Majid Jordan, Les Louanges, Jessie Reyez and more: songs you need to hear this week
5 fresh tracks to revive your playlist right now
Here at CBC Music, we're always on high alert for new songs by Canadian artists.
This week, fresh tunes by Majid Jordan, Jessie Reyez, Les Louanges, Joël and the Sorority have grabbed our attention. 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.
'Superstar,' Majid Jordan
If electro-R&B is your oxygen, then take a deep, satisfying breath of "Superstar," the new single from OVO duo Majid Jordan. This one's a few degrees cooler than "Caught Up," the sultry slow jam they dropped in July with Khalid, and recalls the chill sophistication of "Gave Your Love Away" from 2017's The Space Between. The effusive chorus is like a mantra — "I just wanna spend my life with you (with you)/ Go around the world and to the moon (with you)" — and gives way to verses with inventive wordplay that lends the whole song an appealingly loose, quasi-improvisatory tone.
— Robert Rowat
'Far Away,' Jessie Reyez
"It's been a hundred days since I've kissed your face," Jessie Reyez sings on her new song, "Far Away." In the accompanying music video for the track, which was released last week, that line coincides with a heart-wrenching scene depicting the Toronto singer-songwriter being ripped away from her lover by Immigration Customs Enforcement (I.C.E.). It's a reality that has been unfolding in the U.S. for a while now, and Reyez's single strives to illustrate the pain experienced by families who are torn apart by deportation.
"It's only water and borders and God keeping you apart," Reyez said in a press release. "Water and borders and God keeping you from home. This is pre-heart break; when both sets of lungs are still working and when you miss them and they miss you back — and you feel each other even when you're far away." In addition to the song's release, Reyez has provided fans with a list of charitable organizations that are aiding the immigration crisis that they can support. In a time when the news cycle is moving at a rapid rate, Reyez wants to remind us that it's imperative to continue the conversation and fight against anti-immigration forces.
— Melody Lau
'Parc Ex,' Les Louanges
Vincent Roberge, a.k.a. Les Louanges, released his debut full-length album only a year ago, and it took him all the way to the 2019 Polaris Prize gala in September. Shortly after that prize went to rapper Haviah Mighty, Montreal's Roberge released a four-song EP (plus outro) that we've had on repeat, with particular attention to "Parc Ex." Named after the Montreal neighbourhood, it's a slow-building confession of a relationship that both fuels and burns. Roberge pulls from pop, hip-hop and jazz influences for a sound that feels genuine, a loungy saxophone adding an intimate groove — and not cheese — to the conspiratorial track. Even as Roberge sings "On fait le mal, je sais qu'il faudrait pas" (we're causing pain/ I know that we shouldn't) one last time, we know he — and we — will be back for more.
— Holly Gordon
'Nights in Durham,' Joël
The opening track from budding R&B star Joël's debut EP, which nods to the greater Toronto outskirts, is perfectly indicative of the path to follow. "I got hurt/ the worst," the singer states bluntly over sparse, borderline lonely chords before a quick flourish of bright instrumentation and the lyrics, "now it's forget anyone that bruised me." That push and pull between vulnerability and perseverance threads strongly throughout the song, and the rest of the EP, while highlighting Joël's silky vocals and advanced production chops. With only seven songs to his name, it might sound early for us to predict Joël as Canada's next big R&B export, but this small, soulful sampling is more than enough to make the case.
— Jess Huddleston
'Switch,' The Sorority
A lot has happened in the year since Toronto hip hop group the Sorority put out their electrifying debut, Pledge. From side projects to the departure of Phoenix Pagliacci to member Haviah Mighty's recent historic Polaris Music Prize win, it's been a whirlwind 12 months for the now trio. But through it all, the group wants to remind us that one thing is certain: they've got each other's backs no matter what. Being supportive and valuing friendships have always been the foundation of the Sorority whether that was internally or externally advocating for women in music, especially in the male-dominated field of hip hop.
"Switch," the Sorority's first new single since Pledge, is the latest in the group's growing list of empowering anthems. "That's my gang/ that's my squad/ those my girls/ that's my dawg," they chant on the chorus, forming an unstoppable mantra atop the song's layered production, which stacks horn blasts over a Latin trap-inspired beat. (The Sorority wrote and produced the track with help from Taabu and Mighty while member Lex Leosis engineered.) The Sorority is determined to blaze ahead so if you're not with them, you better get out of their way because, as they warn us: "We never sleep/ until we all get to our dreams/ kill 'em, rinse, repeat." A surefire plan for success. — ML