The JUNOs 2014: Gala Summary

“When we asked our parents if we could play music instead of go to university, they were really mad at us. And they agreed to let us do that for a couple of years. And somewhere in all that we signed a record deal with Neil Young and Elliot Roberts. And Elliot Roberts told us that when we were in our 30s we’d write good music, but that our 20s were for exploring the world and experiencing heartbreak.”
—Tegan Quin

tegan_and_sara_junos_650

HOST CITY WINNIPEG

Ah, Winnipeg. One of Canada’s largest cities. You can go there and see all the towering skyscrapers. … All right, so there aren’t any skyscrapers. Well, Winnipeg is responsible for a number of important creations. British author A. A. Milne named Winnie the Pooh after a Canadian bear brought to the London Zoo by Winnipeg’s Lt. Colebourn. Publishing company Harlequin, famous for its romance novels, was founded in Winnipeg. Winnipeg polyethylene specialist Harry Wasylyk invented the first plastic garbage bags. Winnie the Pooh, Harlequin romances, plastic garbage bags … for those of you who think Winnipeg concoctions are lame, consider that the best the Brits could come up with were fish & chips, the mini, and forest-dwelling archers in green tights.

IRONIES

The 2014 JUNO Awards was filled with ironies. The Canadian Minister of Official Languages presented at a national event that excluded any Francophone performance. The gala that was originally created to promote Canadian music in the Dominion of Canada did include, however, a performance by a foreign act that has the word Republic in its name. Statements were made about the role of music in preventing youth from being pulled into iniquities during an event that was itself sponsored largely by casinos and alcoholic beverage companies. Music fans vocally denigrated the one they themselves chose for an award … in a country with an international reputation for being polite.

BTO

HIGHLIGHTS

The big winners at the 2014 JUNOs? Calgary-reared, former teen stars Tegan and Sara, the only act to win three awards. Heartthrob, Pop Album of the Year winner, was our favourite album of 2013. Slickly produced, well-written, exciting, catchy, with retro undercurrents, it was 100% world class. The twin sisters also won Group of the Year, and the album’s first-released track “Closer” was named Single of the Year.

Aboriginal artists shone at this year’s JUNOs which is a very good thing. The previous night, George Leach won Aboriginal Album of the Year for his rock jewel, Surrender. A Tribe Called Red took the trophy for Breakthrough Group of the Year for its innovative powwow EDM. Songwriter of the Year was given to Serena Ryder who in her acceptance speech defended Justin Bieber from those who have chosen to ape the behaviour of a press bent upon profiteering via illegal defamation.

Canadian Olympic champions were involved in the proceedings: skier Dara Howell and the women’s curling team. We found this very inspiring. The curlers appeared in humorous prerecorded sketches involving The Sheepdogs and Johnny Reid. Our Lady Peace’s Raine Maida and Winnipeg’s own Chantal Kreviazuk, one of Canada’s musical power couples, presented the Album of the Year award. It went to Montréal’s Arcade Fire. While the band was not able to attend, a pre-taped video of their thank you from South America aired.

Bachman-Turner Overdrive was ushered into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame by astronaut Commander Chris Hadfield, and the band performed together apparently for the first time in 20 years. Legend Randy Bachman said, “If you have a dream, stick to your dream, Plan A. There is no plan B. Plan B is stick to plan A.”

Plan A of the Canadian Music Blog is to support Canadian recording artists regardless of genre whether they are Anglophone, Francophone, or Allophone, whether they are seasoned or teenagers, male or female, bands or solo artists, Aboriginal or naturalized, of European, Asian, or African descent, and whether their name is Avril or Anvil, Bachman or Bieber. For us, there is no Plan B. Congratulations to the JUNO Awards host committee for their hard work in organizing another wonderful show.

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List of nominees and winners:  Part 1  Part 2

You can watch the JUNOs online here.

Also check out MuchMusic’s funny and insightful questions about the JUNO gala here.

2014 JUNO Award Winners Part 1

2011 JUNO Awards StatuetteThe first of two JUNO galas took place in Winnipeg last night to hand out the bulk of the awards at a dinner emceed by the CBC’s Jian Ghomeshi. The event was attended by high-profile Canadians including the Premier of Manitoba, the Minister of Canadian Heritage & Official Languages, and CARAS, JUNO Awards, and MusiCounts President Melanie Berry. The casual gala precedes the formal gala tonight televised on CTV when the awards for Fan Choice, Album, Single, Group, Breakthrough Group, and Songwriter of the Year will be announced. Below is a list of all nominees by category for which awards were handed out at the casual gala. The winners are identified by the word JUNO in red. As well, we have assigned ordinals to the wins indicating how many JUNOs the artist has obtained to date. An amazing 26 artists were first-time JUNO winners! The only artist to win more than one JUNO was classical musician James Ehnes. He now has nine JUNO trophies.

Update: Awards given out at the main televised gala can be found here.

ELITE AWARDS

ABORIGINAL ALBUM OF THE YEAR
Keep a Fire, Amanda Rheaume
Small Town Stories, Desiree Dorion
Surrender, George Leach JUNO, 1st
Burn Me Down, Inez Jasper
Road Renditions, Nathan Cunningham

FRANCOPHONE ALBUM OF THE YEAR
Himalaya mon amour, Alex Nevsky
Omniprésent, Damien Robitaille
Chic de ville, Daniel Bélanger
Fox, Karim Ouellet JUNO, 1st
Punkt, Pierre Lapointe

ARTIST OF THE YEAR
Céline Dion
Drake
Michael Bublé
Robin Thicke
Serena Ryder JUNO, 5th

BREAKTHROUGH ARTIST OF THE YEAR
Brett Kissel JUNO, 1st
Florence K
Tim Hicks
Tyler Shaw
Wake Owl

ALLAN WATERS HUMANITARIAN AWARD
Chantal Kreviazuk and Raine Maida

WALT GREALIS ACHIEVEMENT AWARD
Frank Davies

POPULAR ROCK AWARDS

POP ALBUM OF THE YEAR
Wild Life, Hedley
To Be Loved, Michael Bublé
Blurred Lines, Robin Thicke
Heartthrob, Tegan and Sara JUNO, 1st
R.E.V.O., Walk Off the Earth

DANCE RECORDING OF THE YEAR
This is What it Feels, Like Armin van Buuren & Trevor Guthrie JUNO, 1st
Album Title Goes Here, deadmau5
Tsunami, DVBBS & Borgeous
Locked Down, Jacynthe
Heartbreaker, Mia Martina

ADULT CONTEMPORARY ALBUM OF THE YEAR
In My Head, Alysha Brilla
Loved Me Back To Life, Céline Dion
Dream Catcher, Chloe Albert
The Year He Drove Me Crazy, Coral Egan
A Christmas Gift To You, Johnny Reid JUNO, 4th

ADULT ALTERNATIVE ALBUM OF THE YEAR
Shut Down the Streets, A.C. Newman
Tall Tall Shadow, Basia Bulat
Us Alone, Hayden
Forever Endeavour, Ron Sexsmith JUNO, 3rd
Internal Sounds, The Sadies

ALTERNATIVE ALBUM OF THE YEAR
Reflektor, Arcade Fire JUNO, 7th
The Poet’s Dead, Rah Rah
Today We’re Believers, Royal Canoe
Warring, The Darcys
Uzu, Yamantaka//Sonic Titan

ELECTRONIC ALBUM OF THE YEAR
Nation II Nation, A Tribe Called Red
Untogether, Blue Hawaii
Graze, Graze
Third Culture, Noah Pred
Guilt Trips, Ryan Hemsworth JUNO, 1st

ROCK ALBUM OF THE YEAR
Love + Fury, Headstones
Coyote, Matt Mays JUNO, 1st
Arrows of Desire, Matthew Good
Furiosity, Monster Truck
Transit of Venus, Three Days Grace

METAL/HARD MUSIC ALBUM OF THE YEAR
Heart of Oak, Anciients
Colored Sands, Gorguts
Entrench, KEN Mode
Volition, Protest the Hero JUNO, 1st
Dead Language, The Flatliners

INTERNATIONAL ALBUM OF THE YEAR
Unorthodox Jukebox, Bruno Mars JUNO, 1st
The Marshall Mathers LP 2, Eminem
Night Visions, Imagine Dragons
Take Me Home, One Direction
The Truth About Love, P!nk

URBAN / ISLAND MUSIC AWARDS

RAP RECORDING OF THE YEAR
Classified, Classified
Nothing Was the Same, Drake JUNO, 4th
In My Opinion, Rich Kidd
Flying Colours, Shad
Everywhere We Go, SonReal

R&B / SOUL RECORDING OF THE YEAR
Kaleidoscope, Joanna Borromeo
Can’t Choose, JRDN (ft. Kardinal Offishall) JUNO, 1st
There’s Only One, Kim Davis
Gone, Melanie Durrant
Kiss Land, The Weeknd

REGGAE RECORDING OF THE YEAR
Mandela, Akustix
Baby It’s You, Ammoye
Love Collision, Dru
Rebel Massive, Dubmatix
Strive, Exco Levi & Kabaka Pyramid JUNO, 3rd

COUNTRY / ROOTS AWARDS

COUNTRY ALBUM OF THE YEAR
Started With a Song, Brett Kissel
Crop Circles, Dean Brody JUNO, 1st
Country Junkie, Gord Bamford
Small Town Pistols, Small Town Pistols
Throw Down, Tim Hicks

ROOTS & TRADITIONAL ALBUM OF THE YEAR: SOLO
Come Cry With Me, Daniel Romano
So Say We All, David Francey
Don’t Get Too Grand, Donovan Woods
Valleyheart, Justin Rutledge JUNO, 1st
Tin Star, Lindi Ortega

ROOTS & TRADITIONAL ALBUM OF THE YEAR: GROUP
The Folk Sinner, Lee Harvey Osmond
Bison Ranch Recording Sessions, Little Miss Higgins & The Winnipeg Five
Volume One, The Devin Cuddy Band
We Still Move On Dance Floors, The Strumbellas JUNO, 1st
Island of Echoes, The Wilderness of Manitoba

BLUES ALBUM OF THE YEAR
Come on Down, David Gogo
Can You Hear the Music, Downchild JUNO, 1st
Soulscape, Harrison Kennedy
My Guitar’s My Only Friend, James Buddy Rogers
All Frequencies, MonkeyJunk

JAZZ AWARDS

VOCAL JAZZ ALBUM OF THE YEAR
Stealing Genius, Amy McConnell & William Sperandei
Courage, My Love; Erin Propp with Larry Roy
My Funny Valentine – The Chet Baker Songbook, Matt Dusk
Notes On Montréal ft. Sienna Dahlen, Mike Rud JUNO, 1st
Triades; Sonia Johnson, Charles Biddle Jr. & Annie Poulain

CONTEMPORARY JAZZ ALBUM OF THE YEAR
Gratitude, Brandi Disterheft
Habitat, Christine Jensen Jazz Orchestra JUNO, 2nd
Brooklyn Babylon, Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society
Mirror of the Mind, Earl MacDonald
Le refuge, Trifolia

TRADITIONAL JAZZ ALBUM OF THE YEAR
Nine, Carn Davidson 9
The Ian McDougall 12tet LIVE, Ian McDougall 12-tet
Our Second Set, John MacLeod & His Rex Hotel Orchestra
Ripple Effect, Mike Downes JUNO, 1st
Look for the Silver Lining, Phil Dwyer and Don Thompson

CLASSICAL MUSIC AWARDS

CLASSICAL ALBUM OF THE YEAR: SOLO OR CHAMBER ENSEMBLE
Prokofiev Complete Works for Violin, James Ehnes JUNO, 8th (see below)
Chopin: Études Op. 10 & 25, Jan Lisiecki
Mozart: Concertos Nos. 13 & 14, Janina Fialkowska / The Chamber Players of Canada
Liszt at The Opera, Louis Lortie
Beethoven: The Complete Piano Sonatas, Stewart Goodyear

CLASSICAL ALBUM OF THE YEAR: LARGE ENSEMBLE

Mozart: Piano Concertos Nos. 17 & 27, Angela Hewitt

Britten & Shostakovich: Violin Concerti, James Ehnes JUNO, 9th (see above)

Canadian Concerto Project, Volume One, Nadina Mackie Jackson and Guy Few with Group of 27

House of Dreams, Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra

Rachmaninoff: Symphonic Dances & Stravinsky: The Rite of Spring, Toronto Symphony Orchestra

CLASSICAL ALBUM OF THE YEAR: VOCAL OR CHORAL

Berlioz: Les nuits d’été – Palej : The Poet & the War – Rorate Coeli; Group of 27, Eric Paetkau –
Conductor, Shannon Mercer – Soprano

Ravel, Sayat-Nova & Kradjian: Troubadour & the Nightingale; Isabel Bayrakdarian

Lettres de Madame Roy à sa fille Gabrielle, Marie-Nicole Lemieux & André Gagnon JUNO, 1st/4th

Handel: Orlando, HWV 31; Pacific Baroque Orchestra, Alexander Weimann, Owen Willets, Karina

Gauvin, Allyson McHardy, Amanda Forsythe, Nathan Berg

A Quiet Place: Music for Healing III, Vancouver Chamber Choir

CLASSICAL COMPOSITION OF THE YEAR
Field Notes, Allan Gordon Bell GRAVITY AND GRACE JUNO, 1st
Isomorphia for Orchestra and Electronics, James O’Callaghan MAHLER SYMPHONY 9
Quatuors à cordes No. 12, R. Murray Schafer QUATUOR MOLINARI
Magnificat, Stephen Chatman MAGNIFICAT: SONGS OF REFLECTION
Atacama: Symphonie No. 3, Tim Brady ATACAMA: Symphonie No. 3

SPECIALIST AWARDS

CHILDREN’S ALBUM OF THE YEAR
Sing As We Go!, Charlie Hope Little
What’s the Big Idea?!?, Gary Rasberry
Colour It, Helen Austin JUNO, 1st
Mon coffret à surprises, Marie-Claude
Coconuts Don’t Fall Far From the Tree, Splash’N Boots

WORLD MUSIC ALBUM OF THE YEAR
Sabor A Café, Adonis Puentes
Lamentation of Swans – A Journey Towards Silence, Azam Ali and Loga R.Torkian
Walk to the Sea, David Buchbinder & Odessa/Havana JUNO, 1st
Jumbie in the Jukebox, Kobo Town
Lume, Lume; Lemon Bucket Orkestra

INSTRUMENTAL ALBUM OF THE YEAR
New History Warfare Vol.3: To See More Light, Colin Stetson
Dalmak, Esmerine JUNO, 1st
Senna, Mahogany Frog
Down Home, Petr Cancura
Invitation, The Peggy Lee Band

CONTEMPORARY CHRISTIAN/GOSPEL ALBUM OF THE YEAR
Search the Heavens, Fraser Campbell
Jordan Raycroft, Jordan Raycroft
Heart, The City Harmonic
Lost & Undone: A Gospel Bluegrass Companion, The High Bar Gang
Trees, Tim Neufeld JUNO, 1st

PRODUCTION AWARDS

JACK RICHARDSON PRODUCER OF THE YEAR

Brian Howes and Jacob Hoggard: “Anything”, “Crazy for You” WILD LIFE – Hedley

Eric Ratz: “Sweet Mountain River”, “The Lion” – FURIOSITY – Monster Truck

Henry “Cirkut” Walter (co-producer Luke Gottwald): “Wrecking Ball” BANGERZ – Miley Cyrus; “Give It 2 U” BLURRED LINES – Robin Thicke JUNO, 1st

Ryan Guldemond and Ben Kaplan: “Let’s Fall in Love”, “Bit by Bit” THE STICKS – Mother Mother

Thomas “Tawgs” Salter: “This is the Best” ADVANCED BASICS – USS; “Red Hands” (co-producer Gianni “Luminati” Nicassio) R.E.V.O. – Walk Off the Earth

RECORDING ENGINEER OF THE YEAR

David Travers-Smith “Dancing In the Dark” THESE WILDER THINGS – Ruth Moody; “Flabbergasp” (co-engineer Jaron Freeman-Fox) THE OPPOSITE OF EVERYTHING – Jaron Freeman-Fox

Eric Ratz “Sweet Mountain River”, “The Lion” – FURIOSITY – Monster Truck JUNO, 1st

Howie Beck “Robotic” (co-engineer Graham Walsh) HANNAH GEORGAS – Hannah Georgas; “Red Hands” R.E.V.O. – Walk Off the Earth

Kevin Churko (co-engineer Kane Churko) “The Wrong Side of Heaven” THE WRONG SIDE OF HEAVEN AND THE RIGHTEOUS SIDE OF HELL, VOLUME 1 – Five Finger Death Punch; “Stardust” LUX – Gemini Syndrome

Randy Staub “Hollow” THE DEVIL PUT DINOSAURS HERE – Alice in Chains; “Be My Baby” TO BE LOVED – Michael Bublé

RECORDING PACKAGE OF THE YEAR

Ian Grais and Chris Staples (Art Directors), Sofia Pona, Kim Ridgewell, Lisa Nakamura (Designers), Ben Tour (Illustrator) Bones BODHI JONES

Jayme L. Spinks (Art Director/Designer), Janet Kimber (Photographer) Lullabies and Wake-Up Calls DINAH THORPE

Menno Versteeg (Art Director), Anne Douris (Designer), Annie Murphy (Photographer) White Paint HOLLERADO

Robyn Kotyk (Art Director/Designers/Illustrator), Petra Cuschieri, Justin Peroff (Designers) Arts & Crafts: 2003-2013 ARTS & CRAFTS – VARIOUS ARTISTS JUNO, 2nd/1st/2nd

Vincent Lévesque and Alex Ortiz (Art Director/Designer/ Illustrator/Photographer) La Mort Pop Club WE ARE WOLVES

VIDEO OF THE YEAR
Je t’aime comme tu es, Agathe Bray-Bourret DANIEL BÉLANGER
Friend of Mine, Briin ‘Briin?’ Bernstein & Daniel AM Rosenberg D-SISIVE
Anything, John Poliquin HEDLEY
King and Lionheart, WeWereMonkeys OF MONSTERS AND MEN
Feeling Good, Matt Barnes THE SHEEPDOGS JUNO, 1st

2013 Music Sales in Canada

Nielsen SoundScan has released figures for music sales in Canada during 2013. Units of both digital albums and digital tracks were up from 2012. This stands in contrast to the United States where sales in digital music were down in 2013 for the first time. Sales of physical music (i.e. CDs, vinyl records, etc.) were lower in Canada in 2013 than in 2012. All three major record labels saw an increase in their respective market share, especially Universal given its absorption of EMI. Independent labels which had 20% of the share in 2012 had only 18% in 2013. For more info, check out Canadian entertaiment journalist Karen Bliss’ article for Billboard Magazine HERE.

Music Sales in 2013

Record Label Market Share

2013’s Biggest Canadian Hits, Both English and French

CMB medThe number one song of 2013 in Canada was Robin Thicke’s ”Blurred Lines”. Robin has dual Canadian and United States citizenship. The most successful Anglo CanCon song of 2013 was Serena Ryder’s “Stompa” which peaked at #8 on the weekly Billboard Canadian Hot 100 and was the 14th biggest song of the year overall. On CKOI’s year-end Top 50, Les Trois Accords had the year’s biggest Canadian Franco hit with “J’aime ta grand-mère” (#9). On the weekly Billboard Canadian Hot 100, Marc Dupré had the highest charting song with “Nous sommes les mêmes” (#47).

Below is a list of all singles by Canadian artists that made the Billboard Canadian year-end Top 100 or that peaked within the Top 40 of the weekly 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 in the weekly Billboard 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

2013 FRANCO HITS

TITLE ARTIST CY HW
J’aime ta grand-mere Les Trois Accords 9 97*
Nous sommes les memes Marc Dupre 11 47
L’amour Karim Ouellet 15 64
Comme on attend le printemps Jerome Couture 21 68
Breathing (Respire) Jonas & The Massive Attraction 30 100
Si tel est ton desir Jean-Marc Couture 32 75
Heureux infideles Sally Folk 35  
Fais-toi s’en pas Jonathan Painchaud 38  
On leur a fait croire Alex Nevsky 43 78
Jamais ailleurs Marie-Mai 47  
Bruises Train ft. Marilou   59
La Difference Mes Aieux   89
Un coup sur mon coeur Marc Dupre   90
J’sais pu comment t’aimer Kain   92
Ca me manque Eric Lapointe   98
Stone Vincent Vallieres   99

2013 ANGLO HITS

TITLE ARTIST HY HW
Blurred Lines Robin Thicke 1† 1
Stompa Serena Ryder 14 8
Inner Ninja Classified ft. David Myles 17 5
This Is What It Feels Like A. Van Buuren ft. Trevor Guthrie 19 6
Red Hands Walk Off the Earth 24 9
What I Wouldn’t Do Serena Ryder 30 8
Beauty and a Beat Justin Bieber 37 4*
Hold On, We’re Going Home Drake ft. Majid Jordan 42† 5
Closer Tegan and Sara 46 13
Kiss Goodnight Tyler Shaw 57 24
I Was a Fool Tegan and Sara 62 19
#thatPower will.i.am ft. Justin Bieber 67 6
Anything Hedley 68† 5
True Colours Artists Against Bullying 71 10*
Crazy All My Life Daniel Powter 75 23
Breathing Underwater Metric 77 22
Here’s to Never Growing Up Avril Lavigne 79 17
Stutter Marianas Trench 82 28
Kiss You Inside Out Hedley 83 2*
One in a Million Down with Webster 84 27
It’s a Beautiful Day Michael Buble 86 20
Call Me Maybe Carly Rae Jepsen 91 1*
Started from the Bottom Drake 98 36
Goodbye Glenn Morrison ft. Islove   12
Let Me Go Avril Lavigne ft. Chad Kroeger   12
All That Matters Justin Bieber   14
Heartbreaker Justin Bieber   15
Reflektor Arcade Fire   20
Hold Tight Justin Bieber   23
Roller Coaster Justin Bieber   24
Satisfaction Guaranteed Alyssa Reid   25
Loved Me Back to Life Celine Dion   26
Bad Day Justin Bieber   26
All Bad Justin Bieber   26
Give It 2 U Robin Thicke   27
Lolly Maejor Ali ft. Justin Bieber   27
Out For a Rip Shark Tank   27
The Hockey Song Stompin’ Tom Connors   29
Confident Justin Bieber   29
Goodbye, Goodbye Tegan and Sara   30
Recovery Justin Bieber   30
The World Is Ours Eleven Past One   32
PYD Justin Bieber   32
Karma Kristina Maria   34
3 Foot Tall Classified   34
By My Side Tyler Shaw   34
Change Me Justin Bieber   34
Tippin’ Point Dallas Smith   36
Shisha Massari   37
Rock N Roll Avril Lavigne   37
Fix You Vita Chambers   40

* This peak position was attained in 2012.

† Also made the year-end chart of 2014.

LINKS

More Charts…

2013 Overview…

2013 Year in Review

Overview

Serena Ryder 22013 was a year of blurred lines, loving someone out of a coma, riding serenely, and realizing we are the same, a year of responding to floods and hurricanes at home and abroad. We said hello to Stompa and goodbye to Stomin’ Tom. We saw new artists emerge from Edmonton as the city mourned the loss of one of its founding fathers. Atlantic Canada found its inner ninja when grief-struck by Rita’s departure. Country music lost Pier Béland but rebounded when two Canadian songs topped its charts. While misogyny found itself being questioned, grandmothers found themselves loved.

Most Successful Singles

robin-thicke-650-430The best-selling single of the year, which also finished at #1 on the year-end Billboard Canadian Hot 100 chart, was 6x platinum “Blurred Lines” by Ameri-Canadian Robin Thicke. This is the first time that a Canadian citizen has topped the year-end chart in the Billboard Canadian Hot 100 era. The second biggest Canadian hit of the year was “Stompa” by Serena Ryder (14th of the year). Classified’s “Inner Ninja” which featured David Myles was certified quadruple platinum making it one of the four best-selling digital Canadian singles in history domestically. In all, 23 singles by or featuring Canadian artists made the year-end Top 100, two entries less than in 2012. The most successful Francophone single on the Billboard Canadian Hot 100 was Marc Dupré’s “Nous sommes les mêmes” making it all the way up to #47 on the weekly charts. Les Trois Accords’ “J’aime ta grand-mère”, at #9, was the top Franco song on CKOI’s year-end Top 50. More…

Most Successful Albums

Celine DionAmong albums released in 2013, the best-selling was Céline Dion’s Loved Me Back to Life, the only album whether by a foreign or domestic artist to attain quadruple platinum sales by year’s end. Internationally, the year’s best-selling Canadian album was Michael Bublé’s To Be Loved. According to the United World Chart, it sold 2.3 million copies placing it at 10th of the year. At home, it was a double-platinum release. Among the most successful Francophone albums was Marc Dupré’s Nous sommes les mêmes, certified gold by year end. Three 2013 Franco Christmas albums went gold as well: Noël a deux by Marie-Eve Janvier & Jean-François Breau, Noël blanc by Maxime Landry, and Paul Daraîche’s Ces Noëls d’autrefois.

Platinum certifications were awarded to Justin Bieber for Believe: Acoustic, Drake’s Nothing Was the Same, and Johnny Reid’s A Christmas Gift to You.

Albums that went gold, besides those mentioned above, were Tegan & Sara’s Heartthrob, Walk Off the Earth’s REVO, City and Colour’s The Hurry and the Harm, Blue Rodeo’s In Our Nature, Avril Lavigne’s Avril Lavigne, and Hedley’s Wild Life.

A total of 38 Canadian albums released in 2013 appeared in the Top 10 of Billboard’s weekly Canadian Albums chart, six less than last year. Ten of them topped the said chart. These chart toppers were Classified’s Classified, Justin Bieber’s Believe: Acoustic, Pierre Lapointe’s Punkt, Michael Bublé’s To Be Loved, City and Colour’s The Hurry and the Harm, Robin Thicke’s Blurred Lines, Drake’s Nothing Was the Same, Arcade Fire’s Reflektor, Céline Dion’s Loved Me Back to Life, and Johnny Reid’s A Christmas Gift to You. More…

New Artist Profiles

Walk Off the EarthThe Canadian Music Blog added profiles on five artists whose popularity intensified significantly in 2013. Toronto’s Henry Lau released solo album Trap in 2013, taking a break from Super Junior-M. It’s title track was released in three languages. The Korean version became a Top 20 single on US Billboard’s K-Pop chart.  Marc Dupré scored a massive hit by Francophone standards. Title track of gold certified album Nous sommes les memes reached #47 on the Billboard Canadian Hot 100 and was named Song of the Year by the ADISQ Félix gala. Metric scored their second Top 30 hit and album Synthetica won their third JUNO award. Serena Ryder became a multiplatinum artist thanks to “Stompa” and scored three Top 40 singles through the year. Her 2012 album Harmony became a platinum seller in 2013. She was the top Canadian Billboard Hot 100 artist of the year. 2013 also hoisted Walk Off the Earth up to multiplatinum status due to hit “Red Hands”. They were the top emerging artist of the year according to Billboard. More…

In Memoriam

Among big names in music who passed away in 2013 were country stars Pier Béland and Stompin’ Tom Connors, Atlantic folk singer Rita MacNeil, and founding father of the Edmonton music scene Wes Dakus.

Awards

The JUNO awards, hosted by Michael Bublé, were held in April in Regina to recognize 2012 music. Carly Rae Jepsen won both the Song of the Year (“Call Me Maybe”) and Album of the Year (Kiss) JUNOs. The 2014 JUNOs recognizing the best of 2013 Canadian music will be held at the end of March in Winnipeg.

2013 ADISQ gala Felix award winnersThe ADISQ Félix Awards to honour the best in Canada’s Francophone music released in 2012-2013 were held at the end of October in Montréal. The Song of the Year award went to Marc Dupré for “Nous sommes les mêmes”. Stylish “La journée qui s’en vient est flambant neuve” by Avec pas d’casque was named music video of the year. Awards for electronic, alternative, rock, AC, and pop albums of the year went respectively to Jérôme Minière (Danse avec Herri Kopter), Gros Mené (Angus Dei), Louis-Jean Cormier (Le treizième étage), Céline Dion (Sans Attendre), and Marie-Mai (Miroir).

Misogyny: Journalists’ Theme in 2013

While the Brits were mourning the announcement of a hiatus by one of their bands, all of whose studio albums had topped the charts, and while the Americans were caught up in feverish discussions about prurient displays by some of their stars, Canadian entertainment journalists working for entities in financial turmoil attempted to blow the whistle on the year’s best-selling single citing it as misogynistic. Our questioning their sincerity turned out to be justified when, at year end, these very same critics hypocritically named a much more misogynistic work, littered with foul language, by a controversial American rapper with ties to the Kardashian empire, as one of their favourite albums of 2013.

Misogyny Rock Radio copyWhile idly criticizing recording artists for misogyny, few seemed motivated to improve their own sphere of activity by granting more equal representation of male and female artists. Rock stations in Canada continued allowing music sung by men to dominate their airwaves; of their top 40 most played songs of 2013, 38 were voiced entirely by men with two having vocals shared by male and female singers. Rock stations even aired songs outside of the genre, provided they were performed entirely by men, such as pop music by The Capital Cities and folk music by The Lumineers. Country stations were heavily dominated by male artists as well who made up 84% of year-end top 50 spins.

Imitation: Intentional Rip-Offs or Pure Coincidence?

Saga  and Justin TimberlakeJustin Timberlake’s 20/20 Experience, which topped the year-end Billboard 200 as 2013’s best-selling album in the United States featured an album cover and title that closely matched a 2012 album from Canadian progressive rock band Saga. While one might be sympathetic towards a struggling artist stealing some ideas from a popular one to get noticed, the act of one of the biggest names in music with tremendous wealth and creative resources at his disposal potentially ripping off a Canadian band at shadow’s edge of the spotlight left a bad taste in our mouths. There are also some who feel that Beyoncé’s music video for “Superpower” bore too much resemblance to Anjulie’s “Stand Behind the Music”. Whether these were in fact rip-offs or merely coincidental and whether the Canadian artists affected were flattered or resentful is unknown.

Calgary Holds Its Biggest Rock Concert in History

To help raise funds for a city marred by widespread flooding and to assuage the hearts of the locals, Calgary held its biggest rock concert in history with over 30,000 in attendance at McMahon Stadium. Among the acts on the bill were Nickelback, Loverboy, Tom Cochrane, Jann Arden, Randy Bachman, Johnny Reid, Ian Tyson, The Sheepdogs, Corb Lund, Matthew Good, and The Sadies.

Response to Super Typhoon Haiyan

Elise Estrada 1 copyThe moment he wrapped up his worldwide Believe tour in early December, Canadian superstar Justin Bieber headed straight away to The Philippines to show support and bring some happiness to the nation most devastated by super typhoon Haiyan which killed thousands and rendered millions homeless. Bieber launched a charity campaign to raise money providing assistance to those affected. Electronic rocker LIGHTS auctioned off outfits she wore in her music videos as well as the dress she wore when she received her first JUNO award raising thousands of dollars. Elise Estrada who was born in The Philippines composed original song, “All It Takes Is a Moment” all proceeds of which went to victims of the tragedy. She also put together a music video for the song.

Canadian Music Blog Picks

At year-end, The Canadian Music Blog revealed its 2013 picks in lists ranking its favourite EPs (5), music videos (10), albums (15), and songs (20). The Canadian Music Blog declared Voyage Love by Le Couleur as EP of the year, “Let Me Go” by Avril Lavigne (featuring Chad Kroeger) as music video of the year, Heartthrob by Tegan and Sara as album of the year, and “All For You” by Lexi Strate as song of the year.

More on 2013 in Music…

2013: The Year in Music

Year in Music 2013 banner copy

In 2013, the most successful album by a Canadian artist domestically was Céline Dion’s Loved Me Back to Life, a quadruple platinum release. According to the United World Chart, the best-selling Canadian album internationally was Michael Bublé’s To Be Loved (2.3 million copies, ranked 10th). Marc Dupré was the year’s most successful Francophone artist. His Nous Sommes les mêmes album went gold and its title-track, at #47, was the highest charting Franco single on the Billboard Canadian Hot 100 through the year. It was named Song of the Year at the ADISQ Félix awards gala at the end of October. Les Trois Accords’ “J’aime ta grand-mère” was the highest Canadian Franco song on the year-end CKOI Top 50 (#9). 2013 was also a big year for Serena Ryder. She had the top CanCon entry on the year-end Billboard Canadian Hot 100; triple platinum “Stompa” was 14th of the year. She was the top home-grown artist of the year on Billboard’s Canadian Hot 100 Artists year-end chart. The #1 song of the year was “Blurred Lines” by Ameri-Canadian Robin Thicke at 6x Platinum. “Inner Ninja” by Classified featuring David Myles was the year’s best-selling CanCon track at quadruple platinum.

For more details on the year in music, check out the links below.

2013 Overview

2013 Year in Review (Main Post)
Mini-Profiles on Artists Whose Popularity Intensified in 2013
2013’s Eh to Zed in Music

2013 Charts and Analysis

The Most Successful Canadian Albums Released in 2013
The Most Successful Canadian Singles of 2013
iTunes Canada Top 50 Song Sellers of 2013
Overall Music Sales in Canada
Top Canadian Spot on All Year-End Charts
Artist Performance in Canada Versus the USA
All Canadian Songs by Radio Format
CKOI Year-End Top 50

2013 Billboard Canadian Year-End Charts

Hot 100 Singles of the Year 2013
Top 50 Albums of the Year 2013
Hot 100 Artists of 2013
Hot Digital Songs of 2013
Hot 100 Airplay of 2013
Top Record Labels and Imprints of 2013
Emerging Canadian Artists of 2013
All-Format Airplay
CHR/Top 40 Airplay
Rock Airplay
Country Airplay
AC Airplay
Hot AC Airplay
Top Artists by Radio Format

Canadian Music Blog 2013 Faves

Canadian Music Blog’s 5 EP Faves of 2013
Canadian Music Blog’s 10 Music Video Faves of 2013
Canadian Music Blog’s 15 Album Faves of 2013
Canadian Music Blog’s Top 20 Song Faves of 2013: #20 to #11
Canadian Music Blog’s Top 20 Song Faves of 2013: #10 to #1
International Greats in 2013

Awards for 2013 Music

Felix Awards: Part 1 Part 2

Juno Awards: Part 1 Part 2 Gala Summary

Canadian Music Blog’s Top 20 Song Faves of 2013: #10 to #1

Canadian Recording Artists

(See Part 1 – Songs #20 to #11 – which also includes eligibility rules and our selection process HERE.)

#10. “Love Ocean” by Wanting

Wanting - Love OceanSome of our favourite tunes are Allophone ones, and this incredible composition is performed in Mandarin Chinese, one of our favourite languages for music. While many artists throw together sounds and then try to create a melody to support them, British Columbia’s Wanting constructs music that surrounds and elevates a perfect melody. We prefer the latter. If we could, we would detach our ears and let them sink to the depths of the ocean of Wanting’s music, where they would stay for eternity. Check out the beautiful music video as well.

#9. “The Lodger” by Louise Burns

Louise Burns - The LodgerWhen we play Louise Burns’ music, we see shadows fall and omens open their eyes. It’s all about switch and glide. Louise is a both a very talented songwriter and a solid singer as she proves on her latest album, The Midnight Mass. Track “The Lodger” opens with a delicious pounce of drums and keys which pause as she delivers her opening address to launch this wicked tune of slow-burning glory. The bass flickers as peals of something lunge forward. All these pathways of spook lead to a chorus which cruises like a swamp thing with an itchy foot.

#8. “Daylight Colours” by Gold & Youth

Gold and Youth - Daylight ColoursVancouver and Toronto have married and given birth to this electronic rock band that released its first album, Beyond Wilderness, in 2013. We concur with others that their live performances are worth their weight in gold. After providing additional vocals for them, the aforementioned Louise Burns joined the group as a permanent member, and we love especially the tracks that feature the male-female vocal combo and sophisticated guitar work. Besides the band’s previously released singles, the playful “Daylight Colours” impressed us most.

#7. “Breathing Underwater” by Metric

Metric - Breathing UnderwaterThis was the most successful single from JUNO-winning 2012 album Synthetica. It made the Hot 100 in December 2012 for one week and then remained dormant. After a CHR summer remix version was released, the song resurfaced on the charts in June 2013, eventually peaking at #22. Emily’s voice is a given, but we just love how it breaks out into its electro-rocking chorus. This is one of those songs that grows on you. After several listens, its brilliance finally grabs hold, seizes and possesses, and pulls you into the sea. No scuba gear required.

#6. “Here’s to Never Growing Up” by Avril Lavigne

Avril Lavigne - Here's to Never Growing UpAfter debuting on US DJ Ryan Seacrest’s radio show, this became a platinum single heralding a comeback for Avril Lavigne this year, and it succeeded in sales better than radio airplay, as broadcasters seemed to wait until her collaboration with husband Chad Kroeger before giving the dynamite singer and songwriter some spins. The energetic song perfectly encapsulates a celebration of youth and effectively responds to those who show them contempt. Its music video features Avril dressing in the fashion style from her skater days.

#5. “Vacances de 87” by Le Couleur

Le Couleur - Vacances de 87Featuring French Horn Rebellion, this requisite staple of the dance club gets the bongos sounding, the cymbals tinkling, the beat pounding, and most importantly the bass funking. It fires up the synths, begins tickling the guitars, pairs the American boy with a Canadian girl, and alternates between plain male Anglo and sultry female Franco vocals. What could serve as a more addictive treat? We absolutely adore how the song’s grand finale provides that extra bass hook. We named Le Couleur’s Voyage Love as the year’s best EP, and this is its finest track.

#4. “I Was a Fool” by Tegan and Sara

Tegan and Sara I Was a FoolThis serene, breezy Top 20 hit and gold single was the second released from Heartthrob, our favourite album of 2013. It sizzles and swaggers its way back to a retro 80s new wave vibe. “I Was a Fool” opens with piano, provides a solid backbeat, is delivered with the sweetest of vocals, and burns into the grooviest of choruses in natural stereo sound from the duo. We are convinced that Calgary’s Tegan and Sara are the coolest twin sisters on the planet, and they have made all of our year-end albums, music videos, and songs lists.

#3. “Cover Me” by Jonas & the Massive Attraction

Jonas and the Massive Attraction - Cover MeLive Out Loud was one of our favourite albums of 2013, a rock tour de force containing both harder and softer delights. As far as track “Cover Me” goes, “Wow!” is all we can say. This killer tune should have been a massive hit, as it is simply a progressive pop/rock masterpiece both musically and lyrically. It makes the heart feel as if it is soaring through dense material, backed with invigorating power and restorative juices, a feel-good anthem with a wall of sound that is rich, intricate, and plentiful. Jonas Tomalty is for sure one of Canada’s finest rock vocalists.

#2. “This Is What It Feels Like” Featuring Trevor Guthrie

This Is What It Feels Like - Armin Van Buuren ft Trevor GuthrieGrowing up in North Vancouver District, Trevor became lead singer of soulDecision which scored massive hits “Faded” and “Ooh It’s Kinda Crazy” circa Y2K. After the group disbanded, he hooked up with Dutch EDM master Armin van Buuren and wrote and sings this song about his neighbour who had a brain tumour. Making it up to #6 on the Billboard Canadian Hot 100, it was certified double platinum and finished the year as its 19th biggest hit. It is one of the most uplifting tracks we have ever heard, striking the sky with towering elation.

Canadian Music Blog’s 2013 Song of the Year

Putting things into perspective, we listened to several thousand songs by Canadian artists released through 2013—all songs on all albums, EPs, as well as individual singles. We listened to everything from the most popular Top 40 hits to the most obscure indie tunes. And of all these songs, the one we loved most was this one from an emerging artist in Canada’s second westernmost province. This is a female solo artist who, in 2012, won the Virgin Radio Star contest in Edmonton, and was flown out to Vancouver to record (thus far) three singles. The first of these bubbled under the Billboard Canadian Hot 100. The second of these was featured in TV series Beauty and the Beast. The third of these is our selection for 2013’s Song of the Year, a track she created with the Milk Music team of Mike James (Kelly Rowland, Kreesha Turner), Davey Badiuk (Dragonette), and vanguard BC indie artist Stef Lang.

This is a jewel of songwriting and expert production, an intelligent dance track filled with complex percussion, bright keyboards, and a galvanizing chorus. But what makes it so exquisite, what pushes it past the magic of Metric, the allure of Avril Lavigne, the appeal of Tegan & Sara, and even the ecstasy of the Armin van Buuren produced masterwork is the voice, a voice which is so uniquely gorgeous, so soulfully spicy, and so very, very charming. The Canadian Music Blog declares “All For You” by Lexi Strate as 2013’s Song of the Year.

Lexi Strate - All For You - Canadian Song of the Year 2013

Canadian Music Blog’s Top 20 Song Faves of 2013: #20 to #11

Canadian Artists 1

PREAMBLE
Considering that literally thousands songs from Canadian artists came out in 2013, coming up with the top 200 would have be difficult enough, but the top 20 was extremely difficult! To create a fairer and tidier list, we allowed only one entry per artist.

EILIGIBILITY
Equally difficult was trying to decide whether a song could be considered a 2013 song. Eligibility was determined by the following points:

1. For songs on albums not released as singles, the album had to have been released in 2013.

2. For non-Hot 100 charting singles, the release date had to be in 2013.

3. For charting singles, the song had to reach its Hot 100 peak position during 2013 regardless of when it was released.

4. If a song made our Faves list last year but ended up being released as a single or reaching its peak chart position 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.

PROCESS
As with our albums list, we listened to all 2013 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 or artist 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.

THE LIST…

#20. “When Your Lips Are So Close” by Gord Bamford

Gord Bamford - When Your Lips Are So CloseThis Australian born, Alberta raised, CCMA-winning master of country music pulled a rare feat for a Canadian this year by topping the domestic country charts. He became only the seventh Canuck to do this since the Nielsen BDS era began in the mid-1990s. This was well deserved given that the song is just beautiful and managed to dazzle even those not into country music. While American country artists were writing songs about trucks and guzzling booze with their girl on the beach, Gord penned this more tasteful ode to romantic longing towards a gorgeous sight beneath neon lights.

#19. “Le verbe amour” by Forêt

Foret - Le verbe amourLove’s certainly the word to describe how we feel about this debut duo consisting of classically-trained vocalist Émilie Laforest and guitarist Joseph Marchand. We named their pop mélancolico-romantique ADISQ Félix nominated album our 2nd favourite of 2013. It was difficult to choose a standout track (we loved “Après la guerre” too). “Le verbe amour” is a dreamy, hauntingly beautiful tribute to creativity, songwriting prowess, and masterful instrumentation that captivates the listener with a sonic perfume of mystery and charm.

#18. “À la vie, à la mort” by Anik Jean

Anik Jean - A la vie a la mortOff our third favourite LP of the year, Schizophrène, Canada’s JUNO-nominated answer to Joan Jett stuck it to misogynists who cringe at women in rock by letting loose songs of fiery splendour in 2013. We are blessed to have the pure talent of national treasure Anik Jean in our midst with her classic rock delivery that betters what both males and Anglophones are able to muster. Larger than life rock anthem “À la vie, à la mort” presents an irresistible vibe in the spirit of Patti Smith. It booms, crashes down, and soars taking us on the ride of our lives.

#17. “Ancient Nouveau” by Phèdre

Phedre - Ancient NouveauA robotic, quirky, new wave delight, “Ancient Nouveau” ironically brought us back to a time when music was rapidly advancing forward, and this is in fact what the title suggests. Daniel Lee and April Aliermo are the duo Phèdre, an offshoot of Toronto’s Hooded Fang. The pulsating electronica is augmented with the clever use of vocals delivered in a spirit of boredom which paradoxically elicits feelings of excitement in the listener. We have always been grateful for acts that experiment, dabble, combine the poles, and make it all work, and Phèdre has succeeded here.

#16. “Tonight Is Alright” by Bryan Finlay

Bryan Finlay - Tonight is AlrightWe are glad to see Edmonton contributing to the great pool of Canadian music, and the city seemed to rebound from its loss this year of founding father Wes Dakus. After winning a few radio contests, the city’s Bryan Finlay unleashed this breezy charmer which was brought into regular station rotation in the Whyte Avenue clad northern metropolis. Continuing on the course of smooth set by George Michael and Trevor Guthrie’s soulDecision, “Tonight Is Alright” includes a refreshing saxophone solo and a cute reference to Carly Rae Jepsen.

#15. “Baby’s Got It” by Maylee Todd

Maylee Todd - Baby's Got ItThe fact that she uses vibraphone in her music is enough to adore her, but Toronto’s Maylee Todd is a marvel. Not only has she been able to recreate the wholesome fusion of 1970s boogie, funk, bossa nova, and soul, but we feel she has actually improved upon it. And, with a fabulous backing band, her live performances are a must-see. While Todd’s 2010 effort saw her finding her way, she hit her stride with Escapology in 2013. The invigorating grooves of “Baby’s Got It” ices the cake on Claudja Barry putting Canada on the dance map.

#14. “Bagatelle” by Ariane Brunet

Ariane Brunet - BagatelleIt seemed like only yesterday, the ADISQ Félix gala had nominated this champion of adult contemporary greatness for Newcomer of the Year, a former student of voice, piano, guitar, and jazz. The nod seems to have fortified her talents and honed her skills, for sophomore album Fusée was one of the choicest releases of the year. Lead single “Bagatelle” lit the rocket fuse and zoomed up into the iTunes Francophone Top 10. Graceful, soft, and smartly decked with strings, it stands as one of the Kirkland, QC songstress’ finest accomplishments.

#13. “Harder Than Stone” by City and Colour

City and Colour - Harder Than StoneAccording to St. Catharines’ Dallas Green, in this exquisite composition, he was “born and raised to live beyond the heft and weight of a world undone”. The song is his melodic statement of how hard life can be. He resolves in a future time to turn his back to the setting sun and leave behind “Toronto’s incessant hum”. The lyrics are grand enough to make this tune work but adding torrents of overkill are the masterful songwriting and cool, tempered delivery that makes this gem shine forth while its composer traipses “underneath the dead moonlight”.

#12. “Wish I Could Say” by Mat Joly

Mat Joly - Wish I Could SayAfter his band Mobile scored a gold record and won the JUNO for New Group of the Year in 2007, Mat Joly flew solo in 2013 by releasing a self-titled album. According to Nielsen, single “Don’t Tell the Girl” was bubbling under the rock airplay chart at one point. We were most impressed with the catchy “Wish I Could Say” from the album, a popular rock jewel that shimmers at the level anything The Police concocted in the 80s. Its bass-jabbing verses and free style percussion precede a very catchy two-tier chorus, not to mention a fantastic bridge.

#11. “Loved Me Back to Life” by Céline Dion

Celine Dion - Loved Me Back to LifeAustralia’s competent Sia Furler had a hand in writing this Top 30 hit, title-track of Céline’s quadruple platinum album, the best-selling in 2013 domestically. It is a critically-acclaimed power ballad that features a modern dubstep beat drop updating the diva’s AC roots with a fresh sound. Crisp, smartly-tweaked production and a surging chorus provide that extra umph to the soaring, emotional vocals, which are always a given, from this Companion of the Order of Canada reminding us why she has sold some 200 million records worldwide.

See #10 to #1 HERE…

Canadian Music Blog’s Top 15 Album Faves of 2013

PREAMBLE

It is rare to find an honest year-end album list. There are vested interests involved in those published by both online and print media. Individual people tend to be biased in favour of certain genres of music, musical instruments used, or types of artists, rendering their lists narrow. Blogs tend to discriminate against albums from popular artists because they use these lists to promote the obscure ones rather than simply state a true list of their favourites. We also wonder why any list of domestic albums which excludes Francophone releases calls itself Canadian. In compiling our list, we did not care about the genre or style of music or the relative popularity of the artist. We simply listened to all several hundred of the Canadian albums that were released in 2013. If the album held our attention throughout, and we found ourselves enjoying song after song, we shortlisted it (11% of the albums made the list). At the end of the year, we listened to the shortlisted albums several times and ranked them. Below is a roll of the top 15 albums from that list, our 15 favourite Canadian albums of 2013.

#15. Golden Age by Phèdre

Phedre - Golden AgePhèdre is an offshoot of Toronto’s Hooded Fang. Legend has it that Daniel Lee and April Aliermo entered an attic of an unknown location over three summer nights. What they found lurking within must have been profound, for the results present cutting edge material, the vibrations of which seem capable of transmuting copper into gold. Golden Age is a celebration of experimental (think Grimes, Bjork, Moev) and very catchy electronica. The vocals, intentionally at times slightly off-key and delivered in a spirit of boredom, add an extra dimension. In fact, the entire package seems to have been borne by the winds of a tesseract. Phèdre reminds us of music’s great potential to excite, and they have succeeded in tapping into a gold mine unleashing the magic sparklers of all things weird and wonderful.

#14. En love majeur by France d’Amour

France d'Amour - En love majeurGrowing up just north of Montréal, France D’Amour took up the guitar and piano. Since her breakthrough in 1993, she has scored eight hit singles that made the CKOI year-end Top 50. Two of her albums have gone gold, and she has received two JUNO nominations. In 1998, out of admiration for Vancouver’s The Odds, she called up their guitarist Steven Drake and they ended up collaborating. En love majeur is France’s tenth album, an exceptionally rich production of gorgeous and intimate adult contemporary confections, dipped at times in heartland folk, blues, and jazz, and delivered by one of the sweetest voices in the country. The diversity of instruments played, complex instrumentation, and sunny style provide an even backbone of grandeur to such a heart-soothing voice.

#13. Fusée by Ariane Brunet

Ariane Brunet - FuseeKirkland is a residential community of about 20,000 on the island of Montréal, and it is where recording artist Ariane Brunet was born. With childhood piano and singing lessons underway, she won contests and awards, took up the guitar, and studied jazz. Her first album appeared in 2010 for which she was nominated for the Newcomer of the Year ADISQ Félix award in 2011. Brunet released her second album Fusée in 2013. It contains an assortment of delicacies like beautiful adult contemporary “Le temps de vivre”, the rousing “Vertige”, melancholy “Mon plus beau naufrage”, and funky “L’évidence”. Lead single, “Bagatelle” rocketed its way up into the iTunes Francophone Top 10. The music is soft, graceful, and smartly decked with strings.

#12. Echogenetic by Front Line Assembly

Front Line Assembly - EchogeneticAustrian-born Bill Leeb, who settled in Kitimat, BC when he was 13, was attracted to industrial music (i.e. electronic metal) and joined the Vancouver band Skinny Puppy playing bass synth. He left the band a year later to launch his own projects, the best-known of these being Delerium which enshrined a more moonlit new age electronica. On the dark side of the moon, Leeb created Front Line Assembly as a more aggressive venture. After some 26 years of FLA releases, appeared Echogenetic in 2013. FLA sheds its off-and-on use of guitars over the years for a pure, all-synth brand of spook. Menacing, mangled vocals, brick-smashing electronic bass, razor-sharp percussion, and an ethereal orchestra of synthesizers punch craters in the floor and blast the listener up to cast-iron clouds of emotion and dream.

#11. Mitan by Tire le Coyote

Tire le Coyote - MitanSophomore work Mitan from Tire le Coyote, or Benoit Pinette, sounds like a dark but vibrant spaghetti western soundtrack that could add some panache to films scored by Ennio Morricone. It even opens with the haunting peal of a harmonica and slow-motion strum with deliberately beefed-up reverb. It builds from a hot dusty tumbleweed bouncing around and shutter flapping in a vacated ranch house into an ensemble of determined instruments each doing its bit on a bandstand where the townsfolk sit listening in a transfixed state. Pinette’s twangy delivery of beautiful French poetry adds to the delight as does the odd pouncing of sad piano. Tire le Coyote has more tricks up his musical sleeve than a card shark in a poker saloon.

#10. Avril Lavigne by Avril Lavigne

Avril Lavigne - Avril LavigneTapping into the spirit of rock and roll, Avril Lavigne’s 5th studio album opens with a revved up stick-it-to-the-man piece of battling bearsharks with band-saw guitars and world salvation. Party pop anthem “Here’s to Never Growing Up” follows, a nostalgic celebration of youth. Ghostly irony swings forth on a piano string in the hygienic, breakup-themed “Let Me Go”, a duet with husband Chad Kroeger of the world’s finest and most successful grunge band, Nickelback. A decadent and delicious collaboration with goth growler Marilyn Manson precedes homage to Japanese cartoon icon Hello Kitty which receives the electropunk treatment it deserves. The album closes with a pair of slow songs reminding us that Avril Lavigne can do it all and remains one of the world’s most talented superstars.

#9. The Midnight Mass by Louise Burns

Louise Burns - The Midnight MassLouise Burns’ newest album reminds us of Siouxsie and the Banshees with some added synth textures. Most importantly, it effectively showcases her songwriting genius. “Emeralds Shatter” unseals the album with a cinematic, nighttime opening followed by twangy, Twin Peaks’ bass, jamboree percussion, and heightened vocal reverb. The sweeping, melodic “Ruby” follows. A driving beat opens “San Andreas” where matter-of-fact, ominous storytelling bursts into an irresistible, perfectly-constructed chorus. A rocking chair on a hot, dusty porch at a country home comes to mind with spaghetti western influenced “He’s My Woman”. “Jasper’s” determined beat breeds addiction, while “Heaven” glides gracefully, leading up to the slow burning glory of “The Lodger”.

#8. Oothèque by Oothèque

OothequeFrancis Mineau, the drummer of JUNO winning progressive rock band Malajube, released this album under the moniker Oothèque. Through these colourful tracks, you will hear ever so subtly the sweeping synths of The Cure, the theatrical rock of Prism, the perky new wave guitars of the Go-Go’s, and even the alternative thrashes of The Smashing Pumpkins. Chief Inspector Jacques Clouseau is on the prowl bouncing around playfully as the opening bass-carried tune would suggest. The jazzy laid-back electro ballad “Secrétaire” yields to a sparkling power burst in its chorus, and “Spiegelbild” tips its toque to post punk sensibilities and dials up the party hotline, “Ligne ouverte,” which takes us to the funky fun of “Lycanthrope”. Going downtown, things get harder, faster, and alas we discover the whole time, we have been strolling through the shimmering thoroughfares of Kuala Lumpur.

#7. Escapology by Maylee Todd

Maylee Todd - EscapologyMaylee is from Toronto and released her debut LP in 2010, an experimental dabbling in a switchboard of styles. Fusing the organic with the electronic, kneading in elements of 70s boogie, funk, bossa nova, and soul, she has honed her craft and channelled a torrent of mastery into her sophomore record. While a number of artists have attempted to recreate both the style and essence of yesterday’s grooves, Maylee has not only nailed it, she has actually managed to improve upon it. An overlooked key indicator to an album’s genius is when reviewers each cite a different track as their favourite. And this is what has happened here. The irresistible “Baby’s Got It” and “Hieroglyphics” were released as singles. The songwriting, instrumentation, production, and singing are all first rate. Maylee Todd is the real deal, folks.

#6. Loved Me Back to Life by Céline Dion

Celine Dion - Loved Me Back to LifeLike all superstars who manage to continue their success, the most successful Canadian recording artist of all-time is able to keep up with the changing trends in musical style while never losing her foothold on the foundation of her persona. We are quite amazed at the quality of this work, the year’s best-selling album at quadruple platinum sales. The vocal excellence is a given (check out “Breakaway”) but here Celine pulls off a surprisingly masterful handling of genuine modern pop music while at the same time never losing sight of her AC roots, and she gives the R&B tracks a more classy treatment than what we are accustomed to these days. Simply put, Loved Me Back to Life is Celine’s finest album of the new millennium.

#5. Live Out Loud by Jonas & the Massive Attraction

Jonas and the Massive Attraction - Live Out LoudAs the album opens, it is as if a massive boulder was launched from a catapult knocking the moon out of orbit. “Ultimate Low” is such a power-packed jam, it’ll have every muscle in your body convulsing involuntarily with its soaring, sky scratching chorus. “Riot” makes effective use of back and forth vocals, not to mention its chugging guitars and menacing drums. “Cover Me” contains some killer keyboards hoisting us into the 5th dimension. You know those days when you sleep through your alarm and have five minutes to get ready for work? Put on “Breathing” and you’ll accomplish it in four. Power ballad “Good Life” will inject you with such elation, you’ll be dancing on a tightrope … in a pair of skates. “Too Young to Be Broken” has the group getting creative with fresh sounds and an addictive beat to boot. All in all, Live Out Loud is one of the best rock releases of 2013.

#4. The Hurry and the Harm by City and Colour

City and Colour - The Hurry and the HarmMelancholy, dreamy, melodic, vocals as soft as flannel, poetic lyrics bold enough to be felt-markered onto Bristol board, and music so inspired it would distract Gretzky in the middle of a breakaway is City and Colour’s 2013 gold-certified, chart-topping album. Teaming up again with producer Alex Newport, The Hurry and the Harm was recorded in Nashville, USA. Though you will be swept away by the warm, ambient music on this disc, if you pause to listen in on (or read) the lyrics you will find subjects of internet trolls and online gossip, a big thumbs down to the US State of California, and grief over leaving the band Alexisonfire.

#3. Schizophrène by Anik Jean

Anik Jean - SchizophreneAnik Jean is without a doubt Canada’s Joan Jett. She simply rocks. The album opener rolls in like a cartwheel of demons and sets up a disc packed full of grinding guitars, exciting rock drumming, and piano pouncing. “Minable” places Anik’s voice atop an iron pedestal circumambulated by the echo of a yowling guitar. “À la vie, à la mort” is a larger-than-life rock anthem and “Liste noir” soars as if the band is playing atop a junkyard pile of rusted, wheel-deprived cars without a care in the world. The album’s lone English tune “Bad Bad Girl” is the hardest rock piece offered. “Tu es mon enfer” presents some of the spicy alternative rock of Placebo. Schizophrène ends with a ballad, capping off a great masterpiece, which stands dangerously close to being overlooked by a populace fixed on male-bonding rock bands and female dance-pop soloists.

#2. Forêt by Forêt

Foret - ForetClassically trained vocalist Émilie Laforest and guitarist Joseph Marchand, formerly associates of Karkwa, Pierre Lapointe, and Ariane Moffatt, let loose one of the finest albums of 2013, a pop mélancolico-romantique Félix-nominated tour de force with contributions made by several high-profile musicians. Creative beauty, songwriting prowess, and masterful instrumentation abound on this masterpiece. Emilie’s delicate, haunting vocals blended with music of mystery and charm imbues listeners with magic power. We are transported into a dream in which omens soothe, allure warns, and everything is not what it appears. Plants dance, animals talk, and pebbles cast themselves into brooms sweeping away all tangled twigs and mud traps from the forest floor.

Canadian Music Blog’s 2013 Album of the Year

Certified gold by the end of the year, spawning three hit singles to date, one of which went platinum, this album was praised by both indie lovers and pop enthusiasts as well as fellow professional musicians including British band Keane. But this is not the reason we chose it as the year’s best album. We selected it simply because the music is oh, so very, very good. It was a slow and steady climb before this act, who grew up beneath the shadow of the Saddledome, reached the playing field of the elite, as this is their seventh studio album. Leaving behind the blackboard scratching squeaks of acoustic guitars as a folk duo, they wove expert songwriting into a masterpiece of smoothly produced, electronic pop with a subtle 80s alternative vibe. And there is a twist. They express the emotion, be it bubbly or swaggering, through the music rather than their vocals which are usually delivered with Vulcan cool, not to mention natural stereo sound given that they are … identical twin sisters. From start to finish the tracks on the disc are consistently infectious. The Canadian Music Blog declares Heartthrob by Tegan and Sara as 2013’s Album of the Year.

Tegan and Sara - Heartthrob - Canadian Album of the Year 2013

The Most Successful Canadian Singles of 2013

What Is The Canadian Hot 100?

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. These two charts are combined in the Billboard Canadian Hot 100. Billboard 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 beginning of December to the end of November.

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. 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.

Top Domestic Canadian Francophone Songs of 2013

Below is a chart of all Canadian Franco tunes in the CKOI Top 50 year-end chart (YE) as well as all that made the Billboard Canadian Hot 100 during 2013.

TITLE ARTIST YE WP
J’aime ta grand-mere Les Trois Accords 9 97*
Nous sommes les memes Marc Dupre 11 47
L’amour Karim Ouellet 15 64
Comme on attend le printemps Jerome Couture 21 68
Respire Jonas & The Massive Attraction 30 100
Si tel est ton desir Jean-Marc Couture 32 75
Heureux infideles Sally Folk 35  
Fais-toi s’en pas Jonathan Painchaud 38  
On leur a fait croire Alex Nevsky 43 78
Jamais ailleurs Marie-Mai 47  
Bruises Train ft. Marilou   59
La Difference Mes Aieux   89
Un coup sur mon coeur Marc Dupre   90
J’sais pu comment t’aimer Kain   92
Ca me manque Eric Lapointe   98
Stone Vincent Vallieres   99

* Peaked in 2012.

Top Domestic Canadian Anglophone Songs of 2013

Below is a table of all songs involving Canadian recording artists that fulfilled at least one of the following criteria:

A. Appeared in the 2013 year-end Billboard Canadian Hot 100 (YE)
B. Peaked in the Top 20 of the weekly Canadian Hot 100 (WP)
C. Received gold or higher certification from Music Canada (C)

Note: We will continue updating the certifications column through 2014.

TITLE ARTIST YE WP C
Blurred Lines Robin Thicke 1 1 9xP
Stompa Serena Ryder 14 8 3xP
Inner Ninja Classified ft. David Myles 17 5 4xP
This Is What It Feels Like ft. Trevor Guthrie 19 6 2xP
Red Hands Walk Off the Earth 24 9 2xP
What I Wouldn’t Do Serena Ryder 30 8 P
Beauty and a Beat Justin Bieber 37 4* 3xP
Hold On, We’re Going Home Drake ft. Majid Jordan 42 5 P
Closer Tegan and Sara 46 13 P
Kiss Goodnight Tyler Shaw 57 G
I Was a Fool Tegan and Sara 62 19 G
#ThatPower will.i.am ft. Justin Bieber 67 6  
Anything Hedley 68 5 P
True Colours Artists Against Bullying 71 10*  
Crazy All My Life Daniel Powter 75  
Breathing Underwater Metric 77  
Here’s to Never Growing Up Avril Lavigne 79 17 P
Stutter Marianas Trench 82  
Kiss You Inside Out Hedley 83 2* 3xP
One in a Million Down With Webster 84 P
It’s a Beautiful Day Michael Buble 86 20  
Call Me Maybe Carly Rae Jepsen 91 1* 8xP
Started From the Bottom Drake 98   G
Let Me Go Avril Lavigne ft. Chad Kroeger   12 G
Goodbye Glenn Morrison ft. Islove   12 P
All That Matters Justin Bieber   14  
Heartbreaker Justin Bieber   15  
Reflektor Arcade Fire   20  
The World Is Ours Eleven Past One   32 G
Satisfaction Guaranteed Alyssa Reid 25 G
Stronger Beer
Tim Hicks
G
This is the Best
USS G
Bounty Dean Brody G
3 Foot Tall Classified  34 P
Tippin’ Point Dallas Smith  36 P
When Your Lips Are So Close Gord Bamford G

* Peaked in 2012.

Note: The following songs were also on 2012’s year-end chart: “Call Me Maybe” #2 and “Kiss You Inside Out” #19.

Canadian Music Blog’s Top 10 Music Video Faves of 2013

We are counting down our favourite music videos of 2013. Regardless of when the song came out, to be eligible, the MV had to have been released in 2013. In assembling our list, we were not concerned with how much we liked the song, simply with the video itself. If low on violence, raunchiness, expletives, and indulgence in consumption vices, while beautiful to look at, clever, creative and original, having great wardrobe choices, some breathtaking cinematography, or a stellar message, the music video had a good chance of making our list.

#10. “One in a Million” by Down With Webster

Down with Webster - One in a Million

The MV for this tune by multiplatinum dance-rap ensemble Down With Webster features the band playing instruments—including a choice drum set with gold DWW logo—on a black floor before a three-panel video screen. The plethora of images and video footage shown on the screen are timed to correspond with words and phrases of the lyrics as they are voiced, and they serve to maintain interest. We also like the segments showing the band dancing with white glow sticks wrapped around their bodies.

#9. “All It Takes Is a Moment” by Elise Estrada

Elise Estrada - All It Takes Is a Moment

Vancouver’s CRMA winning R&B specialist Elise Estrada put her new music on hold to write a charity single and shoot an MV on the devastation super typhoon Haiyan wreaked upon her birth country, The Philippines. It opens with a satellite photo of dense cloud formation and a written summary of the storm’s impact. Elise is dressed in classy attire and presents sincere gestures standing before a giant hollow tree linking 2006’s Lower Mainland storm which uprooted thousands of trees in Stanley Park to the thousands of Filipinos rendered homeless by Haiyan. Interspersed throughout the music video is footage of the destruction in Philippine lands and the heartbreak experienced by families who lost their children in the storm.

#8. “Running Guns” by Alyssa Reid

Alyssa Reid - Running Guns

The music video for this international star’s “Running Guns” was shot in a city, the metro population of which rivals Canada’s. Few would disagree that Tokyo is one of the world’s coolest hang out places and we get to see Alyssa on the run from gangsters. She emerges from a sleep room cubicle under surveillance. When grabbing a quick meal at a noodle shop, she leaves when noticing the waiter has an identifying tattoo on his arm. She checks the alleyway, lit by red lanterns, to see if she’s being followed and emerges to a city filled with neon lights. Little does she realize, the gangsters are hot in pursuit as she picks up a plush toy. She even sees the same tattoo mark on a balloon being sold by a child who points the gangsters in Alyssa’s direction as does a girl outside a karaoke venue. She gets into a taxi before realizing that the same insignia is hanging from the cab’s sun visor. When the gangsters finally catch up with her and pull back her hair, we see a surprise.

#7. “What I Wouldn’t Do” by Serena Ryder

Serena Ryder - What I Wouldn't Do

A Top 10 hit and platinum single by the end of the year, the success of Serena Ryder’s “What I Wouldn’t Do” was helped no doubt by its choice music video. The MV has Serena holding up a picture which constantly changes and shows video footage of the story. Above a young man in bed is a Post-It note reading “MEET THE PARENTS DAY 12 NOON SHARP”. His clock has the time at a quarter to 12, and his lover texts him asking if he’s still coming. He has 15 minutes to get dressed, groom himself and arrive on time to set a good impression with his girlfriend’s folks. Off he goes on a mad dash across town on foot. Of course, he must pick up some flowers along the way. Over bridges, past brick buildings, along the beach, time is running out, as he mounts a skateboard and crashes into someone coming around the corner. Next, he hops on a bicycle (that isn’t his) but runs into its owner who is putting up a “missing” poster and must return it to him. A child holding a nozzle decides to have some fun and spray him as he passes by, and he steps into a shop to grab some dry clothes. Yes, he does arrive on time. And with that, Serena crumples up the picture, puts it into her mouth, and blows a chewing gum bubble.

#6. “Echoes” by The Wilderness of Manitoba

The Wilderness of Manitoba - Echoes

This very clever video was directed by Canada’s John Albanis and shot in Death Valley, California, USA. It presents a gold ball rolling along on a surrealistic road trip through the Mojave Desert looking for its missing friend. It rolls down mounds of dirt and gravel, past tumbleweeds, bouncing along the sand. Beneath cliffs of red rock, the golden globe pauses reminiscing about its companion. It makes it to the highway and pauses to watch a video displayed on a billboard. Past rusted water towers and silos, our golden friend stops to consult a map. It picks up the pace scooting by dilapidated structures, one of which contains a television set showing footage of the two globes hanging out together. We then see the companion deflated beneath nail-containing wooden beams and corrugated metal sheets. Our protagonist kisses his love who is able to then self-inflate. The two are reunited and roll away together.

#5. “Goodbye” by Glenn Morrison

Glenn Morrison - Goodbye

The music video for the first charting single (featuring Islove) of this specialist of EDM features a handsome couple pulling up the barred gates to a cozy and beautiful room of colour and sunshine with Mexican décor. We can check off colour coordination as the man’s indigo suit matches the colour of the walls. He opens the sliding wooden doors of glass panes to another chamber circumambulating a snow globe. “And it starts to snow in the streets of Mexico.” When he touches it, we are magically transported into a glow-in-the dark, eye-popping feast.

#4. “Bounty” by Dean Brody featuring Lindi Ortega

Dean Brody - Bounty

After knifing a lecher attacking his girl and burying his corpse (but “not deep enough to fool the hounds”), Dean Brody finds himself on the run from law enforcement. The two wed quickly at a country chapel and then jump in a boxcar headed to Mexico. They build their own shack and raise their children in a foreign land. It’s a good old fashioned western wherein, with society’s institutions in an embryonic state, one must take justice into his own hands to protect the one he loves and face the consequences of living a more independent and isolated lifestyle. The music video contains some beautiful cinematography and makes us feel we are watching a short film. We love hearing Lindi Ortega too in this country radio chart topper.

#3. “I Was a Fool” by Tegan and Sara

Tegan and Sara - I Was a Fool

Single number two from album Heartthrob by the Calgarian twin sisters was a gold single, Top 20 hit, and made the Billboard Canadian year-end chart of 2013. The music video for “I Was a Fool” is simply gorgeous to look at. Tegan is featured on piano with Sara standing at a railing in a background of teal. The song is about a young woman’s heartbreak. She sits at a sunken fireplace with the pieces of a broken vinyl record on the rug which she later tosses out towards the sea. While society tends to belittle the psychological damage caused by heartbreak, it is as if Tegan and Sara surround the protagonist with support and friendship to help her through her grief.

#2. “Love Ocean” by Wanting

Wanting - Love Ocean

Vancouver’s bilingual import from Harbin, China was signed by Nettwerk Records (Sarah McLachlan, Coldplay). This year, she released her second album, Say the Words, with 10 English songs and three Chinese. The second track, “Ai de haiyang”, or “Love Ocean”, is an exquisitely composed masterpiece of song performed in Mandarin Chinese. The gorgeous music video was shot in and around Vancouver. It opens with blue ocean and sky, and a rosy grand piano appears which Wanting, dressed in white, plays on the beach. From there we move to the coastal city of skyscrapers and heavy traffic, and now Wanting is playing keys on a building rooftop with a powder blue backdrop. The whole video is just beautiful.

Canadian Music Blog’s 2013 Music Video of the Year

To see the year’s most anticipated collaboration from two of our foremost international superstars was grand enough but an added bonus is a music video which oozes with class and beauty. A diamond recording artist from small town Ontario weds frontman of a multiplatinum grunge band from small town Alberta who wrote a break up song together on the eve of their falling in love. They let loose a killer power ballad with a music video that booted the staleness out of a year of mostly bland shoots.

At an exquisite chateau in France, an elderly groundskeeper is raking leaves and seems to recall a romantic past. Within the mansion of paintings and hardwood floors, the songstress appears in ghostly form playing the piano in a high ceiling chamber beneath rays of sunlight. She is nearly unrecognizable in classy attire and enhanced natural beauty that would make princesses writhe with envy and men’s hearts skip a beat. Her husband looks like the perfect dapper gentleman. Together they tug at our heartstrings in an MV that has, to date, racked up over 28 million views. The Canadian Music Blog declares “Let Me Go” by Avril Lavigne (featuring Chad Kroeger) as 2013’s music video of the year.

Avril Lavigne - Let Me Go - Canadian Music Video of the Year 2013

2013 CKOI Year-End Top 50

lettrage-camion-ckoiMontreal radio station CKOI has published a year-end Top 50 chart annually since 1976. It gives us a good idea of the most popular Francophone songs by year. Of all the year-end charts, this one is the most Canadian as it includes both Anglophone and Francophone hits from both domestic and international artists. Interestingly too, CKOI airs a number of British hits that Anglophone radio stations in Canada do not. The resulting year-end Top 50 is a very balanced presentation. The top Franco song from a Canadian artist on the chart is Les Trois Accords’ “J’aime ta grand-mere” at #9. Canadian artists are bolded in red.

  TITLE ARTIST
1 Wake Me Up AVICII
2 Blurred Lines Robin Thicke
3 Thrift Shop Macklemore & Lewis
4 Get Lucky Daft Punk
5 Just Give Me a Reason Pink
6 I Will Wait Mumford & Sons
7 Can’t Hold Us Macklemore & Lewis
8 Radioactive Imagine Dragons
9 J’aime ta grand-mere Les Trois Accords
10 Safe and Sound Capital Cities
11 Nous sommes les memes Marc Dupre
12 Cups (When I’m Gone) Anna Kendrick
13 Roar Katy Perry
14 The Monster Eminem
15 L’amour Karim Ouellet
16 Royals Lorde
17 Demons Imagine Dragons
18 Locked Out of Heaven Bruno Mars
19 Don’t You Worry Child Swedish House Mafia
20 Little Talks Of Monsters and Men
21 Comme on attend le printemps Jerome Couture
22 Ho Hey The Lumineers
23 Cruise (Remix) Florida Georgia Line
24 Sail Awolnation
25 Hey Brother AVICII
26 Papaoutai Stromae
27 Scream and Shout will.i.am & Britney Spears
28 Stay Rihanna
29 Counting Stars One Republic
30 Respire Jonas & The Massive Attraction
31 Daylight Maroon 5
32 Si tel est ton desir Jean-Marc Couture
33 When I Was Your Man Bruno Mars
34 Love Me Again John Newman
35 Heureux infideles Sally Folk
36 Impossible James Arthur
37 Feel This Moment Pitbull
38 Fais-toi s’en pas Jonathan Painchaud
39 Of the Night Bastille
40 Hero Family of the Year
41 Gorilla Bruno Mars
42 I Love It Icona Pop
43 On leur a fait croire Alex Nevsky
44 Pompeii Bastille
45 Troublemaker Olly Murs
46 Rosana Wax
47 Jamais ailleurs Marie-Mai
48 Home Phillip Phillips
49 Applause Lady Gaga
50 Madness Muse

Canadian Music Blog’s Top 5 EP & Mini Album Faves of 2013

Whether or not the Canadian music industry has a strict definition for an EP (extended play record), it does not seem to be the case in practice, as for any given work, some sources cite it an EP and others do not. In the United Kingdom, an EP is any work with a total run time of less than 25 minutes. To make things less contentious, we will distinguish EPs from LPs by calling them “EPs and mini albums”. It is difficult to compare them because they can have anywhere from three to nine tracks of sharply varying lengths. We did not include remix EPs (i.e. a disc containing several remixes of one song). Below are our five favourite EPs and mini albums of 2013.

#5. The Star Falls by River Tiber

River Tiber - The Star Falls EPToronto’s electronic act River Tiber is the project of Tommy Paxton-Beesley and in 2013 released 5-track EP The Star Falls. This is the soundtrack for which every science fiction motion picture—whether indie or big budget—cries out. Hypnotic beats pulsate beneath Paxton-Beesley’s droning croon of cool. Synthesizers shimmer like flickering lights in a city trapped by the gloomy darkness of night. While the city sleeps, we are wide awake, watching the stars fall and listening to this masterpiece of downtempo, chillout vibes.

#4. Falls by Falls

FallsForget Niagara, as of 2013, Toronto has its Falls too. This is an electronic rock band who released their debut EP which blends the richness of 80s acts like Brian Eno, U2, and the Eurythmics with the sophisticated moods of today. The quartet uses real drums, electric guitars, and bass along with analogue synthesizers to give their music a solid, genuine, and dynamic feel. Dashes of violin, cello, and glockenspiel appear at times adding to the textural depth. The EP contains six tracks, five originals plus an excellent new wave cover of Chris Isaak’s “Wicked Game”. This is a very, very good band and we can’t wait to hear what they’ll do next.

#3. Wishing Well by Sophia Danai

Sophia Danai - Wishing Well EP CoverSophia Danai is a fabulous, multi-faceted new singer from Langley, BC who started out by writing songs for Purity Ring, Shad, and DJ Khalil. Recently, she was featured in Madchild’s popular track “Judgement Day” off his JUNO-nominated Dope Sick album. In 2013, Sophia released her stunning debut mini-album, Wishing Well, produced by two-time Grammy winner Chin Injeti (Pink, Eminem). Danai’s smooth, richly delivered singing takes us on a joyride through claustrophobic suspense and mystery. She replaces the jukebox in the lounge with a wishing well where defunct pennies are tossed in and diamond-studded tunes pour out the speakers along with some portentous fog-cloaked phantoms. With a breathtaking sound that combines vintage soul, the vapours of classic reggae, 1960s spy music, summertime ambiance, an addictive potpourri of beats, and movie house magic, this sophisticated work of art stands as one of 2013′s finest releases.

#2. Indian Summer by Lyon

Lyon - Indian SummerAt the core of brand new Toronto new wave act Lyon is Toronto’s Lauren Malyon whose debut 5-track indietronic EP Indian Summer sets the stage for a dazzling career. It contains graceful, heart-throbbing, finger-snapping tunes that sound as if they emerge from souped-up garage synths with stacks of circuit boards and wires soldered together by a mad scientist. Lauren’s voice is as sweet and perky as a maple-coated coffee bean. The music oscillates between the light and the heavy, accelerates and cruises like a rust-bucket beater with a shiny, powerful new engine chugging along beneath dark clouds lined in silver.

Canadian Music Blog’s 2013 Extended Play Record of the Year

Five-track EP from this Montréal act delivers a sophisticated, kaleidoscopic, funky, danceable, synth-driven sound in which Dragonette, Kylie Minogue, The Fantastic Plastic Machine, and Mylène Farmer, as one unit, roll down the throbbing artery of Saint Catherine Street lined with nuclear-powered 1970s strobe lights. These guys have been releasing wonderful material for the past five years and have championed Québec’s independent radio charts. Debut 2010 album Origami wooed the critics and infiltrated underground currents, surfacing on music blogs as far away as Germany, Mexico, Italy, France, and the United Kingdom.

This wonderful EP was produced by the expert remixer French Fox and features a collaboration with French Horn Rebellion. These exquisite tracks are sure to please platform shoe wearing lovers of classic 70s dance music as well as those hungry for something richer and more creative than the assembly-line churn outs of the modern era. Listening to this jaw-dropping record, we are taken on a voyage fantastic from the solid gold discothèque, to the cushion-packed lounge, to the colourful carnival, to the flashy roller arena, to the neon cabaret. Laurence Giroux-Do’s sultry vocals, punctuated candy-coated bass funk, ear-soothing synths, and unanticipated hooks will suck you into a vortex of ecstasy and fun. The Canadian Music Blog declares Voyage Love by Le Couleur as 2013’s extended play record of the year.

Voyage Love - Le couleur - Canadian EP of the Year 2013

The Most Successful Canadian Albums Released in 2013

Domestically, the most successful album from a Canadian artist released in 2013 was Loved Me Back to Life by Céline Dion, the only one to be certified quadruple platinum by the end of the year. Internationally, Michael Bublé’s To Be Loved was the best-selling Canadian album. According to the United World Chart, it sold 2.3 million copies and was ranked 10th of the year overall. At home, it was a double platinum release. Platinum albums by the end of 2013 were Justin Bieber’s Believe: Acoustic, Drake’s Nothing Was the Same, and Johnny Reid’s A Christmas Gift to You. Ten albums had gone gold.

Through the year, 10 albums by domestic artists topped the weekly Billboard Canadian Albums chart, 38 making the Top 10. On the year-end chart, 13 of the top 50 albums were by Canadian artists, seven of which were released in 2013. The table below compares the success of Canadian albums in 2013 versus 2012.

  2012 2013
Multiplatinum Albums 3 2
Platinum Albums 3 3
Gold Albums 8 10
#1 Albums 9 10
Top 10 Albums 44 38
Year-End Top 50 Albums 15 13

Below is a comprehensive table of the most successful 2013 Canadian albums domestically. We will continue to update the certification figures through 2014 with letter in green but will cease updates to this table in 2015. At that point it is advised one check with Music Canada’s database. To be included in the list below, an album had to fulfill at least one of the following criteria:

A. Gold certification or higher (C).
B. Appeared on the Top 50 year-end Billboard Canadian Albums Chart (YE).
C. Peaked in the Top 10 of the weekly Billboard Canadian Albums Chart (WP).

TOP CANADIAN ALBUMS OF 2013

TITLE ARTIST C WP YE
Loved Me Back to Life Celine Dion 4xP 1 9
To Be Loved Michael Buble 2xP 1 14
Nothing Was the Same Drake P 1 19
Believe: Acoustic Justin Bieber P 1 33
A Christmas Gift to You Johnny Reid P 1  
The Hurry and the Harm City and Colour P 1 31
Heartthrob Tegan and Sara G 2  
Nous sommes les memes Marc Dupre G 2  
In Our Nature Blue Rodeo G 2  
Avril Lavigne Avril Lavigne G 4  
Wild Life Hedley P 4  
R.E.V.O. Walk Off the Earth G 7  
Noel a Deux Janvier & Breau G 9  
Reflektor Arcade Fire 3xP  1 23
Blurred Lines Robin Thicke G 1 39
Classified Classified   1  
Punkt Pierre Lapointe   1  
Chic de ville Daniel Belanger   2  
Mes plaisirs… Marc Hervieux   2  
Si Tel Est Ton Desir Jean-Marc Couture   2  
Lawn Mower Man Madchild   2  
Kiss Land The Weeknd   2  
Beautiful Death Machine Swollen Members   3  
Duets Paul Anka   3  
Fabriquer L’aube Vincent Vallieres   3  
L’album du peuple Tome No. 9 Francois Perusse   3  
L’Ete des Orages Valerie Carpentier G  4  
Arrows of Desire Matthew Good   6  
Jour de nuit Eric Lapointe   6  
Ce que je suis Pier Beland   7  
Siberia Acoustic LIGHTS   7  
Le Poids des confettis Les Soeurs Boulay G  7*  
Love + Fury Headstones 7
Volition Protest the Hero   7  
Roi de rien Michel Rivard   8  
Dark Eyes Half Moon Run 8*
Melissa Bedard Melissa Bedard   8  
Flying Colours Shad   9  
Noel Blanc Maxime Landry G 9  
Je poursuis ma route Wilfred Le Bouthillier   10  
Christmas in Canada Gord Bamford  P
Ces Noels d’autrefois Paul Daraiche  G  

* Peak position reached in 2014

Toque Dynamos of 2013

Henry Lau

Henry LauBorn and raised in Toronto, Henry Lau learned piano to level 10 and won the gold medal for level 10 violin from the Canadian Royal Conservatory of Music. He also studied various forms of dance. Lau was one of only two people of 3,000 chosen in South Korea’s SM Entertainment global auditions held in Toronto in 2006. Relocating to Korea, he became a member of popular singing group Super Junior-M. In addition to Mandarin Chinese and his native English, he became fluent in Korean. In 2013, he released solo album Trap in two versions: a Korean version and a Chinese version. Both albums contained a few English songs. The album peaked at #2 on the South Korean weekly albums chart and its title-track became a Top 20 single on the US Billobard K-Pop charts. EP Fantastic followed in 2014.

Marc Dupré

Marc DupreAside from being a recording artist in his own right, Marc composes songs for other artists. He started out collaborating with Céline Dion. In 2013, he became one of the four coaches on the Canadian version of The Voice (La Voix). Prior to 2013, three of Marc’s songs had charted on The Billboard Canadian Hot 100. This year, he launched album Nous sommes les mêmes which, by year end, had been certified gold by Music Canada. Its title track vaulted itself all the way up to #47 on the Canadian Hot 100, a remarkable achievement for a Francophone work. It was named Song of the Year at the ADISQ Félix Awards gala at the end of October. Marc released album La dans ma tete in 2014.

Metric

MetricAt its core, this Toronto-formed electronic rock band consists of Emily Haines and James Shaw. In order to augment its concerts, the group picked up Americans Joshua Winstead (bass) and Joules Scott-Key (drums). Metric’s popularity and success steadily grew since its debut release in 2003. Gold record certifications followed in 2006 and platinum awards in 2009. Album Fantasies gave Metric its first JUNO awards and spawned first major hit “Help, I’m Alive” (#21, Canadian Hot 100). The band released JUNO-winning album Synthetica in 2012, its first album to reach significant chart positions internationally (#12 US Billboard, #21 Australia’s ARIA). In 2013, “Breathing Underwater” from the album peaked at #22 on the Canadian Hot 100 and made the year-end Top 100 at #77. Album Pagans in Vegas came out in 2015.

Serena Ryder

Serena Ryder1Born in Peterborough and raised in Millbrook, this Ontario artist launched her recording debut in 1999 and picked up her first JUNO award in 2008. Her massive breakthrough came this year after releasing album Harmony in 2012. “Stompa” was the 14th biggest song of 2013 (highest position for a CanCon single) and within the year was certified triple platinum. Platinum-certified “What I Wouldn’t Do” also made the year-end chart, and Serena Ryder was the top Canuck on Billboard Canada’s Top Hot 100 Artists of 2013. Her album Harmony attained platinum sales through the year.

Walk Off the Earth

Walk Off the EarthForming in Burlington in 2006, WOTE currently consists of five members: Gianni Luminati, Sarah Blackwood (not to be confused with the British vocalist of Dubstar), Ryan Marshall, Mike Taylor, and Joel Cassady. The band is known for its clever and creative music videos and came to prominence upon covering Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used to Know” by all five members playing it on one guitar. The Walk Off the Earth version attained platinum sales. The group released its own song “Red Hands” off album REVO which earned multiplatinum status in 2013. Billboard named Walk Off the Earth the Top Emerging Canadian Artist of the Year. Album Sing It All the Way appeared in 2015 spawning the hit “Rule the World”.