Ceréna's prayer for a better world, and 4 more songs you need to hear this week

Fresh Canadian tracks to add to your playlist right now.

Fresh Canadian tracks to add to your playlist right now

'I dream and pray for a world where we’re all free.' — Ceréna
'I dream and pray for a world where we’re all free.' — Ceréna (Magdafy2; design by Melody Lau/CBC Music)

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:

  • Rachel Bobbitt.
  • Ceréna.
  • Lewis OfMan featuring Carly Rae Jepsen.
  • Aysanabee.
  • The Free Label.

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.

To hear more about these standout songs, tune in to CBC Music Mornings every Thursday and Toronto's Here and Now every Wednesday afternoon, both available via CBC Listen.

'Watch and See,' Rachel Bobbitt

On Rachel Bobbitt's latest EP, The Ceiling Could Collapse, the Toronto-based songwriter tries to find meaning in extremes: pain, joy, wonder, love. To do that though, one must also be able to be connected — to a person, to yourself or to a moment in time. "Watch and See" finds Bobbitt fighting through moments of dissociation, "trying to use bits of phrases, visual landmarks and physical sensations to bring myself back to the present moment," as Bobbitt describes in a press release. "Watch me, watch you/ We'll watch each other the way we like to," she sings on the track's rumbling chorus, her voice clutching at her subject like she's reaching her hand out for help. Whether it's with the help of someone else or just digging deep within yourself, breaking free of dissociative moments can be rough (just like the jagged guitars that fill this track) but it's important work that leads to small, but rewarding moments of healing. — Melody Lau 

'(dreaming of…) Whole. New. World.,' Ceréna

Toronto experimental pop singer Ceréna has gifted listeners with two different mixes of her latest single. I say gift because the songs really feel like an offering. On Instagram, Ceréna shared that the lyrics were written in a state of exasperation, looking at the unjust systems all around her. She calls the song a prayer, "I dream and pray for a world where we're all free and I do everything I can to make this world a better place. I just wanna see everyone happy and fulfilled and taken care of. It's in our nature to nurture!" Ceréna's reverbed vocals sound like they're coming from the future, potentially a future where her dreams of "no longer fighting to survive" have come true. The sounds of ​children laughing in the background of the Lo-Fi mix add a joviality, creating space for the possibility of a healed inner child. While the Lo-Fi version is sparsely produced with airy synths that sound like they're floating through the expanses of space, the hyper dream mix is an electro-pop banger that morphs into a hardstyle explosion. Despite their differences, both carry the message that another world is possible, and worth fighting for. — Kelsey Adams

'Move Me,' Lewis OfMan feat. Carly Rae Jespen

Feelings were uptight
When you suddenly arrived
I thought I'd be alright
But you had these crazy eyes

When infatuation strikes, but the timing isn't right to act, it can send you into a tailspin. That's the inspiration behind this playful pop/house banger from Lewis OfMan and Carly Rae Jepsen, who met back in 2020 when Jepsen reached out to OfMan upon discovering his music. They hit it off, and on "Move Me," they're of one mind, trading lines and echoing each other over the energizing piano sample that underpins most of the song. There are charming throwback elements throughout, including a synthesizer solo part-way through, followed by an a cappella bridge that suspends time until brushed high hats and stratospheric strings eventually bring the song back down to Earth. — Robert Rowat

'We Were Here,' Aysanabee

Aysanabee's voice holds a rainbow of emotion on "We Were Here," a simultaneously vulnerable and powerful single driven by building piano and percussion — and a need to remember. "They say that we can reconcile this/ put it in the past/ they say that we can reconcile this/ what if I can't?" he sings on the first verse. The interlude introducing "We Were Here" includes heartbreaking audio of Aysanabee's grandfather, describing how he was forced to attend a residential school when he was young. It's a short, 27-second clip, but it leaves a heavy mark, laid overtop a few piano notes from the single. With "We Were Here," Aysanabee, who is Oji-Cree, Sucker Clan of the Sandy Lake First Nation, is giving us a glimpse into the througline of his upcoming full-length album, expected later this year. It will be an unforgettable debut. — Holly Gordon

'Boys Don't Sob,' The Free Label 

Meet the Free Label, a Toronto-based R&B/pop group that unabashedly identifies as a boy band. (While Canada's history of boy bands may pale in comparison to our American counterparts, I wholeheartedly believe that we have, and can still, produce some great boy bands.) "Boys Don't Sob" is the group's first new single of 2022, following 2020's album M.I.A. and a handful of other singles released last year. As soon as you hit play, you're hit with a funk-inspired groove, topped with an irresistible rhythm guitar riff. But don't let the uptempo mood fool you; the lyrics actually communicate a lot of romantic frustration. "I can't take no more," they sing on the chorus, "I don't wanna, I don't wanna do this with you." Breakups can be tough, but sometimes the best way to navigate them is to shake things off, figuratively or in this case literally to the smooth melodies of your new favourite boy band. — ML