Best records of 2022

I don’t do the top ten albums anymore, much to the chagrin of Scott Sellers and Lee Hill, but I do feel an obligation to let y’all know which albums and singles are the best of 2022 – in fact, not in my opinion. In fact.

The best album belongs to Wet Leg and is their debut. I like to suggest to people that I introduced them to North America, and that sort of is almost true, because I’ve been listening to them from just about the first moment they popped up on TikTok and blew my mind.

This album – Wet Leg, fittingly – is without flaw. Every note, every chord, every lyric, is perfect. There is nothing that needs to be changed. These two women, and their back up gang of Isle of Wight guys, are going to be massive stars. Just listen to ‘Wet Dream,’ if you don’t believe me.

The contest for best song of the year is a tie – and both of them relate to current events. Drug Church, who are the logical extension of the Pixies and Fucked Up and the Stooges, are intense and angry and important. This song, ‘Million Miles of Fun,’ features a lyric in the chorus with which all of us can now identify: “Newsflash – I need news less.”

That tune is tied with this one, which pre-dated the overturning of Roe v. Wade, but it will be eternal. It’s also a loud and proud defence of abortion, and women’s rights to control their own bodies. Best part: when the Petrol Girls’ Ren Aldridge screams “AND I’M NOT SORRY!” Vital, furious, essential.

My latest: the winners in 2022

It’s that time of year!

The time, that is, when columnists haul out their naughty and nice lists, and type up political winners and losers. And who am I to buck tradition?

So, herewith and heretofore, the political winners of 2022!

(The political losers column comes next. And being on the winners list, by the way, is no guarantee that you won’t also be on the losers list.)

Justin Trudeau. Yes, yes, we know. You don’t like him. I don’t like him, either. But by any political standard, the Liberal leader had a winning year: he just did.

He didn’t just win the Mississauga-Lakeshore byelection — his candidate, who was not without blemish, absolutely clobbered his Conservative opponent. And that’s in a riding that Doug Ford’s Conservatives won handily just a few months ago.

That’s not all: Trudeau’s Big Date with Destiny was supposed to be his appearance at the inquiry into the use of the Emergencies Act in Ottawa and elsewhere. And not only did he not lose his cool during many hours of cross-examination, Trudeau did exceptionally well. He kicked ass, in fact.

Finally, Justin’s a winner for the most important reason of all: he is still standing. He still has power. He still is the prime minister who defeated three Tory leaders in a row.

And don’t be surprised if he goes on to defeat a fourth.

Pierre Poilievre. The Ottawa area MP didn’t just win his party’s leadership — he absolutely crushed the competition. And that competition included an actual former Conservative leader, Jean Charest, who is a pretty accomplished and respected politician.

Since he became leader, Poilievre has pulled back from the Freedumb Convoy and Bitcoin and conspiracy theory nonsense, and he hasn’t had a single caucus bimbo eruption — and, for the Tories, that’s a pretty big achievement.

Predictions that he would be facing an election with a divided party — and I was one who made such a prediction — were completely wrong. His party looks to be quite united behind him, and getting ready for an election that could come at any time now.

Joe Biden. Full disclosure: I worked for Biden on his presidential race, so I’m a bit biased when it comes to the 46th president. But I think I’m entirely justified in admiring the guy so much: like my former boss Jean Chretien, Biden is consistently underestimated by his opponents, and then he consistently exceeds expectations.

Everyone thought that he would get clobbered in the midterms, but he didn’t. He actually increased his party’s standing in the Senate, and he kept the Republicans to a puny number of victories in the House of Representatives. He may be as old as Methuselah, but he’s as smart as Methuselah. Discount Biden at your peril.

Premiers Doug Ford, John Horgan, Francois Legault. The three men who lead, or led, our three biggest provinces were wildly successful. Ford got reelected with a bigger majority, Quebec’s Legault got reelected with a big majority, and B.C.’s Horgan left his party in better shape than he found it — and said party is still governing. While our national leadership is often uninspiring, these three men — whatever their faults — knew how to win, when they needed to win.

Incumbents. If there’s one thing the pandemic taught us, it’s that Canadian voters don’t like changing horses midstream. Incumbent leaders — particularly at the municipal level — held onto power and easily defeated any and all challengers.

Mayor John Tory in Toronto – and his counterparts, Bonnie Crombie in Mississauga, Patrick Brown in Brampton, Valerie Plante in Montreal – and so on: all of these leaders revealed themselves to be solid performers during the pandemic, and voters rewarded them accordingly.

We could go on — and that’s a good thing — but we don’t want you to think that I’m too positive. There’s lots of negative stuff to remind you about, too.

That comes in the next column!