Carly Rae Jepsen, Lou Phelps, Jahkoy and more: songs you need to hear this week
Five new songs to add to your playlist right now
With winter finally behind us, we are almost irrationally excited about spring, a time of renewal.
So, this week we're busy renewing our playlists with fresh Canadian songs from Carly Rae Jepsen, Lou Phelps, Jahkoy, Valley and Snotty Nose Rez Kids feat. Shanks Sioux. Scroll down to find out why you need to hear them, too.
What new Canadian tunes are you currently obsessed with? Share them with us on Twitter @CBCMusic.
'Word,' Lou Phelps
Lou Phelps didn't take home the 2018 Juno for rap recording of the year, but he didn't go home empty-handed either. During a Samsung Studio Sessions collaboration that took place at the Junos in Vancouver, Phelps connected with producer WondaGurl who has worked with some of hip-hop's biggest names, from Drake to Jay Z. The result of this fateful meet-up is "Word," Phelps's first single since his 2018 release, 002 / Love Me. The Wondagurl-produced track is a woozy dreamscape crafted for Phelps's dexterous verses to weave in and out of with a flirtatious ease.
The video that comes with "Word" is just as fun: different versions of Phelps's audition for the chance to be "the next big star" of a record label, only for each one to get shut down by exhausted execs. Intercut are clips of Phelps recreating iconic album covers, from Drake's Scorpion to Fugees' The Score. In a press release, Phelps notes that visuals are an important aspect of being not just a rapper, but also an artist: "You can drop great music but if you don't have the great artistry that accompanies it, whether that's the visuals or what not, it limits you in what you can become." With "Word," Phelps proves that his well-rounded vision has paid off once again.
— Melody Lau
'Park Bench,' Valley
Based on their penchant for major keys and happy-sounding songs — they have yet to drop one in a minor mode — you'd think Toronto-based pop quartet Valley had never had a bad day. (In fact, they have.) Their latest single, "Park Bench," continues this joyful trend, this time leaning on sample-based production that's a fun new direction for the group. "But I'll still stay blue, sitting right next to you," sings Rob Laska in the pre-chorus, with a falsetto tug on your heartstrings. But it doesn't stay wistful for long: at the two-minute mark, they double the tempo, creating a rush of adrenaline guaranteed to get your head bopping in solidarity.
— Robert Rowat
In 2017, Jahkoy told CBC's Dwight Drummond that he was "super hungry for it." That dedication has shown itself in everything he has done, from working with Jaden Smith to touring with Kehlani. Now, the Toronto-born singer and rapper has released his second full-length project, 404. The stand-out song, "Rearview," is a bouncy, summer-ready track. Like much of his previous music, this song adds a modern touch to the classic '90s R&B feel. Turn up the volume on your next drive, and leave your problems in the rearview.
— Natasha Ramoutar
'Julien,' Carly Rae Jepsen
Many adjectives come to mind when you think of Carly Rae Jepsen's music — tuneful, smart, catchy, to name a few. Now you can add funky to that list, with the release of "Julien," track 1 from her upcoming album, Dedicated. A meditation on a former lover (the eponymous Julien) whom Jepsen can't get out of her system, the song injects elements of disco and funk into her signature synth-pop sound, and the result is a serene, urbane and breezy anthem that'll have you boldly sashaying into the warmer months ahead. — RR
'I Can't Remember my Name,' Snotty Nose Rez Kids feat. Shanks Sioux
The title of Snotty Nose Rez Kids' latest track implies that something or someone is lost, echoing a feeling of displacement that has been projected onto Indigenous communities by settlers for ages. But if you know the B.C. rap duo, you know their music has always presented the opposite: a self-assured confidence in embracing identity and history in order to stake their claim in the present. "Instead of being consumed by society, we preserve everything that makes us Indigenous by staying true to ourselves through all the bullshit," they said in a recent press release.
The piano-laden trap number, "I Can't Remember my Name," like many of Snotty Nose Rez Kids' best tracks, places them squarely in the middle of today's hip-hop culture — Lil Pump, Jay Z and Kanye are all name-checked or interpolated here — because that's exactly where they belong. Not only are the beats invigorating and show-stopping, but so is the message. — ML