Haviah Mighty, Robbie Robertson, Drake and more: songs you need to hear this week
Six fresh 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 Drake, Juice, Loony, Haviah Mighty and Book, plus Robbie Robertson featuring Glen Hansard. We're also jazzed about a cut from classical pianist Janina Fialkowska's latest album. 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.
'Champion,' Book and Haviah Mighty
When hockey season kicks off this fall, we'd better be hearing this anthem in every arena. Written for the NHL 20 soundtrack, Book and Polaris Music Prize-winner Haviah Mighty have teamed up once again (they also worked together on the Insecure-featured song, "Vamonos") to deliver an invigorating track that'll surely get thousands of fans fired up for their favourite teams. Similar to Drake's "Trophies," "Champion" uses horns and a thumping beat as a victory march. Here, Mighty leads the parade, assuring people that hard work ("I never ever take a day off") pays off. If sports don't interest you, "Champion" can easily act as one heck of a pep talk, too: "I'm a champion all day/ born this way/ what about you?"
— Melody Lau
'Dead End Kid,' Robbie Robertson feat. Glen Hansard
Robbie Robertson's name is popping up a lot lately, what with the release of his new documentary, Once Were Brothers: Robbie Robertson and the Band, and having recently been given the keys to the City of Toronto. The former Band songwriter and famed guitarist is also releasing Sinematic, his first solo album in eight years, come Sept. 20, and "Dead End Kid" is its new bluesy, single. Featuring backup vocals by Glen Hansard (the Frames, the Swell Season) and Robertson's compelling guitar work, "Dead End Kid" winds its way from his early, judged beginnings in Toronto ("They said you'll never be nothing/ you're just a dead end kid/ probably end up in prison/ or maybe down on the skids") to perseverance ("I want to show the world/ something they ain't never seen/ I want to take you somewhere/ you ain't never been"). It's a heartbreaking, defiant look at Robertson's life that he says he's only recently been feeling comfortable writing about — and it has us hooked.
— Holly Gordon
'Run it Up,' Juice
Hailing from Moss Park on Toronto's East Side, emerging hip hop artist Juice champions the city's often-overlooked urban youth. His latest single, "Run it Up," uses whistling and a lone guitar riff to establish a Wild West atmosphere before Juice chronicles the success he has achieved, despite all odds being stacked against him. "I went from nothing to something," he recalls in his opening verse. "Now, when I look at the mirror, I love what I'm becoming."
Based on his effortless flow, you might be surprised that this is only Juice's second single, but his development has been years in the making, first through performing slam poetry at RISE Edutainment, then as part of the Remix Project. What's next?
— Natasha Ramoutar
Debussy's 'Clair de lune,' Janina Fialkowska
Rather than a song you need to hear this week, here's a classical piece that everyone will be happy to hear: Claude Debussy's perennially popular piano gem, "Clair de lune," played by Janina Fialkowska. It's from her new album, Les sons et les parfums…, on which Fialkowska applies her plush tone and artful voicing to pieces by Fauré, Poulenc, Ravel, Chabrier and, of course, Debussy. We like how she urges the middle section of "Clair de lune" along, leaving herself lots of time to wring out all the expressive possibilities of the piece's wistful A section.
— Robert Rowat
'Behind Barz,' Drake
After years of building a music empire, Drake has turned his attention to the world of TV, executive producing the hit HBO series Euphoria as well as the Netflix reboot of the British series, Top Boy. But, that doesn't mean the Toronto rapper is done churning out the tunes. Labelled as a bonus track on the Top Boy soundtrack, Drake gives fans a polished-up version of the "Behind Barz" freestyle he performed last year for the British rap channel, Link Up TV. Inspired by U.K. grime, the track finds Drake sprinting across the track with a spitfire style at times taking aim at on-again, off-again foe, Kanye West ("They wanna link when they got no chunes/ they too worried about sellin' out shoes"). Clocking in under three minutes, "Behind Barz" is a potent energy booster, something to fuel you through your Top Boy binge session. — ML
'Dare You,' Loony
Scarborough, Ont., native Loony's latest track, "Dare You," lures you in at first with its smooth neo-soul soundscape, a swelling mood that expands and contracts like a living, breathing organism. But once you're under Loony's R&B hypnosis, she hits you with something much more confrontational: "And if you accuse me of bluffing again/ you're not gonna like what I prove." It's a tense back-and-forth between her and her subject, an intimate moment where the tension, as she sings, is "hanging in the air thick" like an intoxicating haze that we would never dare to leave. — ML