album to materialize in the 2010s. Whether crooning at “Midnight in Richmond”, playing it funky in “Take It or Leave It”, or turning up the joyous vibes in “Kingston Boogie”, we dig it, man.

♦ My Wild West ♦

The United States’ Lissie pulled off an impressive neo-trad feat on her third album My Wild West. She even dedicated a song to Ojai, California, the dusty wild west hometown of hi-tech heroes, the bionic man and woman. At the core of the sound is roots music (rock, country, folk), but it is often dressed in handsomely progressive attire. There are some tender moments and rollicking ones when she pumps out her powerful but pleasant vocals. Pure ecstasy is achieved when she blows things wide open like an emotional tornado but leaves everything intact. The album tames the bronco, unstoppably pulses along, ploughs through the dirt, and lets loose when it needs to. Hear big choruses of elation on “Wild West”, “Hero”, and “Don’t Give Up on Me”, and beautiful writing and delivery on cuts like “Together or Apart”.

Jason Bajada
♦ Volcano ♦

Jason Bajada launched album number six, Volcano in 2016. The music is rich, well-written, and brilliantly executed. We love how he tenses up the verses to burst into eruptive choruses, not so much in terms of noise and fury, but rather dreamy, hair-raising gleams of infectious melodies. His soothing vocals take us on a pleasant ride through the disc with the perfect tempo to keep our ears perked, and he throws in some molten hot guitar solos that flow like lava, most notably in opener “Pékin (les amitiés)”. Other standouts include “Si je craque” which begins with folky, level field guitar strums combined with bouncy vocal notes and then bursts into a gorgeous chorus. “Busky” begins with minimalist keys and a funky bass and then yields to an irresistibly delicious wall of sound. Yup, Jason Bajada got our wow factor on automatic repeat with Volcano.

♦ Kalaboogie ♦

Sibling Blumas trio created ambient moods from original textures qualifying them as archaeologists unearthing relics from both tribal villages and radically advanced metropolises on foreign planets. The robust hypnotic music proceeds from grunts and grinds through droning shimmers in some form of a Suspiria-based X-file. It’s dark and dense and absolutely brilliant.

Peter Peter
♦ Noir Éden ♦

Peter Peter, a synthpop specialist, Quebec City native, and multiple Polaris Prize nominee, cast forth his third studio album, Noir éden in 2017. We highlight some standout tracks such as delightful keys dancing along in “Damien,” reminiscent of say Gazebo’s “I Like Chopin” or Double’s “The Captain of Her Heart”. “Allégresse” includes a nice touch of aloof vocal work that Phèdre did so well on “Ancient Nouveau”. Hear captivating bass synth on the title track adding nicely to other detailed touches in a very well put-together song. “Loving Game” is pure 80s, a bilingual, pulse-driven standout with French verses and an English chorus reminiscent of Cyndi Lauper’s “Time After Time”.

Livy Jeanne
♦ Dashboard Renegade ♦

Edmonton’s award-winning country music star Livy Jeanne released her first full-length album Dashboard Renegade in 2015. It contains country radio hits “Wrong Side of the Dirt” and “All Kinds of Crazy”. Ensuring excellence in all 10 tracks, she co-wrote with ace hit-makers Brian White (Rascal Flatts, Tim Hicks) and Jeff Cohen (Sugarland, The Band Perry). We have a welcome mix of upbeat and slow songs, some leaning more toward country-rock grounds. We were immediately taken by “Fake It Past Goodbye” and “I Got Your Number”. When we began listening to Dashboard Renegade, we experienced severe problems with memory: we forgot who Luke Bryan, Jason Aldean, and Blake Shelton were.

Salomé Leclerc
♦ 27 fois l’aurore ♦

Album number two from this dynamo was hailed by critics all around the world as a masterpiece. Sculpted from folky basics, a latticework of art and electronics was continuously refined with intricate detail. Suspense and atmosphere abound and curve balls get thrown in. This is a hair-raising thrill ride through uncharted territory, always surprising and forever impressing.

♦ Temps bipolaire ♦

Navert is the brainchild of Annie-Claude Navert and Guillaume Chartrain. As demonstrated on Bipolar Time, they have tapped the Muse when it comes to songwriting. The 80s influenced synthpop is a mix of the electronic and organic, light and dark, hopefulness and despair, and we envision riding on a carousel in the clearing of a dark forest. Among choice tracks “Ta cadence” and “Ma chanson”, find a cover of Daniel Lavoie’s Ils s’aiment”.

♦ Blue ♦

Let’s make the artist’s name a bit clearer: I am. Am I? Who am I? We doubt Jackie Chan had anything to do with it. This is an electronic duo from Sweden. Its strength lies in its uniqueness, carving out a style of electronica that sounds very different from all others, embracing harsher, more punctuated synth voices hearkening back to, say, John Foxx’s Metamatic. At times, the darkness of the music is crushing. Jonna Lee’s crispy, haunting vocals are a good fit for such musical endeavours. Album Blue (2014) is a little more polished than previous albums. Satisfying musical composition jacked up iamamiwhoami above other electronic acts in the decade.

Mia Martina
♦ Devotion ♦

Thanks to Mia Martina, the 2010s were not all doom and gloom. She knew how to get us dancing and partying. Her debut disc Devotion offered a fresh, breezy, ocean-flavoured take on EDM. The culturally rich disc spawned three Top 40 hits, including Top 10 “Stereo Love” with Edward Maya. “Burning” is an absolute blast, and “Go Crazy” should have been a hit. While the album version of “Missing You” is a winner, even more so is the remix version. That song found a place in Russian hearts, as it reached #2 on their charts. Don’t miss out on the French versions of Martina’s songs; to us, they sound even better.

♦ TRST ♦

Welcome to your best nightmare. Like iamamiwhoami, duo TR/ST carved out a niche for itself, coming up with a sound and style like none other, as heard on debut album TRST. Austra’s Maya Postepski joins Robert Alfons to create something dark, dense, menacing, and atmospheric. It’s hypnotic, sombre, and intense 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 doom.

Markus Guentner
♦ Crystal Castle ♦

One of the finest crafters of electronic music these days is Germany’s Markus Guentner. In fact, some credit him as the inventor of the “pop ambient” configuration. Markus is especially good at weaving the music into a climax, as we hear on his excellent album Crystal Castle, his sixth. He creates tesseract infused atmospheres, elicits high-flying moods, and expands the mind to infiltrate hidden worlds. Brace yourself, as the space dust comes for you and sweeps you somewhere light years away.

David Myles
♦ Into the Sun ♦

David Myles is a singer-songwriter from New Brunswick. He was in the Shanghai area in 2001 attempting to learn Mandarin. It was there that he bought his first guitar. When he was growing up, he learned the trumpet. He has been a prolific artist releasing volumes of music in the 21st century. We like his sixth studio album, Into the Sun, best. The disc includes his popular track “Simple Pleasures” but all of the little ditties will have you bursting with smiles. Think of Sugar Ray. Reggae-flavoured, light, fun, find yourself getting pulled into the sun on this splendid work.

♦ Kin ♦

Raw, palpably dark, and extra spicy, iamamiwhoami’s Kin digs its claws at you with synth voices so sharp as to leave your heart cut up gloriously. Like an undertow, the music pulls you into overwhelming feelings of despair. Resistance is futile. Best listened to in the autumn months when the sun’s rays try reaching you at a shallow angle and then lamentably abandon you behind the horizon. “Good Worker”, “Idle Talk”, and “Kill” would have made excellent tracks to include on the Ex Machina soundtrack.

Anna of the North
♦ Lovers ♦

Her fellow countrywoman Anne Lilia Berge Strand (Annie), shone in the noughties decade. In the 2010s however we enjoyed this fine figure. Stage name of Norway’s Anna Lotterud, Anna of the North concocted some remarkable electropop on her choice debut disc, Lovers. “Moving On” and “Someone” supercharge things right off the bat. As a whole, the work is buttressed by the charm of her soft and frothy vocals. She takes a dig at gold-diggers on “Money”, heats up the dancefloor on “Fire”, and calls for more loveable conditions on “Lovers”. This was named one of the most overlooked albums of the decade by Billboard Magazine. It sure wasn’t overlooked by us.

Lily C
♦ Reaching for Sunlight ♦

Before she was running for a municipal city councillor position in Toronto, passionate community organizer Lily C (the C is for Cheng) released beautiful “happy pop” album of music Reaching for Sunlight. The disc has voice, lyrics, song-writing, and production at a very fine level. “I Am a Bee” percolates with charm. “I Choose to Be Me” centers on the theme of shrugging off pressures from the media to be physically attractive in order to win society’s acceptance. As sweet as honey, “Take Your Shoes Off” hits the mark in the adult contemporary domain capping things off nicely.

♦ About U ♦

Muna is an American all-female new wave trio and the highly praised About U its debut album. While the for-profit press focussed on the disc’s lyrics which cover some attention-grabbing themes like abusive relationships, female empowerment, and one of the Orlando shootings, the music is something to be cherished too: punchy, synth-laced confections with half-tone dips and air-cutting guitars. Katie Gavin’s unique singing style helps give the band a signature sound.

Foster the People
♦ Sacred Hearts Club ♦

While Foster the People’s third album, Sacred Hearts Club, failed to produce any big radio hits, there are so many good songs on here, it is an LP for the taking and perhaps the band’s finest work. The glistening atmospheric production makes the group sound like it knows what it’s doing rather than stumbling in the dark through jagged indie terrain. At times psychedelic, at moments more electronic, with the odd dash of funk, the right balance of diversity and cohesion is struck, and these interesting tracks keep the listener engaged through to the end.

Kreesha Turner
♦ Tropic Electric ♦

Following her massive hit “Don’t Call Me Baby” (the 26th biggest song of 2008) from her debut disc, Kreesha Turner released her second album amid the throes of dying record label EMI, and it did not receive the promotion it deserved. The album managed two minor hits, “Love Again” and “I Could Stay” which are both superb electro-R&B tunes. The first half of this wonderful concept album Tropic was recorded in Jamaica and carries with it an island vibe, while second part “Electric” furthers the style that made her famous.

Ariane Brunet
♦ Fusée ♦

One of the finest artists in the world when it comes to coffee house adult contemporary, Ariane Brunet decked the decade’s halls with her sophomore record Fusée, for those yearning for something soft and graceful. It contains an assortment of delicacies like the beautiful sweep of “Le temps de vivre”, the rousing “Vertige”, melancholy “Mon plus beau naufrage”, and perky “L’évidence”. Lead single, “Bagatelle” spent some time in the iTunes Francophone Top 10 and is one of the decade’s best songs.

Samantha Jade
♦ Nine ♦

One of the decade’s best singers from the land down under (she won the X Factor), the silky cool of Samantha Jade finally served the masses an album of originals after a debut covers album (check out her boss version of Kanye West’s “Heartless” on that one). Two of Nine’s tracks became Top 40 hits in Australia: opener “Always”, co-written with Canadian record producer John Levine and “Shake That” featuring the rapping talents of the ubiquitous Pitbull. A total of eleven tremendous pop and dance pop tracks make Nine a perfect ten.

Electric Youth
♦ Memory Emotion ♦

It was a long wait, appeased in part by a soundtrack album, for Canadian duo Electric Youth to release a followup studio album to the brilliant Innerworld. The anticipation was rewarded, the artistry hit progression, and there were few albums released in 2019 that were this good. Dynamic vocals, cascading synthesizers, and emotional depth dot the landscape with vivid colours. Pulsating “The Life”, wispy “Arawa”, 80s-esque “Breathless”, and dreamy “Real Ones” effectively open up the dazzling world of electrifying tranquility. And then comes the captivating “On My Own” which really gets the ride going. The vocals are as angelic as ever and the path breathtaking. “Thirteen” is a nice throwback to Innerworld era EY with those pulsating bass synths. But it is perhaps the melodic, delicately crafted, and a touch creepy “Evergreen 143” that serves as the album’s best track.

Bobby Wills
♦ Crazy Enough ♦

Award winning and charting country artist Bobby Wills served his third album Crazy Enough in 2014. Find on this picturesque horseback ride some clever, poetic lyrics, “Building a Mystery” guitar riffs, and alluring vocals. “Still Something There” is a prime opener. “All Kinds of Wrong” refreshingly brings some morals into the mix and “That’s Why I Pray” some thirst-quenching devotion. The album contains Wills’ Billboard Hot 100 charting singles “Crazy Enough” and “Never Didn’t Love You” as well as catchy single “Undressed”.

Alfa Rococo
♦ Nos cœurs ensemble ♦

Fun, award-winning, electropop duo Alfa Rococo brightened the party atmosphere with its finest achievement, third album Nos coeurs ensemble. A tighter, less sparse sound than its other releases, the album is also filled with irresistible hooks and unanticipated detailed techniques. Lead single “Lumière” was declared song of the week by iTunes. But the album offers even choicer tunes. The electro-pulses and gritty guitars on “Le sexe des anges” are as addictive as the masterful composition on “Deux” with smooth guitar plucks and whistling keys. And if that doesn’t win you over, there’s the hum-along charm of the title track.

♦ Leaving ♦

Tawny Lucas under alias Ominar added some sparkle to the decade that was the 2010s with LP Leaving. Dark, moody, and gothic, this thing drips with a black, ominous rain. It is a very cohesive work, and many tracks feel like a variation of a central theme, leaving the listener both morose and spooked. This talented gal heroically fills a hungry void, as dark wave is relatively barren here, and she does an excellent job at it. If nothing else, this disc reminds us of indie pop’s capacity to make things exciting.

Louise Burns
♦ The Midnight Mass ♦

After parting ways with Lillix, the band’s bass player, Louise Burns began releasing solo albums and crafting a style she could call her own. That style has thus far resulted in two Polaris nominations. With her handsome Stevie Nicks’ reminiscent vocals, she brings us to The Midnight Mass, her second work. Siouxsie and the Banshees with some added synth textures could serve as a reference point. The lead single, “Emeralds Shatter” unseals the album with its cinematic, nighttime opening followed by twangy, Twin Peaks bass, jamboree percussion, and heightened vocal reverb. The sweeping, melodic “Ruby” follows, the album’s second single. A driving beat opens “San Andreas” where matter-of-fact, ominous storytelling bursts into an irresistible, perfectly-constructed chorus. A rocking chair on a hot, dusty porch at a country home comes to mind with spaghetti western influenced “He’s My Woman”. “Jasper’s” determined beat breeds addiction, while “Heaven” glides gracefully, leading up to the slow burning glory of “The Lodger”. The album concludes with a dark wave cover of the Gun Club’s “Mother of Earth”. We were burning the midnight oil listening to this gem over many months.

♦ Gemini ♦

In pervasively male terrain, Astronautica (Edrina Martinez) of the US city of Los Angeles, is a bright light in the field of record production. Her electronic downtempo masterpiece Gemini is proof of that. “*69”, a feathery, chillout anthem for dreamers; “Palm Springs”, a soft throbbing glide for dancers; “PNW”, an airy tinkler for gamers; “Falling for You”, a sultry silkworm for lovers; and “Bad Habits”, a jiggly, ethereal ray of neon light for loungers are all mouth-watering bits of mind-numbing flavours, best enjoyed beneath the stars.

♦ We Are King ♦

Speaking of masterpieces of female-led production, we arrive at another winner, the Grammy nominated We Are King from American dreamy, chill, electronic R&B femme-trio King. It stands as the only LP released by the group to date. Letting loose a rich, interwoven wall of sound that knocks you out of your boots, the disc may remind some of 80s or 90s offerings like Nu Shooz. The album made many year-end best-of lists deservedly so. The album is without a weak moment. Opener “The Right One” is a good representation of King’s genius sound.

Dami Im
♦ Heart Beats ♦

Let’s face it, the vocals of Australia’s Dami Im kick serious hide. In contrast to the silkier skills of her fellow Aussie X-Factor alumnus Samantha Jade, Dami offers an alternative and equally admirable style—a powerhouse of gaping, glass-shattering pursuits. Heart Beats, a basket of assorted pop fruits, is responsible for a pair of #11 hits down under, “Super Love” (not to be confused with Charli XCX’s “Superlove”) and “Gladiator”. Those hungry for some softer, more reflective songs can tune into “Heart Beats Again” or “Solid Ground”. Otherwise, enjoy the flight on EDM-inflected soar “Living Dangerously”.

♦ Sea Island ♦

Vancouver’s Loscil (i.e. Scott Morgan) has here a great ambient electronic album. As its title and cover suggest, this is best listened to wandering around YVR’s Sea Island on a cloudy day with maybe even a little drizzle. The mood the music conjures is the perfect match for such as that. The album’s flavour is less poppier than, say, Ulrich Schnauss and more along the lines of Steve Roach with some of those atmospheric bell-like synth chimes of Vangelis. Sweeping and airy, it subdues, it captivates, and it tugs the listener into a glorious hypnotic state.

Emm Gryner
♦ 21st Century Ballads ♦

Drenched in atmospheric production, piano and voice stunner 21st Century Ballads was one of the decade’s most beautiful artistic works. The poetry shines through the gorgeous music as Gryner explores issues of a friend dying from cancer (“Visiting Hours”), knowing someone accused of criminal activity (“Duped”), suicide among teenage girls (“The Wild Weight of Earth”), and finding a family/work balance (“The Race”), the latter inspired by the example of fellow Canadian artist Lawrence Gowan and which also references her time playing keyboards in David Bowie’s backing band. The emotional depth the album digs is profound with heart-shattering lines like, “You can solve it all by holding me, but you don’t”. We were floored.

Future Islands
♦ The Far Field ♦

US trio Future Islands is a modern outfit that captures the new wave sound splendidly, not just in the instrumentation but the singing style which masters the measured theatrics and pitch dipping techniques used by the original acts of the genre. Blondie’s Debbie Harry is featured on a track off album The Far Field, a disc that scuttles along at a stately pace and oozes with charisma. All the tracks here are delightful and more catchy than a hangar filled with Velcro. We never thought getting carried away to fields afar would be so much fun.

North Atlantic Drift
♦ Departures, Vol. 1 ♦

Working with a hefty palette of sounds, this duo brushed onto the musical canvas a landscape of electronic murmurs adorned with daubs of recorded nature sounds, making the perfect soundtrack for our fantastic voyage. The album takes us on a trip to the fog clouded chill of the north Atlantic, and we are grateful for a suspense-filled journey. We can literally smell the sea salt as it grazes past our face. Opener “Temperance” – one of the finest ambient tracks of the decade – alone makes Departures, Vol. 1 a worthwhile listen.

♦ White Silence ♦

From the unfamiliar country of Belarus (area 200,000 sq km; population 9.5 million) Ugasanie (Pavel Malyshkin) sculps a climate of icy trepidation on ambient electronic work White Silence. One can almost hear the chokehold the snow has on the frozen pines lining dusky treacherous northern forests that cut the slaty sky. Layers of electronic shivers are sprinkled with frosty field recordings. “Permafrost”, “White Silence”, and “Tundra Fogs” will have you longing for some shelter with a wood stove and wool blanket.

♦ Before Then Was Now ♦

RLMDL, sometimes going by moniker Rolemodel, is the project of Toronto’s Jordan Allen. Dream pop has existed since the 50s when the industry discovered the beauty of reverb. “I Only Have Eyes For You” by the Flamingos is a prime example. The Mamas and the Papas ran with the torch in the 60s. “I’m Not In Love” by 10cc was a standout track from the 70s. Flying the flagship in the 80s was The Cocteau Twins. In the 90s, shoegaze music became popular in the UK with artists like Slowdive. RLMDL advanced the general genre in the 10s and on album Before Then Was Now uses melodic and fuzzy guitars, synths, laid back electronic percussion, and sombre singing to achieve the effect. Track “Bilingual” is a standout.

♦ Reminisce ♦

Julie Fader and Graham Walsh are duo Etiquette, and Reminisce its debut album. Avoid the danger of lumping the act in with other electronic outfits. The style ditches the spirit of wooden elation for animated melancholy. The hooks dangle in abundance as the music waddles its way through raw climes decked in some of the experimental garments worn by such predecessors as The Legendary Pink Dots and Cabaret Voltaire. It’s not all subdued; there are a couple of peppy inclusions that twinkle like stars on and on. Overall, on Reminisce, the ethereal drones effectively hypnotize in ways that will leave you reclining in satisfaction.

Alexe Gaudreault
♦ Alexe Gaudreault ♦

Complete with flowing copper curls, Alexe Gaudreault (who since release has dropped the surname and now goes simply by Alexe) dished out the pleasant surprise that was her eponymous debut album which followed the big Franco radio hit “Placebo”. The album is a pop tour de force with catchy beats, peppy swagger, sonorous choruses, and a fabulous, creamy voice leading it all. “Mirage” and “Couleurs” had us hooked immediately. The delicately played “Éclat” glowed its way up the musique Francophone charts. In short, every track on this one is a winner.

Rosemary Fairweather
♦ Heavenly ♦

Rosemary Fairweather presents her take on synthpop on her debut album Heavenly, a collection of previously released singles. Feathery and angelic, with punchy beats, some of the choice cuts are “Moonlight”, “Like a 45”, and “Too Low”. The album will have you dreaming of surfing the clouds. Rosemary’s sequel album, Heavenly 2, is also worth checking out. She signed to Universal Music following the quality of her releases, and her lower profile is, sadly, due to suffering an unfortunate concussion and its after effects.

The Courtneys
♦ The Courtneys II ♦

Vancouver indie fuzz all-female rock trio The Courtneys debuted in 2013 with a set that impressed on an international scale. In fact, New Zealand’s Flying Nun Records signed the group to oversee the sequel, The Courtneys II, released in 2017. The aloof, sugary singing from drummer “Cute Courtney” binds nicely with “Classic Courtney’s” exciting frenetic guitar work. Together with “Crazy Courtney” on bass, the trio takes us on a highly engaging ride through lo-fi slacker culture and bubble-gum garage punk. The disc opens with “Silver Velvet”. “Country Song” bursts with a wall of guitar sound, the album’s standout jam. “Lost Boys” pays tribute to the 80s’ vampire craze while surf rock dresses up “Mars Attacks”.

Jaki Song
♦ New Sun ♦

The rarest album on our list, you will be hard pressed to find a physical copy anywhere, a digital one, or even the full album available on a streaming service. Jaki Song’s New Sun is a winner because the electronic masterpiece sounds like nothing else. The synth and percussion voices she uses are on a road not taken by other artists. Her spicy vocals provide distinction as well. “End of Time” cascades into a driving, flowing climax. “I Adore You” could serve as a theme for a sci-fi & spy combo movie if ever there was one. This is great art.

Justin Bieber
♦ Believe ♦

Following his debut LP My World 2.0 and Christmas album Under the Mistletoe, global pop superstar and teen idol Justin Bieber landed album Believe. It placed seven songs onto the charts beginning with lead single “Boyfriend” which reached #1. “Beauty and a Beat” (co-penned by Max Martin and Zedd) reached #4 and “All Around the World” and “As Long as You Love Me” the Top 10. Aside from the pop and EDM charmers, the Biebs proved adept at acoustic ballads: “Catching Feelings” and “Fall” are among the disc’s finest moments.

Electric Youth
♦ Innerworld ♦

Much credit has been given to Canadian duo Electric Youth for placing a song in the soundtrack of feature film Drive with Ryan Gosling. The greater feat is churning out an entire album of similar treats. Soft flowing electronica with gentle vocals is perfectly done on debut LP Innerworld, which takes us on a hypnotic trip into some otherworldly reverie. It isn’t all glide and burble, however. “Without You” is a heavy hitter with biting synth attacks. The far-reaching sweep and driving beats of “Runaway”, the pop and pulse tailoring of “Tomorrow”, and the beautiful tear-jerking delivery of refrain “And you, and you are the best thing that’s ever happened to me” in “The Best Thing” are just a few of the many takeaways here.

Louise Burns
♦ Young Mopes ♦

Louise Burns’ third album Young Mopes is sculpted in introspective, guitar-oriented new wave with some strokes of synth, New Orderesque high-pitched bass pulses, tight drumming, and includes a cover of the Blue Nile’s “Downtown Lights”. Track “Strange Weather” sees Burns master the country-inspired genre complete with lap steel. Standouts include punchy opener “Who’s the Madman”, the swaggering “Pharaoh”, the melodic “Moonlight Shadow”, and the misty “Hysteria”. The tunes are deliciously shadowy, and Burns’ bright vocals and energetic delivery give it a sunny glaze.

♦ Tigerlily ♦

It is a mere coincidence that we place an album from Louise Burns’ former band immediately following her splendid album. Once Lillix was freed from now defunct record label Maverick and its insistence on punkier stylings, the band hit its stride. This excellent album with beautifully written songs is done in a much more satisfying pop-rock with a progressive edge. The 2010s needed more music like this. The whacking beats of “Believer” give the album its engine, the energy of “Nowhere to Run” its fuel, the pretty balladry of “Say No More” its comfort seats, and the clawing guitars of “Back Up Girl” its traction.

♦ Sucker Punch ♦

Nestled within a year of disappointments, a bright spot in 2019 was Sucker Punch, the debut LP from Norwegian singer Sigrid. She performs in English and broke out in the British Isles with one Top 20 and one Top 10 hit (“Don’t Feel Like Crying” and “Strangers” respectively). The album is so good, however, that these are not necessarily the album’s best moments; in fact, it is hard to pick one. There are a few ballads on the disc, but where she really shines is on the cleverly-constructed powerhouse pop numbers with unpredictable, elevating choruses, especially the title-track. Her dabbling in pulsating EDM (“Never Mine”) is satisfying as well. The album delivers quite the … sucker punch.

♦ Sound of a Woman ♦

With Kiesza, the 2010s unveiled some real talent. Her smash “Hideaway” topped the charts in the UK before anyone in her home country had heard of her. Sound of a Woman has the Canadian singer taking us on a sumptuous journey through deep house infused gems punctuated by her exquisite vocal talents. Little details contribute to the disc’s excellence, like the leaky faucet in “Piano,” delicious beats on “Over Myself,” and complex percussion work on “Vietnam”. “No Enemiesz”, a dance floor thumper, tosses in a spicy synth at the close. “Losin’ My Mind” gives us a cool backbone-sliding groove followed by even slicker “So Deep,” and then there’s the fun, spooky treatment on “Bad Thing”. But perhaps the album’s finest moment is Kiesza letting loose her dynamic sky-scraping vocals on the album’s title-track.

♦ 2 Be Free ♦

With 2012’s pleasant surprise 2 Be Free, Hong Kong’s heartbeat skipping duo Twins (Gillian Chung and Canadian-born Charlene Choi) released its best album since 2003’s Touch of Love. Besides inspired writing and of course those beautiful voices, the music is delivered with a warm, magical quality, always an indicator of Twins being in top form. The Cantopop album celebrates a full decade since the girls’ debut in 2002 and includes Asia Game Show 2011 theme song “Take the Field”, hit ballad “Bigger Than Sky”, and the irresistible melody of “Let Me Fly Away”.

Gary Numan
♦ Dead Son Rising ♦

Dubbed the godfather of electronic rock, Gary Numan had the fifth biggest song of the year 1980, and in his native Britain has managed to pilot some 21 songs into the Top 40. Although you might count what could be considered his studio albums differently – by our reckoning Dead Son Rising is his 21st – a point of agreement is that Numan’s output has been prolific with releases in five decades! Rising has been characterized as an album of unfinished songs from the past that Gary got around to completing (while busy raising three daughters). Dense and hauntingly dark, the industrial album has the godfather rocking out on progressive anthem “The Fall” (watch the MV at your own spooked out risk). Other gems are slow-burning jam “For the Rest of My Life”, the rustic “Not the Love We Dream Of” with a slightly out-of-tune piano, and “We Are Lost” that has some crazy insect sound buzzing around in your ear. Brilliant.

City and Colour
♦ The Hurry and the Harm ♦

A male with angelic vocals? According to Pink, yes. City and Colour is the stage name of soloist Dallas Green, author of two double platinum albums, for a true double-double. The Hurry and the Harm went platinum. The melodic music flows with wistful melancholy beneath dreamy skies. The flannel vocals, delivering poetic lyrics, unfold themselves softly. The tales he tells are of internet trolls and online gossip, sticking it to the US state of California, and grief over leaving the band Alexisonfire—heavy themes delivered with so much class and grace. No harm in that.

♦ Little Machines ♦

This was electronic pop-rock virtuoso Lights’ third album. It merges the synth pop catchiness of debut The Listening with the gritty experimental brilliance of Siberia. Little Machines, which made it to #5 on the Canadian Albums chart and #34 on the Billboard US 200, opens with the atmospheric Twilight Zone spook of “Portal” and proceeds through an assortment of ear-caressing melodies. Hit single “Up We Go” highlights a host of infectious anthems all decked in handsome electronica and endearing vocal delivery.

Alexz Johnson
♦ Let ‘Em Eat Cake ♦

Demi Lovato has said that it is because of Alexz Johnson that she decided to make a career in music. This is the Canadian singer-songwriter’s sophomore full-length and arguably her best work. Featuring adult pop with soulful vocals, progressive undercurrents, flickering guitars, and a good groove, Let ‘Em Eat Cake wins the baking contest by its crisp and robust drumming which carries everything at an exciting pace. The warm throbs of “Heart Like That”, charming swagger of “Cologne”, and intriguing stabs of “That Pain” are among the nine jewels here.

Jolin Tsai
♦ Muse ♦

Hailing from the island of Taiwan, Jolin Tsai released her first album in 1999 and has now authored 14, four of which appeared in the 2010s. She has played a huge role in popularizing dance pop in the heavily favoured adult contemporary climate of Greater China, no easy task. In her rise to superstardom, she has continuously attracted more and more high-profile producers and songwriters from around the world to work on her projects. The result is, in general, an increasing quality of music with each album released. Jolin has also managed to reinvent her sound and image over the years making each album era a fresh one. A crisp sound certainly plays a role in EDM inflected album Muse from 2012, a disc that placed three songs in the Top 25 on Hit FM Taiwan’s year end chart for 2012: booming opener “The Great Artist” (#2), beautiful ballad “Wandering Poet” (#10), and spicy dance pop anthem “Dr. Jolin” (#24).

Now, Now
♦ Saved ♦

It took five years for KC Dalager and Brad Hale of Minneapolis, USA to craft this new wave seasoned album, and the time put in resulted in something terrific. Driving tick-tock rhythms carry swinging moods over tension tinged turf and realms of relaxation. KC’s soft, subdued honey-soaked vocals add extra lure to a very engaging work. We are sure that “MJ” would have put a smile on the king of pop’s face. Hear delicate synth tremors on “Holy Water” set up the bursting pulses of “Yours” nicely. This album will have all saved from boredom.

Kali Uchis
♦ Isolation ♦

Give Kali Uchis credit for bypassing the dinky finger snaps and mopey autotuned vocals of late 2010s pop and creating an album with a sound so fresh and alluring as to isolate her from her peers. Isolation carries a romantic nocturnal vibe that is lush, layered, and dreamy. It is an eclectic mix kneading reggae and Spanish stylings into the dough (Uchis has Colombian roots). But aside from these culturally rich elements, the tracks house varied, sophisticated instrumentation, and Kali’s sultry vocals mindfully flutter over the music ever so gracefully. We won’t name any songs here as they are all splendid.

♦ Fire Within ♦

Following an album of impressive covers, British piano pop songstress Birdy dropped this disc of originals when she was 17. In some ways, she comes across as an old soul who has weathered many storms, something that gives the work universal appeal. “Wings”, co-written with OneRepublic’s Ryan Tedder, is one of the handsomest songs of the decade. Tracks like “Heart of Gold” and “All You Never Say” benefit especially from Birdy’s fragile vocal work. Other notables include pretty piano ballad “No Angel” and the emotionally haunting “Shine”.

Jolin Tsai
♦ Myself ♦

Selling 25 million records in a region of 99% piracy, Jolin Tsai has achieved an estimated net worth of more than 85 million Canadian dollars. The Queen of C-Pop released album Myself in 2010, her second disc under Warner. The fun record has short instrumental snippets interspersed between the songs. The album opens with big dance beats in an ode to the Chinese stratagem of the Honey Trap – sending a beautiful woman to lure the (male) victim. It was the number one song of the year 2010 at Hit FM Taiwan. Irresistible dancefloor smash “Love Player” – arguably the album standout – follows. Other delicious confections are “Black-Haired Beautiful Girl”, slower number “Nothing Left to Say”, and ballad “Real Hurt”.

Katy Perry
♦ Teenage Dream ♦

The United States’ Katy Perry did in her country what Mylène Farmer accomplished in France and Delta Goodrem in Australia—she released an album that spawned five number one hits. They are summertime anthem “California Gurls”, catchy title track “Teenage Dream”, emotionally powerful “Firework”, electropop torch-bearing “E.T.”, and funky, frolicking “Last Friday Night”. The album has even more pop stunners on board, making it a disc that littered the 2010s with tasty confections.

Anik Jean
♦ Schizophrène ♦

Active in releases since 2005, Anik Jean went for the jugular in fourth album Schizophrène. This revved up masterpiece wafts in a breath of fresh air similar to what Joan Jett did in the 80s. The album opener rolls in like a cartwheel of demons and sets up a disc packed full of grinding guitars, exciting rock drumming, and piano pouncing. “Minable” places Anik’s voice atop an iron pedestal circumambulated by the echo of a yowling guitar. Larger than life anthem “À la vie, à la mort”, soaring, carefree “Liste noir”, no-holds-barred “B***e moi”, and pent-up and bursting “Si tu m’entends” elicit a wide range of emotion. Hear a touch of Placebo in “Tu es mon enfer”. The album closes out with the balladry of its title-track, sealing the deal on a great masterwork.

♦ Angela Zhang ♦

Angela’s aspirations towards becoming a singer grew while attending Sir Winston Churchill Secondary School in Vancouver. She returned to the Republic of China some time after graduation and released the song “Invisible Wings” which elevated her to superstar status overnight. Her self-titled album – her eighth – appeared in 2014. As the record label is called, this is … wonderful music. Her raspy voice with touches of vibrato ices tasty tracks like “When You Live for Love”, “Sunshine and Air”, “Love Is Not Wrong”, and our favourite “Ingratiating”. This is Mandopop at the top of its game.

Adam Smale
♦ Out of the Blue ♦

New York based Canadian seven-string guitarist Adam Smale has the only jazz album to make our list, Out of the Blue. Accompanied by a trio (piano, bass drums), Adam takes the helm with impressive guitar work, and the overall sophistication of the instrumental jazz is played to both soothe and invigorate. “New Start” sets the scene complete with a vibrant nocturnal atmosphere and fanning out into a variety of flavours, care of the bluesy “Blues to Yous”, contrasts in “Yes and No” between breezy keys and sprightly strings, Spanish style “Jazzenco”, rocked up “Night Drive”, and dreamy “She Knows Me”.

♦ Love Life ♦

Debuting in 1998 this R&B star has scored some hits, but as far as albums go, this big, anthem-drenched work is second to none. Here are the finest examples of all elements of the recording process: writing, singing, arrangement, and production. There is not a weak moment on the entire disc; every track oozes with class and charm. Deep grooves, nocturnal ambiance, romantic vibes, and warm sparkles abound. The songs contain meticulously crafted, catchy details like little electronic riffs and arpeggios which make the music highly engaging.

Taylor Swift
♦ Red ♦

A large slice of the decade’s spotlight was given to Taylor Swift of the USA in part because she transitioned from country to pop. Arguably, her best music was at the pivot stage, when her constructs could not be called either. And at the core of that stage is album Red. Opening with arena-ready drumming is pomp-romp “State of Grace”. Later tracks on the album pick up on themes begun on the earlier ones, a technique which conveys a musical story. The sensitive playing and vocal nuances begun on “Treacherous” are advanced on “All Too Well”, sculpted into a towering climactic statue. Bold statements which, sung by others, would come across as too personal or awkward, work for Swfit (“I Knew You Were Trouble”, “We Are Never Getting Back Together”). While tracks like “Begin Again” celebrate what Taylor has done, “22” heralds the pop superstar to come.

♦ Something Good ♦

This prodigy, inspired by the likes of Sarah McLachlan and Norah Jones began composing music at 10. With her angelic voice, the singer-songwriter decorated the 2010s with a genre that at times seemed to be in short supply—adult contemporary, an intriguingly mature sound for a teen. On her debut record Something Good, keys patter down like spring rain and are joined by some bluesy guitar, sparkling brass, and heart-tugging strings. The extra delicate arrangements and musicianship bring out the finesse of the compositions. While the blood of the album is melancholy, it is pumped through channels gracefully with occasional intensity. It is as though we are riding on a low-flying raincloud over rush hour traffic, free of stressful gridlock and dry. While several household names laid down some powerful poker hands of the genre through the decade, it was a 15-year-old newcomer from Montréal who dropped a royal flush, and her name was Azélie.

♦ A Head Full of Dreams ♦

A Head Full of Dreams was a return to form for the lustrous British band, not so much in recapturing a style lost—quite the opposite, a fresh reinvention—but in the writing of an arsenal of good songs for a solid album. In contrast to the more sorrowful previous effort (Ghost Stories), Dreams, as the cover would suggest, presents a positive, upbeat kaleidoscope of rich, colourful, beautifully orchestrated pop music. Coldplay gets down to boogey over star-sparkling disco beats and flashy, scaling guitars, and we’ve hardly ever had so much fun.

Britney Spears
♦ Britney Jean ♦

Somewhat underrated and overlooked, as albums from women who begin losing their youthful looks often are, Britney Jean was one of the decade’s finest dance pop albums. Even a decade and a half after Ms. Spears stole the show and proved her worth by selling 150 million records, stick-in-the-mud critics were still questioning whether she deserved to be a pop star. Britney’s main appeal is in her presentation which is first-rate and shows no signs of wearing thin on this 2013 album. The sweep, glide, and choppy beats of “Alien” is an immediate enchanter opening things up for the delectable “Work B***h”, made cuter with a faux English accent. “Perfume” carries the fragrance of a memorable melody, “Til It’s Gone” … ditto, and “It Should Be Easy” the breezes of EDM smarts. But perhaps the most electrifying of all is dancefloor-ready “Body Ache”, a seductive juxtaposing of hamming and rubbery keyboard riffs.

Shawn Hook
♦ Analog Love ♦

In 2012, piano whiz Shawn Hook introduced himself with charting electropop singles “Every Red Light” and “So Close”. He furthered his campaign two years later with dance-pop quaker “Million Ways”, co-authored by Grammy winning songwriter Victoria Horn (Dirty Vegas’ “Days Go By”). But the presses stopped when he launched double platinum certified single “Sound of Your Heart”. The latter two songs make up the biggest appeal to sophomore album Analog Love, but the disc contains other nuggets of gold which will, more than anything else, have you … hooked.

Jonas &
The Massive Attraction
♦ Live Out Loud ♦

Jonas’ (Tomalty) debut 2004 album was certified gold, and recording under the band title Jonas & the Massive Attraction, disc Live Out Loud was hurled forth in 2013. Although essentially a hard rock work, there are some power ballads and electronic textures. Hear fabulous rock vocals, frenzied drumming, and even some dazzling electric guitar solos. “Ultimate Low” catapults a massive boulder at the moon knocking it out of orbit. Chugging guitars and menacing drums collide in the great “Riot”. “Cover Me” contains some killer keyboards hoisting us into the 5th dimension—beautiful song. Power ballad “Good Life” has the semblance of dancing on a tightrope … in a pair of skates. “Too Young to Be Broken” ensures our youth remains intact.

Carly Rae Jepsen
♦ Kiss ♦

No-one was more surprised than this girl from next door when she was promoted from two gold-certified Top 40 hits domestically to international superstardom via the biggest digital selling single of 2012, “Call Me Maybe”, included on EP Curiosity first. This global breakthrough led her to working with international writers and producers for her second album, Kiss, a winner both in terms of critical and commercial success. Extra sweet, with wispy keys and perky bass, it is the feel-good disc of the decade hatching several charting singles. Standouts include #1 smash “Good Time” with synthpop icon Owl City, “This Kiss”, “Tonight I’m Getting Over You”, “Tiny Little Bows”, and the overlooked “Hurt So Good”.

♦ Connection ♦

This is trippy, chillout house electronica’s finest hour. Dreamy and ethereal, the album mixes instrumentals with some vocalized pieces, and the vocals (from various singers) are astounding. While the soothing ambient surf of tracks like “Get Closer” caresses the soul, the disc also bristles with energetic beats heard on cuts like “Knockdown” and “Would You Just”. Importantly, hypnosis is also a factor, most evident on “Falling”. Four years in the making, this masterpiece contains not a single yawn-inducing moment; it is a solid joyride from start to finish.

Katy B
♦ Little Red ♦

The UK’s Katy B dresses deep house EDM with her rich R&B vocals, brings narrative back to the dancefloor, and Little Red dazzles the 10s like Madonna’s Ray of Light did for the 90s. “Crying for No Reason” was a Top 5 hit in Britain, but the flashy, trance-thumping songs never crossed the great Atlantic barrier, and millions of people stood deprived. Another standout is “Aaliyah” with the princess of smooth, Jessie Ware. The beat sparkler and keyboard wobbler that is “I Like You”, arcade anthem “Everything”, misty laser show “Play”, suspense creeper “Sapphire Blue”, thrilling adventure piece “Still”, and bouncing thruster “Sky’s the Limit” are all first rate.

Pets Tseng
♦ I Love You, Period! ♦

This album is just beautiful. Mandopop singer Pets Tseng launched her career via the singing competition and acting route. She rocketed to fame with the release of debut album I’m Pets in 2014 and the hit singles it spawned including “Just Lose It”. Sporting short hair and overalls, she, along with her expert team, went all out on this, her second effort, released three years later. The innocent yearning of her voice is the biggest draw, and its cooperation with superb songwriting and sensitive arrangements make for a massive hit record. While so-called adult contemporary struggles to keep its foot in the western door, it continues to dominate the field in greater China; they do the genre better, in part, by focussing on crafting captivating melodies, and this album is a prime example. A standout here is “Love Is Paranoia”, but most tracks on this disc shine resplendently. I Love You, Period! rightfully deserves at least a 20th spot on our 100 Best Albums of the Decade list.

♦ Birdy ♦

An album of covers, the debut from British ace Birdy (Jasmine van den Bogaerde) is remarkable on several fronts. Choosing mainly non-hits with potential, Birdy’s delicate treatment of songs from a range of indie artists has her covers bettering the originals (“Without a Word” is the lone track composed by the artist). She centers the presentation on the elegance of piano, and attires the core with the odd cello weep and synthesizer burble. The intelligent arrangements are brought to fruition however with Birdy’s outstanding vocal work, fragile and sincere, and all done up in her savory Hampshire accent.

Britney Spears
♦ Femme Fatale ♦

Without a doubt and with three Top 5 hits (“Hold It Against Me”, “Till the World Ends”, and “I Wanna Go”), Femme Fatale was the Britney Spears album of the 2010s. Bigger, bolder, fresher, and fiercer than any of her other works, this thrashing dance disc is what pop music is supposed to be—devastatingly euphoric. Its relentless beats, glistening keys, and soaring vocals pwn lethargy. In this world of posh production from the elite including Dr. Luke, Max Martin, Benny Blanco, Cirkut, Shellback, and, the plenitude of hooks all lead to fun.

Kristina Maria
♦ Tell the World ♦

Do tell the world that Kristina Maria is an exceptional singer. This bright upbeat dance-pop album spawned five charting singles, three of which went gold. The instantly lovable “Let’s Play” was the 64th biggest song of 2011. “Co-Pilot”, a party anthem for the ages, features Corneille. The hits aside, Tell the World 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 ground-shaking, sky-scraping juggernaut, “We Belong Together”.

False Mirror
♦ Derelict World ♦

Solo artist Tobias Hornberger of the USA released the epic, dark ambient album Derelict World in 2010. Feeling as if we are coming terrifyingly close to landing in a remote spot of deep, black ocean in the middle of the night, the album fills the air with old creaking ships, whirring tornadoes, and the crashing waters of the sea. Both menacing and beautiful, the dense musical soundscapes crafted satisfy the adventurer in a quest for both alertness and calm, standing in a desolate world before the awesome forces of nature.

Avril Lavigne
♦ Goodbye Lullaby ♦

The small-town pop-rock superstar who vaulted to fame in 2002 released her fourth album, Goodbye Lullaby, in 2011 with production duties, in part, by Max Martin and Shellback. Seeking refuge away from the trying times of a marriage breakup, Avril symbolically found a peaceful spot with a piano in a forest’s glade lying in wait and crafted her new work. With the spirit of reflection caressing the music, the result is a mellower, more emotional sound in contrast to previous phases of rambunctiousness. “What the Hell”, launched at Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve, drove home the fact that the skater girl can sing the pants off most of her contemporaries. Around this time, she began to distinguish herself by being able to sing live nailing difficult notes in pitch perfect fashion. The sassy “Smile”, another standout, presents funky electric guitar strums and punchy beats leading to a powerhouse chorus. The crisp, more stripped-down acoustic number “Wish You Were Here” encapsulates the theme of missing someone. The pouncing “Alice” Avril penned herself for the Tim Burton feature film. Lavigne articulates her feelings well, be they in the realm of smiles or pouts but it is her wholesome genuineness that makes the album one of the decade’s best works.

Avril Lavigne
♦ Avril Lavigne ♦

By the release of her eponymous, fifth studio album, diamond superstar Avril Lavigne had sold 35 million records worldwide, and the days of chillin’ at the mall were long gone, or so we thought. The music video for platinum party anthem “Here’s to Never Growing Up” had Avril revisit her skateboarding days from a decade earlier, and she came across looking just as young and fresh. Also excellent is fist-pumping jam “Rock N Roll”, a revved-up stick-it-to-the-man piece of battling bearsharks with band-saw guitars in a quest for world salvation. The stream of fun continues with a testimony to the age of her rocketing from obscurity to spotlight, 17, and a school’s out, summer anthem. Ghostly irony swings forth on a piano string in the hygienic, breakup-themed “Let Me Go”, a duet with then-husband Chad Kroeger of the world’s finest and most successful post-grunge band, Nickelback. Sorrowful isolation abounds on the skillfully composed “Give You What You Like” answered by the decadent and delicious collaboration with goth growler Marilyn Manson. Homage to Japanese cartoon icon Helly Kitty receives the fitting electropunk treatment it deserves. “Sippin’ on Sunshine” cranks up the bass for a funky treat. The album closes with a pair of slow songs reminding us that Avril Lavigne can do it all and remains one of the world’s most talented icons.

Jolin Tsai
♦ Play ♦

With Play at #13, Jolin Tsai is the only artist to land three albums on our 100 Best Albums of the Decade list. Launching her singing career by winning champion standing at an MTV competition in 1998, her crowning achievement was 2014 album Play, a pop masterpiece. Opening with jungle anthem “Gentlewomen”, the album contains an amazing assortment of stunners. Hit single “Play”, a pop tour de force that was the biggest song of the year at Taiwan’s Hit FM. Club thumper “Phony Queen” is followed by alternative rock hair raiser “The Third Person and I” penned by Singaporean superstar JJ Lin. Hear also sweeping piano and strings ballad “Lip Reading”, cinematic delight “Miss Trouble”, and perfect synth-driven closer, “We’re All Different, Yet the Same”.

♦ Ominousium ♦

An ultra dark web has been woven. Kave is the solo project of the Netherland’s Bram Gollin. One of the most hair-raising ambient albums ever released, Ominousium drills deep into the heart of human emotion and creeps the living daylights out of those who dare to gently nudge its irresistible phantoms. While unearthing secret feelings, the album elicits a meditative mood, forging inner latticework, mending broken spirits, and healing past wounds, as with goosebumps we wander through an obscure road with pieces of ash floating in the air. The tracks seem to get better as the album progresses and reach a breathtaking climax.

Hilary Duff
♦ Breathe In. Breathe Out. ♦

There are few things in this world more seductive than Hilary Duff’s voice. We could listen to her sing, or just talk, for all eternity. When you combine that with some of the best pop music compositions of the decade, a masterpiece is born. Hear that voice charm the uncharmable in tracks like “Lies”, “Stay in Love”, and “Picture This”. Elegant Top 5 album Breathe In Breathe Out is one of the finest – and overlooked – pop records to grace modern times. More than 20 writers and producers from around the world were involved in the project (including Ed Sheeran and Tove Lo). The whistling “Sparks”, upbeat “My Kind”, and banger “One in a Million” will have you holding your breath. Don’t forget to breathe out.

♦ Une enfant du siècle ♦

In 2010, French singer Alizée took a detour away from dance pop into the otherworldly climes of electronica, crafting a concept album unexpectedly dedicated to the life of mysterious Californian 60s icon Edie Sedgewick. In brief, the latter, an Andy Warhol backed underground actress and fashion model enjoyed a brief stint in the limelight before being snuffed out along with the so-called American counterculture experiment by overdosing on drugs when she was 28 years old. Alizée’s choice is interesting given that pop culture in 1960s USA is often thought of as dark, morose times, while, in sharp contrast, the period in France was a brightly lit renaissance with flashy fashions, upbeat music, and new wave cinema. Perfectly capturing the spirit of the wide-eyed protagonist, Alizée tells her story over a throbbing, rich tapestry of electronica that smartly runs with an undertow of melancholy. The concept album is a masterpiece to say the least, one that deserves a Top 10 placement on our Best Albums of the Decade list.

Kacey Musgraves
♦ Golden Hour ♦

“Texas is hot, I can be cold. Grandma cried when I pierced my nose” the American alternative country singer states in opening track “Slow Burn”, a song so simple and yet so unbelievably gorgeous, one is drawn into the music in a flash. For one of the most beautiful voices in music to carry the catchiest of songs with an ambiance of production filling the air with the sweetest of perfumes, this is the album that left fans of all genres of music completely stunned. Its winning the Album of the Year Grammy award was in the bag from the start. What’s in store besides the opener? Where do we begin? Find driving beats on “Lonely Weekend”, Vocoder on “Oh, What a World”, ace songwriting on “Love Is a Wild Thing”, the most exhilarating of choruses on “Happy & Sad”, and disco throbs on “High Horse”.

♦ Haerts ♦

The eponymous debut full length from German synthpop duo Haerts feels as if it holds its head up through dark times. This blend of confident optimism and melancholy snugly cradles finely written tunes. Ocean waves crash and the cradle rocks, but never loses itself. Beyond the smatterings of similar genius that decked past landscapes (Book of Love and Propaganda come to mind), Haerts by way of sophistication demonstrates a perfect genre can be tweaked into an even more efficient machine. There is no track on here to be skipped over, and the emotions the music conjures expand the reach of the heart.

Say Lou Lou
♦ Lucid Dreaming ♦

These Swedish/Australian twins managed to put together songs on debut album Lucid Dreaming that leave a lasting imprint. Interest is kept through all tracks, a remarkable feat, as we dip our heads in devotion to the slickest of synthpop. “Everything We Touch” is an instant classic of the genre with choral flux offering great rewards. Pulse infused bass jam “Glitter” and arcade laced “Games for Girls” further the cause. Personality shines through on the sensual sincerity of “Julian” and ultra cool seduction of “Peppermint”. Both inventive and authentic, dreamy and sobering, Say Lou Lou’s Lucid Dreaming fills the air with iridescent bubbles and the earth with fluorescent dust; it ensured the 2010s were anything but drab. This is another entry on Billboard’s most overlooked albums of the decade list, and again we’re not overlooking it at all.

♦ Scandinavia ♦

Creating a band name along the lines of Frankie Goes to Hollywood and Johnny Hates Jazz, Denmark’s Michael Learns to Rock or MLTR released its eighth album in 2012, Scandinavia, arguably the soft rock group’s finest achievement. Keeping alive the genre made a big deal by acts like Fleetwood Mac, Air Supply, and Chicago, this excellent album casts some potent fuel on the fire with drums, keyboards, guitars, and bass animating US-born lead vocalist Jascha Richter’s pleasant, salty singing. The punchy “Renovate My Life”, catchy “Any Way You Want It”, tasty “Heaven Is My Alibi”, and upbeat “Crazy World” are all superb. Fans of cool keys should dig “Hanging On”, and perhaps the crowning achievement is the final number, the title track, which can boast a chorus uplifting enough as to renovate the region that is … Scandinavia.

Diamond Rings
♦ Free Dimensional ♦

John O’Regan under stage persona Diamond Rings recruited producer Damian Taylor who has worked with Bjork and The Killers for his sophomore album. The refreshing sound hearkens back to the early 80s echoing the new wave synths of Blancmange, Simple Minds, and The Spoons. John goes all out on the project dressing the tunes with his cool, baritone voice, and himself (in the “I’m Just Me” MV) with a glittery space cadet wardrobe and square, diamond-themed shades. The music on this album is a giant leap forward from his last effort, and everything gels together in spades. The pop-rock has transitioned from unrefined glam-pop into a dynamic electronic universe rife with positivity, addictive hooks, and big choruses.

Tegan and Sara
♦ Heartthrob ♦

Tegan Quin, one-half of the identical twin sister duo, once said, “When we asked our parents if we could play music instead of go to university, they were really mad at us. And they agreed to let us do that for a couple of years. And somewhere in all that we signed a record deal with Neil Young and Elliot Roberts. And Elliot Roberts told us that when we were in our 30s we’d write good music, but that our 20s were for exploring the world and experiencing heartbreak.” The crowning achievement, after stacking up indie albums through their 20s, came with Greg Kurstin produced effort Heartthrob in 2013. The twins turned 33 that year. In a refreshing transition, the scruffy acoustics of turbulent youth were sculpted into the pristine glamour of synth pop. Verses cascade into dramatic choruses, and the driving horsepower seldom runs out of steam. Heartthrob delivers such a wallop, you will be forever grateful for being knocked into your senses. The album was rewarded with three JUNO trophies.

Carly Rae Jepsen
♦ Emotion ♦

Opening with a saxophone wake up call, the most seductive since the instrument’s use in Corey Hart’s “Never Surrender”, the third album from this triple JUNO winner, grows on you incessantly, and it is no wonder the disc was shortlisted for the Polaris Music Prize. If the sax wasn’t hot enough to awaken the sun, the switch on of those catchy beats should do the trick. And then there are those booming synth pulses that could well make chorus history. The production on such an opener, entitled “Run Away with Me”, is so phenomenal, few would fail to utter the word, whoa. This blistering pop record has more good songs than most artists are able to muster in a lifetime. “I Really Like You”, certified gold, is an immediate charmer (“Who gave you eyes like that, said you could keep them?”) and one of eleven charting singles for the British Columbian singer. The title track smartly blends retro vibes with modern currents on the cutting edge of pop. Hooks flourish as in a fishermen’s convention on cuts “Gimmie Love” and “Your Type”, and bouncy bop “LA Hallucinations” has Carly deliciously elbowing “Buzzfeed­buzzards and TMZ crows” for spreading false rumours. Perhaps the most sensational of all is the slick chill of “Warm Blood” and its seductive vocal nuances. If … all that …. is not enough, there is companion disc Emotion Side B to be savoured. “The One” and “Fever” even border on outdoing everything on Emotion “Side A”. And to cap off the entire Emotion era is the most glorious song of them all: with “Cut to the Feeling” Carly Rae Jepsen proves she is pop music’s last stand. End of discussion.

Victoria Duffield
♦ Shut Up and Dance ♦

Original rock music was music you could dance to. You can dance to Bill Haley & His Comets. You can dance to Chuck Berry. That was its main attraction. That was its appeal. The Clash’s Joe Strummer in a Canadian interview reminded us of the fact. And, for music that makes you want to get up and dance, nobody does it better than triple threat Victoria Duffield (singer-songwriter, actress, dancer). Half the tracks from her JUNO nominated debut album Shut Up and Dance made the charts. One went platinum (the title track) and one gold (“Break My Heart”). While several writers worked on the disc, it is the cuts penned by Duffield and producer Ryan Stewart that really knock the ball out of the park. Add “Save Me” and “Final Warning” to a list of pop songs so good you won’t want this relatively short LP to end. The album pumps you up and hurls you into sunlit skies of unfailing ecstasy. Don’t miss out on the exquisite music videos made from the key numbers which feature the quick as Jackie Chan moves from its author, one heck of a professional dancer. Yet another album highlight is a collaboration with Cody Simpson. Victoria took what Britney Spears did, made the whole package so much better, and made it her own. This album was pop music’s finest achievement through the entire decade, an absolute winner.

Canadian Music Blog’s
♦ Album of the Decade ♦

Beating out all albums released round the world, in all tongues, and across all genres is a work dedicated to northern Asia. It takes the crown of the 2010s’ album of the decade. Its author, a brunette Canadian female soloist with quite possibly the world’s loveliest combover, in a splash of genius and electronic wizardry, created The Pleasure Principle of the 21st century, satisfying the anticipation that rose from her platinum synthpop debut LP, The Listening. Snuggled in a nest of nine charting singles (as the lone main artist) and three JUNO awards, the artist’s sophomore effort debuted at #3 and was quickly certified gold. Like a light saber, the music on this disc flickers and flashes in dazzling array but also burns through dense atmospheres in carefully choreographed slashes. Above the colourful gleam beams and fiery sparks shines the sweetest of voices carrying us through icy climates and gritty terrain of a place like, well, Siberia. It is magical, it is emotionally brutal, it is spooky, and it is gloriously euphoric. Among the standouts is the title-track, an ice-shattering thumper glittering with ethereal synths and sobering melancholy. The upbeat and sprightly “Toes” is as charming as the dreamy lush lullaby of “…And Counting”. “Cactus in the Valley” haunts eerily, droning along the edge of the unknown, but it also carries warm vocal breezes dripping with sincerity. One of the unexpected twists on the album is the inclusion of rapping talents from Shad which pop up briefly in a couple of spots. Rapping on an electronic pop-rock album may seem mislaid, but the production smartly pushes its intensity into the background, blends it with the assortment of effects, and we are reminded of an enervated traveller striving to survive in a post apocalyptic landscape like some scene from The Book of Eli. This record is just so damn good. Canadian Music Blog declares Siberia by Lights as the 2010s’ album of the decade.

♦ Siberia ♦


We are nearing not just the end of the year but the end of the decade. Billboard / Nielsen Music will hopefully publish Canadian end of decade charts for the 2010s in addition to end of year charts for 2019. We will keep you up to speed on those.

In addition to our usual year end picks lists, we are happy to announce that we will be publishing “best of” albums and songs lists for the decade … with a twist. We have decided to open these particular lists up to include not only all genres and languages but will make it global, inclusive of works from both Canadian and international artists. Don’t worry, these will contain lots of Canadian entries. They will tell the story of how Canadian artists fare when compared to their international counterparts. Most best-of lists are put together by Americans working for American magazines and are thus a reflection of American tastes in music, not to mention shoe-in artists who endorse brands that pay the magazines for advertising. These foreign lists are also a demonstration of unawareness of many Canadian artists. We are happy to offer an endorsement-free Canadian predilection. Our lists will be published sometime in December. Our album of the decade just might be one of those pictured above.