Official Gold/Platinum 2014 Year-End Report

Gold Platinum Canada logoMusic Canada has published its gold/platinum report for 2014. A total of 85 albums (regardless of year released) were certified Gold in Canada through 2014. This is up from 75 in 2013. Of the 85, 20 were by Canadian artists. Platinum certification was given to 36 albums through the year, up 2 from the year prior. Nine of these albums were by Canadians. Multiplatinum certifications were as follows: 10 double, 5 triple, 1 quadruple, 1 quintuple, one 9x platinum, and one diamond. As far as digital tracks go, 143 received gold certification (up from 124 in 2013), 21 of which were by Canadians. Platinum certification was awarded to 74, ten of which were by Canadian artists. A number of multiplatinum awards were given as well. You can view the report here and a list of all certifications given through 2014 here.

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Highlights of Nielsen Canada’s 2014 Music Report

Music SalesThrough the year 2014, roughly 35.6 million Canadians bought 27.8 million albums and purchased 101.7 million digital tracks according to the annual report by Nielsen Music Canada. In other words, nowadays the average Canadian buys 0.78 albums per year and 2.86 digital tracks (newborns up to seniors included). Album sales were down by 5% over 2013 while digital track sales dropped by 12%. Close to 40% (39.3%) of albums purchased were in digital format. Seven albums sold over 100,000 units, including one by a Canadian artist, compared to 16 in 2013. The top 200 digital songs of the year represented 22.7% of all song purchases through 2014. When it came to country music, Canadians preferred to buy rather than stream it while streaming was preferable to purchasing when it came to urban music. From July to December 2014, streaming activity among Canadians numbered 6.3 billion total with 5.4 billion being video and 925 million audio.

Queens and Kings of the Canadian Music Market

The Year 2014

Taylor_Swift_-_1989Top selling album: 1989 by Taylor Swift at 314,000 units (190,000 of which were CDs)

bobby bazini - where i belongTop selling Canadian album: Where I Belong by Bobby Bazini at 102,000 units (85,000 of which were CDs)

Pharrell_Williams_-_HappyTop selling digital song: “Happy” by Pharrell Williams at 540,000 units

Magic - RudeTop selling Canadian digital song: “Rude” by MAGIC! at 278,000 units

Magic - RudeTop radio played song: “Rude” by MAGIC! at 84,000 detected spins

Taylor-Swift-Shake-It-OffTop on-demand streaming song: “Shake It Off” by Taylor Swift at 19.5 million streams

Magic - RudeTop Canadian on-demand streaming song: “Rude” by MAGIC! at 9.6 million streams 

The Entire SoundScan Era

Come on OverTop selling album: Come On Over by Shania Twain at 1,948,000 units

Celine DionTop selling albums artist: Céline Dion at 7,899,000 units

LMFAO - Party Rock AnthemTop selling digital song: “Party Rock Anthem” by LMFAO at 846,000 units

Robin Thicke - Blurred LinesTop selling digital song from a Canadian citizen: “Blurred Lines” by Robin Thicke at 799,000 units

Carly Rae Jepsen - Call Me MaybeTop selling CanCon single: “Call Me Maybe” by Carly Rae Jepsen at 701,000 units

Source: Nielsen Music Canada. You can find more data here

Top Album Sales by Genre in Canada, 2014

Based on the best-selling albums in Canada during 2014, including both domestic and foreign releases, we have created a pie chart that shows how each genre did as a percentage of sales. If anything, the chart confirms what other surveys have suggested: that Canadians like a wide variety of styles. According to one study published on Music Canada’s website, 70% of Canadians listen to music across most of the genre spectrum while 30% stick to one or two only. Pop music is called so for a reason; it really does sell the most records – roughly one-third of all sold in Canada. Top pop albums of 2014 were Taylor Swift’s 1989 (2nd of the year), One Direction’s Midnight Memories (4th), and Katy Perry’s Prism (5th). Canadians like alternative music next at 16.5%. Top albums in the genre were Lorde’s Pure Heroine (6th of the year), Coldplay’s Ghost Stories (9th), and Imagine Dragons’ Night Visions (13th). The “Other” designation includes albums of comedy, jazz, folk/singer-songwriter, AC/vocal, and orchestral/film score.

Album Sales by Genre

12 Billboard Canada Chart Facts For 2014

Billboard Canadian Hot 100: Entries Involving Canadian Artists

Number of charting songs through 2014: 121
Number of artists with charting songs: 75
Number of Franco songs: 6
Artist with most entries: Drake, 5 (incl. 3 as featured). Dean Brody & Dallas Smith, 4.
Number of Top 40 songs: 33
Number of Top 10 songs: 6
Highest peaking song: “Hideaway” by Kiesza, #5
Song spending most weeks on the chart: “Rude” by MAGIC!, 53 weeks (i.e. whole year)
Least successful song on the chart: “Afterlife” by Arcade Fire (1 week at #100)

Billboard Canadian Albums

Number of #1 albums: 5
Number of Top 10 albums: 51
Province contributing most Top 10 albums: Quebec, 27

The United Kingdom Embraces Canada in 2014

Canadian hits in the UK 2014

Throughout the history of the British singles charts, no year has ever seen more than one song involving a Canadian artist reach the top; 2014 saw three. Moreover, prior to the year of Kiesza and MAGIC!, no debut single from a Canadian artist had ever surmounted the British charts.

Canadian dance music duo DVBBS, composed of brothers Chris Chronicles and Alex Andre, scored first. While EDM hit with Borgeous “Tsunami” saw mild success at home, a vocal remix featuring Britain’s Tinie Tempah hit #1 in the UK.

Calgary’s Kiesza scored next with “Hideaway”. It landed at #1 well before she became a familiar name in Canada.

The third #1 was of course “Rude” by MAGIC! Both MAGIC! and Kiesza topped the British charts with debut singles, something that had never been accomplished by a Canadian act.

The United Kingdom released an official Top 100 Singles of 2014 list. “Rude” was 12th of the year, “Hideaway” 15th, and “Tsunami (Jump)” 67th. Also worth mentioning is “Ugly Heart” by G.R.L. (81st), one of the girl group’s members being Canada’s Emmalyn Estrada.

2014: The Year In Music

In 2014, the most successful album released during the year by a Canadian artist domestically was Bobby Bazini’s Where I Belong, which struck platinum by the end of the year. The album was #14 overall on the Billboard Canadian year-end Albums Chart. 1970s icon Serge Fiori released a self-titled comeback album which also struck platinum and was #15 overall for the year.

Hedley was the top Canadian act on Billboard’s Artists of the Year Chart at #4. The British Columbia band landed three songs on the year-end Top 100 Singles. Immediately behind at #5 was breakout reggae-pop group MAGIC! who charted three Top 40 singles through the year. Song “Rude”, certified triple platinum, peaked at #6 on the weekly Hot 100 and was the top Canadian entry on the year-end Hot 100 at #5. It was only the third song in history from a home-grown artist to spend over one full year on the Billboard Canadian Hot 100 (after Finger Eleven’s “Paralyzer” and Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe”).

Another new artist, Kiesza, had the highest charting single on the weekly Hot 100 with “Hideaway” at #5. Both “Rude” and “Hideaway” reached #1 in the United Kingdom, the first time debut singles from Canadians did so. The year’s top Franco song was “Jamais trop tard”, a collaboration between Marie-Mai and Jonas (of Massive Attraction fame); the song reached #54 on the weekly Billboard Canadian Hot 100. Radio station CKOI lists Joseph Edgar’s “Espionne russe” as the top Franco song of the year at #2 overall.

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

2014 Overview

2014 Year in Review (Main Post)
Mini-Profiles on Artists Whose Popularity Intensified in 2014

2014 Charts and Analysis

The Most Successful Canadian Albums Released in 2014
The Most Successful Canadian Singles of 2014
Artist Gender and Nationality Splits By Radio Format in 2014
Top Canadian Entry on All Year-End Charts
Release Statistics
CKOI Year-End Top 50

2014 Billboard Canadian Year-End Charts

Hot 100 Singles of the Year 2014 (Top Canadian Singles of the Year)
Top 50 Albums of the Year 2014 (Top Canadian Albums of the Year)
Top 25 Hot 100 Artists of 2014
Hot Digital Songs of 2014
Hot 100 Airplay of 2014
Emerging Canadian Artists of 2014
All-Format Airplay
CHR/Top 40 Airplay
Rock Airplay
Country Airplay
AC Airplay
Hot AC Airplay
Top Artists by Radio Format

Canadian Music Blog 2014 Faves

Canadian Music Blog’s Top 10 EP Faves of 2014
Canadian Music Blog’s Top 20 Music Video Faves of 2014
Canadian Music Blog’s Top 30 Song Faves of 2014
Canadian Music Blog’s Top 30 Album Faves of 2014
International Music Faves of 2014
CMB Readers’ Voted Faves of 2014

Awards for 2014 Music

Felix Awards: Part 1 Part 2

Juno Awards:   Part 1  Part 2  Gala Summary

2014 Year In Review

Overview

KIesza sq2014 was a year filled with magic. Some was rude and some preferred to hideaway. For the first time in history, debut singles from Canadian artists topped the UK Singles chart. A key figure from a 1970s harmonium made a platinum comeback. Seven Canadian artists hit the Top 40 for the first time, and 2014 was the year of the littles – little machines, little lines, and a little secret. There were scandals, a quarterback, a Drake roll, a Bazini best-seller, five Olympic anthems, and controversies surrounding streaming, especially Tariff 8. While Shawn Hook dazzled in a million ways, Shawn Desman’s surname was rearranged to Mendes and a new teen star was born. Other teens like Jory, Azélie, and Alicia were on the rise as were Aboriginal artists who created perhaps the most stunning works of all.

Most Successful Singles

MagicA total of 19 songs by domestic artists made the year-end Billboard Canadian Hot 100. There is no doubt that the top song of the year was MAGIC’s “Rude” at 5th overall. The song peaked at #6 on the weekly chart, hit #1 in both Britain and the United States, and was certified triple platinum at home by the end of the year. On the United World Chart, which gives a rough idea of how songs do globally, “Rude” was 8th of the year. “Rude” became the third CanCon single to spend over a year on the Billboard Canadian Hot 100 following Finger Eleven’s “Paralyzer” and Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe”. In a piece of trivia unknown to mainstream media, with “Rude”, MAGIC! became the first purely Canadian band in history to top the British Singles Chart.

The highest charting Canadian song on the weekly charts in 2014 was Kiesza’s “Hideaway” at #5. The single debuted at #1 in the United Kingdom. Both “Rude” and “Hideaway” were the first instances in history of debut singles from Canadian artists topping the UK Singles chart.

The most successful Franco song on Billboard was “Jamais trop tard” by Marie-Mai & Jonas reaching #54. Radio station CKOI which has published year-end Top 50 charts since 1976, lists Joseph Edgar’s “Espionne russe” as the biggest Canadian Franco song of the year at #2 overall.

Simple Plan’s “Summer Paradise” from 2012 was certified triple platinum in 2014.  More…

Most Successful Albums

Domestically, the most successful album from a Canadian artist released in 2014 was Where I Belong by Bobby Bazini. It was 14th on Billboard Canada’s Top selling albums of the year chart surpassed both by albums from foreign artists as well as a couple of Canadian albums released in 2013. It and Serge Fiori’s self-titled work were the only two Canadian albums released in 2014 that were certified platinum by the end of the year.

Internationally, there were no Canadian blockbusters this year. The only album to appear in the United World Chart Top 40 of 2014 was Michael Bublé’s Christmas from 2011. In 2014, it became the first Canadian album release since Avril Lavigne’s Let Go in 2002 to achieve diamond status.

Bobby BaziniFive Canadian albums released in 2014 struck gold by the end of the year: Sarah Mclachlan’s Shine On, Marie-Mai’s M, Various Artists’ La Voix II, Leonard Cohen’s Popular Problems, and Fred Pellerin’s Plus tard qu’on pense. Through the year, five Canadian albums topped Billboard Canada’s weekly Albums Chart: the aforementioned works by Bazini, Fiori, McLachlan, and Cohen, plus Tracks of My Years by Bryan Adams. Albums making the weekly Top 10 numbered 51. Billboard’s year-end Top 50 had 11 albums from Canadians. Of these, 7 were released in 2013 and 4 in 2014 (Bazini #14, Fiori #15, Cohen #24, and Marie-Mai #33).  More…

Fresh Faces

A number of first-time charting artists appeared in 2014. Some were new and some have been around a while. Artists who scored their first Top 40 hits during the year were Virginia To Vegas, MAGIC!, Chromeo, Kiesza, Andee, Adventure Club, and Shawn Mendes. Jess Moskaluke and The Road Hammers scored their first gold singles. Les soeurs Boulay as a Francophone artist scored their first Billboard Hot 100 single.

andee3The Canadian Music Blog added mini-profiles for eight artists based on growing popularity or significant contributions made in 2014: Andee for her nationwide breakout success, A Tribe Called Red for its JUNO-recognized creation of a new genre of music; Crystal Shawanda for her achievements to date and credible adeptness at switching genres; Kiesza, MAGIC! and Shawn Mendes for their international conquests; Serge Fiori for his triumphant comeback; and Tanya Tagaq for her award winning artistry.  More…

Awards

The Next Star 2014The ADISQ Félix Awards honouring the best in Canada’s Francophone music released in 2013-2014 were held October in Montréal. The Song of the Year award went to Alex Nevsky for “On leur a fait croire”. Louis-Jean Cormier’s “Bull’s Eye” was named music video of the year. Awards for pop, rock, alternative, and AC albums of the year went respectively to Alex Nevsky (Himalaya mon amour), Éric Lapointe (Jour de nuit), Jimmy Hunt (Maladie d’amour), and Serge Fiori. Because the awards were male heavy this year, it is worth mentioning that Les soeurs Boulay won group of the year and Marie-Mai female artist of the year.

The JUNO awards were held in March in Winnipeg to recognize the best in 2013 music. Bachman-Turner Overdrive was inducted into the Music Hall of Fame. Calgary’s Tegan and Sara were the big winners with three awards including Song of the Year for “Closer”. Reflektor from AmeriCanadian band Arcade Fire won Album of the Year. The 2015 JUNOs recognizing the best of 2014 Canadian music will be held March 15 in Hamilton.

Jory Zechner was crowned YTV’s The Next Star, Tanya Tagaq won the Polaris Prize for album Animism, and Yoan Garneau won The Voice.

Selected 2014 Headlines

Olympic Fresh Tracks

Freestyle SkiingIn 2014, the CBC teamed up with Universal and Sony Music to launch five new Olympic-themed songs by Canadian recording artists to serve as soundtrack for coverage of the Sochi Winter Olympic Games. The songs were “Celebrate” by Fefe Dobson, “Feel So Alive” by Down With Webster, “Living Out My Dreams” by Roch Voisine (Canadian Olympic Team Official Anthem), “Broken Teeth” by the Sam Roberts Band, and “We Are Gold” by Andee. On a side note, Canada finished 3rd with 10 gold, 10 silver, and 5 bronze medals. Canada’s world record of 14 golds from 2010 stands.

Drake Rolled Over

Drake2American music magazine Rolling Stone, which many feel is still trapped in the hippie era, made a last-minute decision to replace its planned cover photo of Toronto rapper Drake with Hollywood actor Philip Seymour Hoffman who had died of a drug overdose. The magazine has no doubt profited handsomely over the years by using celebrity deaths to sell magazines. Last year, one-hit wonder Lou Reed was featured on the cover following his death. Drake expressed disapproval of the sudden change saying that he was not given the option to postpone his feature to a subsequent issue so that his cover photo could be included. Not surprisingly, the American press attempted to cash in on the story by questioning Drake’s actions rather than the magazine’s, insinuating without evidence that he was fuming over the incident.

Streaming Services and the Quest to Buy a Box of Kraft Dinner

Kraft DinnerWhile a prominent American singer was swiftly pulling her music off all streaming services and the media chose to mention only one service in particular, no doubt promoting it over the others, the Canadian music industry was engaged in a battle with the Canadian Copyright Board which took six years to decide that royalties collected from streaming services will amount in Canada to 10% of rates being collected in other countries. Music Canada representing the country’s major record labels put things in perspective with a number of statements including this one: “Under Tariff 8, Barenaked Ladies would need 9,216 plays of ‘If I Had $1,000,000′ to earn enough royalties to buy one box of Kraft Dinner.”  More…

The Fall of Maple

The decision by Nielsen Entertainment to incorporate streaming data into the Billboard Canadian Hot 100 struck an immediate blow to CanCon. The chart prior to the inclusion had 29 Canadian songs. The week after, 21. With streaming choices driven largely by the well-to-do American media plugging their own artists, by the end of the year, there were just 13 CanCon entries on the Canadian Hot 100, the lowest number in the history of the chart.

CanCon Entries After Streaming Incorporation

While the looming American media continued its relentless, defamatory attacks on A-list Canadian recording artists, simultaneously hyping their own artists globally, organizers of Canadian cultural events appeared to cave in. For the first time in recent memory, an American band performed at the JUNO Awards no doubt causing Walt Grealis to roll in his grave. Moreover, another American band played the 2014 Grey Cup half time show resulting in a 158% increase in the sales of its hit single, a missed opportunity for Canadians.

Broadcaster Scandals

Whether or not the nationalistic press south of the border was awash in self-congratulation for the above, our own media was preoccupied with its own concerns. CTV program executive producer Brent Piaskoski got himself in hot water when he sent out a batch of racist tweets. The CBC, a key player in the promotion of Canadian music, scrambled to reorganize after the sacking of its star quarterback, Jian Ghomeshi, not by a gloating Billy Bob Thornton, but by the same sort of scandal that failed to end Chris Brown’s public career: violence against women.

Quarterback

Ottawa’s Kira Isabella was offered a song that American country superstars had turned down, not because they felt it was substandard but because the subject matter was too hot to handle especially for Carrie Underwood who was dating a quarterback. The song addresses the issue of date rape. Kira made a few changes to the song and gave it a very classy treatment. It is gradually being recognized by many entities as one of 2014’s best songs, both lyrically and musically.

Kira Isabella - Quarterback

G.R.L.’s Battle

Canadian singer Emmalyn Estrada was one of five picked to join international girl group, G.R.L. The singers were featured in Pitbull’s “Wild Wild Love” which struck platinum in Canada. G.R.L. released an EP, and single “Ugly Heart” had global success especially in Australia where it was certified quadruple platinum. The group’s momentum was sadly interrupted when member Simone Battle was found dead in her Los Angeles apartment.

Victoria Duffield’s Surgery

British Columbia’s Victoria Duffield announced doctors had found a cyst-like lump on her vocal cords which was interfering with her singing. She underwent surgery which was apparently a success.

The Year’s Best Tweet

Victimized by a slew of libellous attacks by the American media, including false accusations and fabricated stories that made use of the most attention-grabbing words in the English language (racism, divorce, pregnant, and rehab), Avril Lavigne, calm and composed, despite undergoing health problems, placed forth the following tweet:

Avril Tweet copy

Canadian Music Blog Work

A total of 659 full-length Canadian albums released in 2014 came to the attention of The Canadian Music Blog. Editors worked daily to make mention of as many as possible. 470, or 71%, were featured on the site in some form. Formal reviews were given to 191 or 29% of the albums. Editors performed this service voluntarily and strove to be as objective and positive as possible to help bring Canadian artists and their magnificent works to the public’s attention.

Canadian Music Blog Picks

Red CoingAt year-end, The Canadian Music Blog revealed its 2014 picks in lists ranking its favourite EPs (10), music videos (20), albums (30), and songs (30). The Canadian Music Blog declared Puzzle by Cat Thomson as EP of the Year, “Sisters” by A Tribe Called Red as Music Video of the Year, “Why Do Boys Lie” by Alicia Moffet as Song of the Year, and Something Good by Azélie as Album of the Year.

Nods for international music were given as well: New York’s Haerts as Best New International Artist, the UK’s Katy B as International Artist of the Year, “Into the Blue” by Australia’s Kylie Minogue as International Song of the Year, and Play by The Republic of China’s Jolin Tsai as International Album of the Year.

Polls were created based on the best-selling 2014 Canadian artists and their works and CMB readers invited to vote for their favourites. Voting was open daily through the month of December. CMB readers chose Andee as 2014’s Best New Artist, LIGHTS as Best Hit Single/Album Combo Artist, Kiesza’s “Hideaway” as the year’s Best Single, and Where I Belong by Bobby Bazini as the year’s Best Album.

More on 2014 in Music…

2014 Year In Review

In 2014, the most successful album released during the year by a Canadian artist domestically was Bobby Bazini’s Where I Belong, which struck platinum by the end of the year. The album was #14 overall on the Billboard Canadian year-end Albums Chart. 1970s icon Serge Fiori released a self-titled comeback album which also struck platinum and was #15 overall for the year.

Hedley was the top Canadian act on Billboard’s Artists of the Year Chart at #4. The British Columbia band landed three songs on the year-end Top 100 Singles. Immediately behind at #5 was breakout reggae-pop group MAGIC! who charted three Top 40 singles through the year. Song “Rude”, certified triple platinum, peaked at #6 on the weekly Hot 100 and was the top Canadian entry on the year-end Hot 100 at #5. It was only the third song in history from a home-grown artist to spend over one full year on the Billboard Canadian Hot 100 (after Finger Eleven’s “Paralyzer” and Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe”).

Another new artist, Kiesza, had the highest charting single on the weekly Hot 100 with “Hideaway” at #5. Both “Rude” and “Hideaway” reached #1 in the United Kingdom, the first time debut singles from Canadians did so. The year’s top Franco song was “Jamais trop tard”, a collaboration between Marie-Mai and Jonas (of Massive Attraction fame); the song reached #54 on the weekly Billboard Canadian Hot 100. Radio station CKOI lists Joseph Edgar’s “Espionne russe” as the top Franco song of the year at #2 overall.

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

2014 Overview

2014 Year in Review (Main Post)
Mini-Profiles on Artists Whose Popularity Intensified in 2014

2014 Charts and Analysis

The Most Successful Canadian Albums Released in 2014
The Most Successful Canadian Singles of 2014
Highlights of Nielsen Canada’s 2014 Music Report
Music Canada’s Gold/Platinum 2014 Report
Artist Gender and Nationality Splits By Radio Format in 2014
Top Album Sales By Genre in 2014
Top Canadian Entry on All Year-End Charts
Queens and Kings of the Canadian Music Market
Release Statistics
CKOI Year-End Top 50

2014 Billboard Canadian Year-End Charts

Hot 100 Singles of the Year 2014 (Top Canadian Singles of the Year)
Top 50 Albums of the Year 2014 (Top Canadian Albums of the Year)
Top 25 Hot 100 Artists of 2014
Hot Digital Songs of 2014
Hot 100 Airplay of 2014
Emerging Canadian Artists of 2014
All-Format Airplay
CHR/Top 40 Airplay
Rock Airplay
Country Airplay
AC Airplay
Hot AC Airplay
Top Artists by Radio Format

Canadian Music Blog 2014 Faves

Canadian Music Blog’s Top 10 EP Faves of 2014
Canadian Music Blog’s Top 20 Music Video Faves of 2014
Canadian Music Blog’s Top 30 Song Faves of 2014
Canadian Music Blog’s Top 30 Album Faves of 2014
International Music Faves of 2014
CMB Readers’ Voted Faves of 2014

Awards for 2014 Music

Felix Awards: Part 1 Part 2

Juno Awards: Part 1 Part 2 Gala Summary

Best of 2014: CMB Readers Vote For Their Favourites

The Canadian Music Blog created four polls with five entries each, based on the best-selling 2014 Canadian artists and their works. CMB readers were invited to vote for their favourites. Voting was open daily through the month of December. The winner of each poll is presented below. In most cases it was a very close race. A big thank you to all who took the time to vote.

Best New Artist copy

Best Hit Artist copy

Best Hit Single copy

Best Hit Album copy

Canadian Music Blog’s Top 30 Album Faves of 2014

Top 30 Cdn albums of 659 of 2014A total of 659 albums released in 2014 by Canadian artists came to our attention. We tried to feature as many of them on the blog as we could. We ended up making mention of 470 (i.e. 71.3%) of them in some form. Formal reviews were given to 191 or 29% of them. Of the 659 LPs, 39 were greatest hits, various artist compilations, live albums, etc., and we did not count them towards contention for our Top 30 of the year. There were only 9 albums that we entirely disliked. The vast majority, at 407, we deemed run of the mill Canadian majesties. A cut above were 106. Great albums numbered at 36. Masterpiece works at 62 (9.4% of the total) were marked as contenders for the CMB favourites of the year. We ranked these after many listens and came up with the top 30 which we have listed below. The chart on the left shows just how elite this group is (click to enlarge).

badbadnotgood-iii#30. III, Badbadnotgood. Though the third album from the Toronto fusion jazz trio, this is the first disc of entirely original compositions. They are instrumental, cinematic, jazzy electronic jewels with big boom beats. Fresh and fun, perhaps a motion picture can be created from scratch for the express purpose of using this as the soundtrack. Then again, the music is so fine, viewers may well prefer it to the film.

Secret Sun - Cold Coast#29. Cold Coast, Secret Sun. This is a new electronic group from Montreal helmed by Simon Landry and vocalist Anne-Marie Campbell, the latter reminding us a little of Propaganda’s Susanne Freytag. Debut album Cold Coast is remarkably good. The strong writing with complex instrumentation constantly drops unexpected things into the mix and puts simpler arrangements from other acts to shame.

The Wilderness of Manitoba - Between Colours#28. Between Colours, The Wilderness of Manitoba. This Toronto band was nominated for a JUNO thanks to its previous album and released its fourth in 2014: Between Colours. What we have on this wonderful work is a desirable turn-taking of male and female lead vocals and a less roots and more progressive overall sound, or we can say a blending of folk rock and dream pop.

Stephanie Lapointe - Les amours paralleles#27. Les amours parallèles, Stéphanie Lapointe. This Montréal Star Académie alumnus was nominated for a JUNO for album Sur le fil in 2006. Les amours parallèles is a beautiful work hailing back to classic 1960s French pop with occasional new age sprinklings. The album’s strength is in its refreshing gentleness, a rare attribute, that combines nicely with a genuine and sweet melancholy.

In-Flight Saftey - conversationalist album#26. Conversationalist, In-Flight Safety. This is album number three from Halifax’s JUNO-nominated band, now down to a duo of singer / guitarist John Mullane and drummer Glen Nicholson. Conversationalist is attractively coated with a new wave tint, atmospheric glitter, and plays like a good book that you can’t put down. This should hit the spot for fans of Travis, Coldplay, and Snow Patrol.

Made Them Lions#25. Made Them Lions, Made Them Lions. On its second album the Montreal band shows it has developed a full, rich, modern pop/rock sound with dashes of reggae like “Light Up the Dark”. Other standouts are hit single “Crazy”, Down With Webster type feel-good anthem “Tidal Wave”, thumping ballad “Hyde”, charming David Myles-like “Love, Love, Love”, and “Forgotten How To Dream”.

Chocolat - Tss Tss#24. Tss Tss, Chocolat. After Félix winning solo work, Jimmy Hunt returned to the chocolate helm, and new album Tss Tss sees the outfit flip over from the roots rock leanings of past album Piano Élégant to full-on synth inflected progressive rock, and it is wonderful. The energy never wanes and is surrounded by theatrical atmospherics, strong writing and ripples through the airwaves in a laser light jam.

Sylvain Cossette - Accords#23. Accords, Sylvain Cossette. Platinum JUNO-nominated bilingual artist Sylvain started out with the band Paradox that scored #24 hit “Waterline” in 1989. In 2014, he returned in top shape with album Accords with powerful vocals and guitars containing a little bit of everything: Francis Cabrel type ditty “Je t’écris”, sky-scraping lead single, “Seul”, and alternative rock nugget “La fin de notre histoire”.

Mara Tremblay - A la maniere des anges#22. À la manière des anges, Mara Tremblay. Essentially an alternative work, the sixth album from the Hauterive, QC multiple Félix winner blends melancholic and chipper moods and is a little more energetic than some of the more laid back releases in the same category this year. The album merges alternative rock with both electronica and folk and contains both densely rich soundscapes and wispy climes.

Alyssa Reid - Timebomb#21. TimeBomb, Alyssa Reid. This solid pop album has a few snippets of funky narrative crowning it as the stylish jam it is. Alyssa Reid proves herself adept at blending urban grooves, dance beats, pop hooks, and electronic punches that make the whole package very luxuriant and current. Through all the sonic flourishes, her crisp, robust voice shines through making TimeBomb one of the year’s hippest records.

Paige Morgan - Golden#20. Golden, Paige Morgan. After the release of three singles, this debut LP from the new Vancouver singer is a joy to listen to from start to finish and was crafted by a pool of the local elite who managed to turn over all the colours of Paige, a bona fide musical chameleon who easily handles all facets of the musical spectrum. This is the most eclectic pop album of the year and as such is a real treat for the ears.

Jonathan Li - Our Stories Matter#19. Our Stories Matter, Jonathan Li. This is album #2 from the independent artist whose style ranges from folk pop to rock. The album’s first two super catchy tracks, like a one-two hook, draw you right into a disc that is delightful throughout. We named “One Life” as the 3rd best song of 2014, one the catchiest songs we have ever heard. Jonathan Li is a natural and one of the best performers in the city of Calgary.

PyPy - Pagan Day#18. Pagan Day, PyPy. Montreal punk rock quartet PyPy stunned us with their frenetic debut album Pagan Day. The driving, electrifying energy fans out the mohawks, female vocals wail, relentless Tones on Tail bass struts itself, black polished finger nails scratch along the echoing guitar strings, and vocal distortion effects chill us to the bones. Pagan Day is a totally decadent and so very delicious jam.

LIGHTS - Little Machines#17. Little Machines, LIGHTS. After a JUNO award, 2 gold albums, and 9 Billboard Hot 100 hits, Toronto electronic rock virtuoso LIGHTS returned with album #3, Little Machines. In terms of style, the album merges the synth pop catchiness of debut The Listening with the gritty experimental brilliance of Siberia. This is a host of infectious anthems all decked in handsome electronica and endearing vocal delivery.

doomsquad - Kalaboogie#16. Kalaboogie, Doomsquad. Sibling Blumas trio created ambient moods from original textures qualifying them as archaeologists unearthing relics from both tribal villages and radically advanced metropolises on foreign planets. The robust hypnotic music proceeds from grunts and grinds through droning shimmers in some form of a Suspiria-based X-file. It’s dark and dense and absolutely brilliant.

Alfa Rococo - Nos coeurs ensemble#15. Nos cœurs ensemble, Alfa Rococo. The fabulous, multiple Félix Award winning electropop duo gets better with each release. This third offering is chock full of irresistible hooks and unanticipated detailed techniques. The electro pulses and gritty guitars on “Le sexe des anges” are as addictive as the smooth guitar plucks and whistling keys on “Deux” and the hum-along charm of the title track.

Elise Estrada - Round3#14. #Round3, Elise Estrada. Round 3 continues the JUNO nominee’s expertise in delivering exuberant R&B/pop treasures filled with rhythmic fun, urban beats, and enticing teases. We think she is one of the best singers in the country; her voice is just beautiful. Here we have summer anthems, heart-melting ballads, a New Order sample, a dedication to typhoon victims, and a tribute to Amanda Todd.

Robyn DellUnto - Little Lines#13. Little Lines, Robyn Dell’Unto. It comes as no surprise that the Mississaugan’s music is a favourite among television production entities. On Little Lines, her sweet voice adds colourful sprinkles to ear-pleasing melodies that soothe the heart and edify the spirit. Robyn’s style comfortably straddles pop and adult contemporary kingdoms and snugly perches itself between indie and mainstream grooves.

Catherine Leduc - Rookie#12. Rookie, Catherine Leduc. A key member of Félix Award winning indie pop band Tricot Machine from Trois-Rivières, Leduc’s debut solo album, Rookie, embraces a different style: an artistic, dreamy folk pop and a mixture of the acoustic and electronic drenched with dreamy melancholy and charm. If Catherine considers herself a rookie, we can’t wait to hear what she has planned as a veteran!

Mode Moderne - Occult Delight#11. Occult Delight, Mode Moderne. On its third album, Vancouver outfit Mode Moderne rekindles the spirit of underground 80s new wave found in the dreamy vibes of early New Order and The Cure. It is a division of grief as opposed to joy with quirkily choice vocal style. Occult Delight cleverly blends intricate guitar work with synth textures, higher-pitched bass, and punky percussion which charms and excites.

Stefie Shock - Avant l'aube#10. Avant l’aube, Stefie Shock. Montreal gold certified male soloist Stefie Shock (Stéphane Caron) is a creative genius and has dabbled in various styles of music since he went from a disc jockey to a recording artist in Y2K. Bilingual album Avant l’aube is essentially a new wave gem though he mixes in a few surprises. Some of these cuts are ripe for the dancefloor, all delivered in a cool baritone voice.

Patrick Norman - Apres la tombee du rideau#9. Après la tombée du rideau, Patrick Norman. Canadian legend Patrick Norman, in celebration of his 45 years in music, released his 29th (wow!) album, Après la tombée du Rideau, and it’s profoundly beautiful. Although classified as country, a more accurate description would be 1970s soft rock compositional style, drenched in modern atmospherics, and sprinkled with cowboy country seasoning.

Loscil - Sea Island#8. Sea Island, Loscil. Vancouver’s looping oscillator (i.e. Scott Morgan) has been at it for a while but everything comes together and he hits his stride on Sea Island, one of the greatest ambient electronic albums ever to come out of Canada. Sweeping and airy, it subdues, it captivates, and it tugs the listener into a glorious hypnotic state. Track “Iona” alone is a world-class masterpiece of ambient electronica.

Die Mannequin - Neon Zero#7. Neon Zero, Die Mannequin. JUNO nominated Die Mannequin smoothly slithered from the punk proclivities of its past into full on modern rock and released the finest rock album of the year with plundering beats, measured synth touches, and loud, mangled metal guitars, all led by the glistening vocals of Care Failure. Neon Zero bristles with high octane ecstasy and potent adrenaline throughout.

Salome Leclerc - 27 fois l'aurore#6. 27 fois l’aurore, Salomé Leclerc. Album #2 from this dynamo was hailed by critics all around the world as a masterpiece. Sculpted from folky basics, a latticework of art and electronics was continuously refined with intricate detail. Suspense and atmosphere abound and curve balls get thrown in. This is a hair-raising thrill ride through uncharted territory, always surprising and forever impressing.

bobby-wills-crazy-enough#5. Crazy Enough, Bobby Wills. Calgarian CCMA Rising Star award winner Bobby Wills first landed on the Hot 100 with “Somebody Will” in 2013. We consider his third LP Crazy Enough the best country music album of the year with cleverly poetic lyrics, wonderful vocals, and alluring Building a Mystery guitar riffs. The music’s appeal stretches far beyond the quaint picket fences of country, even to the stars.

Kiesza - Sound of a Woman#4. Sound of a Woman, Kiesza. It’s rare to find an album where all tracks rate from good to excellent, and Kiesza’s Sound of a Woman is one such LP. Opening with her UK #1 and CA platinum smash, “Hideaway,” the Calgarian takes us on a sumptuous journey through deep house infused treasures punctuated by her exquisite vocal talents. If she can pull this off on a debut, her future looks glorious.

Adam Smale - Out of the Blue#3. Out of the Blue, Adam Smale. Originally from Bar River, ON, just east of Sault Ste Marie, Adam is a highly skilled seven-string jazz guitarist now based in New York. We had Out of the Blue, a masterpiece of instrumental jazz, on repeat through most of the year. It simultaneously invigorates and soothes with its highly intelligent sophisticated form. Adam’s guitar work is accompanied by a trio (bass, drums, keys).

Alexz Johson - Let Em Eat Cake#2. Let ‘Em Eat Cake, Alexz Johnson. Demi Lovato has said that it is because of Alexz Johnson that she decided to make a career in music. The 2nd formal LP from the Coquitlam, BC singer-songwriter is adult pop with soulful vocals, progressive undercurrents, a good groove, and crisp and robust drumming that carries everything at an exciting pace. Alexz has both substance and a style she can call her own.

Canadian Music Blog’s 2014 Album of the Year

Starting piano at 4 years old, mastering the guitar, and beginning to compose at age 10, this singer-songwriter from Montreal was inspired by the works of Sarah McLachlan, Norah Jones, and Adele. Recognized as a prodigy, the industry felt that, at 15 years of age, it was time for her debut album, and a team was assembled to assist her which included gold-certified artist Dumas. With the voice of an angel, majestic compositions, and stunningly beautiful music, the resulting album is nothing short of a masterpiece of soulful soft rock.

While listening to this, we kept wondering: how could adult contemporary music so mature spring from the heart of someone so young? The hair style featured on the album cover reminds us though that she still has some youthful spunk in her. And we should also mention that she has quite possibly the world’s most beautiful smile.

On the album, keys patter down like spring rain and are joined by some bluesy guitar, sparkling brass, and heart-tugging strings. The extra delicate arrangements and musicianship bring out the finesse of the composition, not to mention the voice. While the blood of the album is melancholy, it is pumped through channels gracefully with occasional intensity. It is as though we are riding on a low-flying raincloud over rush hour traffic, free of stressful gridlock and dry. Title-track opener and “Falling For You” heralded the LP as singles. An MV for the latter was released.

While several household names laid down some powerful poker hands in 2014, it was a 15-year-old newcomer from Montreal who dropped a royal flush.

The Canadian Music Blog declares Something Good by Montreal teen prodigy Azélie as 2014’s Album of the Year!

Azelie - Something Good - Album of the Year copy

The Most Successful Canadian Albums Released in 2014

Domestically, the most successful album from a Canadian artist released in 2014 was Where I Belong by Bobby Bazini. It was 14th on Billboard Canada’s Top selling albums of the year chart surpassed both by albums from foreign artists as well as a couple of Canadian albums released in 2013. It and Serge Fiori’s self-titled work were the only two Canadian albums released in 2014 that were certified platinum by the end of the year.

Internationally, there were no Canadian blockbusters this year. The only album to appear in the United World Chart Top 40 of 2014 was Michael Bublé’s Christmas from 2011. In 2014, it became the first Canadian album release since Avril Lavigne’s Let Go in 2002 to achieve diamond sales and is the first Canadian album to hit diamond since Music Canada downgraded the status from 1 million units sold to 800K in 2008.

Five Canadian albums released in 2014 struck gold by the end of the year: Sarah Mclachlan’s Shine On, Marie-Mai’s M, Various Artists’ La Voix II, Leonard Cohen’s Popular Problems, and Fred Pellerin’s Plus tard qu’on pense.

Through the year, five Canadian albums topped Billboard Canada’s weekly Albums Chart: the aforementioned works by Bazini, Fiori, McLachlan, and Cohen, plus Tracks of My Years by Bryan Adams. Albums making the weekly Top 10 numbered 51. By comparison, 2013 saw 10 number one albums, 38 making the Top 10. Billboard’s year-end Top 50 had 11 albums from Canadians. Of these, 7 were released in 2013 and 4 in 2014 (Bazini #14, Fiori #15, Cohen #24, and Marie-Mai #33). By comparison, 2013’s year-end Top 50 had 13 Canadian entries, 7 of which were released that year. The following table compares the last three years of successful albums.

2012 2013 2014
Multiplatinum Albums 3 2 0
Platinum Albums 3 3 2
Gold Albums 8 10 5
#1 Albums 9 10 5
Top 10 Albums 44 38 51
Year-End Top 50 Albums 15 13 11

Not included, though worth a mention, is album Rose Ave. by City and Colour’s international collaboration with Pink as duo You+Me. The album hit #1, was #32 on the year-end chart, and was certified gold by the end of the year.

Below is a comprehensive table of the most successful 2014 Canadian albums domestically. To be included in the list below, an album had to fulfill at least one of the following criteria:

A. Gold certification or higher (CE).
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 2014

TITLE ARTIST CE YE WP
Where I Belong Bobby Bazini P 14 1
Serge Fiori Serge Fiori P 15 1
Popular Problems Leonard Cohen G 24 1
M Marie-Mai G 33 2
Shine On Sarah McLachlan G   1
La Voix II Various Artists G   2
Plus tard qu’on pense Fred Pellerin G   3
Tracks of My Years Bryan Adams     1
Trauma: Season 5 Soundtrack Coeur de pirate     2
Party For Your Life Down With Webster     2
Everything Almost Jann Arden     2
No Fixed Address Nickelback     2
Lo-Fantasy Sam Roberts Band     3
The Trews The Trews     3
Jerome Couture Jerome Couture     3
High Noon Arkells     3
The Physical World Death From Above 1979     3
Une fleur pour vous Georges Hamel     4
Vivre debout Gilles Vigneault     4
Little Secret Nikki Yanofsky     4
Merci Serge Reggiani Isabelle Boulay     4
Savages Theory of a Deadman     4
Bahamas Is Afie Bahamas     4
Very Good Bad Thing Mother Mother     4
Olivier Dion Olivier Dion     5
Ghosts Big Wreck     5
while(1<2) deadmau5     5
Don’t Kill the Magic MAGIC!     5
The Shawn Mendes EP Shawn Mendes     5
Little Machines LIGHTS     5
Ils chantent Louvain Various Artists     5
On A Tous Quelque Chose Various Artists     5
Blanc Angele Dubeau     6
Sans regret Brigitte Boisjoli     6
White Women Chromeo     6
Between Illness and Migration Your Favorite Enemies     6
We Go Home Adam Cohen     6
Second Sight Hey Rosetta!     6
5:01 Tim Hicks     7
Un homme qui vous resemble Mario Pelchat     7
Highways, Heartaches … Lisa LeBlanc     7
Advanced Basics Ubiquitous Synergy Seeker     8
Brand New Day Swollen Members     8
Oxygen : Inhale Thousand Foot Krutch     8
Switched On Madchild     8
Glory Under Dangerous Skies Moist     8
3e rue sud Maxime Landry     9
Une Seule Fois / Live 2013 Celine Dion     10
Face a l’ouest Kevin Parent     10
Musique & Cinema Bruno Pelletier/Guy St-Onge     10
La dans ma tete Marc Dupre     10

Canadian Music Blog’s Top 30 Song Faves of 2014

After listening to roughly 10,000 songs released in 2014 whether as singles, on EPs, or LPs, we have settled on our 30 favourites. To create a fairer and tidier list, we allowed only one entry per artist. Note that, although we titled this “Songs” (i.e. a piece of music that is sung), some of the entries are instrumentals.

Sylvain Cossette - Accords#30. La fin de notre histoire, Sylvain Cossette. Platinum JUNO-nominated bilingual artist Sylvain started out with the band Paradox that scored #24 hit “Waterline” in 1989. In 2014, he returned in top shape with album Accords. Powerful vocals and guitars animate “La fin de notre histoire”, a Violet Indiana meets Travis alternative rock nugget. Cossette is one of those rare artists great in both singing and songwriting.

Cat Thomson - Puzzle#29. Castle, Cat Thomson. One of the jewels off our EP of the Year, Puzzle, the Calgary-bred, Vancouver-based singer is in top form on this beautiful song. Deep, rich, and a little dreamy, the track is a perfect vehicle for Thomson’s fabulous vocals. Verse, chorus, and bridge are all perfectly crafted. Cat co-wrote this with Louise Burns (formerly of Lillix) and Kevin James Maher. She has a great career ahead of her.

Kiesza-Hideaway#28. Hideaway, Kiesza. Topping the charts in the United Kingdom, this retro 90s EDM treat was all over the radio in much of the world and popularized in part by its cool concept music video. Kiesza’s from Calgary and has talent seeping in her bones. Her voice is beautiful and the song’s beat is simply delicious. At #5, “Hideaway” was the highest charting Canadian song at home for 2014 and certified platinum.

YYZ-I-Wanna-Be-With-You#27. I Wanna Be With You, YYZ. While Kiesza was bringing back that sweet 90s dance music, Universal Music Canada signee YYZ brought back 80s dance with this choice tune. The MV even paid homage to 80s arcade video. YYZ is a duo led by Toronto’s lovely Ali McNally and is just getting started, this being only the outfit’s second single release. We hope and pray for a full-blown party LP in the near future.

Mode Moderne - Occult Delight#26. Grudges Crossed, Mode Moderne. The new wave outfit reminds us of some of the early 80s underground music that was such a delight back in the day, like New Order and The Cure. But the group has carved out its own style and is writing very good songs. “Grudges Crossed” was our favourite track off Mode Moderne’s third album, Occult Delight. We think nobody does new wave better than Vancouverites.

PyPy - Pagan Day#25. Pagan Day, PyPy. This is one of those obscure bands that not too many know about. It’s punk music but really fun and doesn’t take itself too seriously. Pagan Day, title track off its 2014 album, is a full throttle jam that rolls along electrically and takes you with it, music that is best enjoyed with some popcorn and perhaps a fanned out Mohawk. This is for those who enjoy Tones on Tail and black nail polish.

Catherine Leduc - Rookie#24. Pee-Wee BB, Catherine Leduc. A key member of Félix Award winning band Tricot Machine from Trois-Rivières, Catherine’s 2014 debut solo album, Rookie, embraces an artistic, dreamy folk pop. Lead keys on “Pee wee BB” do the trick, sounding somewhat like an electronic accordion, and vocals have that Mamas & Papas harmonious quality. If she considers herself a rookie, she’s going to slay as a veteran!

Salome Leclerc - 27 fois l'aurore#23. Arlon, Salomé Leclerc. Beginning with simple but ominous voice, drums, and bass, tambourine jingles are added, before things shift into higher gear as more instrumentation breaks out in an instrumental fever of glory. Most artists would satisfy themselves with that, but Salomé gives us something extra beginning half-way through the song as things really pick up. Background wails are added, and the conclusion is perfect.

Sounds of Sputnik - New Born#22. Light Scheme, Sounds of Sputnik ft. Ummagma. Shauna McLarnon and her Ukranian-born husband Alexx Kretov are The Yukon’s Ummagma who team up with Russia’s Sounds of Sputnik on this mix of space rock, noisy shoegaze, and dream pop, a sonic feast that might come from a collaboration between say Slowdive and The Cocteau Twins. When the two Great White Norths collaborate, the result is very cool stuff.

Robyn DellUnto - Little Lines#21. It’s Not Me, Robyn Dell’Unto. Album Little Lines from Mississauga’s Robyn Dell’Unto appeared this year. “It’s Not Me” sparkles the most brightly for us with its good beat, but any of the album’s songs could go here. Robyn’s sweet voice adds colourful sprinkles to everything she does. Her style comfortably straddles pop and AC kingdoms and snugly perches itself between indie and mainstream grooves.

Grimes - Go#20. Go, Grimes. Taking a break from the stream of delicious quirkiness, Vancouver’s Claire Boucher, also known as Grimes, took a song originally intended for Rihanna, and tweaked it into the finest EDM dish of the year complete with her ethereal vocal talents. A CD-quality 1141 kbps bit rate version was offered as a free download. Because the track is more mainstream, it may not appear on her 2015 album.

LIGHTS - Little Machines#19. Portal, LIGHTS. We lean back in awe when LIGHTS releases new music. Opening her third album Little Machines, “Portal” sets the atmosphere. Imagine if you will a vintage car ominously driving through a forested highway in search of something lurking in the woods. Something unearthly lies at the conclusion of her exploration. This is one song that has the power to transport the listener into the twilight zone.

Alexz Johson - Let Em Eat Cake#18. Cologne, Alexz Johnson. The Coquitlam, BC singer, songwriter, and actress released her second formal album this year, Let ‘Em Eat Cake. We’d rather eat Alexz Johnson’s music; cake is just a collection of carbs, eh. This highly undervalued girl can write super good tunes. She’s got both substance and her own style. “Cologne” was our favourite cut from one of our favourite albums of 2014.

#Die Mannequin - Neon Zero17. I’m Just a Girl, Die Mannequin. One of Canada’s finest rock bands made a big comeback this year with album Neon Zero. It bristles with high octane ecstasy and potent adrenaline throughout. “I’m Just a Girl” is a standout modern rock gem with plundering beats, measured synth touches, and loud, mangled metal guitars, all led by the shimmering vocals of Care Failure. This is our favourite rock song of 2014.

Michelle Thibodeau - Let It Move You#16. Let It Move You, Michelle Thibodeau. The Moncton, NB singer-songwriter and actress made the national news this year when she spotted Mountie assassin Justin Bourque in her backyard. But that’s not why she’s here. “Let It Move You” is the fantastic single she released this year. Whether or not her training at the Canadian College of Performing Arts helped is unknown. One thing’s clear though: this gal’s got talent.

doomsquad - Kalaboogie#15. Eternal Return, Doomsquad. Mulder and Scully should get back together just so that this masterpiece can get featured in an X-Files episode. Portentous relics get unearthed from both tribal villages and radically advanced metropolises in this sonic thrill ride. Drenched in ambiance and pulsating with ominous energy, this masterful cut from album Kalaboogie has the three Blumas siblings at their best.

Kalle Mattson - Someday the Moon Will Be Gold#14. Darkness, Kalle Mattson. The Ottawa songsmith returned to his childhood home in Sault Ste. Marie to write an album about hope. The result was Polaris-nominated Someday, The Moon Will Be Gold, produced by The Wooden Sky’s Gavin Gardiner. Track “Darkness” is an example of brilliant songwriting, and what’s more, it has probably the coolest trumpet feature ever to appear in a song.

Loscil - Sea Island#13. Iona, Loscil. Vancouver’s own looping oscillator, Loscil (i.e. Scott Morgan), released one of the greatest ambient electronic albums ever to come out of Canada, Sea Island. Sweeping and airy, it subdues, it captivates, and it tugs the listener into a glorious hypnotic state. Having been at it for a while, he hits his stride on the album. Track “Iona” alone is a world-class masterpiece of ambient electronica.

Alfa Rococo - Nos coeurs ensemble#12. Le sexe des anges, Alfa Rococo. Alfa Rococo is a fabulous, multiple Félix Award winning electropop duo from Montréal composed of Justine Laberge and David Bussières. Third studio album, Nos coeurs ensemble, contains many irresistible hooks and unanticipated techniques of striking detail. The electropulses and gritty guitars on “Le sexe des anges” merge together to elicit instant addiction.

Marie-Mai - M#11. Conscience, Marie-Mai. This energetic platinum rocker performed at the closing ceremony of the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver and has scored two platinum albums. Album M topped iTunes as a pre-order. “Conscience” was one of the biggest Franco tunes of the year, a modern rock masterpiece with boss vocal delivery. Be sure to check out its MV for Marie-Mai’s adorable postures!

Cooper - This Year#10. This Year, Cooper. Female soloist (Kate) Cooper is a Montreal import from Brisbane, Australia. Her single “This Year” was lauded by those lucky enough to discover it. If the song sounds familiar to you, that may be because it was used to promote some U.S. television shows. Cooper’s songwriting talents have charmed Serena Ryder and Tegan & Sara. We look forward to new music from her in 2015.

Azelie - Something Good#9. Live, Azélie. This Montreal teen prodigy launched her debut album, Something Good, in 2014, showcasing her compositional genius and angelic voice, all wrapped up in a very mature, adult contemporary sound. Keys patter down like spring rain and are joined by some bluesy guitar, sparkling brass, and heart-tugging strings. “Live” was our favourite track with its bass-driven splendour.

Crystalyne - Punks Don't Dance#8. Punks Don’t Dance, Crystalyne. This newer band from Toronto won the Radio Star National Talent Search at this year’s Canadian Radio Music Awards. Led by exquisite vocalist Marissa Dattoli, the group released an EP at the end of 2013 entitled The Remedy. Single “Punks Don’t Dance” came out in 2014, an addictive dance pop number that could probably pass for Marianas Trench with female vocals. What could be better?

Paige Morgan - Paralyzed#7. Paralyzed, Paige Morgan. Vancouver’s Paige Morgan (604 Records) is a new singer on the rise and dropped her debut album in 2014, the most eclectic pop record of the year. Paige has been described as a musical chameleon who can handle any genre with ease, turning the colours over at will. “Paralyzed” is an alternative pop delicacy dripping with syrupy, sultry vocals and powdered with tantalizing intrigue.

Stefie Shock - Want You To Want Me1#6. Want You To Want Me (Single Version), Stefie Shock. From radio DJ to gold-certified recording artist, Stefie Shock is one keeping the new wave alive thanks to this charmer. With so many male voices AutoTuned to a higher register or singing in falsetto, Stefie’s refreshing baritone reminded us what real male voices sound like. Also check out the album version of the song which is more suitable for the dancefloor.

Shawn Hook - Million Ways#5. Million Ways, Shawn Hook. The British Columbian scored his highest charting single when his co-writer cancelled a session due to his child’s soccer practice. Shawn was forced to team up with another composer – Grammy Award winner Victoria Horn. The result of the 6-hour session was one of the catchiest pop gems of the year, “Million Ways”. It contains some smart touches too, like its whistling conclusion.

Kira Isabella - Quarterback#4. Quarterback, Kira Isabella. This is one of those songs that grabs you lyrically first and then the great music begins to take hold. The Ottawa country singer made the gutsy move of accepting a song American A-listers, including Carrie Underwood, shied away from because of its subject matter of date rape. Quarterback made a number of year-end lists. We are happy to place it on ours.

Jonathan Li - Our Stories Matter#3. One Life, Jonathan Li. The Calgary pop/rock singer songwriter gave us a song with such a feel-good beat and catchy guitar hook that we never grew tired of it. It’s one of those party pop anthems that makes you glue down that repeat button. “One Life” is off Jonathan Li’s second album, Our Stories Matter, one of the year’s best LPs. He has a great backing band and is one you’d want to see live.

Jess Moskaluke - Good Lovin#2. Good Lovin’, Jess Moskaluke. This Saskatchewan singer scored a gold single in 2014 and won The Canadian Country Music Association’s Female Artist of the Year. Jess Moskaluke’s “Good Lovin” is one of the best country songs we have ever heard, a total blast with ground-shaking bass giving the singer somewhat of a signature sound. From album Light Up the Night, it was composed by Enderlin, Bundy & Flowers.

Canadian Music Blog’s 2014 Song of the Year

What happens when JUNO winning songwriter Marc Jordan (Rod Stewart, Josh Groban) and multiplatinum composer Rob Wells (Ariana Grande, Olivia Newton-John) pen a song for an award winning singer whose voice is breathtaking enough to ruffle feathers on the wings of angels? Absolute magic! This was the formal debut single from the Montréal pitch-perfect teen prodigy who won YTV’s The Next Star in 2013. The song was released in both official languages through Sony Music Canada. Carrying an infectious melody, delivered with graceful piano, and knocked out of the ballpark by a soaring voice, this hair-raising anthem of excellence dazzled us more than any of the 10,000 songs we listened to in 2014. The Canadian Music Blog declares “Why Do Boys Lie” / “Pourquoi mentir” by Alicia Moffet as 2014’s Song of the Year!

Alicia Moffet - Why Do Boys Lie - Song of the Year

The Most Successful Canadian Singles of 2014

Top Singles

A total of 19 songs by domestic artists made the year-end Billboard Canadian Hot 100. There is no doubt that the top song of the year was MAGIC’s “Rude” at 5th overall. The song peaked at #6 on the weekly chart, hit #1 in both Britain and the United States, and was certified triple platinum at home by the end of the year. On the United World Chart, which gives a rough idea of how songs do globally, “Rude” was 8th of the year. “Rude” became the third CanCon single to spend over a year on the Billboard Canadian Hot 100 following Finger Eleven’s “Paralyzer” and Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe”.

The highest charting Canadian song on the weekly charts in 2014 was Kiesza’s “Hideaway” at #5. The single debuted at #1 in the United Kingdom. Both “Rude” and “Hideaway” were the first instances in history of debut singles from Canadian artists topping the UK Singles chart.

The most successful Franco song on Billboard was “Jamais trop tard” by Marie-Mai & Jonas reaching #54. Radio station CKOI which has published year-end Top 50 charts since 1976, lists Joseph Edgar’s “Espionne russe” as the biggest Canadian Franco song of the year at #2 overall.

Top Domestic Canadian Franco Songs of 2014

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 weekly charts during 2014 with their weekly chart peak positions (WP).

TITLE ARTIST YE WP
Espionne russe Joseph Edgar 2  
Moman Éric Lapointe 5  
Fleur bleue Simon Boudreau 12  
Jamais trop tard Marie-Mai & Jonas 15 54
Conscience Marie-Mai 22  
Une armée dans ma voix Rémi Chassé 25  
Mécaniques generals Patrice Michaud 29  
Classe moyenne Les Cowboys Fringants 32  
Les coloriés Alex Nevsky 36 85
Comme Joe Dassin Les Cowboys Fringants 39  
Chante encore Jonas & The Massive Attraction 42  
Lili Vincent Vallières 46  
Never Gone** Andee 49 40
Mappemonde Les Soeurs Boulay 49 89
La voix que j’ai Various Artists   92
L’amour c’est pas pour les peureux Vincent Vallieres   96
Le monde est virtuel Serge Fiori   98

** Versions of this song were recorded in both official languages.

Top Domestic Canadian Anglo Songs of 2014

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

A. Appeared in the 2014 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 (CE) by the end of the year.

TITLE ARTIST YE WP CE‡
Rude MAGIC! 5 6 3xP
Crazy For You Hedley 22 7  
Hideaway Kiesza 29 5 P
Goodbye Glenn Morrison ft. Islove 34 12* P
Anything Hedley 42 5* P
Hold On, We’re Going Home Drake ft. Majid Jordan 49 5* P
Chills Down With Webster 51 19 P
Heaven in our Headlights Hedley 52 14  
Life of the Party Shawn Mendes 53 9 G
Jealous Chromeo 55 12 P
We Are Stars Virginia to Vegas ft. A. Reid 57 14  
Seeya deadmau5 66 20 G
Don’t Kill the Magic MAGIC! 72    
Blurred Lines Robin Thicke 76† 1* 9xP
Move Like a Soldier Kristina Maria 84    
Wonder Adventure Club ft. The KST 90    
Fall Serena Ryder 91    
Higher Classified ft. B.O.B 96    
Satisfaction Guaranteed Alyssa Reid 100    
Love Me Harder The Weeknd & Ariana Grande   10  
Let Your Hair Down MAGIC!   20  
Pop 101 Marianas Trench ft. Anami Vice     G
Danse Mia Martina     G
Cheap Wine and Cigarettes Jess Moskaluke     G
Mud The Road Hammers     G

* This peak was achieved in 2013.
† Also made the YE of 2013.
‡ These certifications were made by the end of 2014. Songs may be awarded higher certifications through 2015 and beyond.

Canadian Music Blog’s Top 20 Music Video Faves of 2014

We are counting down our favourite music videos of 2014. Regardless of when the song came out, to be eligible, the MV had to have been released in 2014. A good music video is one that keeps your attention even with the sound turned off. With high standards, we prefer MVs that are low on violence, raunchiness, expletives, and indulgence in consumption vices. We select videos that are beautiful to look at, cinematic, adventurous, fun, sentimental, clever, creative, artistic, original, having great wardrobe choices, some breathtaking cinematography, or a stellar message. Below is a list of our 20 favourite Canadian MVs from 2014.

Honourable Mentions: Hey, Allison by Echo Nebraska and Something Big by Shawn Mendes.

#20. L’été des orages, Valérie Carpentier

Valerie Carpentier - L'ete des orages

Valérie Carpentier’s music video for the title track of her gold-certified album sees her striking some summery poses with gorgeous backdrops. Rather than contain continuous action, the MV prefers to show several extended scenes allowing us to savour in the beauty and filling us with the feeling of summer.

#19. Never Gone, Andee

Andee - Never Gone

The MV for Andee’s debut, Top 40 single, “Never Gone” sees her reclining on a recamier (we had to look that one up), and we see shadowy dancers with flowing gowns making moves with their extremities. Andee switches from white to black attire to drive home the darkened mood in keeping with the song’s subject matter. She stands on a floor with large checkered tiles surrounded distantly by figures of light beneath sheets who appear trapped. She is approached by a faceless man, and the plot thickens.

#18. Make You Mine, Tim Toishi

Tim Toishi - Make You Mine

This beautifully shot MV from the Toronto singer-songwriter tugs at our heartstrings with its universal message of infatuation, jealousy, and longing.

#17. Stay Here, Kuya

Kuya - Stay Here

Kuya reminds us to enjoy life because you never know what awaits around the corner and “I hope I did enough to make you feel my love.” Tissues required for this one.

#16. Hideaway, Kiesza

Kiesza - Hideaway

With little budget and filmed in practically one take, the MV for Kiesza’s debut breakout hit “Hideaway” racked up over 170 million views. The video shows her bustin’ various dance moves along the streets of Brooklyn, New York, joined along the way by other dancers.

#15. Bonjour Tristesse, Grenadine

Grenadine - Bonjour Tristesse

Montréal archeologist major Julie Brunet transforms herself into sumptuous singer Grenadine at will. This MV has a selection of beautiful shots opening with her lying atop what looks like a stack of tomes before deciding to hit the snowy streets and perch herself by stained glass windows in a chapel of lit candles.

#14. Paralyzed, Paige Morgan

Paige Morgan - Paralyzed

Dripping with syrupy vocals and tantalizing intrigue, this steamy, nocturnal charmer is drenched in colour, neon signs, and sultry pink flamingos. But we didn’t need Crockett and Tubbs to rock the pastels. We’ve got some Vancouver spice from the amazing Paige Morgan.

#13. Paper Planes, Victoria Duffield

Victoria Duffield - Paper Planes

Four of this Abbotsford, BC artist’s music videos have surpassed a million views. 2014 MV for “Paper Planes” has her dancing solo when something magical happens. Watch it to the end to see in the background a sweet, familiar landmark.

#12. Necessary Evil, Nikki Yanofsky

Nikki Yanofsky - Necessary Evil

This multiplatinum artist under the production talents of Quincy Jones released her acclaimed jazz-pop album this year. What could be better than seeing Nikki Yanofsky sashaying around a countryside mansion in a selection of choice attire with a black panther in hot pursuit?

#11. Ghosts, Big Wreck

Big Wreck - Ghosts

The shadows, lighting effects, flashing images, and transparencies of this MV blend in a feast for the eyes. Playing guitar on a sofa between lamps with the harrowing industrial scene outside the window, a beautiful ghost comes to visit … or is he the ghost? You’ll have to watch to find out.

#10. Came Here To Party, December Rose

December Rose - Came Here to Party

New singer December Rose preps herself for a day of partying. In a Montreal Expos baseball cap, she joins friends, grabs wheels, dances on the subway, swings by a soccer match, boogies at the club, all before chilling at the pool.

#9. Right Direction, Matt Webb

Matt Webb - Right Direction

Marianas Trench guitar player Matt Webb spends a day with falling snow writing songs on a chesterfield, recording at the studio, and playing at a gig. But between events, he keeps seeing the same sight for sore eyes. It appears … he’s headed in the right direction.

#8. Hunting, The Darcys

The Darcys - Hunting

Inspired by Hitchcock’s Rear Window, this impressive CGI MV has a fully bandaged up invalid observing the goings on in various suites of the adjacent apartment building. According to the band, the project began with renderings from artists, and the world was gradually built mixing “projection mapping, matte paintings, live footage, and 3D modelling and lighting.”

#7. Aviator 2000, Beat Market

Beat Market - Aviator 2000

This artistic sci-fi themed MV features the EDM duo walking along an alien landscape only to discover that they are not alone. The video, just like Beat Market’s music, is cleverly retro and futuristic at the same time.

#6. Go, Go, Go, Sumo Cyco

Sumo Cyco - Go Go Go

Sumo Cyco’s Sever runs into a band of live scarecrows in a cornfield after being transported via some sort of TARDIS. She barely stomachs a meal with them and then shows ’em who’s boss. The heavy metal band released a number of fun MVs through the year. This was our favourite.

#5. Have a Heart, Meaghan Smith

Meaghan Smith - Have a Heart

This amazing MV plays like a short movie. Meaghan has fun with a mail-order robot boy who is vulnerable to water. Will she break his big, mechanical, flashing heart?

#4. Kryptonite, Danny Fernandes

Danny Fernandes - Kryptonite

This visually pleasing MV features a plethora of sparks, sparklers, and oil lamps, and is drenched in rich nighttime colours set at a decaying industrial site with old brick walls, steel railings, and pipes with peeling paint.

#3. Quarterback, Kira Isabella

Kira Isabella - Quarterback

The Ottawa singer rolled up the artificial turf laying down some ground shaking lyrics in one of the year’s best songs. Tackling an issue that few recording artists had the guts to address, the MV effectively drives the date rape message home amidst gorgeous set decorations.

#2. Conscience, Marie-Mai

Marie-Mai - Conscience

Filled with beautiful, ornate sets, this eye-popping MV has the superstar singer taking on various looks. Even more engaging are Marie-Mai’s adorable postures, hilarious facial expressions, and gestures as she uses her voice and her hands to convey various personalities. What a performer!

Canadian Music Blog’s 2014 Music Video of the Year

Hot off a much deserved JUNO win, the cutting edge EDM powwow-step trio released its first music video for the most popular track from album Nation II Nation. What we especially love about this stellar MV is that its special effects, innovative flashy lights and magical colours combine with beautiful Aboriginal fashions and art making First Nations culture very, very trendy. It’s an inspiration to us all and gives Canada’s most precious people something to cheer about. While watching the video, we become increasingly excited for the electric powwow event at its close. The Canadian Music Blog declares A Tribe Called Red’s “Sisters” (featuring Northern Voice) as 2014’s music video of the year HANDS DOWN!

A Tribe Called Red - Sisters - MV of the Year