Ariana Grande's assist on a Weeknd remix, and 6 more songs you need to hear this week
Fresh Canadian tracks to add to your playlist right now
Here at CBC Music, we're always on high alert for new songs by Canadian artists.
This week, we're listening to new tracks from:
- vbnd, Katie Tupper and the Soulmate Collective.
- The Weeknd featuring Ariana Grande.
- waants featuring Sorrey.
- Lūn (a.k.a. Lights), remixed by Glass Petals.
- Dijah SB.
- Nilly Noy featuring Emanuel.
Scroll down to find out why you need to listen, too.
What new Canadian tunes are you currently obsessed with? Share them with us on Twitter @CBCMusic.
Hit play on our brand new Songs You Need to Hear stream, filled with songs that CBC Music's producers have chosen for their playlists, and tune into CBC Music Mornings every Thursday to hear CBC Music's Jess Huddleston and Saroja Coelho reveal which of these tracks is the standout new Canadian song.
'Fallin' For,' vbnd, Katie Tupper, the Soulmate Collective
After releasing two fine EPs (2017's We go on Infinitely and 2018's Daughter of the Sun), Saskatoon bassist, songwriter and producer Devon Gunn (a.k.a. vbnd) has finally dropped his debut full-length, Scum Funk, and it exceeds our best expectations. If you like nocturnal neo-soul with a firm foundation in jazz, then settle into Scum Funk's mix of vocal and instrumental tracks, performed by Gunn and his longtime collaborators Katie Tupper and the Soulmate Collective. "Fallin' For" seduces you with crunchy electric piano chords, a deeply satisfying repeated three-chord progression, a jaw-dropping bass solo and languorous vocals from Tupper. "My, my, my, how can this be? I've fallen for a man who doesn't know me," she sings in the chorus, infusing this urbane lament with rustic bayou vibes. — Robert Rowat
'Million Dollar Bed,' Babygirl
You've got a special song on your hands when two simple guitar chords bring a listener back to an entire era where jeans were much lower and life was much simpler. Toronto pop-rock duo Babygirl has achieved peak 2002 with its new EP Losers Weepers — in particular the earworm single "Million Dollar Bed" — which sounds as if Phoebe Bridgers went back in time to contribute to the How to Deal soundtrack, after listening to a lot of Drake. "Bentleys and Ferraris, a house on the hill/ But in my million dollar bed, I'll dream about you still," sings lead singer Kirsten 'Kiki' Frances with a breathy air of ennui, confirming that while fame isn't everything, this song is proof that Babygirl is likely moments away from finding it. — Jess Huddleston
'Save Your Tears' (remix), the Weeknd feat. Ariana Grande
The Weeknd spent much of 2020 atop the Billboard charts with his hit song "Blinding Lights," but he seems to still be aiming for chart domination with his most recent single, "Save Your Tears." Currently sitting at No. 5 on the Billboard Hot 100 — its peak position was No. 4 back in February — the song finds the Toronto R&B star hoping to boost its streams and sales once again with a brand new remix featuring frequent collaborator Ariana Grande. The new version doesn't stray much from the original, maintaining the same saccharine '80s-inspired synth soundscape as the Weeknd reflects on a past relationship, admitting now: "You look so happy when I'm not with you." Instead of pulling out any extensive vocal gymnastics, Grande's contributions are relatively restrained as she assumes the same role as the Weeknd, singing to a subject, "I couldn't help it, I put you through hell." Any opportunity to hear these two mega stars harmonizing and feeding off each other is a win in the world of pop, and while this remix isn't the most exciting of their repertoire, it's a sound addition to their growing list of duets. — Melody Lau
'Keep Careful,' waants feat. Sorrey
"Keep Careful" feels like the perfect motto for spring 2021, as we walk a double-edged sword sharpened by vaccination hope and dulled by a devastating third wave. If we keep careful, we may make it. But that's not what Halifax musician waants had in mind for his dark-hearted pop track, because dropping into those '80s synths and that buoyant keyboard line is the other shoe: "Keep careful/ 'cause I feel like breaking up."
"I don't really remember what the source of my frustration was in my relationship at the time, but I do remember being in a 'mood' and just deciding to lean into that feeling as I was sitting down to write," explained Adam Warren, a.k.a. waants, via email. Dramatizing that "nugget of truth" brought him to "Keep Careful," sung by Emily Sorrey, of P.E.I.-born, now Halifax-based Sorrey. It's clear on the bridge that no one's going anywhere ("Waited so long to find you/ I'm not leaving you now," Sorrey sings wistfully), and the one-sidedness of the mood spiral is both cathartic and telling. Sometimes, though, you need to indulge your frustrations — and doing it to a waants/Sorrey dance jam is good medicine. — Holly Gordon
'demolition' (ruined by Glass Petals), Lūn, Lights
As the title suggests, there's a lot to unpack on this track. Let's start with Lights: the singer has been increasingly grounded in EDM over the past few years, working with the likes of DeadMau5, Myth, Illenium and Felix Cartal. Lights began releasing her own electronic music productions under the Lūn moniker this month, including this track called "demolition." Despite being just days old, "demolition" was quickly "ruined" (read: remixed) by Glass Petals, an electronic duo consisting of Canadian DJs Johnny Jover and the aforementioned Cartal.
Now that you're up to speed, let's talk about the track itself, which, thankfully, is more straightforward. Its menacing bassline is its heartbeat, which races early on in this danceable anthem, landing its first drop at the 30-second mark. From there, your rump will be feeling the pull of that ear-tickling bass as it propels the song forward amid chops and cuts of vocals from Lights. As a cool-down, the song pumps the breaks around 2:20, but don't expect to catch your breath for too long. It's really just an opportunity to build it all back up again for more ass-shaking. — Ben Aylsworth
'Head Above the Waters,' Dijah SB
Toronto rapper Dijah SB is perhaps best known for their energetic anthems and boundless energy, always elevating the mood with their upbeat bounce. And while that is definitely present on their latest release, Head Above the Waters, the more downtempo moments are just as compelling. The album's title track still relies on a propulsive beat, but its subdued production allows for Dijah SB to deliver an encouraging and earnest message. "How you feelin'/ hope it's alright," they ask on the hook, "When the current gets rough, stay up/ keep swimming/ yeah, keep swimming." The track is a brief moment for Dijah SB to slow down, catch their breath and take stock of the moment — and it's a poignant reminder for listeners to do the same. — ML
'Cece,' Nilly Noy feat. Emanuel
After wowing us with 2020's "Blessing," Nilly Noy and Emanuel are back with another enticing collaboration. "Cece" feels very much like a sequel — it's in the same key as "Blessing" and builds upon the original song's Latin/dancehall beat, adding a quasi carnal tone. An ode to the eponymous Cece, the song employs mariachi horn samples to create a carnival atmosphere, where one pictures our heroine sashaying through a crowd of revelers and leaving a trail of admirers in her wake. It's the kind of party scene that will remain a fantasy until the pandemic subsides, but the spirit of "Cece" will enhance all your outdoor summer activities, no matter how subdued. — RR