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The 30 best Canadian albums of 2014

Editorial Staff

What is your favourite album of the year? It's not an easy thing to determine, especially given the breadth of great music that was released across the country this year. And how do you even say something is the best, when it clearly depends on individual taste?

For us, it involved a lot of lists, a lot of listening and a lot of arguing, and as hard as it was, we managed to agree on 30 albums that impressed us the most. Whether it was because they were big and brash, poignant and subdued, technically awe-inspiring or all of the above, these albums represent, in our opinion, the best Canadian music released in 2014.

Simply put, these 30 albums stood out above the rest. Scroll through the list below to see them.

Timber Timbre, Hot Dreams 

Hot Dreams captured me from the haunting first notes of album opener “Beat the Drum Slowly.” It’s an atmospheric, spooky drive down a desert highway at midnight, and you won’t want to get out of the car. The sparse, echoey guitar and dark, crooning vocals of member Taylor Kirk deliver cinematic appeal, pulling you into his world, keeping you there in anticipation of the next scene rolling out. “Curtains!?” hints at early ‘60s psychedelia while “Run From Me” tells an unsettling story of a sordid relationship. Colin Stetson’s sax offers even more colour on “Hot Dreams” and “The Three Sisters.” It’s this orchestration and mood that makes it one of the best albums of 2014. — Heather Collett

Motel Raphael, Cable TV 

Motel Raphael first came to our attention during the 2013 Searchlight competition. What a thrill to see the Montreal champions grow into such a tight and charismatic pop outfit. Cable TV is a harmony- and hook-packed charmer about love and longing, sure to win you over. As good as this album is, it's clear there is more to come. — Mike Miner

Mike Miner's top 5

1. Sturgill Simpson, Metamodern Sounds In Country Music
2. Ex Hex, Rips
3. Lydia Loveless, Somewhere Else
4. Alvvays, Alvvays
5. Hiss Golden Messenger, Lateness of Dancers

Steph Cameron, Sad-eyed Lonesome Lady

The story behind Steph Cameron’s debut disc,Sad-eyed Lonesome Lady, reads like a musician's fairy tale. The British Columbia-based songwriter started passing songs to musical friends, and one of those demos landed on the desk of Pheromone Recordings owner Kim Cooke. Intrigued by what he heard, Cooke invited Cameron to Toronto to get to know her, and to maybe get her into the studio to cut a song. Over the course of three days, one song became 13 and Cameron had her debut album. Expect great things from this young, talented performer in 2015 as Canada and the rest of the world discover her musical charms. — Julian Tuck

Julian Tuck's top 5

1. Sturgill Simpson, Metamodern Sounds in Country Music
2. Rosanne Cash, The River & the Thread 
3. Amelia Curran, They Promised You Mercy 
4. Bahamas, Bahamas is Afie 
5. St. Vincent, St. Vincent

Death From Above 1979, The Physical World

In a world with an overripe indie music scene, an unspoken wish on the lips of scores of showgoers and vinyl collectors has been "New DFA." Then, like a bolt of lightning splitting the Matterhorn, from the rubble of an extinct volcano emerged this summer's The Physical World, the first proper album from the Toronto duo in a decade. Back were the thundering beats, the waves of infectious noise and the barely contained anxious energy that only Sebastien Grainger and Jesse F. Keeler could bring. Revisiting well trodden ground with tracks like "Trainwreck 1979" and "Crystal Ball," DFA have done the impossible: they've created a time machine, bringing back the same energy and excitement that existed all those years ago. And fans have never been happier. Steve Venegas

Steve Venegas's top 5

1. Alvvays, Alvvays 
2. Napalmpom, The Unconditional Love of Napalmpom 
3. Mac DeMarco, Salad Days 
4. Wish, Wish 
5. PS I Love You, For Those Who Stay

Adrian Raso & Fanfare Ciocarlia, Devil’s Tale

It's hard to imagine a more unlikely collaboration: a big band of brass-loving Romany musicians from a remote mountain village in eastern Romania teaming up with a guitar wizard from the royal city of Guelph, Ont. Fanfare Ciocarlia are the biggest Roma brass band in the world — you may know them from their cover of “Born to be Wild” from the movie Borat. Guelph's Adrian Raso had a dream to add his Roma jazz-inspired licks to Ciocarlia’s groove, and the resulting chemistry is diabolical. There are no lyrics on this album, Devil’s Tale, but the wicked stories that swing and blast from the fingers and mouths of these musicians make it one of the year’s best.— Reuben Mann

Reuben Mann's top 5

1. The War on Drugs, Lost in the Dream 
2. Toumani Diabate and Sidiki Diabate, Toumani & Sidiki
3. Caribou, Our Love 
4. The Barr Brothers, Sleeping Operator 
5. Adrian Raso and Fanfare Ciocarlia, Devil’s Tale

Cousins, The Halls of Wickwire

The third full-length album from the Halifax duo washes over you with a sound rich with texture and reverb. Influenced in part by his grandmother, Aaron Mangle sings about her struggle with dementia and eventual death in tracks such as "Alone" and "Phone." It's not a sad record, though; the lyrics are thoughtful, but never lost in the lively layers of drums and guitar. The album is buzzing with garage-rock energy and layered with a California fuzz so warm that if you just rolled down the window, you could almost taste the salty air. — Samantha Smith

Samantha Smith's top 5

1. Curtis Harding, Soul Power 
2. Tanya Tagaq, Animism 
3. Mac DeMarco, Salad Days 
4. Needles//Pins, Shamebirds 
5. The Growlers, Chinese Fountain

Chromeo, White Women

In the decade since Chromeo's debut album, the electro-funk duo racked up a few solid singles ("Needy Girl," "Night by Night" and "Don't Turn the Lights On"), but didn't hit it out of the park with a satisfying complete album. 2014's White Women makes a more assertive statement than their three previous studio efforts. Leading the charge is the irresistible disco anthem "Jealous (I Ain't With it)," which gets my vote for song of the summer. More mellow and more soulful is the single "Over Your Shoulder," whereas "Come Alive," featuring added vocals by Toro y Moi, brims with dancey joy. Uniting all the tracks is Chromeo's inventive, unapologetic borrowing of '70s disco and funk riffs that give all their music its distinctive sound. — Robert Rowat

Robert Rowat's top 5

1. Nico & Vinz, Black Star Elephant 
2. Sam Smith, In the Lonely Hour 
3. Chromeo, White Women 
4. Clean Bandit, New Eyes 
5. Chris Brown, X

Jay Malinowski & the Deadcoast, Martel

Forget what you know about Bedouin Soundclash. With Martel, Jay Malinowski took a driving step into his more distant past and emerged with an ambitious solo effort: a concept album about his sailor grandfather, accompanied by an illustrated novella. Drawing on family history, letters and old recordings, Malinowski brings the listener into shipping ports and onto merchant ships, into open seas and open journals. Together with his band, the Deadcoast, Malinowski juxtaposes bouncy piano lines with plucky strings, new wave percussion and otherworldly harmonium to build the sonic currents for the journey that winds from Singapore to Brittany to Gaspé. Falsetto and rasp, swells and fades, skulls and fates, tough guys and tender hearts, ghosts and memory —Martel is a work anchored in narrative, buoyed by sound.  Brad Frenette

Brad Frenette's top 5

1. Elbow, The Take Off and Landing of Everything
2. Hey Rosetta!, Second Sight 
3. Shovels and Rope, Swimmin' Time 
4. Daniel Lanois, Flesh and Machine
5. Frazey Ford, Indian Ocean

Tre Mission, Stigmata

While Tre Mission may have started his career as North America’s only grime artist, his second full-length album — his first for British label Big Dada — showed that he’s one of the most diverse MCs and producers working today. The beats range from the hazy, moody cloud rap of “Boy in the Corner” and the gentle, guitar- and piano-driven “Money Make (Her)” to the straight-ahead, hard-charging grime of “Real Grind” and the skittering two-step of “On Road.” Lyrically, he’s equally broad, getting deep, introspective and emotionally vulnerable one minute, then turning around and diving right into hard-as-nails, dope-selling street raps on the next track, as well as breaking out a couple great examples of rap as storytelling. — Chris Dart

Chris Dart's top 5

1. Run the Jewels, Run the Jewels 2
2. F--ked Up, Glass Boys
3. Tre Mission, Stigmata
4. St. Vincent, St. Vincent 
5. Tie: Tanya Tagaq, Animism and Bass Drum of Death, Rip This

Mo Kenney, In My Dreams 

When I first heard Mo Kenney's debut single "Deja Vu" a few years ago, I knew right away I was listening to a special voice that only comes along every so often in Canadian music. Since that first single, I saw her excellent debut album be released to pretty widespread acclaim. I also managed to meet Kenney face to face at the Vancouver Folk Festival, possibly freaking her out at my unbridled enthusiasm for her talent. EnterIn My Dreams, Kenney's new album, released earlier this fall. The album is much more of an electric, full band effort than the debut, which leaned more toward singer-songwriter material. These new songs may remind you of the Everly Brothers, k.d. lang or Kenney's mentor and producer, Joel Plaskett. Standout tracks include "Pretty Things," "Mountains to the Mess" and the single "Telephones," nominated for song of the year in our 2014 CBC Music Awards. Grant Lawrence

Lydia Ainsworth, Right From Real 

Enchanting. Mystical. Cinematic. These are all words you could toss around to describe Lydia Ainsworth's stunning debut full-length, Right From Real. There are echoes of T -era Kate Bush, Bulgarian Women's choir vocal inflections (something we haven't seen in pop music since the aforementioned Bush), and lush string arrangements rooted in Ainsworth's background as a student of film composition at McGill and NYU. Her music is manic, building up like billowing thunder clouds only to land in a clear sky of stars. Her incredible understanding of space and tension sets her apart from your average "orchestral pop artist." She's created her own genre, and that's why Right From Real is the best of 2014. Louise Burns

Louise Burns' top 5:

1. War On Drugs, Lost in the Dream 
2. Lydia Ainsworth, Right From Real 
3. Sharon Van Etten, Are We There? 
4. Run The Jewels, Run the Jewels 2
5. Dada Plan, A Dada Plan is Free 

Stars, No One Is Lost

The Stars album No One is Lost feels like an old friend who says it like it is — not to hurt you, but because they’re with you through the thick of it. From pulling your nostalgic heart strings with a sweet sing-along about the first day of school to disco-tinged gems about death and loss, Stars manage to find beauty in the collective heartache of the human experience. Instead of looking for a cloud’s silver lining, with No One is Lost, Stars want you to dance with them in the rain. — Lana Gay

Arkells, High Noon 

If I had to use one overused cliché to describe Arkells' new album — if I was John Madden or Don Cherry and I was doing a sports panel show about the record — I'd simply say, "They stepped up." This is a band that has one of the best live shows in the entire country, that feels like the heirs apparent to the Tragically Hip or Constantines or Bryan Adams or whatever. This is the record that is finally as good as their live show — and for a band with the presence of Arkells, that's saying something. Tom Power

Tom Power's top 5:

1. Chris Eldridge and Julian Lage, Avalon 
2. Sturgill Simpson, Metamodern Sounds in Country Music 
3. Hey Rosetta!, Second Sight 
4. Ryan Adams, Ryan Adams 
5. Old Man Luedecke, I Never Sang Before I Met You

Mac DeMarco, Salad Days

The thing about Mac DeMarco is that you're either going to really love him or really hate him. In fact, no album on this list was more divisive among the staff here at CBC Music. Regardless of your feelings, though, you do have to admit he had a helluva year: recording Salad Days in his Brooklyn apartment and releasing it to pretty much universal acclaim; making it to the Polaris Music Prize short list (not to mention being the life of the party at the gala); and very successfully keeping up the ongoing spectacle that are his buzzed-about live shows. Fortunately, he made an album to back it all up. Salad Days is sweet and snarky, charming and obnoxious, necessary and frivolous. It's digestible guitar pop delivered in a messy anti-hero package. Why would you want to root against that? — Andrea Gin

Andrea Gin's top 5:

1. Alvvays, Alvvays
2. Mac DeMarco, Salad Days
3. Sharon Van Etten, Are We There?
4. Bleachers, Strange Desire
5. Weaves, Weaves

Lowell, We Loved Her Dearly

Indie and pop are often genres that feel worlds apart, but when it works? Life is good. It's music for your body and brain. Lowell's full-length debut album, We Loved Her Dearly, falls into this camp. It's got catchy pop songs like “Bells” and “Tell Me What To Do” to lift you off your feet, but it's also the darker songs to keep you grounded: “Words Were the Wars;” “Summertime.” And because life is complex, some of the best tracks feature both, like “Cloud 69” and “LGBT.” It’s what makes this album so strong: it makes you feel good and you don't have to be ashamed about it. — Ben Aylsworth

Sam Roberts, Lo-Fantasy  

Writing an album review feels a bit like writing a eulogy: you pick the best parts, maybe mention that it wasn’t perfect or wasn’t for everyone but you loved it anyway, and then you send it off. The problem is, this wasn’t just a typical Sam Roberts Band album; this was the rebirth of Sam Roberts Band. We heard hints on their last album of this new direction, but Lo-Fantasy brought it to a new level with harder-hitting beats and larger synths. Roberts has spoken in interviews about how much their producer, Youth, put them through the ringer, and you can tell. I hear the members pushing themselves. I hear the sweat that went into creating this record. A eulogy for the decade-old Canadian indie rockers? Seems like they’re just getting started. — Matt Fisher

Matt Fisher's top 5:

1. Boy & Bear, Harlequin Dream 
2. Sam Roberts Band, Lo-Fantasy 
3. First Aid Kit, Stay Gold 
4. Bombay Bicycle Club, So Long, See You Tomorrow 
5. Alt-J, This is All Yours

Jennifer Castle, Pink City

I fell in love with Jennifer Castle’s Pink City when I wrote up the First Play of the record back in August. Pink City is the heart of a hummingbird: small, quiet, compact and so very strong. There's no bombast to be found on the record's 10 tracks; it’s unassuming and confident, content to let Castle's lyrics float above piano or flute or delicately deliberate strings (thanks to Owen Pallett). "How or Why" depicts happiness with a hint of melancholy; "Sailing Away" recalls Joni Mitchell at her most pitch-perfect and insightful; "Nature" contains wry observations ("And underneath a rolling dime/ I lift my skirt for the economy"). These were the earliest standouts from this pretty perfect collection, and all are still tucked inside my head and my heart. — Andrea Warner

Andrea Warner's top 5:

1. First Aid Kit, Stay Gold 
2. Jennifer Castle, Pink City 
3. FKA Twigs, LP1 
4. Tanya Tagaq, Animism 
5. Jenny Lewis, Voyager

Rural Alberta Advantage, Mended with Gold

I am happy to confess I own a copy of Rural Alberta Advantage's latest album, Mended With Gold, on gold and black vinyl. Each track on the album has a place in the soundtrack to (my) daydreams. Lead singer Nils Edenloff has this unique vocal tone that drives this band, and when the melody hits, out comes this energy that only a few can really harness. There is nothing basic about the sound this band puts out. Mended With Gold might not be their strongest album to date, but I'm definitely not writing them off because of it. Check out "This City," "Terrified," "All We've Ever Known" for the golden tracks. — Mary-Anne Korosi

Mary-Anne Korosi's top 5:

1. Bishops Green, Pressure 
2. The Rebel Sepll, Last Run 
3. Iron Reagan, Tyranny of Will 
4. Death From Above 1979, The Physical World 
5. Pup, Pup

Jenn Grant, Compostela

Jenn Grant’s fifth full-length is a bundle of love notes filled with stories of bombshells and trailer parks and Barcelona. Cinematic in its imagery, the album was partly inspired by a trip to Spain following her mother’s death, and over the 13 tracks it’s beautiful to see that, from a place of mourning, Grant found some light. Compostela is an intimate, orchestral album of stories both fiction and true, featuring at least 10 voices other than Grant’s — from Doug Paisley to Rose Cousins, as well as Halifax up-and-comers Kim Harris and Stewart Legere. With a couple darker outlaw-like numbers to reassure us that Grant still wants to rock out, Compostela is the perfect balance of light and dark.  Holly Gordon

Holly Gordon's top 5:

1. Alvvays, Alvvays
2. Angel Olsen, Burn Your Fire For No Witness
3. St. Vincent, St. Vincent
4. First Aid Kit, Stay Gold
5. Taylor Swift, 1989

Caribou, Our Love

The beauty of Caribou's latest album, Our Love, is his minimalist/maximalist approach to songwriting. He uses minimal sonic ingredients to maximum emotional effect. Every vintage synth swell, drum pad hit and sustained vocal note have their own place, tastefully mixed to interact dynamically together while steering clear of suffocating the album’s message of unabashed love. The result is a sonically rich album that’s vulnerable, without being self-conscious; accessible, without lacking depth; an ode to love, without relying on the tropes of “baby, baby, baby” choruses of past. Our Love created the perfect love album for the non-sappy romantic. — Alanna Stuart

Alanna Stuart's top 5:

1. Wildbirds & Peacedrums, Rhythm
2. Jungle, Jungle EP
3. Bahamas, Bahamas is Afie 
4. St. Vincent, St. Vincent 
5. Caribou, Our Love

Owen Pallett, In Conflict

A collaboration between Owen Pallett and Brian Eno was bound to happen some time. Pallett’s loop-based, atmospheric music has always brought the ambient master to mind (as has his ability to move in both “pop” and “serious” music circles). But Eno’s influence on In Conflict isn’t limited to his actual participation as a guitarist/keyboardist/backing vocalist. The whole album is steeped in the same spirit of great pop hooks clothed in elaborate, unlikely arrangements that characterize Eno’s Another Green World. How much more can an artist possibly achieve? — Matthew Parsons

New Pornographers, Brill Bruisers

Listening to Brill Bruisers, I'm urged to stay up all night, take the wheel, march 10 paces, use muscle memory and jump canyons. It does what a great album should do: inspire and exhaust. In short, to appreciate Brill Bruisers, you’re gonna need your body. — Mark Macarthur

Cold Specks, Neuroplasticity

Simmer down and settle in to Cold Specks’sNeuroplasticity. Cold Specks’s gravelly voice betrays a wisdom, pain and confidence well beyond her 26 years. Neuroplasticity strings the listener along, its compelling lyrics set to an emotional barrage of “doom soul” (her words) bordering on cacophony and darkness, but pulling us back into a melodic lull. This album seamlessly merges several genres: a rock bassline can be found following a heartbreaking trumpet solo, all after a sonically complex and sombre chorus. Such is the skill of an experienced songsmith. Following in the steps of Amy Winehouse, Cold Specks is able to infuse an interesting point of view into her soul/jazz/rock mélange. — Nicolle Weeks

Nicolle Weeks's top 5:

1. Alvvays, Alvvays 
2. Cold Specks, Neuroplasticity 
3. Damon Albarn, Everyday Robots 
4. Hozier, Hozier
5. Real Estate, Atlas 

Frazey Ford, Indian Ocean

For her second solo record, former Be Good Tanyas member Frazey Ford recruited some Memphis soul performers to deepen her alt-folk sound. Joining her on Indian Ocean is the Hi Rhythm Section, made up of Charles Hodges (organ), Leroy Hodges (bass) and the late Teenie Hodges (guitar, and Drake’s uncle). They were all members of Al Green’s band, and you can hear that signature soul vibe all over this record. The songs range from joyous to mournful, with shades of gospel, blues and country. There’s a definite groove throughout, with every gorgeous voice and instrument coming together to create carefully crafted songs that sound effortless. Ford’s unique, velvety, oscillating alto paired with these skillful soul players make for a warm, rich and comforting record. If you dig this, check out Cat Power’s record The Greatest, which also features the Hi Rhythm Section. 
— Jeanette Cabral

Jeanette Cabal's top 5:

1. Hozier, Hozier
2. Ray Lamontagne, Supernova 
3. Tune-yards, Nikki Nack 
4. Bahamas, Bahamas is Afie 
5. Hey Rosetta!, Second Sight

F--ked Up, Glass Boys

Growing up is hard to do. It’s especially hard if you’re a lifelong punk rocker. But somehow, the members of Toronto’s F--ked Up managed to translate those growing pains into arguably their strongest album to date. Glass Boys is tighter and more concise than David Comes to Life and more tightly wound than Chemistry of a Common Life. While singer Damian Abraham may moan on the title track, “I wore out my grooves, I'm just a faded tune/ Not an echo boom, but a whimper,” the truth is the exact opposite: F--ked Up are booming louder and stronger than ever. — Mitch Pollock 

Mitch Pollock's top 5:

1. War on Drugs, Lost in the Dream
2. F--ked Up, Glass Boys
3. New Pornographers, Brill Bruisers
4. Rich Aucoin, Ephemeral
5. Tie: Alvvays, Alvvays and Against Me!,Transgender Dysphoria Blues

Daniel Lanois, Flesh and Machine

Fervently futuristic. That’s what Daniel Lanois’ sixth solo album is about. The 63-year-old musical magician is, as expected, taking new turns, eager to explore bigger landscapes, searching for something new. Flesh and Machineis quite suggestive and feels like a trip into the future, into space or under the deep sea (“Aquatic” evokes whales singing). Except for the raucous drum and guitars on “The End” or the strained “Sioux Lookout,” the album, an expressionist masterpiece, explores electronic sounds and samples in slow motion, suggestive and subtly disturbed by vocals or beats. Flesh and Machine has this rare quality of sticking with you well after you’ve experienced it. 
Ariane Cipriani, ICI Musique

Ariane Cipriani's top 5:

1. Fred Pellerin, Plus tard qu’on pense
2. Robert Plant, Lullaby and… The Ceaseless Roar
3. Leonard Cohen, Popular Problems

4. Somi, The Lagos Music Salon
5. Timber Timbre, Hot Dreams

Hey Rosetta!, Second Sight

Second Sight is an album to drown in. Right from symphonic pop opener “Soft Offering (for the Oft Suffering)," it demands your full immersion into its ebb and flow. Tracks run long, traditional structures are ignored and every song feeds into the next, the collective whole slowly riding, with the utmost restraint, the crest of a wave on the cusp of crashing. When it does come down, it’s in fits of power, from the climactic end of “Neon Beyond” to the penultimate “Harriet,” which stacks what should be the choruses on top of each other at the end in one final burst of joy. You need the sombre album closer “Trish’s Song” just to recuperate. — Jesse Kinos-Goodin

Jesse Kinos-Goodin's top 5:

1. Hey Rosetta!, Second Sight 
2. Run the Jewels, Run the Jewels 2 
3. The Black Keys, Turn Blue 
4. Frazey Ford, Indian Ocean 
5. F--ked Up, Glass Boys

Bahamas, Bahamas is Afie  

In baseball, scouts talk about five tool players: a player each who can hit for average, power, run bases, throw and field. If albums were baseball,Bahamas is Afie would be a five-tool player. It works as a passive and active listen. It translates magnificently live and right down to the “hoo”s on “Nothing to Me Now” there’s nary a wasted note or lyric. It’s all killer and simply no filler. From the opening acoustic caress of “Waves,” to the orgasmic sonic swell of “All Time Favourite,” to the lo-fi rockabilly shimmy of “Little Record Girl” — they all add up to Bahamas is Afie being one of the musical gems of Canadian music in 2014. Judith Lynch

Judith Lynch's top 5:

1. Melanie De Biasio, No Deal 
2. Imogen Heap, Sparks 
3. Touré-Raichel Collective, The Paris Session 
4. Lowell, We Loved Her Dearly 
5. Tanya Tagaq, Animism

Tanya Tagaq, Animism 

Each time you drop the needle, hit your space bar or tap the play icon on your iPhone, the sound that billows out may entertain or overtake you, but it is dead. Recorded music is inanimate. That disconnect between the form and its effect only serve to give truth to the title of Tanya Tagaq’s Animism, loosely defined as the belief animals, plants and — yes, even lifeless objects — have souls. On Animism, Tagaq screeches, screams, cries, pants and grunts using a self-taught solo style of Inuit throat singing, and barely a handful of lyrics over 49 transporting minutes. Set against a haunting score of urgent strings and foreboding percussion, Animism offers a visceral and bittersweet musical experience, which channels innate human experience and strips it bare to reveal the animal in us all. In an era where digital reigns, how bracing that an album built on ancient musical style is not just one of the year’s most captivating listens, but a work that embodies the beast that is nature. —Brian Coulton, Q

Alvvays, Alvvays

Face it: we’re all hopeless romantics, whether we admit it or not. You can say you picked Alvvays’s self-titled debut as your number one album because its sunny guitar hooks formed your perfect summer soundtrack, but the truth is, it was Molly Rankin’s tales of lovestruck longing that whipped you into a frenzy. This is what the finest purveyors of pop music do: hide lovelorn lyrics under catchy beats to draw you into a state of blissful despair, full of daydreams about love gone wrong and romance out of reach. But instead of getting too dramatic, Rankin keeps it simple and dreamy on tracks like “Party Police” (“You don’t have to leave/ You can just stay here with me”) and the irresistible “Archie, Marry Me” (“Too late to go out, too young to stay in/ They're talking about us living in sin”). Alvvays deserves this number-one spot not only because the band has blown up, received nonstop buzz and will continue to capture listeners with its spellbinding formula, but also because every time you listen to this album, it will draw you right back to your own lovestruck summer of 2014. Which, yeah, sounds corny, but hey — you love this record. You’re a hopeless romantic, too. — Emma Godmere

Emma Godmere's top 5:

1. Alvvays, Alvvays
2. Hey Rosetta!, Second Sight
3. Taylor Swift, 1989
4. Bleachers, Strange Desire
5. White Sea, In Cold Blood

But the conversation shouldn't stop there. What were your favourites this year? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter what we missed, and tag it #CBCTop30 @CBCMusic.

Have your say: Vote now for your favourte artists on the CBC Music Awards long list!