5 songs you need to hear this week

From Beyoncé and the Dixie Chicks to Alessia Cara, our producers pick the songs you need to hear this week.
Beyoncé and The Dixie Chicks perform Bey's 'Daddy Lessons' live at the 2016 Country Music Awards. (Rick Diamond/Getty Images)

Each week, staff from CBC Music, Radio 2, Radio 3, Sonica and CBC regions across the country collect songs they just can't get out of their heads, and make a case for why you should listen, too. Press play below and discover new songs for your listening list.

Let us know via @CBCMusic what catches your ear, or if you have a new song you just can't stop playing.

Rose Cousins, 'Chosen'

There's something about November that necessitates a song like this — something about bare trees and early sunsets and colder temperatures that leaves you searching for something more introspective to soundtrack your walk over frosty ground. Rose Cousins gives you all that and more with "Chosen," a stripped-down, slow-building number that you could, forgivably, mistake for a cry for help. With lines like "Give me a sign, a photo, a map, something to go by/ How am I supposed to know what I'm supposed to look like?," there's an obvious apprehension simmering, but Cousins' voice is a force of conviction that she uses to question herself.

Cousins penned the song when she was "looking for inner confidence and reassurance to move forward with what [she'd] set out to do personally and professionally," she explains in a press release, where she also adds that this song provided the spark to create a full record, Natural Conclusion, due out early next year. If the rest of that album is even remotely similar to "Chosen," we're in for a real treat; one that could become one of the most talked-about records of the year.

— Emma Godmere (@godmere)

Beyoncé and the Dixie Chicks, 'Daddy Lessons'

The personal is political.

The sixth of 12 songs on the album, "Daddy Lessons" is the metaphorical heart of Lemonade, marking the tonal shift on the album as it eases from justifiable anger to understanding and, ultimately, forgiveness. Drawing on her Texas roots, Beyoncé sings a deeply personal and incredibly clever country song about the lessons she learned both from and about her father. When the album was released last February, some white people were shook and declared that it wasn't a country song for a variety of made-up reasons, including "she didn't cut it at a studio in Tennessee, and it certainly wasn't written by a group of Nashville songwriters."

So what did Beyoncé do? She showed up at the Country Music Awards and performed the song with the Dixie Chicks, a group that was also displaced from its musical home because its lead singer dared in 2003 to state that she was ashamed that George W. Bush was from Texas. The performance resulted in record ratings for the awards show and a produced version of the song was promptly released on Bey's SoundCloud page as soon as the credits rolled. Stay shook, y'all.

— Judith Lynch (@CBCJudith)

The Chainsmokers feat. XYLØ, 'Setting Fires'

Today's hottest dance/pop duo, the Chainsmokers dropped its latest EP, Collage, on Friday, Nov. 4. It's the culmination of an impressive winning streak of addictive tunes, including "Don't Let me Down," "Inside Out" and "Closer," the latter of which has been parked at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart for 11 weeks. For "Setting Fires," the only new track on the EP, they've brought onboard XYLØ, another fine EDM duo whose vocalist, Paige Duddy, adds a sense of urgency to the lyrics ("I can't go on and on/ Setting fires to keep you warm") and happily shares the chorus with a voice-sourced synthesizer that plays a slithery counterpoint. While the opening verse owes a lot to Ne-Yo's "Let me Love You" — let's call it a tribute — and the song's drops are not exactly epic, it's still a really satisfying number.

— Robert Rowat (@rkhr)

Alessia Cara, 'How Far I'll Go'

I'm so here for Alessia Cara getting into business with Disney, particularly since she's singing a song written by Lin-Manuel Miranda (Hamilton) himself for the new animated film, Moana. Basically, two of my favourite musicians of 2015 have come together in 2016 because sometimes the world is good, and that's actually part of Cara and Miranda's personal approaches to the music they write: a shared common belief in the capacity for goodness, hope and possibility. They have also both charted unique creative and professional paths true to themselves and their values and guess what? They found success. This is an inspirational power ballad, but it's more than lip service to a story serving the narrative structure of a Disney flick. "I can lead with pride, I can make us strong/ I'll be satisfied if I play along/ but the voice inside sings a different song/ what is wrong with me?," Cara sings, a hero whose rallying cry will likely inspire generations to come.

— Andrea Warner (@_AndreaWarner)

Leif Vollebekk 'Elegy'

For his third record, Montreal singer-songwriter Leif Vollebekk decided to change the rules. He let songs come to him, writing many of the tracks on Twin Solitude (out Feb. 24) in just one sitting. There seems to be a sense of loneliness and introspection on this track, "Elegy", which was composed while riding a bike around the city. This is a sparse yet powerful song that lingers with the listener.

— Jeanette Cabral (@JeanetteCabral)


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