Justin Bieber, Carly Rae Jepsen, Dizzy 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 Carly Rae Jepsen, Dizzy, Lydia Ainsworth, Safe and Kim Harris, plus Justin Bieber and Ed Sheeran. 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.
'Too Much,' Carly Rae Jepsen
Carly Rae Jepsen isn't afraid to explore some extreme feelings through her music. Most of the time, these are matters of the heart: the jittery joys of discovering love, the crushing moment of a relationship's dissolution and, really, everything in between. On "Too Much," off her new album, Dedicated, Jepsen warns her subject to "be careful if you're wanting this touch/ 'cause if I love you, then I love you too much." It's a weighty statement that Jepsen sings with a breathy, featherweight delivery floating atop the song's bouncy beat. In the music video for the track, Jepsen's emotions are magnified by multiple Jepsen clones who move, dance and fully indulge in a table full of desserts with her. Sure, it's a lot, but what's the point in doing anything if you're not going to give it your all?
— Melody Lau
'I Don't Care,' Justin Bieber and Ed Sheeran
Semi-retirement doesn't seem to be working for Justin Bieber, who, since announcing his break from music, has not only had premiere billing on Lil Dicky's "Earth," but also released this new collaboration with Ed Sheeran. We'll admit, we were not blown away by the song when it came out on May 10 ("Is this the chorus? No, wait, is this the chorus?"), but its dancehall-inspired beat, affable lyrics ("'Cause I don't care, as long as you just hold me near/ you can take me anywhere") and weirdly wonderful video are growing on us. And while the song itself is definitely more Sheeran than Bieber, the latter singer proves that even on a light summer track he can lay down a seriously impressive pop vocal performance.
— Robert Rowat
Oshawa indie-pop newcomers Dizzy continue to ride the wave of their Juno Award-winning debut album with a new single "Twist," an upbeat but poignant reflection on a past love's enduring grip. Written partially by lead singer Katie Munshaw "in a hotel shower" last fall, the radiant song is Dizzy's first foray into self-production, taking a more analog approach in the form of live drums and piano. Small glimpses into the band's current dichotomy are found in lyrics about seeing an ex-lover's mirage while looking out into live crowds and also "on the go" (which, for any Greater Toronto Area resident, is interpreted as short for the Go Train). It's charming little touches like these that, when paired with those delicate melodies, solidifies Dizzy's members as some of Canada's most relatable, coming-of-age storytellers.
— Jess Huddleston
'Heirloom,' Kim Harris
While traces of the Kim Harris of 2014's Only the Mighty exist within the confines of "Heirloom," the Halifax songwriter's first song in five years — accompanied by a new video Harris made — is showing us a new iteration of what's to come. "Have you burned every thought of me?" Harris sings, her powerful voice restrained on the chorus its first time around. "Set ablaze in fireweed/ you'll find a trace in ruins," she assures with the followup, the last line coming out as a dare on her lips, instead of what could easily have been a lament.
While "Heirloom" is a song about crippling heartbreak — "to be unwanted," as we all know, is a hell of a thing — it's more about what comes after the act of burning it all to the ground. When that chorus circles back around, Harris is no longer restrained — and the juxtaposition of electric guitar to her more oft-used acoustic and piano gives an edge to the loudness that lets the following silences in the slow-building song breathe. Grief doesn't disappear with an uprising, and "Heirloom" makes room for all of it.
— Holly Gordon
'The Time,' Lydia Ainsworth
Lydia Ainsworth says her latest album, Phantom Forest, takes place in "Mother Nature's vanishing home." In other words: Earth. The synth-pop artist's concerns over the environment and its rapid deterioration is shared by many around the world right now, and album highlight "The Time" is her way of urging us to choose action over apathy. The track — one of two collaborations on her album with Survive, who's best known for creating the Stranger Things theme song — is a sharp, measured number that's haunted by the echoes and hums of synths and guitars. "If time could scream, it's now or never," Ainsworth sings, not with urgency but with grave intention. Phantom Forest's sonic universe is gorgeous and lush, but the world Ainsworth's characters inhabit isn't. Let's remember to take care of Mother Nature's home before it's too late. — ML
'Red Light,' Safe
Toronto R&B artist Safe (Saif Musaad) has stepped away from the murky production that characterized his 2016 release, Stay Down, and hit us with a much cleaner, pop-oriented sound on his first full-length, Stay — and it's a way better context for his fresh, utterly guileless voice. Of the album's 12 songs, extra attention will no doubt be paid to Safe's collaborations with Quin ("Old Ways") and Playboi Carti ("Paid in Full"), but we were immediately drawn to "Red Light." While it's a plaintive song — "Bright lights, where does it stop?/ Wish I would've stayed in the dark" — it doesn't sound bleak. Instead, there's space for Safe's ardent, expressive singing to draw you in. — RR