“It was the best of times; it was the worst of times” seems to sum up the year 2012 in Canadian music.
On the bright side, 2012 saw the advent of the best-selling domestic Canadian single in history with certifications to date of 7x platinum. Carly Rae Jepsen became our latest international superstar. Céline Dion returned to form by releasing the year’s most domestically successful album. Justin Bieber was involved in nine songs that made the Canadian Hot 100. All dates of his North American concert tour sold out in less than 30 minutes. Canadian recording artists became involved in several campaigns to combat bullying.
On the dark side, the populace proved to be infected with a social form of autoimmune disorder booing its own artists and mocking new romantic pairings; and the Canadian media with attention deficit disorder, showing contempt towards females and youth and using a foreign country’s chart as a benchmark to judge the success of Canadian music. The Canadian broadcast industry continued its bad habit of shunning Francophone music despite a verified debunking of their claims that Anglophones were open to English-language music only by the phenomenon of a Korean tune topping the Canadian Hot 100 for seven straight weeks. Moreover, no Francophone artist was invited to perform at the 100th Grey Cup’s halftime show. While Francophones were being snubbed in Canada, Canadians as a whole were being snubbed by Britain; no Canadian artist was invited to perform at the Diamond Jubilee concert to honour the Queen while artists from non-Commonwealth countries were.
While punk music in various styles was perhaps the dominating genre in the first decade of the new millennium, Canadian dance pop came to full fruition in 2012, perfected by such producers as Ryan Stewart and artists Carly Rae Jepsen, Kristina Maria, Kreesha Turner, Victoria Duffield, Anjulie, Tegan and Sara, Mia Martina, Massari, and Dragonette. Even bands that used to perform punk began softening their styles.
Most Successful Singles
“Call Me Maybe”, the song that launched former Canadian Idol contestant Carly Rae Jepsen to international superstardom was the biggest Canuck song of the year both at home and abroad, topping the charts in some 20 countries. It was the year’s biggest hit in both Australia and New Zealand and finished 2nd in Canada, the United States, and United Kingdom. The song became one of only five Canadian million-sellers in the U.K. and the best-selling Canadian single of all-time domestically (7x platinum to date). Carly’s collaboration with Owl City, “Good Time” topped the charts in Canada and slightly bettered “Call Me Maybe’s” performance in Japan. “Curiosity” was a Top 20 hit at home. “Beautiful” with Justin Bieber and “This Kiss” were also Top 40 hits in Canada.
Justin Bieber’s “Boyfriend” was a #1 single in Canada, and he was involved in more charting singles on the Canadian Hot 100 than any other artist—nine through the year. Speaking of the Hot 100, 44 tunes in whole or in part credited to Canadian artists made the Top 40 through the year, ten making the Top 10, and, as mentioned, three to #1. There were 65 Canadian artists who were involved in a tune charting in the Hot 100 peaking in 2012, 25 artists with a song peaking in the Top 40, 18 artists with a song lasting 20+ weeks, and 16 lasting 20+ weeks and peaking in the Top 40.
After “Call Me Maybe”, the 2nd most successful Canadian single of the year was Hedley’s “Kiss You Inside Out” (19th of the year) and 3rd was Simple Plan’s “Summer Paradise” (22nd of the year). The latter was a Top 10 hit in Italy and Austria and made it to #4 in Australia.
Besides Jespsen, Bieber, and Simple Plan, other Canadian artists who had big hits abroad this year included Alyssa Reid whose 2011 hit “Alone Again” reached #2 on the weekly UK charts. Nickelback’s “Lullaby” topped the charts in Poland, and Drake was involved in 3 hits that made the year-end American Billboard chart. “Is Anybody Out There” by K’Naan featuring Nelly Furtado topped the charts in New Zealand. Nelly Furtado’s “Big Hoops” was a #14 hit in Britain.
The most successful Francophone single in Canada was Marie-Mai’s French cover of Robyn’s “Call Your Girlfriend”, “Sans cri ni haine”. It was the 4th biggest song of the year on Montreal’s CKOI. “Toi + Moi” by the Star Académie finalists made it to #31 on the weekly Canadian Hot 100, a remarkable achievement. The only Francophone single to make it to the Top 100 Year-End SNEP Singles Chart in France was Celine Dion’s “Parler a mon pere” (#77).
Most Successful Albums
Domestically, the best-selling album released in 2012 was Céline Dion’s Sans Attendre which by the end of the year had been certified triple platinum. Internationally, the most successful Canadian album was Justin Bieber’s Believe; at home, it was a double-platinum release. An album of covers of Francophone classics from the 2012 Star Académie finalists also nabbed double-platinum prestige. Star Académie Noël, a Christmas album, went platinum as did Leonard Cohen’s Old Ideas and Johnny Reid’s Fire It Up. Gold distinctions were awarded to Marie-Mai’s smoking Miroir; Carly Rae Jepsen’s juicy Kiss; Patrick Watson’s lawnmower Adventures in Your Own Backyard; Diana Krall’s ode to the 1920s, Glad Rag Doll; Lisa LeBlanc’s New Brunswick self-titled debut; Great Big Sea’s greatest hits package XX; and Angele Dubeau & La Pieta’s classical tribute to motion picture tunes, Silence on Joue. While there were hundreds of Canuck albums released in 2012, 44 of them made the Top 10 of Billboard’s weekly Canadian Albums Chart, nine making it to #1. Details…
After a 3-year hiatus, Star Académie bounced back with no holds barred. At the end of March, Val-d’Amour, New Brunswick’s Jean-Marc Couture was declared the winner. The finalists released two albums which became among the best-selling albums in the country for the year. Finalist Andrée-Anne Leclerc performed the French parts in the bilingual version of Hedley’s “Kiss You Inside Out”, the 2nd biggest Canadian song of the year, and appeared in the music video. Watch…
Reporting on the Year in Music by the Canadian Media
Fuelled by the interests of profiteering and purely materialistic pursuits, the Canadian press’ unobjective handling of the year’s events in music reached unprecedented levels of unprofessionalism in 2012, running counter to Canadian principles of freedom and democracy.
First came their manipulative tactics of attempting to divide the masses by dictating what kind of music and what artists people should listen to based on their age and gender. Denying that Canadians have the freedom to choose to purchase whatever kind of music they fancied, the media undemocratically suggested that a certain album “will keep the teenagers happy” or “is suitable for men to listen to if they want to attract women”. If entertainment journalists do not believe in an individual’s freedom to choose his own music, then perhaps they could do us all a favour by emigrating themselves to North Korea. I’m sure that country’s authorities would be happy to have some Canadians sign up with their totalitarian programs.
Consider too the contempt towards Canadian youth and females the media harboured. They would denounce and attempt to discredit a recording artist by stating that “most of his fans are teenage girls” (something true of the best-selling recording artists of all-time–The Beatles) implying that the tastes of females and youth are subordinate to the rest of us.
Possessed by a severe case of attention deficit disorder, the Canadian press did all it could to shock us into storming their websites and hoarding their newspapers, treating politicians as if they were pop stars and pop stars like they were politicians. During the 100th Grey Cup game, when drunkards from the peanut gallery jeered at their own while cheering on the foreigners playing their own sport for them, the media questioned the wisdom of acts chosen to perform rather than the contempt and ill-will harboured by the audience. They used this incident as an opportunity to suddenly criticize performers for lip syncing when this has been going on at the same event for years. In a flash, they mysteriously forgot all about the preceding weeks of raising awareness about bullying when the latter’s manifestation in booing the young reared its ugly head and went by unaddressed.
And what was perhaps the most shameful of all their shenanigans, rendering any journalism degrees they managed to acquire invalid, the Canadian media, including, believe it or not, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, stooped so low in the spirit of treason to measure the success of our own recording artists by quoting chart positions of their songs in a foreign country, calling, for example a Canadian artist a one hit wonder because, though scoring several hit singles at home and multiple hits in a few other countries, she managed only one Top 40 hit in the United States. Since when did the American Billboard chart, not the Canadian Hot 100 nor even the United Kingdom’s Official Singles chart (Canada is under the queen not the U.S. president after all) become the Canadian media’s chart of choice for measuring the success of Canadian recording artists? This is very unprofessional.
The Francophone Factor
Besides women and youth, the press refused to shed its disproven theories, upholding the same old obsolete attitudes towards Francophone artists and music. When Psy’s Korean-language “Gangnam Style” topped the Canadian Hot 100 for seven straight weeks, disproving the Canadian broadcast industry’s claims that Anglophones were unwilling to listen to music in a language other than English, nothing changed. The Canadian press made no mention whatsoever about the Félix award gala and its winners, and no Francophone artist was invited to perform at the 100th Grey Cup’s halftime show, a big national event.
Despite its reaching #2 on the Billboard Canadian Albums chart, a mostly Anglophone album from a Canadian artist hitherto recording mostly in French was not stocked at HMV stores in western Canada. The Canadian Music Blog had to blow the whistle contacting the artist’s publicist resulting in HMV reversing their snub. More…
Britain’s Diamond Jubilee Snub
While English Canada was continuing its stubborn refusal to embrace Francophone music, the United Kingdom snubbed Canada. To mark the 60th year of the reign of Queen Elizabeth II, her diamond jubilee, a concert was held outside Buckingham Palace, organized by the BBC and Gary Barlow of boy band Take That. The concert was televised around the world. The United Kingdom invited a number of local and international recording artists to perform at this concert for the queen. They did not invite any Canadians. What was even more disturbing was that artists were invited from non-Commonwealth countries.
The Canadian media who without fail wolfs down sugar-coated vitamins with cups of concentrated coffee to become excessively animated when we get snubbed by our southern neighbours made no mention of the British Diamond Snub. To rub salt in the wound, after composing the song “Sing” to mark the jubilee celebration, Barlow and his cold shoulder put together a “Commonwealth version”. This recording of the song featured singers from across the U.K., Australia, the Pacific Islands, the Caribbean, Africa, but not Canada. Details…
Bullying: Theme of the Year for Canadian Recording Artists
Canadian recording artists have come together in the odd year to perform songs about a particular issue. In 2010, it was all about charity for the Haitian earthquake. In 2012, the most popular theme was bullying. This began early in the year when Alyssa Reid released a video and song on the issue called “Talk Me Down”. After bullying led to the suicide of Amanda Todd, Elise Estrada recorded charity single “Wonder Woman” and a music video. Several Canadian artists recorded their voices together on a cover of Cyndi Lauper’s “True Colours”, another charity single to raise funds to combat bullying.
The JUNO awards recognizing the best of 2012 Canadian music will be held in April 2013. The Félix Awards to honour the best in Canada’s Francophone music was held at the end of October to honour music in 2011-2012. Galaxie’s stylish sci-fi themed video for “Camouflar” won music video of the year. Awards for best-selling, rock, alternative, AC, and pop albums of the year went to Star Académie, Les Cowboys Fringants, Fanny Bloom, Richard Desjardins, and Coeur de Pirate respectively. Marie-Mai’s aforementioned “Sans cri ni haine” took the award for Popular Song of the Year. Best Newcomer, Male, Female, and Group awards went to Lisa LeBlanc, Vincent Vallières, Coeur de pirate, and Mes Aïeux respectively. For more details, see: Felix Awards Part 1, Felix Awards Part 2
Faves of the Canadian Music Blog
The Canadian Music Blog revealed its 2012 picks with lists of its 20 Song Faves, 15 Album Faves, and 10 Music Video Faves. We named Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe” as Song of the Year, Victoria Duffield’s Shut Up and Dance as Album of the Year, and Elise Estrada’s “Wonder Woman” as Music Video of the Year. See links below.
New Artist Profiles
Based both on our principles and their accomplishments in 2012, the Canadian Music Blog has added new profiles on artists Lily C., Les Trois Accords, Massari, Johnny Reid, Elisapie, and Karl Wolf. More…
Other Related Posts
Canadian Hot 100 Singles of the Year 2012
Canadian Billboard Top 50 Albums of the Year 2012
Canadian Hot 100 Artists of 2012
International Canadian Hits in 2012
Top Canadian Spot on All Year-End Charts
Canadian Music Blog Faves
In 2012, Psy’s “Gangnam Style”, a tune performed in the Korean language, topped the Canadian Hot 100 for seven straight weeks, once and for all blowing to pieces the hasty assumption Canadian broadcasters have made that Anglophones are unwilling to listen to songs in a language other than English, an assumption they have parroted over the years, without any supporting evidence, to justify shutting out Francophone songs on English-language radio stations.
Despite the success of “Gangnam Style”, Canada still did not seem to get it. While it was on top of the charts, the Canadian media made no mention whatsoever of the Félix Awards gala, the biggest event in the country to honour Francophone music. Even the CBC which always seems so intent on promoting Canadian music published not a single word on its website about the award winners and the gala. Moreover, the same month that Psy’s Korean tune wrapped up its dynasty at number 1, no Francophone artist was invited to perform at the halftime show of the 100th Grey Cup, a huge national event. The media did not pick up on this snub choosing instead to pick on the choice of Anglophone artists and their performances.
There are some problems with retailers as well.
Issues with iTunes Canada
We have noticed that iTunes Canada considers Francophone music a genre. Whether a song is mainstream pop, hard rock, rap, electronic, jazz, or country, if it is performed in French, it gets categorized as a Francophone song. Moreover, if a Francophone artist releases an album with a couple of English songs, these get labelled as Francophone under the genre. Some may find the Francophone category helpful. But consider that there is no category called Anglophone Music. Songs that are half in French and half in English are considered French songs, not bilingual songs, revealing that Canada has somewhat of a “one-drop rule”* when it comes to music. Madonna’s “La Isla Bonita” had a few Spanish phrases; does this make it a Spanish song?
Whipping HMV into Shape
Earlier in the year, the Canadian Music Blog was fighting its own battles. One of the most successful Canadian recording artists from Quebec, who is fluently bilingual and had released albums mainly in French in the past, decided to record a bilingual album, most songs being in English with a few in French. The album peaked at #2 on the Canadian Albums chart published by Billboard. We noticed that record chain HMV in Vancouver was not carrying any copies of the album. We checked the store’s website and noticed that none of their stores in western Canada were stocking the CD. We took it upon ourselves to contact their corporate headquarters and inquire. Their response was as we expected, stating that because the artist was Francophone, mostly popular in Quebec, there was no sense in them stocking the album in western Canada. We contacted the artist’s publicist and passed on the information. He relayed it to her management team. We are not sure what transpired, but we do know that shortly afterwards, all HMV stores in western Canada stocked the album. However, despite being mostly an Anglophone album, the Vancouver store filed it in the Francophone music section.
This is an example of what we can do as individual Canadians to try to rectify things. Although we are not in positions to make sweeping changes, we can perform a few strategic acts that can begin to change obsolete patterns of thinking.
*One-drop rule refers to a historical social classification in the United States by which any person with “one drop of Negro blood” was considered black.
Opting to dabble in the realm of adult contemporary / easy listening which offers us music that is delicate, sweet, light, and fun is new Toronto singer-songwriter Lily C. (the C stands for Cheng). Lily began her musical career on a trip to east Asia undertaken to get in touch with her ancestral roots. She began writing and performing her songs drawing large audiences, released an independent album, Perfect Moment, and worked as a DJ and TV host. When ill health struck her family, she returned to Canada in 2007 touring Ontario and writing new songs. In 2012, Lily released her first album in Canada, Reaching for Sunlight, which was featured on the CBC. “Take Your Shoes Off” was the most popular track while “I Am a Bee” was named by The Canadian Music Blog as one of the ten best songs of 2012.
Johnny is a naturalized Canadian adult contemporary singer originally from Scotland. He has won several JUNO awards. Although he has scored a number of hit singles on the country charts, he has done best in terms of sales in the albums department. All of his last 5 LPs have been certified platinum or better. His first album, Another Day, Another Dime came out in 1997. He began receiving attention with his second self-titled work with radio airplay. It was his third album, Born to Roll, in 2005 and lead single “You Still Own Me” (later covered by Emerson Drive) where things took off. Reid released Fire It Up in 2012, three of its tracks making an appearance on the Canadian Hot 100. The album itself went platinum making it one of the most successful Canadian albums of the year. 2015 album What Love Is All About debuted at #3 on the Billboard charts.
Trilingual Massari is a very talented Canadian R&B singer from Ottawa known for his culturally rich sound. His debut, JUNO-nominated, self-titled 2006 album was certified gold and spawned several hit singles including “Be Easy”. But before that Massari had started out in the early years of the new millennium releasing singles. “Spitfire” was aired on radio stations in Ottawa. Massari’s songs have been popular internationally many recorded under local record label CP Records. In 2012, Massari released new single “Brand New Day” which came within a hair’s breadth of the Top 40 (#41 on the Canadian Hot 100). Massari has collaborated with label mates Belly and Mia Martina.
Les Trois Accords
Drummondville, Québec’s alternative rock band Les Trois Accords have scored a number of big hit singles; to date eight have appeared in CKOI’s year-end Top 50. They have been nominated for 19 Félix awards winning 4 of them and been nominated for a JUNO twice. The band has always emphasized art over logic adding dashes of humour and idiosyncrasy bordering on the absurd. Their debut studio LP was released in 2003 and then re-released as Gros mammouth album turbo the following year with 2 bonus tracks. It was a platinum album. In 2005 it was nominated for a JUNO and won the Félix for Best-Selling Album of the Year, the band being named Group of the Year. Les Trois Accords’ second album went gold and won the Félix for Rock Album of the Year. Their fourth album secured their second JUNO nomination in 2010. The band released its fifth studio album, J’aime ta grand-mère, in 2012. It pays tribute to some indie and garage rock, punk, and British new wave. As well, country legend Renée Martel makes an appearance on one of the tracks. The album’s title track made the weekly Canadian Hot 100 at the end of December. Album Joie d’etre gai followed in 2015.
The northern third of Québec is known as Nunavik, 90% of whose inhabitants are Inuit living in some 14 villages around the coast. The second northernmost of these is Salluit, on the Sugluk Inlet, with a population of about 1,350 and apparently rapidly growing. It is not accessible by road, only by air. This is where Canadian recording artist Elisapie Isaac grew up. Her mother was Inuk and father from Newfoundland. Adopted at birth, she was raised by an Inuit family and was no doubt enriched by learning this beautiful culture. She is now based in Montréal. The press has commented that, although from the icy north, she has a voice and a stage presence that succeeds in melting the hearts of her audience. Elisapie first appeared in a duo with Alain Auger called Taima whose self-titled (and only) album won the JUNO for Aboriginal Recording of the Year in 2005. Her solo debut, trilingual, jazzy folk album, There Will Be Stars, was released in 2009 and sold 25,000 copies which was enough to attract attention south of the border. For her second work, Travelling Love, in 2012, Elisapie decided to move to a more pop/rock sound while retaining some of her folk roots. Track “The Love You Gave” was named by iTunes as “single of the week”.
Karl is a naturalized Canadian (originally from Lebanon) based in Montreal. He sings, composes, and produces as well. He began his musical odyssey as backup singer for Felix award winning band Dubmatique and then went on as the new lead singer for popular band Sky. His debut solo album Face Behind the Face was released in 2006 and 3 subsequent LPs came out thereafter, including 2012’s Finally Free. He has been nominated for 3 JUNO awards. Thus far, his greatest success has been in the singles department. He has scored 4 gold songs, and his 2008 reworking of Toto’s “Africa” was certified triple platinum. In 2012, Karl Wolf’s “Mash It Up” was the 94th biggest hit of the year.
The number one song of 2012 in Canada was Gotye’s ”Somebody That I Used to Know”. The most successful Anglo song from a Canadian artist was ”Call Me Maybe” by Carly Rae Jepsen (2nd of the year, Canadian Hot 100). It enjoyed part of its chart success in 2011 when it was released and spent a total of 74 weeks on the charts. It was the best-selling digital single of 2012 worldwide and became the best-selling domestic single of all-time by a Canadian artist. Her collaboration with the United States’ Owl City, “Good Time”, also topped the weekly charts as did Justin Bieber with “Boyfriend”. The year’s biggest Franco hit was Marie-Mai’s “Sans cri ni haine” (4th of the year, CKOI), a Franco cover of “Call Your Girlfriend” by Sweden’s Robyn. “Toi + Moi” by the 2012 Star Academie finalists peaked at #31 on the Canadian Hot 100, the highest position ever by a Franco single.
Below is a list of all singles by Canadian artists that made the year-end Top 100 or that peaked within the Top 40 of the weekly Canadian Hot 100. We have included tunes from international artists (names in grey) which “feature” a Canadian. As well, below is a list of all Canadian Franco songs that made the CKOI year-end Top 50 or that appeared on the Canadian Hot 100.
HY = Hot 100 year-end chart position
HW = Hot 100 weekly charts, peak position
CY = CKOI year-end Top 50 chart position
2012 FRANCO HITS
|Sans cri ni haine||Marie-Mai||4||67|
|Toi + Moi||2012 Star Academie Finalists||8||31|
|Le Memoire de Loco Locass||Loco Locass||41|
|Parler a mon pere||Celine Dion||53|
|Les Petits pieds de lea||Celine Dion||80|
|J’aime ta grand-mere||Les Trois Accords||97|
2012 ANGLO HITS
|Call Me Maybe||Carly Rae Jepsen||2||1|
|Kiss You Inside Out||Hedley||19||2|
|Summer Paradise||Simple Plan||22||8|
|Good Time||Carly Rae Jepsen||30||1|
|As Long As You Love Me||Justin Bieber||48||9|
|Shut Up and Dance||Victoria Duffield||49||12*|
|Is Anybody Out There?||K’Naan ft. Nelly Furtado||52||14|
|Curiosity||Carly Rae Jepsen||55||18|
|Desperate Measures||Marianas Trench||62||20|
|Hit Me Up||Danny Fernandes||65||22*|
|Hurt Me Tomorrow||K’Naan||70||12|
|Let It Go||Dragonette||73||23|
|When We Stand Together||Nickelback||81||10*|
|Live My Life||Far East Movement ft. Justin Bieber||85||4|
|Mash It Up||Karl Wolf||94||28|
|Somebody That I Used to Know||Walk Off the Earth||96||13|
|Our Song Comes On||Kristina Maria||100||23|
|Beauty and a Beat||Justin Bieber||4|
|All Around the World||Justin Bieber||10|
|True Colours||Artists Against Bullying||10|
|Die In Your Arms||Justin Bieber||14|
|Nobody Does It Like You||Shawn Desman||18|
|Turn to You||Justin Bieber||22|
|This Kiss||Carly Rae Jepsen||23|
|You and I||Anjulie||25|
|Big Hoops||Nelly Furtado||28|
|Toi + Moi||2012 Star Academie Finalists||31|
|Body Work||Morgan Page ft. Tegan and Sara||32|
|Turn It Up||Kardinal Offishall ft. Karl Wolf||32|
|Dum Da Dum||Shawn Desman||32|
|Break My Heart||Victoria Duffield||35|
|Big in Japan||Martin Solveig ft. Dragonette||36|
|Canadian Girls||Dean Brody||36|
|She’s My Kind of Crazy||Emerson Drive||37|
|Beautiful||Carly Rae Jepsen ft. Justin Bieber||37|
|She Can Ride||Dru||39|
* This peak position was reached in 2011.
What Is The Canadian Hot 100?
There are a few ways we can measure the success of a song or single. Nielsen BDS records the number of times a song receives a “spin” (i.e. gets played) on radio stations across Canada. Nielsen SoundScan records the number of purchases of a single, whether downloaded from sites like iTunes, or bought if released as a CD-single at shops across the country. These two (BDS and SoundScan) are combined in the Canadian Hot 100 weekly chart which is released by Nielsen and published by Billboard. Nielsen also releases a year-end chart listing the 100 biggest songs of the year. This chart is a bit tricky because a song charting at the end of one year and beginning of the following year will have its success split between two year-end charts. To try to offset this, the year-end chart looks at chart success from the 11th month to 11th month. For example, the year-end chart for 2012 was calculated for data from Dec. 3, 2011 – Nov. 23, 2012. This is why some big songs at the end of 2012 did not appear on its year-end chart; they will be deferred to the year-end chart of 2013.
What Are Certifications?
Once it is indicated that a song has received 40,000 purchases, the artist or record company can apply for certification to Music Canada and receive a “gold” award. Platinum awards are given to songs that sell 80,000 copies, double-platinum 160,000, triple platinum 240,000, etc., all in increments of 80,000. A song that is bought 800,000 times (i.e. 10x Platinum) receives a diamond award.
What About French-Language Songs?
Because English-language radio stations, on the whole, do not grant airplay to Francophone songs (in contrast, French-language radio stations in Quebec do air Anglophone songs), one of the many drawbacks of which is that Canadians living outside Quebec receive little exposure to them, it is very difficult for a French-language song to make an appearance on the Canadian Hot 100 or to receive gold/platinum certification. It is a societal injustice that defies Canada’s stated commitment to bilingualism. Because of this, the Canadian Music Blog, in the interests of fairness, gives a much higher weighting to Francophone songs as you will see below.
To give an idea of some of the most popular Francophone songs, Montreal radio station CKOI publishes a year-end Top 50 which includes Anglophone, Francophone, and international hits. This year, four Francophone songs by Canadian artists made the Top 50.
Canadian Francophone Songs in CKOI’s 2012 Year-End Top 50
1. “Sans cri ni haine” by Marie-Mai (#4)
2. “Toi + Moi” by Star Académie (#8)
3. “C.O.B.R.A.” by Marie-Mai (#25)
4. “Le mémoire de Loco Locass” by Loco Locass (#41)
The Most Domestically Successful Canadian Songs of 2012
Below is a table of all songs involving Canadian recording artists that fulfilled at least one of the following criteria:
A. Appeared in the 2012 year-end Canadian Hot 100
B. Was a Francophone song that appeared in the weekly Canadian Hot 100
C. Was an Anglophone song that peaked in the Top 20 of the weekly Canadian Hot 100
D. Received gold or higher certification
Note: We will continue updating the certifications column through 2013.
|TOP CANADIAN SINGLES OF 2012|
|Call Me Maybe||Carly Rae Jepsen||2||1||8xP|
|Kiss You Inside Out||Hedley||19||2||3xP|
|Summer Paradise||Simple Plan||22||8||2xP|
|Good Time||Carly Rae Jepsen & Owl City||30||1|
|As Long As You Love Me||Justin Bieber||48||9||2xP|
|Shut Up and Dance||Victoria Duffield||49||12*||P|
|Is Anybody Out There?||K’Naan ft. Nelly Furdado||52||14||P|
|Curiosity||Carly Rae Jepsen||55||18||G|
|Desperate Measures||Marianas Trench||62||20||P|
|Hit Me Up||Danny Fernandes||65||22*||P|
|Hurt Me Tomorrow||K’Naan||70||12||P|
|Let It Go||Dragonette||73||23|
|When We Stand Together||Nickelback||81||10*||P|
|Live My Life||Far*East Movement ft. Justin Bieber||85||4|
|Mash It Up||Karl Wolf||94||28||G|
|Somebody That I Used to Know||Walk Off the Earth||96||13||P|
|Our Song Comes On||Kristina Maria||100||23||G|
|Beauty and a Beat||Justin Bieber||4||3xP|
|All Around the World||Justin Bieber||10||G|
|Nobody Does It Like You||Shawn Desman||18||G|
|Big Hoops||Nelly Furtado||28||G|
|Canadian Girls||Dean Brody||36||G|
|She Can Ride||Dru||39||G|
|True Colours||Artists Against Bullying||10|
|Die in Your Arms||Justin Bieber||14|
|Heartbreak Coverup||Jesse Labelle||46||G|
|It’s Friday||Dean Brody||60||G|
|Jumped Right In||Dallas Smith||69||G|
|Break My Heart||Victoria Duffield||35||G|
|Body Work||Morgan Page ft. Tegan & Sara||32||G|
|She’s My Kind of Crazy||Emerson Drive||37||G|
|Amnesia||Ian Carey & Rosette||34||G|
|Wicked Games||The Weeknd||43||G|
|Brand New Day||Massari||41||G|
|You and I||Anjulie||25||G|
|Toi + Moi||2012 Star Academie Finalists||31|
|Parler a mon pere||Celine Dion||53|
|Sans cri ni haine||Marie-Mai||67|
|Les Petits Pieds de Lea||Celine Dion||80|
|J’aime ta grand-mere||Les Trois Accords||97|
YE = Position on 2012 Year-End Canadian Hot 100; WP = Peak Position on the weekly Canadian Hot 100; C = Gold/platinum certifications from Music Canada (G=gold, P=platinum, 2xP=double-platinum, etc.)
* Peaked in 2011.
In 2012, the most internationally successful album by a Canadian artist was Justin Bieber’s Believe. The album spawned several hit singles and to date has been certified double platinum at home. Domestically, 2012’s biggest album was Celine Dion’s Sans Attendre, the only Canadian album certified triple platinum.
As far as Canadian singles go, Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe” topped the charts all over the world. At home, it became the best-selling Canadian single in history at 8x platinum. It was the 2nd biggest song of the year behind Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used to Know”. The most successful Francophone single was Marie-Mai’s “Sans cri ni haine”, a French-language cover of Robyn’s “Call Your Girlfriend”.
For more details on the year in music, check out the links below.
2012 Year in Review (Main Post)
Mini-Profiles on Artists Whose Popularity Intensified in 2012
Canadian Music in the United Kingdom in 2012
Issues with Francophone Music in 2012
The Most Successful Canadian Albums Released in 2012
The Most Successful Canadian Singles of 2012
Canadian Hot 100 Singles of the Year 2012
Canadian Billboard Top 50 Albums of the Year 2012
Canadian Hot 100 Artists of 2012
International Canadian Hits in 2012
Canadian Hot 100 Statistics for 2012
Top Canadian Spot on All Year-End Charts
Canadian Music Blog 2012 Faves
Canadian Music Blog’s 10 Music Video Faves of 2012
Canadian Music Blog’s 2012 Music Video of the Year
Canadian Music Blog’s 15 Album Faves of 2012
Canadian Music Blog’s 2012 Album of the Year
Canadian Music Blog’s Top 20 Song Faves of 2012, Part 1: #20 to #11
Canadian Music Blog’s Top 20 Song Faves of 2012, Part 2: #10 to #1
Canadian Music Blog’s 2012 Song of the Year
Awards for 2012 Music
Felix Awards: Nominees Winners Part 1 Winners Part 2
Juno Awards: Part 1 Part 2 Gala Summary
The most domestically successful album from a Canadian artist released in 2012 was Sans Attendre by Céline Dion, the only one to be certified triple platinum by the end of the year. Star Académie 2012 and Justin Bieber’s Believe were both double platinum releases. Internationally, Believe was the year’s best-selling album from a Canadian artist.
There were an astounding number of albums released this year. With a sharp decline in record sales over the past few years, it is a huge honour just to score a gold album these days, something that was pretty much guaranteed for an album with a radio hit in years past. By the end of the year, 8 albums released in 2012 received gold certifications, 3 platinum, and 3 multi-platinum.
On the year-end Top 50 Canadian Albums chart, 15 were by Canadian artists, 7 of which were released in 2012. Of the seven, Star Académie 2012 enjoyed the highest position at #8. As far as the weekly Canadian Albums chart as published by Nielsen / Billboard is concerned, we count a total of 44 albums by Canadian artists that made the Top 10. Of these, 9 made it to #1.
Below is a comprehensive table of the most successful 2012 Canadian albums domestically. We will continue to update the certification figures through 2013 with letter in green. To be included in the list, an album had to fulfill at least one of the following criteria:
A. Gold certification or higher.
B. Appeared on the Top 50 year-end Billboard Canadian Albums Chart.
C. Was an Anglophone album that peaked in the Top 5 of the weekly Billboard Canadian Albums Chart.
D. Was a Francophone album that peaked in the Top 10 of the weekly Billboard Canadian Albums Chart.
|TOP CANADIAN ALBUMS OF 2012|
|Sans Attendre||Celine Dion||3xP||1||17|
|Star Academie 2012||Various Artists||2xP||1||8|
|Old Ideas||Leonard Cohen||P||1||16|
|Fire It Up||Johnny Reid||P||2||22|
|Star Academie Noel||(Various)||P||3|
|Adventures In Your Own Backyard||Patrick Watson||G||2|
|Glad Rag Doll||Diana Krall||G||2|
|Lead with your Heart||The Tenors||G||3|
|Kiss||Carly Rae Jepsen||G||5|
|Lisa LeBlanc||Lisa LeBlanc||P||8|
|XX||Great Big Sea||G|
|Silence on Joue||Angele Dubeau & La Pieta||G|
|Dead Silence||Billy Talent||G||1||50|
|Cabin Fever||Corb Lund||1|
|Havoc and Bright Lights||Alanis Morissette||1|
|The Sheepdogs||The Sheepdogs||G||1|
|>album title goes here<||deadmau5||G||2|
|Americana||Neil Young & Crazy Horse||3||42|
|Now for Plan A||Tragically Hip||G||3|
|Mes amours mes amis||Paul Daraiche||P||3|
|Le Québec est mort, Vive le Québec!||Loco Locass||4|
|Retour De Nos Idoles: En Spectacle!||(Various)||4|
|Transit of Venus||Theree Days Grace||4|
|A laube du printemps||Mes Aieux||5|
|J’aime ta grand-mere||Les Trois Accords||5|
|Maree Humaine||Manu Militari||6|
|No. 2||Bernard Adamus||6|
|Le Jour d-apres||Sylvain Cossette||7|
|Treizieme Etage Le||Louis-Jean Cormier||G||8|
|Telle Qu’elle||Annie Villeneuve||9|
.C = Certification; WP = Weekly Peak; YE = Year-End
Canada, a country of 35 million people, is the strongest economic power in the Commonwealth outside the United Kingdom.
What was shaping up to be a single country in northern America split in two because the southerners turned their backs on the U.K. and became a republic called The United States of America while the northerners remained loyal and founded the Dominion of Canada. This means that, today, all Canadians recognize Queen Elizabeth II and her rule. Americans do not.
It is important to consider these points before moving on to looking at what happened in 2012 in the music world.
The British Diamond Snub
On June 5, 2012, to mark the 60th year of the reign of Queen Elizabeth II, her diamond jubilee, a 1 hour and 45 minute concert was held outside Buckingham Palace, organized by the BBC and Gary Barlow of boy band Take That. The concert was televised around the world. The United Kingdom invited a number of local and international recording artists to perform at this concert for the queen. They did not invite any Canadians.
What was even more disturbing was that artists were invited from non-Commonwealth countries.
The list of performers in order of appearance is as follows:
Robbie Williams (British), will.i.am (American, non-Commonwealth), Jessie J (British), JLS (British), Gary Barlow (British), Cheryl Cole (British), Cliff Richard (British), Lang Lang (Chinese, non-Commonwealth), Alfie Boe (British), Jools Holland (British), Ruby Turner (Jamaican), Grace Jones (Jamaican), Ed Sheeran (British), Annie Lennox (British), Renée Fleming (American, non-Commonwealth), Tom Jones (British), Shirley Bassey (British), Kylie Minogue (Australian), Elton John (British), Stevie Wonder (American, non-Commonwealth), Madness (British), and Paul McCartney (British).
Final count: 15 Britons, 3 Americans, 2 Jamaicans, 1 Chinese, 1 Australian, 0 Canadians.
We do not know about the rest of you, but we feel it is unbecoming of the United Kingdom to snub a Commonwealth country while grovelling before those who betrayed them. The Canadian media who without fail wolfs down sugar-coated vitamins with cups of concentrated coffee to become excessively animated when we get snubbed by our southern neighbours made no mention of the British Diamond Snub.
To rub salt in the wound, after composing the song “Sing” to mark the jubilee celebration, Barlow and his cold shoulder put together a “Commonwealth version”. This recording of the song featured singers from across the U.K., Australia, the Pacific Islands, the Caribbean, Africa, but not Canada.
Canadian Hits in Britain
The British public were warmer towards Canadians this year than the event planners and pop group poster boys appointed to handle the affairs of Europe’s tool shed, though they had to bug BBC Radio One like mad before the flagship radio station finally aired some hot Canadian numbers. It is astounding indeed that lengthy debates went on among the DJs and program directors about whether or not to add Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe” to their playlist. When they finally did and the song was released there, it debuted on the Official UK Singles Chart at number one, stayed for four weeks, and became a million-seller in a country that had hitherto bought a million copies of only four other Canadian singles since the 1950s. Moreover, it hit number one in Britain two months before doing so in the United States. Carly’s collaboration with Owl City, “Good Time”, made the Top 5.
Alyssa Reid’s 2011 hit “Alone Again”, reworking of Heart’s song “Alone”, finally achieved success in the UK, making it to #2 on the charts in February. Also landing at #2 was Justin Bieber’s “Boyfriend”. The Biebs appearance in The Far East Movement’s “Live My Life” as a featured artist enjoyed a chart peak at #7, and his “Beauty and a Beat” made it into the Top 20 at #16. Simple Plan’s “Summer Paradise” and Nelly Furtado’s “Big Hoops” both made the Top 15 in the UK. Furtado was the only Canadian artist to win a BRIT award (their equivalent of the JUNOs) through the first decade of the new millennium.
In total, then, there were eight songs by or involving Canadian artists that peaked in the British Top 20 in 2012. This is an improvement over 2011.
The Brits have also released a list of the Top 40 best-selling singles in the UK in 2012. “Call Me Mabye” was the only Canadian song to make the list, selling 1,143,000 copies there, making it the year’s 2nd best-seller.
One of the elements that makes Carly Rae Jepsen’s songs so enjoyable is that she is able to write a killer bridge. Many artists, unable to do this, opt for the rap segment route. In the case of Jepsen, however, oftentimes, the bridge “steals the show”. Frequently overlooked, a delicious bridge is what sets apart the great songwriters from the good.
In 2007, Mission, BC’s Carly Rae Jepsen finished 3rd on the fifth season of Canadian Idol, a series that ran for six seasons. This finish was good enough to secure a record deal and she released her debut LP Tug of War in 2008, with the production talents of Canadian hit-maker Ryan Stewart, which spawned 2 GOLD, Top 40 hit singles, the title track and “Bucket”. Her success led to 2 JUNO nominations in 2010 for New Artist of the Year and Songwriter of the Year.
She was later signed by Vancouver-based record label 604 Records, a pet project of Nickelback frontman Chad Kroeger. During this time, she began writing some new songs with the assistance of her guitarist Tavish Crowe. Under her direction, label-mate Josh Ramsay, lead singer of band Marianas Trench, helped convert her folk-pop style into a more fresh sounding dance pop style. In lieu of her second album, the team decided one of the songs was good enough and ready to be released as a single. The song’s name was “Call Me Maybe”.
The new song was released on September 20, 2011. After some time, local radio stations like Virgin 953 decided to add it to their playlists. “Call Me Maybe” debuted on the Canadian Hot 100 on October 14 at the humble position of #97. While new songs by Daughtry and Taio Cruz debuted on the same chart inside the Top 40, and Maroon 5′s unbeatable “Moves like Jagger” was king of the charts, the future of the song did not seem promising. The following week, however, “Call Me Maybe” leaped forward to #81. The third week was the most exciting as the song enjoyed its biggest climb, lunging ahead 24 places to #57.
From there (October 28), “Call Me Maybe” began a slow and steady climb. When it was just outside the Top 40 at #43, Carly launched a mini-tour of western Canada to promote the song. After the shows, on November 25, the song hit #35 but the following week slipped down to #37. It looked like Carly was not going to improve on the chart success of her previous 2 hits, that it was all over. But Carly and her team were not willing to back down their efforts, setting their sights higher and working on creating a catchy music video.
The music video for “Call Me Maybe” was released on December 9, and the song did a 180 turn and began to climb again, albeit slowly: #32, #28, #24, and #22 on December 30. And on this very day something very unexpected happened.
Carly’s sister very excitedly told her that international superstar Justin Bieber, who had more followers on Twitter than anyone else in the world, had made mention of the song. Carly’s first response was that, as many of Bieber’s fans name their Twitter account “Justin Bieber”, the tweet was probably from one of them or one of his fan sites. Her sister insisted that it was from the Biebs himself, so Carly checked it out. What she saw, to use her own word, “floored” her:
“Call Me Maybe by Carly Rae Jepsen is perhaps the catchiest song I’ve ever heard.”
Carly tweeted back to Bieber, “Justin Bieber, you are the sweetest!”
Bieber’s girlfriend, recording artist Selena Gomez, launched a tweet as well saying that the two of them had not stopped listening to her song. Bieber then uploaded a video on YouTube in which he and friends dance to the song.
After the Bieber tweet, “Call Me Maybe” rose only 1 position—to #21. But the following week, January 13, 2012, it broke into the Top 10, was the 9th biggest in the country, then #4, #3, and on February 3, it hit #1. It was the fourth song by a Canadian artist to top the Canadian Hot 100 since Billboard began publishing the chart in 2007.
As fate would have it, Carly was signed by Bieber’s management team, and the song was released internationally. It straight away topped the charts in Australia, New Zealand, and Ireland, and in April it debuted on the UK charts at #1 and reached the top in a number of European countries. In the United States, as in Canada, it climbed the charts slowly, but when it hit #1, it stayed there for 9 straight weeks. The song topped the charts in the world’s 2nd largest market for music, Japan, in the fall.
Amidst the whirlwind, on June 21, 2012, Music Canada announced via multi-platinum certifications, that “Call Me Maybe” had domestically outsold every other Canadian single in history. To date, it has sold over 10 million copies worldwide, is certified 7x Platinum at home, and was the 2nd biggest song of the year in Canada and the United States.
The Canadian Music Blog is pleased to recognize this fabulous achievement by declaring Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe” 2012’s Song of the Year.
(See Part 1 – Songs #20 to #11 – which also includes eligibility rules and our selection process HERE.)
#10. “Gonna Take Some Time” by Len
Gold-selling, JUNO-nominated Toronto band Len released an album in 2012 which was our 6th favourite of the year, It’s Easy If You Try. “It’s My Neighbourhood” was released as the album’s first single. All tracks on the album are jam-packed with sun blasts of pop splendour. We felt that the grooviest of the lot was “Gonna Take Some Time”. Len’s core members are siblings Marc and Sharon Costanzo who are great at combining clever lyrics and rhymes with impressive hooks and unexpected sounds all in a rolled up wheel of spinning summertime fun like a scooter ride through a colourful urban jungle. This song has plunky guitars, a sax solo, and some cool choppy beats.
#9. “Mon Corps” by Ariane Moffatt
Heralding her 2012 album MA, which reached #2 on the weekly Billboard album chart, this mouth-watering electronic rock number, was released at the end of 2011 peaking on the charts this year. It rivals Marianne Faithful’s “Broken English” in style and the greatest hits of Mylène Farmer in substance. Ariane Moffatt is a JUNO-winning, platinum-selling recording artist whose creative genius flows at the rate of water over Niagara Falls. The synthesizer grunts and whirrs glisten over beats as original as the concoctions of Utada Hikaru. “Mon Corps” is both ominous and playful as her vocal delivery is both matter-of-fact and teasing. Brilliant song.
#8. “I Am a Bee” by Lily C.
To prove that mainstream popular music is not all that delighted us this year is this sweet adult contemporary number by emerging artist and Torontonian Lily C. This is delicate “happy pop” in the vein of Jewel, Darrelle London, and Liz Coyles. Off album Reaching for Sunlight, “I Am a Bee” is absolutely beautiful. Verse, chorus, and bridge are all perfect examples of song writing perfection and wing through the 4 minutes in their uniqueness and unity like, well, a bee, butterfly, and bird. Rubbery keyboard blips, driving guitar strums, solid bass, bubbly bells, and free-spirited percussion animate this ode to flight and freedom.
#7. “Riptide” by Marie-Mai
Strange that of all songs on Star Academie finalist, 6-time Félix winner, and Vancouver Olympics performer Marie-Mai’s gold-certified 4th studio album Miroir, we would choose one of the two English tracks, but this song is so good, we couldn’t resist. Marie-Mai has become so popular that two of the four Francophone hits that made the Billboard Hot 100 in 2012 were hers. Fabulous were Félix popular song of the year winner “Sans cri ni haine” (a French language cover of Robyn’s “Call Your Girlfriend”) and album opener “C.O.B.R.A.”. Marie-Mai co-wrote most songs on the album with the likes of Fred St- Gelais and celebrated Canadian songwriter Rob Wells. “Riptide” is the pulsating album closer which caps off a brilliant work.
#6. “Burning” (French Version) by Mia Martina
New Brunswick’s JUNO-nominated Acadian singer Mia Martina sounds stunning in English but her French versions simply floor us. Kaleidoscopic “Burning”, a hot high-society style number with a sensual saxophone, made it to #25 on the Hot 100, was certified gold, and finished as the year’s 64th biggest hit. Enjoying tremendous mileage from her 2010 album Devotion, “Burning” was the third single launched of five. The album contained an English version only, the French version being released as a separate single. “Burning” was the second most successful song from the album, 2010’s “Stereo Love” with Edward Maya being the biggest hit. Straight from Mia’s classy opening vocal, the whole song shines with glory.
#5. “Put Me On” by Diamond Rings
Yes, we do love our independent artists too. And how could you not adore a song that begins with the lyric, “Beneath the sliver of the autumn moon, between the pigeons and the northern loons”? Diamond Rings, the stage name of Toronto’s JUNO-nominated John O’Regan, released his sizzling second studio album Free Dimensional this year. It was our second favourite LP of 2012 bringing back that fabulous new wave 80s synth rock vibe with a modern spin. In “Put Me On”, edgy electric guitars (and even a mid-song solo) combine with cheeky synths and John’s baritone voice to deliver a classy contribution to the magnificent genre created by Kraftwerk and popularized by Gary Numan.
#4. “Body Work” featuring Tegan & Sara
Ah, house music, especially while doing the laundry, never sounded so good. JUNO-nominated Calgarian twins Tegan & Sara co-wrote this killer tune with American EDM master Morgan Page and vocalized the entire track. “Body Work” wrestled its way up to #32 on the weekly Hot 100, while in Morgan’s home country, the charts were not so welcoming. With a beat that could set off an earthquake, shimmering synths that get a sloth jiving, and twin stereo voices that could turn grapefruit into honey, this piece of wizardry attracted mainstream attention to the hitherto underground duo set to release a new album in early 2013.
#3. “Break My Heart” by Victoria Duffield
We named Shut Up and Dance, debut LP from Abbotsford, BC dance pop star Victoria Duffield as album of the year. She topped the Billboard Emerging Artists chart with the album’s title track, a platinum single and 49th biggest of the year. The irresistible “Break My Heart” was the third single released from the album and scaled up the Hot 100 to #35 on the weekly Hot 100. The album is filled with gems, and this dazzling dance tune of flashy Ryan Stewart tweaks, keyboard toots, and unbreakable pop hooks was our favourite. The song is enjoyed best with its suburban neighbourhood dance invasion music video and is so energizing, it’ll have grandpa doing cartwheels.
#2. “Clone” by Metric
Not an uncommon feature in motion pictures, the last time we remember a song about clones was back in the 1980s care of Alice Cooper. JUNO-winning new wave band Metric of Toronto whose members consist of three Js and an E released their fifth album this year, Synthetica, which made it to #2 on the Billboard Albums chart in June and was named by CBC’s Q as the 10th best album of the year. The song deals with the idea of making decisions based on society’s expectations (becoming a clone) or taking the road less taken. In any case, “it’s too late in the day” to change the course one set off on in the past. An extremely catchy song, with a swaggering groove, this one just compels you to keep hitting that replay button.
#1. “Call Me Maybe” by Carly Rae Jepsen
Was there every any doubt? At one point, we were diggin’ “Curisoty” slightly more than the biggest international Canadian hit of the year, but our enjoyment of “Call Me Maybe” was longer lived. Before the endorsement of Justin Bieber on Twitter, before Carly Rae Jepsen was signed by Scooter Braun and company, before the song topped the charts all around the world, before it even entered the Hot 100 at home, we heard this amazing tune when it first came out on Vancouver Radio Station Virgin 953 and instantly fell in love. It was like a tiny, humble seed planted in soil with questionable fertility and did nothing but grow, albeit slowly, until shooting up into a fruit-bearing tree that spread its branches around the globe. This really was the best song released in 2012, fresh-sounding, catchy, expertly produced, and intelligently composed by an exceptionally talented singer songwriter named Carly Rae Jepsen.
Considering that some 8,000 songs from Canadian artists came out in 2012, coming up with the top 200 would have be difficult enough, but the top 20 was extremely difficult! To make things easier (and a fairer and tidier list), we allowed only one entry per artist.
Equally difficult was trying to decide whether a song could be considered a 2012 song. The biggest song of the year, Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe” was released in 2011. But we think of it as a 2012 song because that’s when it enjoyed its biggest chart success. Below are a list of rules about which songs were eligible for our list.
1. For songs on albums not released as singles, the album had to have been released in 2012.
2. For non Hot 100 charting singles, the release date had to be in 2012.
3. For charting singles, the song had to reach its Hot 100 peak position during 2012.
4. If a song was included on our Faves list for the previous year but ended up being released as a single or charting this year, we will not re-include it on this year’s Faves list.
5. All songs eligible had to be in whole or in part credited to and performed by a Canadian artist whether or not it was composed by a Canadian.
As with our albums list, we listened to all 2012 songs shortlisting the ones we loved, then ranking them at the end of the year. We were not at all swayed by how popular (or unpopular) a song was or what the genre was.
We have included the cover art for singles. For album non-single songs, we framed the album cover with the song’s name on the frame.
#20. “You and I” by Anjulie
JUNO-nominated, platinum-selling Oakville recording artist Anjulie is one of the most stylish and exquisite songwriters in the country, not to mention a talented musician and very good singer to boot. This year she released 3 gourmet singles and it was a tough call picking our favourite. We’re settling on Top 30 (currently) “You and I” which pays homage to 1970s dance music while still remaining distinctively fresh and modern. It begins in a simple vein on acoustic guitar strums and builds into a star-soaring, beat thumping chorus, complete with revving keyboard riffs. This was one of 2012’s precious treasures, simply beautiful.
#19. “Love” by Raghav
Gold single “Fire” was one of the most delightful songs of 2011. Calgary’s JUNO-nominated Raghav was the only artist from anywhere in the world to score three Top 10 singles in the UK in 2004 having launched his career from Britain. He released his long awaited album The Phoenix in home country of Canada this year. Raghav’s gorgeous ballad “Love” was originally written for Michael Jackson and was released as a single late in the year. With catchy lyrics “Is this what they call love? Is this what all the fuss is about? If so, let me out!”, unpredictable and detailed hooks, and some sweet singing, this was definitely one of the best songs of the year.
#18. “Tough Love” by Suzie McNeil
This Mississauga native, currently signed to Vancouver label 604 Records, is a fabulous singer best known perhaps for her song “Supergirl” which made the year-end top 100 of 2009. Suzie is blessed with a versatile voice, handling both softer and harder rock with ease. She released her 3rd studio album this year, Dear Love, three tracks of which have been released as singles. She co-wrote “Tough Love”, the album’s 3rd single, with Marianas Trench frontman Josh Ramsay. This magnificent song which should have been a huge hit is Katy Perry rolled up with Joan Jett, i.e. lovely but tough. This song is like a battle between mischievous Cupid and Supergirl Suzie.
#17. “The Love You Gave” by Elisapie
Her album Travelling Love was one of our favourites of the year and this track stood out the most for us. Elisapie, previously in JUNO award winning duo Taima, is zooming ahead in her solo career’s skidoo as her second album shifted gears from her folky roots to a more pop/rock sound. The song is a savoury blend of spicy keyboards, sweet vocals, bitter beat, salty guitars, with backing choir, handclaps, and even a 70s style guitar solo. In short, “The Love You Gave” is perfect from every standpoint including composition, arrangement, delivery, and production. It’s no wonder that iTunes selected this song as one of their “songs of the week”.
#16. “Castle in the Cloud” by Stef Lang
A cool groove that has the beauty to stop you in your tracks is this little jewel written, delivered, recorded, and produced by British Columbian independent artist Stef Lang. After releasing radio friendly EP Fighting Mirrors earlier in the year that spawned airwave played “Paper Doll” and moreover after laying the vocals on two tracks off Delerium’s latest album Music Box Opera, she created LP Self, our 9th favourite of 2012. This track was our pick of the bunch, though just about any selection from the album could easily be placed here. While many of the more popular tunes this year got away with bearing too much resemblance to a hit of the past, this is a very original composition.
#15. “The Veldt” by deadmau5
Canada’s best-known EDM musician who composes but does not normally sing recruited Chris James to deliver the vocals on what sounds like a track inspired by Carol Anne Freeling in Poltergeist. One thing we know for sure is that the title came from a short sci-fi story by Ray Bradbury. Deadmau5 first created the tune on a live streaming session and then discovered Chris’ vocal rendition of it via Twitter. He invited Chris to perform on the official recording. The single came out just one month prior to Bradbury’s passing. “The Veldt” peaked on the Hot 100 at #24 and was the 75th most popular song of the year. To date, deadmau5 has won 4 JUNO awards.
#14. “Beauty and a Beat” by Justin Bieber
Believe was the most internationally successful Canadian album of the year and was certified double platinum at home. Of several singles released from the LP, we favoured this one best which is just a blast with its playful style and funky bass. The song was composed by internationally acclaimed songwriters Max Martin (Sweden), Anton Zaslavski (Russian-German), and Savan Kotecha (American) and it features a short and sweet spoken word segment with Nicki Minaj. “Beauty and a Beat” debuted on the Hot 100 at #47, disappeared the following week, and then re-entered 16 weeks later, peaking at #4. It has gone gold. Justin Bieber has won three JUNO awards.
#13. “So Happy I Could Die” by Bif Naked
JUNO-nominated and platinum-selling (not to mention humourist, motivational speaker, and comic cartoonist) Bif Naked in recent years underwent a successful battle against cancer. This year she released an album of mostly acoustic versions of her biggest hits plus a couple of new songs, Bif Naked Forever: (Acoustic Hits & Other Delights). In teaming up with Ryan Stewart, “So Happy I Could Die” is her welcome tribute to dance pop with a fantastic beat punctuated by her classic and lovable nasally vocals. “So here goes. I decided that’s enough. And it shows. I’m a fighter; I am tough” pretty much sums up the lessons she has learned from her experience.
#12. “Satellite” by Andrew Allen
Vernon, British Columbia, situated in the beautiful Okanagan valley, is the hometown of emerging recording artist Andrew Allen. Having enjoyed some radio hits, most notably the 3-million-plus YouTube viewed “Loving You Tonight”, Andrew launched his delicious dance-pop tune “Satellite” after scoring a charting single “I Want You” earlier in the year. Pulsating, percolating, and bubbling ’round the maple tree, the song is quite the embodiment of the touring lifestyle to which Allen has no doubt grown accustomed. 2012 was the year that Canadians became dance pop specialists and Allen is yet another example of such greatness.
#11. “Kiss You Inside Out” (Bilingual Version) by Hedley ft. Andrée-Anne Leclerc
The addition of Star Academie finalist Andrée-Anne Leclerc to perform a bilingual duet with Hedley’s Jacob Hoggard converted a good song into a great song and transformed something that could pass for a tune from any country into one that was distinctively Canadian. “Kiss You Inside Out”, released outside of JUNO-winning album Storms as a separate single, reached #2 on the weekly Hot 100 and was the second biggest Canadian hit of the year (after “Call Me Maybe”) in 19th spot on the year-end Billboard Hot 100. Given the beauty of musical composition, with a sweet and catchy melody, we are not surprised that this has become a triple-platinum single.
Below are the most successful albums in Canada released in the year 2012. We’ve created 2 polls – one for domestic and one for international artists. If you don’t like any of the albums listed, you can vote for the one you disliked the least. Vote away!
Favourite Domestic 2012 Album