5 songs you need to hear this week

From OneRepublic to Mitski, our producers pick the songs you need to hear this week.
Singer Common performs onstage during the 2016 ESSENCE Festival presented by Coca Cola at the Louisiana Superdome on July 2, 2016, in New Orleans, La. (Bennett Raglin)

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.

Common, 'A Letter to the Free'

Editor's note: "A Letter to the Free" starts at 4:56.

This past Friday, Netflix released The 13th, a documentary by Ava DuVernay that looks at the impact of a single line in the 13th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which guarantees Americans freedom from slavery or indentured servitude "except as punishment for a crime." It exposes with great alacrity and clarity the impact this line has had on the lives of Americans with a certain degree of melanin. Rapper Common wrote a song for that film, entitled "A Letter to the Free," that distills the notion even further. The song packs a punch at the end of the film — a film that is altogether unbothered by our feelings, as it speaks a truth that needs to be heard. There are no "on the other hand" moments, here; it's a "this is how it is" kind of film.

— Judith Lynch (@CBCJudith)

Death Cab for Cutie, 'Million Dollar Loan' (30 Days, 30 Songs)

Death Cab for Cutie released a new track on Sunday, with a bit of a different vibe from the melancholy songs about love we're used to hearing. Instead, it's a track inspired by Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, who made a statement during his campaign about being a self-made millionaire thanks to a "small" million-dollar loan from his father to get his enterprise started. In the YouTube description for this new song, Death Cab lead singer Ben Gibbard calls Trump's statement "wildly untrue" and says "[Trump] is unworthy of the honor and responsibility of being President of the United States of America, and in no way, shape or form represents what this country truly stands for." The track comes from a playlist called 30 Days, 30 Songs, which is an independent project in support of defeating Trump in the presidential election. The playlist will include new songs coming out in the next 30 days by other artists including Jim James, Aimee Mann, Thao Nguyen and even a never-before-released live song by R.E.M

— Matt Fisher (@MattRFisher)

OneRepublic, 'Kids'

OneRepublic's new album, Oh My My, dropped Oct. 7 and fans of the band's ethereal stadium anthems and soaring ballads have lots to celebrate. Combining elements of rock and EDM, "Kids" is sure to be one of the album's big hits with its distinctive melodic contour and nostalgic lyrics: "We were sleeping in cars/ we were searching for Oz/ we were burning cigars/ with white plastics tips 'til we saw the sun." Staying up all night may be a receding speck in the rearview mirror of your life, but "Kids" makes you feel like a reckless romantic, if only for four minutes.

— Robert Rowat (@rkhr)

Mitski, 'A Burning Hill'

"I'm tired of wanting more/ I think I'm finally worn." On the closing track of Mitski's beautiful June 2016 album, Puberty 2, the New York singer-songwriter is focusing on what she can give herself, slowly accepting that what she wants from this other person isn't going to arrive. This week, Mitski released a simple, detailed video of that acceptance, outfitted in her white button-down uniform ("I can at least be neat/ walk out and seen as clean"). Directed by Bradley Gray, the video is a set of perfectly paired, detailed images to the singular guitar and Mitski's clear, devastating vocals. "I'll go to work/ and I'll go to sleep/ and I'll love the littler things/ I'll love some littler things," she sings, as her aim gets smaller, but more precise, with each lyric.

— Holly Gordon (@hollygowritely)

Ralph, 'Something More'

The Toronto-based synth-pop musician is back at it again, giving us yet another tease — she's only released singles since last year — before her EP drops some time this winter. In an interview with Independent, Ralph explains that the track "Something More" was inspired by Aziz Ansari's Netflix show Master of None, which narrates issues faced by young adults. With our access to social media networks and dating apps, Ralph explores the need of always wanting something more, but not always getting something better. At the core, this is a really catchy song, and the future of smart pop writing in Canada. — MF


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