From Loud Luxury to Just Plain Loud: 2018 Recap

2018, from every standpoint, was a loud year. Exclamatory events of all kinds, be they tragic or jubilant, filled the headlines. There were disasters everywhere, both natural and human caused. Some were accidental and others intentional. Large spectacles attracted unfathomable numbers in viewership. Below are some highlights.

A roaring fire destroyed several buildings in downtown Brandon, Manitoba on May 18 before a July heat wave ended the lives of 33 in Quebec. On April 6 a semi-truck collided with a bus carrying Saskatchewan junior hockey team The Humboldt Broncos. The crash killed 16 and injured 13. A little over two weeks later, a vehicle-ramming attack killed 10 people and injured 16 in Toronto. In Metro Vancouver, a short walk away from the park where Marissa Shen was murdered, demovictions forced families out of apartment buildings to be demolished so that condo towers could take their places.

Searing accusations in the music world, involving fornication with minors, burned multiplatinum pop group Hedley at the stake during a cross-Canada concert tour. The scandal razed the band’s meteoric success leaving it as a mere smudge of ash on the landscape. When Alessia Cara became the first Canadian to ever win a Best New Artist Grammy and the only female to accept an award through the evening, naysayers rained on her parade calling into question her status of being new. Undercover investigators found fraud and scalping activities by Ticketmaster, the world’s biggest ticket supplier.

Canadian athletes took care of business in Pyeongchang, South Korea, finishing third in the world at the Winter Olympic Games with 29 medals including 11 gold. Most Canadians did not seem dismayed by being beat by victor Norway which has seven times less inhabitants just so long as we beat The United States, which we did quite easily. March 19 hosted the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle at St George’s Chapel, England, attracting an estimated global audience of 1.9 billion.

Tegan and Sara were honoured at the Governor General Awards. Charlotte Day Wilson‘s music video for “Work” won the Prism Prize and Jeremy Dutcher received the Polaris Music Prize (best album). Yama Laurent won The Voice. Klô Pelgag, Lights, and Ruth B were among the performers at Canada Day celebrations. Justin Bieber received an exhibit in his hometown of Stratford, Ontario. CTV debuted popular reality mini series The Launch. Victoria Duffield returned as an independent artist. The royal wedding inspired at least a few Canadian recording artists to tie the knot in 2018. Among them were Justin Bieber, Jess Moskaluke, and Tyler Shaw.

In a precarious economy overall, the music industry continued appeals to legislators to rework copyright laws in the midst of an erosion of income due to online music streaming. Canadian recording artists were further excluded from the charts, blamed on the latter, a reality perhaps best summed up by arguably the most annoying catch phrase to become trendy in 2018: “I know, right?” Sunrise Records remained afloat, a remaining retail chain, providing Canadians with physical music: CDs, vinyl records, and even a few cassettes.

The Singles That Sizzled

As far as 2018 music went, the number of Canadian artists appearing on the charts through the year continued its downward spiral which has been in motion since streaming data was factored into things in September 2014. In short, the numbers have been cut by one-third of what they were before the streaming era. This is summarized in the graph below.

Musically, January 30 set the tone for the year 2018 with the debut of three key singles on the Hot 100 chart: Drake‘s number one smash “God’s Plan” (currently 8x platinum), Loud Luxury‘s #3 hit “Body” (currently 7x platinum), and “Ain’t Easy” from Ottawa’s Elijah Woods x Jamie Fine, the biggest success story from CTV reality talent search television program The Launch. All three songs made it to the year-end chart, #3, #5, and #84 respectively.

Five Canadian artist songs reached #1, four of them from Drake (the aforementioned “God’s Plan”, plus “Nice for What”, “Nonstop”, and “In My Feelings. The fifth was The Weeknd‘s “Call Out My Name”.

There was much talk surrounding the lack of inclusion of women especially regarding the US Grammy Awards which saw only one accept an award through the multi-hour broadcast. Only two Canadian female soloists had a hit peaking in the Top 40 this year: Alessia Cara (“Growing Pains”) and Avril Lavigne (“Head Above Water”).

Two Franco tunes made the Hot 100, both by rappers: Loud‘s “Toutes les femmes savent danser” and Yes Mccan‘s “Désirée”. The former was the year-end chart topper at CKOI.

Canadian artists did well abroad, as always. However, the Canadian media usually only counts foreign success if it takes place in one specific country only—The United States. At Canadian Music Blog, we choose to do things differently. Vancouver’s Kelly Yu released single “Ti Mian”, or Decent, as theme song for a Chinese feature film, and it became one of the biggest Mandopop hits of 2018. Mandarin Chinese is the language with the highest (by far) number of native speakers in the world, so scoring an ace in Mandopop from that perspective is the greatest of all accomplishments.

The Albums That Chiselled

Five Canadian artist albums topped the album chart through 2018 the most successful of which, with certification by year end of double platinum, was Drake‘s Scorpion. It was #1 on the Billboard year-end album chart. The other number ones are Memories Don’t Die by Tory Lanez, EP My Dear Melancholy by The Weeknd, Shawn Mendes by Shawn Mendes (currently platinum), and Love by Michael Bublé (currently gold). Other certified 2018 albums by year-end (all gold) are Après by Fred Pellerin, À jamais by Ginette Reno, Reckless by NAV, and Délivrance by Éric Lapointe.

Twenty-two 2018 Canadian artist albums made the Top 10. This is down from 26 last year and way down from 36 in 2016.

First-Time Charting Artists

Ten Canadians hit the Billboard Hot 100 for the first time in 2018. This is down slightly from 11 last year. Anders did this via his co-credit with Loud Luxury on “Love No More”. Daniel Caesar asked his way onto the chart with “Who Hurt You?” Dzeko teamed up with Tiesto in EDM Top 10 hit “Jackie Chan”. Elijah Woods x Jamie Fine from Ottawa scored two hits, their Top 40 entry being “Ain’t Easy” a spin off from CTV talent search program The Launch. Country newcomer Jade Eagleson made it with “Got Your Name on It”, Rapper Killy killed it with “No Sad No Bad”. Loud rapped his way onto the chart with “Toutes les femmes savent danser”. The aforementioned Loud Luxury landed a pair, their most successful being “Body”. Group New City‘s contribution was “Getting Closer” and Yes Mccan‘s was “Désirée”.

The Year in Pop and Dance: A Body of Water

Shawn Mendes was the dominant force in the realm of pop with a #1 platinum album (his third straight) and hits “In My Blood”, “Youth”, and “Lost in Japan”. Coeur de pirate ensured another pop album made the Top 5. Veteran Avril Lavigne‘s comeback hit “Head Above Water” stood side by side with novice Elijah Woods x Jamie Fine‘s “Ain’t Easy”. “Body” by Loud Luxury was however the most successful pop hit of 2018.

The Year in Urban: Mostly About Drake

Urban music did much better in the singles than the albums department. Only five of the twenty-two 2018 Canadian artist albums that made the Top 10 were of the genre. The majority of weekly Canadian artist Top 40 hits were urban tracks, and most of these were from Drake. It is important to note that, while Canada dedicates radio stations to the genres of country and rock, it does not do so for pop; Canadian contemporary hit radio lumps in urban music with pop. This certainly inflates the numbers and popularity of rap and R&B singles.

The Year in Rock: A T-Shirt on the Beach

The most successful Canadian artist songs in 2018 at modern rock radio were “T-Shirt” by The Beaches, “Lost Cause” by Black Pistol Fire, “Creature Comfort” by Arcade Fire, and “Live Through the Night” by Dear Rouge. The Sheepdogs, Three Days Grace, and Metric all scored Top 10 albums this year.

The Year in Country: Women Regain Clout

After much concern expressed from many quarters over the past couple of years about a lack of inclusion of women in country music in terms of radio airplay, award nominations/wins, etc, the tides began to turn in 2018. The first wave that crashed across the field was that Calgary’s Lindsay Ell became the first Canadian female soloist to score a number one hit at country radio in 10 years thanks to her song “Criminal”. The song also made splashes in the United States, where Canadian country content has been dry for many years, becoming a Top 20 country radio hit. In mid-December, Meghan Patrick‘s “Walls Come Down” topped the Canadian country radio charts. This is the first instance in the 21st century when two female soloists scored #1 country hits, the last time being in 1999 thanks to Shania Twain (“Honey I’m Home”) and Terri Clark (“Easy on the Eyes”).

In September, Jess Moskaluke won the Album of the Year award from the Canadian Country Music Association for Past the Past. It marked the first time in 14 years that a female was handed that particular trophy, the last recipient being Carolyn Dawn Johsnon in 2004 for album Dress Rehearsal. The equivalent awards program in the United States offered, in November, the Album of the Year award to American female soloist Kacey Musgraves for Golden Hour, which is significant too for a Canadian contribution – JUNO award winning recording engineer Shawn Everett mixed the album. He is from Bragg Creek, Alberta.

Canadian gentlemen made some milestones of their own. Dallas Smith scored his 5th (“Sleepin’ Around”) and 6th (“Make ‘Em Like You”) country chart toppers in 2018. The year in fact saw a total of five Canadian artist songs reach the summit, the other two being Dean Brody‘s “8th Day” and Gord Bamford‘s “Dive Bar”.

2018 in Style: Snap … Snap … Snap

DJ Holly Roberts called last year, 2017, the year of the finger snap. She wrote, “I have no idea why pop music has embraced the crack of finger snaps.” Although finger snaps have been part of the occasional song since the beginning, it seemed every song on the radio had them with variations of synthetic snaps to simplistic wooden clicks. Some found them underwhelming and others annoying. Lorde’s “Royals” has been blamed as sparking a wave of interest in using them. Roberts wondered if those snappy, clicky things were the result of record company budget cuts, and if so asked, “why hasn’t pop music embraced the magic of musical cans?” Unfortunately, finger snaps replaced (and in some cases accompanied) solid beats through 2018 as well. It was hard to find pop music that was free of them.

Music and the Media: Bad Habits Continue

Certain quarters of the US mainstream media continued xenophobic campaigns of attempts to discredit Canadian A-Listers, offering selected strokes of defamation from the same palette of tactics that have taken scathing shots at the likes of Justin Bieber, Nickelback, Céline Dion, Avril Lavigne, Carly Rae Jepsen, MAGIC!, Drake, Robin Thicke, and more. In the midst of celebrating her victory of being the first Canadian artist ever to win the Best New Artist Grammy award in the States and also of being the only female to mount the stage to accept an award through a lengthy evening criticized for its exorbitant slant towards men, the media was quick to call into question her qualification as a new artist, as she had been releasing music for a couple of years. Shawn Mendes was also targeted care of a lengthy feature by a popular US magazine which exhibited him as a neurotic, homophobic, drug-smoking juvenile.

Regarding the Canadian media, unexplained emphasis, particularly by the CBC, was placed through the year on urban music, a genre that is not as popular in Canada and the United Kingdom as it is in The United States. Underground artists of the rap and R&B kind were heavily promoted. 2018 saw some of the finest EDM by Canadians to date, but masterpieces like Diversion‘s Connection were ignored and success stories like Loud Luxury‘s were skimmed over.

Canadian media continued its cringeworthy habit of calling artists from Quebec, “Quebec artists” and from any of the other nine provinces “Canadian artists”, treating Quebec like an independent country and perpetuating unseemly attitudes in non-Quebeckers that Quebec music is irrelevant to them.

2018 JUNO Awards Goes Down in Vancouver

Next year’s JUNO awards will honour 2018 music. The gala takes place March 17, 2019 in London. The 2018 JUNO awards, honouring the best in 2017 music, took place March 25 in Vancouver and was hosted by Michael Bublé. Rush frontman Geddy Lee presented Steven Page and Barenaked Ladies’ induction into the Music Hall of Fame. Breakthrough Artist of the Year was Jessie Reyez and Artist of the Year Gord Downie (frontman of the Tragically Hip) who passed away from brain cancer. Arcade Fire‘s Everything Now was named Album of the Year. Shawn Mendes won the JUNO Fan Choice award. A highlight of the performances was Lights‘ which featured a backdrop of giant cartoon renderings she herself drew of her favourite Canadian female recording artists, like Shania Twain, Alessia Cara, and Molly Rankin.

Most of the JUNO trophies were handed out at the JUNO dinner gala and awards the previous evening. Among them were Diana Krall Producer of the Year, Grimes‘ “Venus Fly” Music Video of the Year, Nick Fiorucci featuring Laurell‘s “Closer” Dance Recording of the Year, The Beaches Breakthrough Group of the Year, A Tribe Called Red Group of the Year, Rezz‘s Mass Manipulation Electronic Album of the Year, AlvvaysAntisocialites Alternative Album of the Year, Daniel Bélanger‘s Paloma Francophone Album of the Year, Shawn Mendes‘ “There’s Nothing Holdin’ Me Back” Single of the Year, and LightsSkin & Earth Pop Album of the Year.

2018 Gala ADISQ: All Things Male

Following in the footsteps of the US Grammy Awards, this year’s Félix awards presented at the Gala ADISQ (honouring the best music to come out of the province of Quebec), saw only one of the 27 trophies given to a female: Klô Pelgag for Female Artist of the Year. The biggest winner this year was Philippe Brach who won five awards. It was, however, newcomer Hubert Lenoir who stirred up the most buzz. He won four trophies: New Artist of the Year, Pop Album of the Year (Darlène), Song of the Year (“Fille de personne II”), and Album of the Year – Critical Acclaim.

2018 Selected Music Headlines

♦ As mentioned above Alessia Cara became the first Canadian ever to win a Best New Artist Grammy, the flagship music awards gala of The United States which was inaugurated in 1959. She was the only female who was presented with a trophy through the evening and had to defend herself against naysayers who wondered why she was a contender in the category as she had been releasing music since 2015. Later in the year, Cara headlined the 2018 Grey Cup Halftime show. The Calgary Stampeders defeated the Ottawa Redblacks 27-16 at Edmonton’s Commonwealth Stadium.

♦ Undercover investigators found fraud surrounding the activities of Ticketmaster, the world’s biggest ticket supplier. Hypocritically, in contrast to its own condemnation of ticket resales by profiteers and in direct violation of its own terms of use, investigators discovered that Ticketmaster is endeavouring to share in the harvest reaped by scalpers. Ticketmaster itself has a resale division, and it turns a blind eye to scalpers who use computer software, ticket-buying bots, and multiple fake identities to scoop up thousands of tickets and then resell them on the Ticketmaster site for marked up prices. What’s more, Ticketmaster earns a cut of those resold tickets meaning that it is engaging in double dipping.

♦ Calgarian identical twin-sister pop duo Tegan and Sara capped off a 20-year music career as recipients of the prestigious Governor General’s Performing Arts Award receiving medals pressed at the Canadian Mint. The sisters have opened for superstars such as Lady Gaga and Katy Perry, performed at the 2015 Academy Awards, collaborated with EDM heavyweights Tiesto and Morgan Page, scored a trio of JUNO awards, and achieved gold/platinum certifications on nine recordings. Following the ceremony, Tegan and Sara were featured on CBC’s The National in an interview with Rosemary Barton.

♦ Canadian R&B singer CDW a.k.a. Charlotte Day Wilson was crowed winner of the 2018 Prism Prize which grants a cash reward to what is deemed the best/most artistic Canadian music video of the year. Her MV for song “Work”, the whole of which features pedestrians on an escalator, pleased the judges most. Surrounding the awards was talk of the potential demise of higher-budget music videos made for Canadian B-list artists due to the folding up of muscular funding bodies like MuchFACT. Since its inauguration in 1984, The Foundation to Assist Canadian Talent awarded $100 million to 9,000 projects. Fantavious Fritz, director of Charlotte’s “Work”, won the grand prize of $15,000 for best Canadian music video. He declared that part of the money would be used to create a one-time music video grant for a female director.

Jeremy Dutcher was awarded the Polaris Music Prize for his album Wolastoqiyik Lintuwakonawa, a work recorded in his First Nations language of Wolastoq. The disc was made following a research project on archival recordings of traditional Maliseet songs at the Canadian Museum of Civilization in an attempt to preserve the music, culture, and language of his people.

♦ Double diamond country pop superstar Shania Twain hosted the 2018 Canadian Country Music Association (CCMA) awards September 9 in Hamilton. Jess Moskaluke became the first female to win the Album of the Year Award (for Past the Past) in 14 years, the last time being Carolyn Dawn Johsnon in 2004 (Dress Rehearsal). James Barker Band‘s “Chills” was named Single of the Year.

♦ Country stars Brett Kissel, Chad Brownlee, Dallas Smith, Gord Bamford, The Hunter Brothers, and Jess Moskaluke played a fundraising concert for the victims and their families of the Humboldt Broncos tragedy April 27 in Saskatoon. Sixteen were killed in a bus crash when a lorry struck it on the highway. Tom Cochrane released a reworked version of his song “Big League” to honour the victims. Paul Brandt performed a powerful song in homage on CBC’s q. Rap superstar Drake wore a Broncos jersey at a Toronto Raptors (basketball) game. After the match, he and the Raptors signed the jersey, which was auctioned to raise funds for the families.

♦ Bell Media’s The Launch, produced by the Big Machine Label Group, wrapped up Season One after seven episodes broadcast on CTV. Six singles voiced by winning contestants saw success in terms of digital downloads and picked up radio spins across the country. The most successful on the charts was “Ain’t Easy” by Ottawa’s Elijah Woods x Jamie Fine, shaped by OneRepublic’s Ryan Tedder. The other five singles were Logan Staats‘ “The Lucky Ones”, The Static Shift‘s “Wide Awake”, Poesy‘s Soldier of Love, Jayd Ink‘s “Codes”, and Ethan Young‘s “Giants”.

The success of the show means it will be returning in 2019 for season 2, the first episode airing January 30. Mentors, songwriters, and producers appearing through Season One included Alessia Cara, Boy George, busbee (P!nk, Shakira, Blake Shelton), Dann Huff, Fergie, Ian Kirkpatrick (Jason Derulo, Selena Gomez), Jennifer Nettles (Sugarland), Julia Michaels (Mötley Crüe), Ryan Tedder (One Republic), Shania Twain, and Stephan Moccio (Nikki Yanofsky, Miley Cyrus).

The Launch’s format involved the introduction of a new original song composed by a hit songwriter in each episode. Five aspiring recording artists auditioned. Two were selected whom the mentors felt had the most potential and worked over the next 48 hours to record their version of it. The two contestants then performed their rendition before a live audience and one was chosen. The resulting digital single was launched that night.

♦ Beloved platinum recording artist Victoria Duffield returned as an independent artist after releasing a pair of albums through Warner Music Canada. She shared her story on social media and in interviews provided some fascinating insights into some of the challenges she had faced when signed to the major label. Hooking up with a new production team, she graced 2018 with new singles, the first of which was savory pop song “Wow”.

La Voix (The Voice) Season 6 crowned throaty singer Yama Laurent as the victor, finalist of team Garou. The other coaches (and their finalists) this year were Lara Fabian (Miriam Baghdassarian), Éric Lapointe (Jonathan Freeman), and Alex Nevsky (Yann Brassard). Winners of the first five season of the show are Valérie Carpentier, Yoan Garneau, Kevin Bazinet, Stéphanie St-Jean, and Ludovick Bourgeois.

♦ Exhibit Biebs decked the halls in Justin Bieber‘s hometown of Stratford, Ontario. From boy busker to global pop superstar, the Biebs was honoured with the opening of a dedicated exhibit at Stratford’s Perth Museum. Later in the year, Justin tied the knot with model and television personality Hailey Baldwin, daughter of actor Stephen Baldwin.

♦ After multiplatinum albums and singles and multiple JUNO awards, one of Canada’s most successful bands of the 21st century, Hedley, fell from grace. In mid-February, members of the band were anonymously accused of sexual misconduct including with girls as young as 14. The band mutually agreed with CARAS on pulling out of the 2018 JUNO Awards both in terms of a scheduled performance and nominations for trophies. On social media, the band called the accusations “unsubstantiated”. In the midst of a cross-Canada tour, the group announced it would go on an indefinite hiatus following the shows. Opening acts for the tour pulled out, Hedley was dropped by its management team, radio stations suspended spins of their songs, and fans were split on whether, before any legal proceedings, the band should be considered guilty of the accusations, as Twitter hashtags #outhedley2k18 jostled with #IStandWithHedley. The plot thickened when an Ottawa woman accused lead singer Jacob Hoggard of sexual assault. In July, he was charged with one count of sexual interference and two counts of sexual assault causing bodily harm.

Drake‘s 2018 album Scorpion broke many records, including Spotify and Apple Music’s one-day global streaming tallies. Drake surpassed Michael Jackson, Beyoncé, and Usher to become the sixth artist with the most consecutive weeks at #1 on the Billboard US Hot 100. He is now the male soloist with the most number one singles on the chart (33 of them) and the most consecutive weeks in the Top 10. He ranks 1st overall in the most Top 10 debuts (17), the most Top 40 singles (94), and the most consecutive weeks on the chart (431). Drake ranks second overall for having the most Hot 100 hits (192). He now holds the record for the most entries in the Hot 100 during a one-week period, with 27. Drake is the only artist to have a number-one debut replace another number-one debut. He did this April 21, 2018, when “Nice For What” replaced “God’s Plan” at the summit, after the latter had spent eleven weeks on top. On July 14, 2018, Drake set the record for the most songs in the top ten at once, with seven. The Beatles had previously held the record, since 1964, with five entries.

The Year’s Best Music

There seemed to be little agreement on the best albums of 2018, be they Canadian or international works. Canadian Music Blog revealed its favourite EPs (7), albums (15), tracks (30), and music videos (10) of 2018. Avril Lavigne‘s “Head Above Water” was named Music Video of the Year, The CMB named Éric Charland‘s singer-songwriter disc La tristesse n’est qu’une saison as EP of the Year, Diversion‘s EDM LP Connection as Album of the Year, and Lindsay Ell‘s country tune “Criminal” as Song of the Year.

CKOI Year-End Top 50 of 2018

C’est quoi? Well, Montreal radio station CKOI has published a year-end Top 50 chart annually since 1976. It includes both international and Canadian and both Anglo and Franco songs. While the latter have a tough time making it onto the national charts, the CKOI chart gives us a good idea of the more popular Franco songs by year. Of all the year-end charts, this one is the most inclusive offering a very balanced presentation. There is greater variety of genres with pop, rock, dance, R&B, folk, soul, and even country. Because of this and other factors, you may find on the chart international Anglo songs that are absent from English language radio playlists. The top Canadian Franco song of 2018 on the chart is “Toutes les femmes savent danser” by rapper loud (#1). We have put initials after the artist name to indicate Canadian Franco (cf) and Canadian Anglo (ca). Of the Top Fifty, 15 involve Canadian artists, up from 13 last year but down from 18 in 2016.

RANK TITLE ARTIST
1 Toutes les femmes savent danser loud (cf)
2 Zombie Bad Wolves
3 Body (feat. Brando) Loud Luxury (ca)
4 Natural Imagine Dragons
5 Leave a Light On Tom Walker
6 Des p’tits bouts de toi Roxane Bruneau (cf)
7 Be Alright Dean Lewis
8 One Kiss Calvin Harris
9 Fille de personne II Hubert Lenoir (cf)
10 High Hopes Panic! At The Disco
11 Genius LSD
12 Vintage à l’os Séba et Horg (cf)
13 New Rules (Acoustic) Dua Lipa
14 Girls Like You Maroon 5
15 Familiar Liam Payne
16 Best Friend Sofi Tukker
17 Promises Calvin Harris
18 Shallow Lady Gaga
19 Meant to Be BEBE REXHA
20 Shotgun George Ezra
21 Where’s My Love SYML
22 These Days Rudimental
23 Cinq à Sept Koriass (cf)
24 Simple Florida Georgia Line
25 Youngblood 5 Seconds Of Summer
26 Thunderclouds LSD
27 Better Now Post Malone
28 Belle folie Éric Lapointe (cf)
29 Have It All Jason Mraz
30 Whatever It Takes Imagine Dragons
31 Paradise George Ezra
32 On perd la tête Swing (cf)
33 Nevermind Dennis Lloyd
34 Jackie Chan Dzeko ft. Preme (ca)
35 Empire Marie-Mai (cf)
36 Power Over Me Dermot Kennedy
37 Say Something Justin Timberlake
38 Ça va Emile Bilodeau (cf)
39 Almost Home Sultan + Shepard (ca)
40 That’s It (I’m Crazy) Sofi Tukker
41 Sober Up AJR
42 Léo Gagné 2Frères (cf)
43 Happier Marshmello
44 I Feel Like I’m Drowning Two Feet
45 Dans la nuit Coeur de Pirate (cf)
46 Let You Down NF
47 Love Someone Lukas Graham
48 Corinne Les Trois Accords (cf)
49 Flames David Guetta & Sia
50 Crazy Lost Frequencies

2018 Weekly Billboard Hot 100 Statistics

This week, the final 2018 weekly Billboard Hot 100 chart was released, and we can now look at some statistics to recap the year.

First off, a total of 89 tracks by or featuring Canadian artists debuted on the Hot 100 in 2018. Only 30 Canadian artists were involved in these, most of them responsible for only one entry. Drake is king having placed 26 as the main artist, 1 as the co-main, and 7 as a featured artist; this makes a total of 34 entries. In second place is The Weeknd with a total of 9. Tory Lanez has 7. With 6 apiece are NAV and Shawn Mendes. Two French language tracks made the charts in 2018: Loud’s “Toutes les femmes savent danser” and Yes Mccan’s “Désirée”.

Three tracks released in 2017 reached their peak positions in 2018 (none reaching the Top 40), and some songs debuting on the charts at the end of 2018 may peak in 2019. Of note, Michael Bublé’s “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas” which debuted on the charts in 2011 re-entered the charts at the end of 2018 reaching a new peak position (#34).

The number of tracks debuting in 2018 which entered the Top Forty is 49 meaning more than half of the 89 made it. Only two female soloists contributed to these: Alessia Cara and Avril Lavigne. Entering the Top Ten were 18 songs. Reaching #1 were five, four of them from Drake (“God’s Plan”, “In My Feelings”, “Nice for What”, and “Nonstop”) and one from The Weeknd (“Call Out My Name”). Ten Canadian acts landed on the Billboard Hot 100 for the first time in 2018.

Streaming data was incorporated into the Hot 100 in September 2014. One of the casualties of the new metrics is a sharp decline in the number of Canadian artists on the chart. The year prior to the incorporation of streaming data, 2013, saw 89 Canadian artists land Hot 100 hits. The year when streaming data was counted saw this drop to 67. The year 2015 witnessed 50 and 2016 had 45. Last year, 2017, was graced by 34, and now 2018 sees a paltry 30. Therefore, streaming has cut the number of Canadian artists on the chart by roughly one-third. See these numbers more dramatically illustrated in the graph below. Below that find a list of the 30 Canadian artists and how many 2018 hits they scored as the main, co-main, or featured artist. Artists charting for the first time in 2018 are in green.

CANADIAN ARTIST TOTAL MAIN CO-M FT
Alessia Cara 2 2
Anders 1 1
Avril Lavigne 1 1
Belly 2 1 1
Carly Rae Jepsen 1 1
Celine Dion 1 1
Chad Brownlee 1 1
Daniel Caesar 1 1
Delaney Jane 1 1
Dragonette 1 1
Drake 34 26 1 7
DVBBS 1 1
Dzeko 1 1
Elijah Woods x Jamie Fine 2 2
Jade Eagleson 1 1
Jessie Reyez 2 1 1
Killy 1 1
Loud 1 1
Loud Luxury 2 1 1
NAV 6 4 2
New City 1 1
PartyNextDoor 3 3
Preme 1 1
Scott Helman 1 1
Shaun Frank 1 1
Shawn Mendes 6 6
The Weeknd 9 6 2 1
Tory Lanez 7 6 1
Tyler Shaw 2 2
Yes Mccan 1 1

2018 Maple Blazers: 10 New Canadian Artists Who Ruled the Year

We don’t know if Alice Merton, bülow, and Kris Wu are Canadian citizens, but a number of Canadian artists and pseudo-Canadian artists leapt out of obscurity to make their mark whether on the charts or awards shows. Below is a list of 10 such notables in alphabetical order. We give a pair of honourable mentions to the following for their success on the album chart: pianist Alexandra Streliski whose Inscape became her first Top 10 album and Your Favorite Enemies member Alex Henry Foster whose debut solo disc Memories Don’t Die reached #6. A further pair of slayers involved singer Anders who teamed up with Loud Luxury on followup charting single “Love No More” and EDM whiz Dzeko who joined Tiesto on Top 10 smash “Jackie Chan”.

Elijah Woods x Jamie Fine

Duo Elijah Woods x Jamie Fine from Ottawa were participants in CTV talent search show The Launch which was responsible for six new singles from half a dozen aspiring artists. “Ain’t Easy” from the pair, shaped by Ryan Tedder of OneRepublic, was the most successful making the Top 40 of the Billboard Hot 100 and reaching platinum sales. EW x JF did not stop there releasing followup number “Better Off” which also made the Hot 100. Elijah’s knack for electropop production and Jamie’s soulful singing proved a successful combination.

Hubert Lenoir

Glam rock specialist Hubert Lenoir provided fodder for music critic giddiness this year. His debut concept album Darlène released in early February 2018 may not have ripped up the album charts but it was shortlisted for the Polaris Prize. Later in the year, Lenoir won four Félix awards: critically acclaimed album of the year, pop album of the year, single of the year (“Fille de personne II”), and best new artist.

Jeremy Dutcher

Jeremy Dutcher was awarded the $50,000 Polaris Music Prize for his album Wolastoqiyik Lintuwakonawa, a work recorded in his First Nations language of Wolastoq. The disc was made following a research project on archival recordings of traditional Maliseet songs at the Canadian Museum of Civilization in an attempt to preserve the music, culture, and language of his people. He sings in his native tongue over classical music compositions.

Jade Eagleson

Growing up on a farm in Ontario, country gent Jade Eagleson scored his first hit in 2018, “Got Your Name On It” which reached #90 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #6 at country radio. Jade initially played gigs to earn extra money to save the farm. He was invited to perform at a country music festival where he dazzled the audience. Eagleson was eventually signed to Universal Music releasing his debut EP in October. He is definitely a name to watch.

Kelly Yu

Rising Canadian star Kelly Yu scored a huge Mandopop hit this year, theme song for Chinese romcom feature film The Ex-File 3: The Return of the Exes. The song bears the title “Tĭ Miàn” (Decent). An audio of it at Youtube has surpassed Vevo certification levels of 100 million. From Vancouver, Kelly attended the prestigious Berklee College of Music. She is such an accomplished guitarist that the legend who is Peter Frampton invited her to perform on stage with him in concert.

Killy

“No Sad, No Bad” is the first charting single from Filipino-Bajan rapper Killy, reaching #65 on the Billboard Hot 100. His real name is Khalil Tatem. Two previous singles, though not charting, were certified gold by Music Canada in 2018: “Distance” and “Killamonjaro”. At the age of 8, Killy moved from Toronto to Victoria where he attended school. In his late teens he relocated back to Toronto to begin his career in rap music.

Loud

Loud, alias of Simon Cliche Trudeau, is a rapper who won the SOCAN Songwriting Prize in this year for his piece”56K”. His stage name comes from his former association with band Loud Lary Ajust. Around for several years, it failed to place a hit on the Hot 100. With his going solo, Loud made it to #94 with Franco tune ” Toutes les femmes savent danser”. Loud also collaborated with Cœur de pirate on the track “Dans la nuit” from her 2018 album En cas de tempête, ce jardin sera fermé. Loud’s debut solo album Une année record was longlisted for the Polaris Music Prize and won rap album of the year at the ADISQ gala. He also won the Félix trophy for the Quebec Artist with the Most Distinction Outside the Province.

Loud Luxury

Duo Andrew Fedyk and Joe Depace, under moniker Loud Luxury was easily the biggest success story of 2018. Gaining recognition for remixing Martin Garrix’s single “Scared to Be Lonely”, Loud Luxury released the EDM song “Body” featuring Brando. It peaked at #3 on the Billboard Hot 100 and was certified 7x platinum by year-end. It was a major success story across Europe, including a #4 placement on the British charts, and Australia where it reached #7. Followup single “Love No More” featuring Canadian singer Anders also charted.

New City

Based in Toronto, trio New City scored its first charting single this year, dance-pop number “Getting Closer” (#73). The band describes its vision as “We now live in a playlist culture. For listeners today, musical genres and divisions are breaking down, and songs live or die on their own merits—no longer dependent on which category they’re placed in. Toronto-based trio NEW CITY is a new band with a new sound for this new moment.”

Yes McCan

Montreal-based Jean-François Ruel, a.k.a. Yes McCan, left alternative rap group Dead Obies for a solo career. He scored his first charting single in 2018: Désirée (#96). It features the talents of Cape Tula and Yen Dough) and is the final track on his 2018 album, Oui. The official YouTube audio for the track has racked up nearly 1.5 million listens (at this writing).

The 30 Best Songs of 2018

After listening to several thousand songs released in 2018 whether as singles, tracks on EPs or LPs, we have settled on our 30 favourites. To create a fairer and tidier list, we allowed only one entry per artist. Regardless of genre, language, and relative popularity of the artist, below is a list of our 30 favourite Canadian artist songs of 2018 including our Song of the Year! Note that we have included instrumental tracks even though, technically, a “song” is a piece of music that is sung. Hit singles released in 2017 but achieved their peak chart success in 2018 are included. As well, songs released as singles in 2017 but were included on an album released in 2018 were considered. We have used the artwork for the single where one exists, failing that, the LP or EP that includes the song. We would like to give honourable mentions to “Empire” by Sarah MacDougall, “Hotel Delmano” by Munya, and “Signals” by To the Trees.

Trust us, the 30 songs below are all really, really good and make us proud to be Canadian. 

Strangers by Kalle Mattson

This talented man won the Prism Prize in 2016 for his “Avalanche” music video. He released solid studio album Youth in 2018, and this track tickled us most, given its wispy vocals, addictive keyboard pulses, and thumpy beats.

Rue Jones by Simon Daniel

Off excellent album Nightcrawler, New Brunswick’s Simon Daniel put together this sumptuous brew of brooding tones, at times sounding like a cross between Radiohead and Travis.

Je n’arrive pas à revenir by Céleste Lévis

Timmins, Ontario recording artist Céleste Lévis is an ADISQ nominated finalist of The Voice Season 3. Her thick honeyed vocals are a perfect match for “Je n’arrive pas à revenir” with its delicate arrangements that build into a towering climax complete with some delicious synthesizers.

Call Out My Name by The Weeknd

This earth quaking R&B number struck number one on April 10, as fans speculated it was about Selena Gomez. “Call Out My Name” is the opening track off The Weeknd’s EP My Dear Melancholy.

Kiss Me by Magic

A radio hit it certainly was, “Kiss Me” was lead single off reggae-pop group Magic’s third studio album, Expectations, arguably its best yet. We love how it ends with some horns.

25Fèngpéi by Kelly Yu

Vancouverite Kelly Yu slayed China with a Mandopop megahit this year, and while it was definitely a winner, we preferred “Fèngpéi” (Accompany), a piano ballad with a great catchy chorus.

24Sight Of by Lesser Evil

From one of the best EPs of the year, “Sight Of” from Lesser Evil is an instantly likeable chillout nugget with funky grooves. It teases vocally and claps its way along ever so coolly.

23Head Above Water by Avril Lavigne

One of Canada’s most successful recording artists of all time made a big comeback in 2018. In fact, this inspiring piano ballad was one of only two songs by a homegrown female soloist to make the Top 40 through the year.

22Magic by Birthday Boy & Trish


Chillout R&B house seldom gets as good as this – “Magic” by Birthday Boy & Trish presenting savoury beats and silky vocals. Fans of the genre can’t ignore this one.

21Seule comme une étoile by Maïa


From one of the year’s best pop albums, “Seule comme une étoile” from Maïa of former group Ladies of the Canyon, injects a soft flowing dose of soul-stirring piano and haunts like a Sarah Brightman song.

20Science by Allie X


Speaking of great pop music, how about that EP from Allie X? Arguably “Science” was its most likeable track. It sits somewhere between The Human League and Electric Youth and fits easily into an imagined soundtrack for both Miami Vice and Ryan Gosling’s Drive.

19Bad Habits by Delaney Jane


Peaking in early September, “Bad Habits” by Delaney Jane is a Billboard Hot 100 charting number and was all over the radio this year. The flickering guitar is what makes it so choice.

18In Time by Dizzy


Winning tons of critical acclaim, Baby Teeth was the sleeper hit album of the year. Dizzy is the name of the band. And “In Time” is perhaps its most outstanding track.

17We Are the New VR by Brave Shores


A synth pop duo that conjured up a magical album was Toronto’s Brave Shores. It was difficult to pick a standout track but “We Are the New VR” has such a dazzling, uplifting wall of sound quality, we have to place it here.

16Love Me by Forest Blakk


Irresistible is “Love Me” from Forest Blakk, a roots-leaning track that does what all singer-songwriter folk-rock pieces should – flare up the goosebumps.

15ONO by Ariane Moffatt


This one should have you busting a move or two. “ONO”, which stands for one night only, is electropop done right. JUNO award winner Ariane Moffatt is one of our finest as demonstrated here.

14Maybe It’s Me by Jessica Mitchell


Jessica Mitchell is one of those singers who can bristle out your back of neck hairs with a single note. She scrapes the clouds with this phenomenal song, and we are grateful.

13MTV by Rosemary Fairweather


The Toronto queen of underground new wave is the one to watch in 2019. Airy vocals, captivating beats, and dreamy synths make her music ever so exquisite. “MTV” has some nice vocal harmonies in the chorus and hearkens back to the 80s, appropriate for a song about MTV.

12Crave by Ruth B.


Edmonton multiplatinum JUNO winner, Ruth B released this song which struck us for sounding different from what everyone seemed to be doing in 2018. Its teasing synth pulses and raspy beats should hook you immediately.

11Good Intentions II by North Atlantic Drift


Canada is taking its shot at ambient electronic music and becoming a world leader at it. One of our finest outfits is North Atlantic Drift. “Good Intentions II” at just under four minutes does not overstay its welcome gently pulling you along in its breathtaking flight.

10Branches by The Coriolis Project


BC’s The Coriolis Project gives ambient music more of an edgier rock sound, as explicitly evident on a cut like “Branches”. It switches on an atmosphere that swings serenely, thanks to some nice ride cymbal percussion, and ultimately excites with riveting guitars and ultra spicy synth riffs.

9Manic by Coleman Hell


Quadruple platinum artist Coleman Hell of Thunder Bay delivered perhaps the best lyrics of the year thanks to this knee-slapping stroke of genius dedicated to those who suffer from so-called mental illness. Our favourite stanza:

“So I wrestle my demons
‘Til I go off the deep end
Where I’m drowning and I can’t come up for air
I’ve tried every medication
And I’ve gone in hibernation
Hiding in my room like a bi-polar bear”

Brilliant!

8Afar by Viñu-Vinu


A sweeping tapestry of ambient soundscapes animates Viñu-Vinu’s excellent album Echoes from Afar which opens with track … “Afar”.  This is a creepy waking dream, a deliciously dreary ride through both spook and calm.

7Never Any No Good by Allan Rayman


Rock anthem of the year, Allan Rayman’s “Never Any No Good”, slays with its devastating guitar riffs and bluesy croon giving a high-five to Jean Leloup.

6Seuls à deux by Éric Charland

From our EP of the year, “Seuls à deux” by Éric Charland has it all. A finely crafted, catchy, and coherent adult electropop tune reminding us a little of Jason Bajada.

5I Want It All by Adrian Underhill

The surprise R&B album of 2017 was Jenna Nation’s You Don’t Know and of 2018 is Adrian Underhill’s CU Again. It is smooth, mellow R&B inflected adult contemporary with splashes of alternative. Pastel grooves swish through the gentle earworm “I Want It All” which harnesses a simple melody that is ever so catchy.

4Would You Just by Diversion


It was very difficult to choose a track from our 2018 album of the year, Connection by EDM house wizard Diversion. We finally settled on this, a moderate tempo track amidst faster and slower numbers. The vocals of featured singer Yemi Bolatiwa make it even better. Dense and rich with fantastic beats and ground-shaking bass, “Would You Just” is pure euphoria.

3My All to You by Beatrice Deer

Title track of Beatrice Deer’s boss 2018 album, “My All to You” is a driving stomp along pleaser oozing with fragrant swagger. So simple and yet so satisfying, it forces you to do one thing: hit the repeat button.

2Monophobia by Deadmau5


This definitely qualifies as one of the best tracks emanating from Canada’s most recognizable name in EDM – deadmau5. Monophobia features the vocals of Rob Swire. Wait for the electrifying synth and beats to kick in and you’re in for the feel-good anthem of the year.

1Canadian Music Blog’s 2018 Song of the Year

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. This song did pretty well in the US too, making it into the country Top 20, a rare event for a Canadian song these days. Another rarity is for a singer to melt hearts by voicing a single word, in this case “boy”. Plucky guitar leads up to the most sing-along worthy chorus in a long time. This song deserved every milestone it passed. Off 2017 album The Project, the Canadian Music Blog declares “Criminal” by Lindsay Ell as 2018’s song of the year!

The 10 Best Music Videos of 2018

music-video

We are counting down our favourite music videos of 2018. A good music video as far as we are concerned is one that keeps a person’s attention even with the sound turned off. We admire MVs that are cinematic, adventurous, fun, sentimental, clever, artistic, original, that have attractive wardrobe choices, breathtaking shots, architectural or natural wonders, or a stellar message. With high standards, we prefer MVs that are low on violence, lechery, expletives, self-mutilation, and do not display the use of toxic substances, all of which are ugly to us. We select videos that are beautiful to look at, colourful, with crisp, clear photography and brightness/contrast controls properly balanced. Below is a list of our 10 favourite Canadian MVs released in 2018. As YouTube often changes the addresses of videos, we have not embedded the MVs here but have provided links to them for your convenience. (Do note that these may become invalid in the future). As usual, we allowed only one entry per artist on the list and have provided a screen capture for each video below.

10Ashes by Céline Dion


Dead Can Dance? Well, apparently Deadpool can, especially when Céline Dion is performing a show-stopping power ballad on stage. But what we’re really wondering is – is that Ryan in the costume or a professional dancer? The best-selling Canadian artist of all-time took theme song of feature film Deadpool 2 – “Ashes” – and put a big smile on our faces with this niblet of joy.  Link

9Bathed in Light by The Dirty Nil


Ham’l’n JUNO winning rock band The Dirty Nil, somewhat alternative, somewhat punk, somewhat costumed up, takes a van to a warehouse venue and performs amidst colourful lights and pyrotechnics. It’s a blast.  Link

8With You by Tyler Shaw


2018 was the year of celebrity Canadian marriages, perhaps inspired by the Royal Wedding. Tyler Shaw was among those who tied the knot, but he has always been Mr. Romance. This certainly comes through in the beautifully done music video for Billboard Hot 100 hit “With You”. With it, he has placed a total of seven songs on the chart.  Link

7Empire by Marie-Mai

Impératrice Marie-Mai flirts between black and white and pastel colours in a drool-inducing slick slice of cool that is her music video for “Empire”. She’s been able to decorate the Billboard Hot 100 with seven Franco hits, a truly amazing feat. Two platinum albums isn’t too shabby either.  Link

6No Depression by Bahamas


“No Depression” will greet you when you watch this adorable MV. Afie Jurvanen a.k.a. Bahamas gets a puppet version of himself who embarks on a soul-searching mission through the wilderness, only to settle down roasting hot dogs at a campfire with the real version of himself.  Link

5God’s Plan by Drake

The MV for chart-topping hit and third biggest song of the year, “God’s Plan”, documents Drake‘s donating the video’s entire budget to Floridians in need. He tells shoppers that anything they buy in the store is on him. He donates $25,000 to a high school. And there are some other surprises. On Instagram he commented that it was “the most important thing I have ever done in my career.”  Link

4UnAmerican by Said the Whale


It took four days and 2,250 pieces of paper but in “UnAmerican”, Said The Whale finally put out this handmade effects-filled video containing no visual effects after tons of meticulous preparation. The MV combines still photos (printed frames of a filmed live performance) with a continuously moving canvas resulting in an eye-popping work of art.  Link

3The Middle by Rich Aucoin


On top of a green blotter that evokes nostalgia back to days before the whiteboard and after the blackboard, an ambidextrous artist (director Meags Fitzgerald) puts all her skills to good use live before the camera: drawing, cutting, shaping, arranging, crafting, illustrating a host of art pieces.  In our route to becoming adults, for some reason, somewhere along the way, we lost our desire to make art like this. Hopefully the MV for Rich Aucoin‘s “The Middle” will bring back such inspiration.  Link

2Fèngpéi by Kelly Yu


Vancouverite Kelly Yu had an amazing year, scoring one of Mandopop’s biggest hits and releasing her second album, Undefined. In the MV for track “Fèngpéi” (Accompany), follow Kelly around the Bund in Shanghai, one of the word’s most recognizable urban locales. Though colourful videos have proven the most attractive, so-called earth tones work well here, as does her choice of wearing a beige trench coat. The MV includes enough details to keep the eyes pleased – photographs, toys, paintings, books.  Link

1Canadian Music Blog’s 2018 Music Video of the Year

Iceland is a favourite place for many artists to shoot music videos; even the Biebs did one there. This artist released a video on her birthday, marking her big comeback. She is known for having made some of the most gorgeous music videos, 13 of which are Vevo certified at over 100 million views, and she certainly succeeds here. Her ghostly figure carrying a lamp emerges from a cave to amble along jagged cliffs overlooking the dark teal waters of the ocean and whitecaps crashing on the beach. And let’s not forget the breathtaking underwater shots. Canadian Music Blog declares Avril Lavigne‘s “Head Above Water” as 2018’s music video of the year!  Link

The 15 Best Albums of 2018

The Canadian Music Blog tracked a total of 579 Canadian artist studio albums released in 2018. Below is a ranking of our 15 favourites of these regardless of genre, language, region, and popularity of the artist. These 15 represent 2.6% of the albums. We did not consider live, various artist, Christmas, and compilation albums, none of which are included in the 579. For EPs we published a separate list. At the CMB, we like music that is sophisticated with catchy melodies and pleasing vocals (unless it is instrumental). Though fairly eclectic, this list reflects Canadian artists becoming world leaders at progressive music. Find below our 15 favourite Canadian artist albums of 2018 including our Album of the Year!.

15Blackout Summer by Dusted


Dusted is a pet project of Brian Borcherd, and Blackout Summer the sophomore record. Essentially a work of alternative rock, its strong suit lies in the writing. Songs often begin discreetly and grab attention when the bass and drums enter the picture. Opener “Seasons” welds the brooding hypnosis of The Psychedelic Furs’ “Sister Europe” with the ghostly yodels of Chris Isaak’s “Wicked Game”. The more experimental “Dead Eyes” pairs subdued vocals with perky guitars oscillating between simpler arrangements and ones more sophisticated. The swaggering “No Prison” beautifully captures the jangly guitar sound of the 60s from such aces as The Byrds and beefs things up with some pleasurable pulses. Well done!  iTunes

14Undefined by Kelly Yu

Scoring huge Mandopop hit “Ti Mian” (Decent) this year, theme song of Chinese feature film Ex-Files 3: Return of the Exes, Canadian singer and actress Kelly Yu followed up with her first album in four years after debut LP Spirits. Though the Vancouver raised star gained fame with her roles in TV series One and a Half Summers and blockbuster film Ex-Files 3, Yu in fact graduated from the prestigious Berklee College of Music and was guitarist in a backing band before launching her own solo career in music. The legend who is Peter Frampton was so impressed with her guitar skills, he had her perform with him on stage.

Kelly’s 2018 album, entitled Undefined, consists of ten soothing ballads including previous hits “Can’t Steal Now” (Track 1), “Past” (Track 4), and of course “Decent” (Track 8). The album also contains English language number “Save Me”. Undefined’s standout track, though is possibly, “Accompaniment” (Track 7) which does what Mandopop does best, hooks us onto an irresistible melody with soul-piercing vocals over some killer piano. Hear some heart-melting keys and strings on concluder “You Are Mine”.  iTunes

13My All to You by Beatrice Deer


Beatrice Deer is originally from Quaqtaq, QC and now based in Montreal. She is of Inuit and Mohawk descent and in the past 14 years has become a natural at blending Indigenous flavours with contemporary pop-rock. She refers to her resulting folk-rock style as Inuindie. Beatrice’s 2018 LP My All to You, her fourth, showcases such a marvellous sound with songs performed in three languages: English, French, and Inuktitut. Being more involved in the songwriting herself, than on previous works, she still managed to pull in some high-profile collaborators including members of The Barr Brothers, Land of Talk, Stars, and Timber Timbre.

Hear modern alternative rock and folk with traditional throat singing and the stuff of Inuit legend. My All to You is a collection of eight original pieces with Beatrice Deer’s interpretation of two traditional songs. Thematically, it is, in the author’s words, about reconciliation with oneself, “the hardest thing to do.” The wistful “1997” contains some nostalgic guitar strums that might remind one of Travis or Smashing Pumpkins. Title-track “My All to You” asserts an irresistible, steady beat. Closer “You’re with Me” acknowledges the importance of companionship along life’s treacherous journey. On My All to You, Beatrice Deer, embarked on a voyage of personal reconciliation, and sounds as if she came out of it with pure resilience.  iTunes

12Plus que vive by Maïa

Roots music outfit Ladies of the Canyon was a successful quartet, nominated for the CCMA Rising Star Award in 2011. After two albums, the group felt it had reached a crossroads, its members wanting to embark on separate paths. Maïa Davies had already released solo album Héritage paying homage to the Francophone side of her bilingual roots. But her path eventually began to veer in a more progressive direction, and at some point along the way she bumped into JUNO award winning producer Gavin Brown who has crafted works from Mother Mother, Metric, The Tragically Hip, Sarah Harmer, and Three Days Grace. Maïa’s penning catchy songs began to attract more stellar names to join her team: Kevin Hearn of Barenaked Ladies and JUNO nominated recording engineer Gus Van Go.

The 2018 album, Plus que vive, marks Maïa‘s first foray into the exciting kingdom of pop music with electronic trimmings. You will also hear some choice nuggets of progressive rock, some of which outshine even the immediately catchy pop charmers like “Alléluia” and “Échos”. Opening with the electronic boom of atmospheric “Années-lumière”, a piece that smartly combines Maïa’s angelic vocals with processed vocoder backups, we were immediately hooked. Fortunately, her songwriting skills come complete with big, satisfying choruses heard in cuts like “Éternellement”.

Maïa also has a knack for creating addictive beats – in “Folie” for instance – a track that is drenched in a dizzying wall of sound. The driving “Les couleurs me reviennent” presents another example of an exhilarating chorus. It’s not all a high wattage pop electronica however, as “Seule comme une étoile” injects a cool dose of soul-stirring piano, haunting like a Sarah Brightman song. Oh, and feel free to clap along to “Içi dans les nuages” – good music is meant to inspire you to do so. We come to closer “Comme un homme” with electric guitar themes that remind us of Gary Numan’s “Ancients” (that’s meant as a huge compliment by the way). Her vocals on the track are simply delicious.

The great voice, songwriting, and production make this thing a triple threat that should unravel the prowess of all A Listers.  iTunes

11Expectations by MAGIC!


The group hardly needs an introduction, but reggae pop act Magic holds the overlooked distinction of being the first Canadian band to top the British charts … ever! Two JUNO wins punctuate its status, plus of course global smash hit “Rude”. Expectations is the outfit’s third studio album, and despite “Kiss Me” becoming a certified hit, the album should have received much more attention because the quality of the music is outstanding. Although there is still some reggae seasoning, the players shifted to a more mainstream pop sound that is richer than on its previous discs. Expectations by MAGIC! is one of the finest pop releases of 2018.  iTunes

10Petites mains precieuses by Ariane Moffatt


Originally from Saint-Romuald, QC which has now been amalgamated with Lévis, Montreal-based electropop ace Ariane Moffatt released her sixth studio album in 2018, Petites mains précieuses. Her debut album, Aquanaute (2002), went platinum, and her third, Tous les sens (2008), won a JUNO award. The new album is perky with some dark patches and is modern sounding with occasional tips towards 1970s grooves. It is always a pleasure to listen to her velvety voice which wisps through the tracks gracefully. Popular cuts include stringy opener “Du souffle pour deux”, funky “Les apparences”, and the driving “Pour toi”. As interesting musically as its title, we enjoyed the fluttering “Cyborg” and more heavily electronic “ONO” which stands for One Night Only. Not many artists can boast six solid albums, so Ariane Moffatt is among the elite.  iTunes

9Nightcrawler by Simon Daniel


After launching an EP in 2015, which allowed him to play more than a hundred shows in Canada and Europe and to win numerous prizes and accolades, Moncton, New Brunswick’s Simon Daniel launched in 2018 full-length album Nightcrawler, and it’s a beauty. Of the disc’s title and theme, Daniel states, “Myself, being a night owl, that’s when my imagination lets loose and when I’m most creative.” Nightcrawler exposes his creative genius in concocting a fresh sound with funky bass grooves and punchy trip hop beats intertwined with crackling guitars and whirls of analog synthesizers. The tracks lead off with simplicity and gradually evolve into sophisticated soundscapes, often with towering choruses. It’s both a nocturnal road trip and an intergalactic odyssey. Simon Daniel’s Nightcrawler could well be 2018 alternative pop’s finest hour.  iTunes

8All the Hours… by Sarah MacDougall


With a voice as enticing as Coeur de pirate’s and as enchanting as Anna of the North’s, The Yukon’s Sarah MacDougall scored a winner in 2018 new wave folk album All the Hours I have Left to Tell You Anything. By her own telling, the lyrics deal with “strength, identity, death, the breakdown of relationships, birth, and the ghosts we honor and carry throughout”. These themes were influenced by the passing of her grandparents, birth of her niece, and a breakup. The music’s atmospherics were shaped by the vast and desolate Yukon terrain as well as the shadowy splendour of her country of origin: Sweden. One of the disc’s chief strengths lies in Sarah’s ability to craft surging choruses that do more than satisfy. Listen too for some savoury electric guitar solos. All the Hours… was heralded by singles “Empire” and “We Are Fire” but has much more to offer, such as the slow-burning drive of “Bleeding on the Dancefloor”, stabbing thrill of “Animal”, and synth tingles of “Cruel Spring”.  iTunes

7La Hoo La La by Brave Shores


Via Universal Music, Toronto synth pop duo Brave Shores released sophomore LP La Hoo La La following EP La Hoo earlier in the year. It is an album that just might knock you off your feet, as the dense wall of sound is a hard-hitting scoop that elevates the listener up to planes of euphoria, especially with such an array of bristling, ethereal synth voices. But even electric guitars make grand entrances from time to time packing a spicy jolt. Some of the earlier tracks on the album do something which may sound impossible to the imagination: combine 70s progressive rock with 80s synth pop. The two styles merge into a whole new animal which is a charming one. La Hoo La La also presents nuggets that are completely unique. The album was expertly produced by personnel behind Bjork, Future Islands, and Canadian acts Dear Rouge and Said the Whale. Brave Shores is brother and sister duo Jay and Stefanie McCarrol.  iTunes

6C U Again by Adrian Underhill


Adrian Underhill launches his debut album C U Again. It is smooth, mellow R&B inflected adult contemporary with splashes of alternative. Adrian is originally from Vancouver but now based in Toronto via Montreal. Pastel grooves swish through the disc ever so naturally. The gentle earworm “I Want It All” harnesses a simple melody that is oh so catchy. “Cruel” flows along nicely before breaking out into a funky conclusion. “As I Think of Something Different” makes effective use of vocal harmonies, and “How to Make a Life Count” includes some dazzling keyboard work. Find pleasant reggae peppering on “I Could”. As far as R&B goes, Adrian Underhill’s C U Again album is the surprise charmer of 2018!  iTunes

5Demagogue by The Coriolis Project

British Columbian outfit The Coriolis Project returned in 2018 with album Demagogue presenting its brand of ambient music with a driving edge. Unsealing track “Branches” switches on an atmosphere that swings coolly thanks to some nice ride cymbal percussion and ultimately excites with bristling guitars and ultra spicy synth riffs. Another standout for us is “Mephistopheles” opening with icicle clicks, wind chimes, and Gregorian type background chanting, augmented with electrifying guitar strums, haunting bells, and thunderclaps. Past the halfway mark enter electronic bass pulses to bring things to a glorious climax. Brilliant.  iTunes

4Departures, Vol. 2 by North Atlantic Drift


Toronto based Mike Abercrombie and Brad Deschamps are back again with another stellar album of ambient electronica. Recording under project name North Atlantic Drift, the followup to last year’s excellent Departures Vol. 1 was released this year, the second volume. If you ever wanted to depart for a seafaring adventure in the North Atlantic but felt it was too dangerous, the waves of electronic drones and shimmers on this recording will transport you into a dreamworld that involves basking in the sun on the deck of some modest craft, adrift in the middle of the ocean, surrounded by nothing but dark blue water. With Departures Vol. 2, North Atlantic Drift is on its way of becoming one of Canada’s finest acts of the genre that include Tim Hecker, Loscil, and the aforementioned Coriolis Project.  iTunes

3Down Time by Young Galaxy

Electronic group Young Galaxy formed in Vancouver but relocated to Montreal where prolific album releases – six so far – have ensued since 2007. A few of these have been long or shortlisted for the Polaris Music Prize. After going through a number of membership changes, YG is essentially down to the duo now of Catherine McCandless and Stephen Ramsay. 2018’s Down Time is the outfit’s first fully independent release. Stuffed with often lengthy tracks of warm, dense, mesmerizing electronic soundscapes and sophisticated percussion and effects, the disc picked up strong reviews.

Down Time opens with the haunting bleeps and burbles of “Under My Wing”, complete with veiled vocals. Glittering synths animate “Show You the Valley”. The lively percussion and layered vocals on “River” feel like a Caribbean cruise while the long instrumental prologue of ethereal wisps in “Frontier” gently blow the listener up and up and outside the atmosphere. “Stay for Real” released last year was ranked by the CMB as the 14th top track of 2017. It is the album’s strongest track as far as single-suited material goes. Young Galaxy’s Down Time is very cool stuff.  iTunes

2Echoes from Afar by Viñu-vinu


Following up 2017 album Encounters, Canadian electronic act Viñu-Vinu dropped Echoes from Afar, a sweeping tapestry of ambient soundscapes reminiscent of the best cuts from Tangerine Dream. More remarkable is that the album was recorded live off the floor (in Banff, AB and Montreal), capturing a spontaneous organic process that circumvents modern proclivities towards repetitive loops. Chillout vibes, downtempo beats, and ethereal synthesizers merge to create an enjoyable waking dream. We particularly liked track “Afar”, a deliciously dreary ride through spook and calm. Also savory is the droning whirl of “Deep Forest” something in which we would not mind getting lost with a soundtrack like this booming through the trees! Brilliant album.  iTunes

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Canadian Music Blog’s 2018 Album of the Year

What do you call an album that is among the best you have ever heard, but no one has heard of it, nor the artist? Concealed from the ears of the land, the most priceless jewel among all 579 Canadian artist studio albums released in 2018 is the best EDM record we have ever heard. This project, released through Colorize, delves into trippy, chillout house electronica. Think of Kaskade’s early stuff but a little richer, dreamier, and more ethereal. The album mixes instrumentals with some vocalized pieces, and the vocals 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 weak moment; it is a solid joyride from start to finish. The album had us speechless. The Canadian Music Blog declares Connection by Diversion as 2018’s Album of the Year!  iTunes

The 7 Best EPs of 2018

An extended play record (EP), as far as we are concerned, is one with at least three original tracks that have a combined run time of less than 25 minutes. In some cases, remixes of one or more tracks on the EP result in a disc run time of over 25 minutes. We still consider these to be EPs. We do not count as an EP a disc with only one or two original songs plus various remixes of them. We may consider as an EP a collection of bonus tracks released as an addendum to a studio album even if it runs over the 25-minute mark.

Through the year, we tracked 178 qualifying extended play records from Canadian artists released, which is 50 more than last year. This number does not include various artist, Christmas, or live discs which we do not consider for year-end lists. We listened to all 178 and settled upon a year-end ranking of the 7 best regardless of genre. We did not choose a rounder number like 5 or 10 for the list this year because we found these 7 to be a significant cut above all the rest in terms of the quality of the music.

Find below our 7 favourite Canadian artist EPs of 2018 including our 2018 Extended Play Record of the Year!

7.

EP2 by Jamison Isaak

Jamison Isaak had the music factory switched to overdrive this year, as he championed the cause of prolific output. From Abbotsford, BC, Isaak is the wonder behind ambient project Teen Daze. His EP1 released in February harnessed a neoclassical piano-driven swish, while EP2 saw him swing back into the electronic serenity he is perhaps best known for. Cinematic and mood-conjuring, EP2 relaxes the mind while sharpening the senses. If nothing else, this brilliant work of art brings the Zen to the lounge and will have you feeling refreshed by its close.  iTunes

6.

Lesser Evil by Lesser Evil

Lesser Evil is a new “college rock” duo from Montreal dropping its debut, eponymous four-track EP this year. The disc opens with “V.W” where a smoky jazz & blues bar croon from some sort of film noir yields to hauntingly cool synthesizers. The more raucous “Caution” provides paranoid horns and keys gone berserk. “Sight Of” is an instantly likeable chillout nugget teasing some funky grooves. Closeout number “Cobra Effect” combines warm vocals with eerie musicianship. Lesser Evil is pure pleasure.  iTunes

5.

Joseph by Birthday Boy & Trish

Following singles “Magic” and “Chance to Go Far”, Toronto producer Birthday Boy and singer Trish teamed up to release EP Joseph. The disc paves a dreamy ride through chillout R&B / house terrain with some occasional funk, feel-good beats, sunny horns, and electronic bells and whistles. It is both retro and current – King meets Majid Jordan perhaps. Both Complex and Noisey magazines gave the work glowing reviews; you can add CMB to the list.  iTunes

4.

To the Trees by To the Trees

Waterloo, Ontario band To the Trees impressed us with its eponymous EP. With it, the group contributes more choice cuts to the genre of synthrock that sadly is a little on the depleted side these days. The disc offers six beautifully crafted songs, and though independently released can boast a very professionally sounding production. The vocals are lovely, musicianship pleasing, and writing top notch. We are very excited to watch the career of this talented group unfold.  iTunes

3.

Delmano by Munya

Munya is the alternative pop music project of Josie Boivin. She intends to kick things off with three extended play releases. The first, released May 5, 2018, was a delightful three-track offering entitled North Hatley, a village located close to and southwest of Sherbrooke. Her second, Delmano (Oct. 5), revolves around Hotel Demano, an establishment situated in Brooklyn, New York. We slightly preferred this second effort though the six tracks from these first two discs are all superb and present a breezy sound that is dreamlike and slightly haunting in effect. We definitely look forward to Munya’s third outing.  iTunes

2.

Super Sunset by Allie X

One of our finest pop talents, Oakville, Ontario’s Allie X treated us with slickly produced EP Super Sunset this year. With the catchy “Not So Bad in La”, she muses on happenings in her adoptive city. Seductive beats abound on the adorable Robyn-styled entry of “Little Things”. 80s themed “Science” dreamily wallows up to the playful “Girl of the Year” where Allie X, like a chameleon, slips her vocals into a grand … Ariana Grande pose. “Can’t Stop Now”, another catchy nugget, sets things up for the funky, nocturnal closer that is “Focus”. Super Sunset by Allie X is warm, charming synth pop to drool over.  iTunes

1.

Canadian Music Blog’s 2018 EP of the Year

He is relatively new at the game, though a raw sounding EP came out in 2014. Four years later, this talent emerged from the wilderness to deliver a winner where grief is presented as a season. It came out very early in 2018, and we declared it as frontrunner for EP of the year. Nothing else came out that was quite this good. Produced by Éric Goulet, it is a much richer effort than his previous disc: finely crafted, catchy, and coherent adult electropop. He reminds us a little of Jason Bajada – very pleasant to listen to. Here are five songs, all perfectly constructed and expertly delivered. The Canadian Music Blog declares La tristesse n’est qu’une saison by Éric Charland as 2018’s EP of the year!  iTunes

Billboard Year-End Canadian Hot 100 Artists of 2018

Billboard has published a year-end chart for the Top 25 artists of 2018 based on the chart performance of their Hot 100 singles in Canada. Drake takes the crown; he was #2 last year. Only three other homegrown acts join him on the chart: The Weeknd (#14), Shawn Mendes (#20), and Loud Luxury squeaks in at #25. They are bolded in red in the chart below.

  1. Drake
  2. Post Malone
  3. Ed Sheeran
  4. Cardi B
  5. Camila Cabello
  6. XXXTENTACION
  7. Imagine Dragons
  8. Dua Lipa
  9. Ariana Grande
  10. Eminem
  11. Khalid
  12. Marshmello
  13. Maroon 5
  14. The Weeknd
  15. Travis Scott
  16. Migos
  17. Taylor Swift
  18. Juice WRLD
  19. Kendrick Lamar
  20. Shawn Mendes
  21. 6ix9ine
  22. Florida Georgia Line
  23. Nicki Minaj
  24. Bebe Rexha
  25. Loud Luxury

Billboard Top Canadian Albums of 2018, Year-End Chart

Billboard Canada has released its year-end Top 50 albums chart for 2018. The #1 album in Canada for the year was Scorpion by Drake. By the time this chart was unveiled, the album had been certified double platinum by Music Canada. Two older albums from the Torontonian urban artist also made the Top 50 this year – 2017’s More Life (#27) and 2016’s Views (#38). Only three other homegrown acts appear in the chart. Shawn Mendes lands at 19th of the year for his self-titled third studio album. Yer Favourites from The Tragically Hip, a greatest hits compilation from 2005, takes #30. The Weeknd has two entries: this year’s EP My Dear Melancholy hits #37 and 2016’s Starboy does better at #28. This makes a total of only seven Canadian artist albums in the Top 50 for 2018. Last year saw 12. In the chart below we have bolded Canadian artists in red.

TITLE ARTIST
1 Scorpion Drake 
2 ÷ (Divide) Ed Sheeran 
3 beerbongs & bentleys Post Malone 
4 reputation Taylor Swift 
5 Revival Eminem 
6 Stoney Post Malone 
7 Evolve Imagine Dragons 
8 ? XXXTENTACION 
9 Beautiful Trauma P!nk 
10 Kamikaze Eminem 
11 Black Panther Soundtrack Various Artists
12 Culture II Migos 
13 ASTROWORLD Travis Scott 
14 Invasion Of Privacy Cardi B 
15 Red Pill Blues Maroon 5 
16 Camila Camila Cabello 
17 The Greatest Showman Various Artists
18 American Teen Khalid 
19 Shawn Mendes Shawn Mendes 
20 DAMN. Kendrick Lamar 
21 Graffiti U Keith Urban 
22 Curtain Call: The Hits Eminem 
23 17 XXXTENTACION 
24 Dua Lipa Dua Lipa 
25 Goodbye & Good Riddance Juice WRLD
26 The Beautiful & Damned G-Eazy 
27 More Life Drake 
28 Starboy The Weeknd 
29 The Thrill Of It All Sam Smith 
30 Yer Favorites The Tragically Hip 
31 A Star Is Born (Soundtrack) Lady Gaga & Bradley Cooper
32 Luv Is Rage 2 Lil Uzi Vert 
33 Perception NF 
34 KOD J. Cole 
35 Sweetener Ariana Grande 
36 This One’s For You Luke Combs 
37 My Dear Melancholy (EP) The Weeknd 
38 Views Drake 
39 x Ed Sheeran 
40 Queen Nicki Minaj 
41 Life Changes Thomas Rhett 
42 Man Of The Woods Justin Timberlake 
43 Without Warning 21 Savage, Offset, Metro Boomin
44 From The Fires Greta Van Fleet 
45 Tha Carter V Lil Wayne 
46 Life Of A Dark Rose Lil Skies
47 ye Kanye West 
48 Youngblood 5 Seconds Of Summer 
49 Tell Me You Love Me Demi Lovato 
50 24K Magic Bruno Mars

Billboard Canadian Hot 100 of 2018, Year-End Chart

Billboard Canada has released the year-end top 100 singles of 2018 which are listed below. The top song of the year is “Havana” by Cuba’s Camila Cabello, formerly with United States based R&B group Fifth Harmony. The top track by a Canadian artist is “God’s Plan” by Drake at #3. We have cleaned up the list by removing the eyesore of featured artists on this year’s chart unless it was a lone Canadian. Dual main artists are kept. Canadian artists are bolded in red. There are 15 entries with a Canadian as the main, co-main, or lone featured artist. Eight of these involve Drake. The Canadian Hot 100 is determined by a weighting system of radio airplay, online streaming, and purchased downloads. More year-end and other Canadian charts can be found here.

RANK TITLE ARTIST
1 Havana Camila Cabello
2 Perfect Ed Sheeran
3 God’s Plan Drake
4 Rockstar Post Malone
5 Body Loud Luxury Ft. Brando
6 Girls Like You Maroon 5
7 Meant To Be Bebe Rexha & Florida Georgia Line
8 Psycho Post Malone
9 Nice For What Drake
10 I Like It Cardi B, Bad Bunny & J Balvin
11 In My Feelings Drake
12 The Middle Zedd, Maren Morris & Grey
13 No Tears Left To Cry Ariana Grande
14 Better Now Post Malone
15 Sad! XXXTENTACION
16 Friends Marshmello & Anne-Marie
17 New Rules Dua Lipa
18 Thunder Imagine Dragons
19 One Kiss Calvin Harris & Dua Lipa
20 Lucid Dreams Juice WRLD
21 Love Lies Khalid & Normani
22 Finesse Bruno Mars & Cardi B
23 Look Alive BlocBoy JB Ft. Drake
24 Never Be The Same Camila Cabello
25 Despacito Fonsi & Yankee Ft. Justin Bieber
26 Youngblood 5 Seconds Of Summer
27 Wolves Selena Gomez X Marshmello
28 Silence Marshmello
29 River Eminem
30 Taste Tyga
31 Jackie Chan Tiesto & Dzeko Ft. Preme & Post Malone
32 Back To You Selena Gomez
33 Pray For Me The Weeknd & Kendrick Lamar
34 In My Blood Shawn Mendes
35 This Is America Childish Gambino
36 Delicate Taylor Swift
37 Let You Down NF
38 Whatever It Takes Imagine Dragons
39 Shape Of You Ed Sheeran
40 All The Stars Kendrick Lamar & SZA
41 Gucci Gang Lil Pump
42 Feel It Still Portugal. The Man
43 Him & I G-Eazy & Halsey
44 Call Out My Name The Weeknd
45 Mine Bazzi
46 Say Something Justin Timberlake
47 Too Good At Goodbyes Sam Smith
48 I Fall Apart Post Malone
49 Ric Flair Drip Offset & Metro Boomin
50 FEFE 6ix9ine
51 Sicko Mode Travis Scott
52 Walk It Talk It Migos Ft. Drake
53 Solo Clean Bandit
54 Plug Walk Rich The Kid
55 Unforgettable French Montana
56 What Lovers Do Maroon 5
57 No Limit G-Eazy
58 Let Me Go Hailee Steinfeld & Alesso
59 Freaky Friday Lil Dicky
60 Eastside Benny Blanco, Halsey & Khalid
61 How Long Charlie Puth
62 Nonstop Drake
63 MotorSport Migos, Nicki Minaj & Cardi B
64 IDGAF Dua Lipa
65 No Brainer DJ Khaled Ft. Justin Bieber et al.
66 God Is A Woman Ariana Grande
67 Mi Gente J Balvin & Willy William
68 Happier Marshmello & Bastille
69 Bad At Love Halsey
70 Bodak Yellow Cardi B
71 I’m Upset Drake
72 Moonlight XXXTENTACION
73 Nevermind Dennis Lloyd
74 Yes Indeed Lil Baby & Drake
75 Stir Fry Migos
76 Not A Love Song Bulow
77 Plain Jane A$AP Ferg
78 I Love It Kanye West & Lil Pump
79 Bartier Cardi Cardi B
80 These Days Rudimental
81 Young Dumb & Broke Khalid
82 Ball For Me Post Malone
83 Powerglide Rae Sremmurd & Juicy J
84 Ain’t Easy Elijah Woods x Jamie Fine
85 Wait Maroon 5
86 Simple Florida Georgia Line
87 Echame La Culpa Luis Fonsi & Demi Lovato
88 Changes XXXTENTACION
89 Natural Imagine Dragons
90 Zombie Bad Wolves
91 I’m A Mess Bebe Rexha
92 Remind Me To Forget Kygo
93 Heaven Kane Brown
94 Dusk Till Dawn Zayn
95 X Nicky Jam x J Balvin
96 OTW Khalid, Ty Dolla $ign & 6LACK
97 King’s Dead Jay Rock, K. Lamar, Future & J. Blake
98 Gummo 6ix9ine
99 Marry Me Thomas Rhett
100 Praise The Lord A$AP Rocky

2017’s Biggest Canadian Hits, Both English and French

CMB medThe most successful song of 2017 that involved a Canadian artist was “Despacito” featuring Justin Bieber which peaked at #1 on the weekly Hot 100 and was the second biggest song of the year overall. The biggest English language song with a Canadian as the main artist was “Starboy” from the Weeknd. Although it finished the year as its 6th most popular tune, it peaked at #1 on the weekly charts last year (2016) and also made the previous year-end chart at #32. The most successful Canadian artist song reaching its peak position in the weekly charts of 2017 was Shawn Mendes’ “There’s Nothing Holdin’ Me Back” with a year-end placement of #16 and weekly peak of #6.

In total, 17 tracks involving Canadian artists made the year-end Hot 100. A total of 34 maple-glazed tunes peaked within the Top 40 during the year 2017. No French-language song made the Hot 100 through the year. We have listed below French language songs from Canadian artists that made the annual CKOI year-end Top 50 – seven in all.

HY = Billboard Hot 100 year-end chart position
HW = Billboard Hot 100 weekly charts, peak position
CY = CKOI year-end Top 50 chart position

2017 CKOI Franco Hits

TITLE ARTIST CY
Une p’tite biere  Anthony Gaudet 21
J’pas stressée Roxane Bruneau 24
Roadtrip Les Chiens de Ruelles 27
T’embellis ma vie Yann Perreau 31
Fou Andreanne A. Malette 42
Kamikaze Patrice Michaud 45
Il y a tant a faire  Daniel Belanger 48

2017 Billboard Canada Hits

TITLE ARTIST HY HW
Despacito Fonsi/Yankee ft. Justin Bieber 2 1
Starboy The Weeknd 6a 1b
There’s Nothing Holding… Shawn Mendes 16 6
Stay Alessia Cara & Zedd 22 9
I Feel It Coming The Weeknd 23 10
Passionfruit Drake 33 2
Let Me Love You DJ Snake ft. Justin Bieber 41a 4b
Fake Love Drake 49 10b
Signs Drake 52 12
2U D. Guetta ft. Justin Bieber 54 4
Scars to Your Beautiful Alessia Cara 70 14b
Treat You Better Shawn Mendes 71a 7b
Friends Justin Bieber & BloodPop 83 4
Mercy Shawn Mendes 84 22
Reminding Me Shawn Hook 86 30
Party Monster The Weeknd 91 8b
Portland Drake 95 6
Blem Drake 8
Free Smoke Drake 12
Gyalchester Drake 13
No Long Talk Drake 14
Reminder The Weeknd 16
Get It Together Drake 20
Teenage Fever Drake 22
Still Got Time Zayn ft. PartyNextDoor 22
Madiba Riddim Drake 23
KMT Drake 25
Sacrifices Drake 26
4422 Drake 27
Jorja Interlude Drake 28
Some Way NAV ft. The Weeknd 31
To the Max DJ Khaled ft. Drake 32
Wanted You NAV 33
Skepta Interlude Drake 36
Glow Drake 37
It’s Beginning to Look a Lot… Michael Buble 39
Lust for Life Lana Del Rey ft. The Weeknd 39
Lights Out Virginia to Vegas 40
Nothings Into Somethings Drake 40
Curve Gucci Mane ft. The Weeknd 40

a – Also made year-end Hot 100 of 2016
b – Weekly peak achieved in 2016

LINKS

More Charts…

2017 Hits Internationally by or Featuring Canadians

Find below a list of all songs by or featuring a Canadian artist that made it into the year-end Top 100 of Canada (17), The United Kingdom (10), Australia (11), The United States (12), and Japan (3). It is interesting to note that Shawn Mendes’ “There’s Nothing Holdin’ Me Back” was biggest in Australia where it finished 10th of the year. Aussies also liked “Stay” with Alessia Cara more than the other countries. Brits preferred Drake’s “Passionfruit” over the other nations, while Americans had it in for “Both” featuring the rapper. Enjoy the table below.

TITLE ARTIST CA UK AU US JP
Despacito Ft. Justin Bieber 2 2 2 2  
Starboy  The Weeknd 6 59 42 20  
There’s Nothing Holdin’…  Shawn Mendes 16 16 10 23  
Stay  Zedd & Alessia Cara 22 37 14 17 66
I Feel It Coming  The Weeknd 23 66 39 34  
Passionfruit  Drake 33 30 66 65  
Let Me Love You Ft. Justin Bieber 41     46  
Fake Love  Drake 49 91   37  
Signs  Drake 52        
2U Ft. Justin Bieber 54 64 69    
Scars To Your Beautiful  Alessia Cara 70   87 30  
Treat You Better  Shawn Mendes 71     92  
Friends J. Bieber + BloodPop 83 93 63    
Mercy  Shawn Mendes 84     54  
Reminding Me  Shawn Hook 86        
Party Monster  The Weeknd 91        
Portland  Drake 95        
What Do You Mean? Justin Bieber         21
Sorry Justin Bieber         92
Both Ft. Drake       83  
How Far I’ll Go Alessia Cara     76    
Never Be Like You Ft. Kai     97    
One Dance Drake   80      

Nielsen Music Releases 2017 Year-End Report

Nielsen Music Canada has come out with a year-end report for 2017 and we post some highlights below.

Top Canadian Artists by Consumption

1. Drake, 505,000
2. The Weeknd, 266,000
3. The Tragically Hip, 203,000
4. Shania Twain, 168,000
5. Shawn Mendes, 132,000
6. Arcade Fire, 100,000
7. Justin Bieber, 94,000
8. Nickelback, 90,000
9. Leonard Cohen, 87,000
10. Bryan Adams, 85,000

Top 10 Albums by Total Consumption
(Album Sales + TEA + SEA)

1. Divide by Ed Sheeran, 501,000
2. More Life by Drake, 257,000
3. Damn by Kendrick Lamar, 209,000
4. Starboy by The Weeknd, 190,000
5. Reputation by Taylor Swift, 178,000
6. Evolve by Imagine Dragons, 157,000
7. Memories… by The Chainsmokers, 146,000
8. Beautiful Trauma by P!nk, 140,000
9. Stoney by Post Malone, 137,000
10. Hardwired… by Metallica, 127,000

Top 10 Albums by Sales Only

1. Divide by Ed Sheeran, 200,000
2. Reputation by Taylor Swift, 128,000
3. Hardwired… by Metallica, 112,000
4. Beautiful Trauma by P!nk, 109,000
5. Now by Shania Twain, 106,000
6. Everything Now by Arcade Fire, 68,000
7. Agnus Dei by Mario Pelchat & Les Pretres, 60,000
8. Damn by Kendrick Lamar, 59,000
9. Guardians of the Galaxy Soundtrack, 58,000
10. Evolve by Imagine Dragons, 56,000

Top 10 Albums by CD Sales

1. Now by Shania Twain, 100,000
2. Divide by Ed Sheeran, 89,000
3. Hardwired… Metallica, 87,000
4. Beautiful Trauma by P!ink, 83,000
5. Reputation by Taylor Swift, 62,000
6. Agnus Dei by Mario Pelchat & Les Pretres, 59,000
7. Everything Now by Arcade Fire, 54,000
8. Noel Ensemble by Mario Pelchat Presente Les Pretres, 47,000
9. Witness by Katy Perry, 43,000
10. Icon by Bryan Adams, 41,000

Top 10 Digital Tracks by Total Consumption

1. Despacito by Fonsi/Yankee Ft. Justin Bieber, 1,128,000
2. Shape of You by Ed Sheeran, 1, 024, 000
3. Unforgettable by French Montana Ft. Swae Lee, 508,000
4. Believer by Imagine Dragons, 491,000
5. Humble by Kendrick Lamar, 481,000
6. Something Just Like This by Chainsmokers & Coldplay, 472,000
7. It Ain’t Me by Kygo & Selena Gomez, 456,000
8. Rockstar by Post Malone Ft. 21 Savage, 455,000
9. Perfect by Ed Sheeran, 430,000
10. I’m the One by DJ Khaled Ft Justin Bieber et al. 425,000

Top 10 Digital Track Sales

1. Despacito by Fonsi/Yankee Ft. Justin Bieber, 501,000
2. Shape of You by Ed Sheeran, 436,000
3. Believer by Imagine Dragons, 235,000
4. Something Just Like This by Chainsmokers & Coldplay, 200,000
5. Perfect by Ed Sheeran, 194,000
6. Rockabye by Clean Bandit, 170,000
7. Castle on the Hill by Ed Sheeran, 170,000
8. It Ain’t Me by Kygo & Selena Gomez, 166,000
9. Body Like a Back Road by Sam Hunt, 162,000
10. Say You Won’t Let Go by James Arthur, 149,000

Top 10 Canadian Artists by Airplay

1. The Weeknd, 269,000
2. Shawn Mendes, 223,000
3. Hedley, 206,000
4. Drake, 171,000
5. Alessia Cara, 136,000
6. Virginia to Vegas, 117,000
7. Dallas Smith, 114,000
8. Shawn Hook, 103,000
9. Serena Ryder, 96,000
10. Dean Brody, 89,000

Vote for the Best Music of 2017: Results

On December 1, 2017, CMB readers were invited to vote for the best music of the year in three polls. Voting was open daily through the month. The polls are now closed, and it is time to reveal the winners. The race was extremely close, so close in fact that one of the polls has a tie!

Best #1 Album of 2017

The year saw five 2017 Canadian albums reach the top of the charts. They were

Everything Now by Arcade Fire
Introduce Yerself by Gord Downie
More Life by Drake
Now by Shania Twain
La Science Du Coeur by Pierre Lapointe

And the winner is … Now by Shania Twain!

Best Track of 2017

Fou by Andréanne A. Malette
Kamikaze by Patrice Michaud
Reminder by The Weeknd
Signs by Drake
There’s Nothing Holding Me Back by Shawn Mendes

And the winner is … Kamikaze by Patrice Michaud!

2017’s Best Collaborative Single

Despacito, Fonsi/Yankee Ft. Justin Bieber
Friends, Justin Bieber + BloodPop
Reminding Me, Shawn Hook Ft. Vanessa Hudgens
Stay, Alessia Cara & Zedd
2U, David Guetta Ft. Justin Bieber

And the winner is … It’s a tie! Despacito, Fonsi/Yankee Ft. Justin Bieber and Reminding Me, Shawn Hook Ft. Vanessa Hudgens!