Kate Bush to the Weeknd: 8 songs you need to hear this week
Each week, staff from CBC Music 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.
Terra Lightfoot, 'All Alone'
This video proves two things: that when you're in the Scottish Highlands you should whip out your camera, and that Terra Lightfoot has one of the best voices in music right now. This video was shot on Lightfoot's last tour, and it shows that you don't need fancy gimmicks for your video — just the picturesque beauty of one of the most incredible places on earth. No pressure. That this tune is immensely catchy certainly helps it along, too.
— Adam Carter (@AdamCarterCBC)
The Courtneys, 'Silver Velvet'
Long distance relationships suck. The distance is depressing and the travelling is exhausting, but there's none of that negativity in the Courtneys' bright new single, "Silver Velvet". Instead, the sunny power-pop spirit of the song is a reminder of why these perceived hassles can be all worth it. As Jen Twynn Payne happily shouts, "Can't get you out of my head/ even through the miles." The song is a big, distorted, fuzzed-out declaration of love, one to add to your road-trip playlist the next time you set off to see a loved one who lives far away.
— Melody Lau (@melodylamb)
Winsome Kind, 'Song for a Winter's Night'
This Gordon Lightfoot beauty is one of the loneliest and yet most loving songs in the world — and it's especially perfect as a quasi-Christmas tune, with all of the deeply complex feelings that this time of the year evokes. Vancouver duo Winsome Kind's cover of this classic is a novel approach: a duet by a couple who just happens to be husband and wife. The harmony is gorgeous, and the effect of their voices is two-fold, depending on which side of the seasonal divide you stand on. The lyrics can feel hopeful and a little bittersweet as the pair's voices rise up and blend into each other. Or, they can heighten the isolation and sadness of phrases like, "If I could know within my heart/ that you were lonely, too/ I would be happy just to hold the hands I love/ on this winter night with you."
— Andrea Warner (@_AndreaWarner)
Ashanti feat. Ja Rule, 'Helpless'
The 2010s have been sadly bereft of Ashanti and Ja Rule collaborations, but no more: the two recently reunited for "Helpless", a gem of a song from the new Hamilton Mixtape. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda said he actually pictured Ja Rule and Ashanti when writing the song, which has characters Alexander Hamilton and Elizabeth "Eliza" Schuyler singing to each other during their courtship. This proves that "Helpless" was always meant to be the centre of Hamilton and Murder Inc.'s Venn diagram.
Listen to "Helpless" via Spotify.
— Holly Gordon (@hollygowritely)
Kate Bush 'And Dream of Sheep' (live)
Kate Bush really commits. When she decided in 2014 to perform her first full concerts since 1979, she booked a series of 22 shows at London's Hammersmith Apollo and put together a gigantic spectacle featuring puppets, sets, newly shot video and spoken dialogue by novelist David Mitchell. Needless to say, the tickets sold out in 15 minutes. Bush has a new live album out, taken from that run of shows. As a teaser, she's also released the video segment used in the show during the classic song "And Dream of Sheep". It finds Bush struggling to stay afloat in a vast body of water as she sings a lullaby to the camera. Her voice has deepened over the decades, but she's still one of pop music's greatest performers.
— Matthew Parsons (@MJRParsons)
The Weeknd feat. Kendrick Lamar, 'Sidewalks'
It's too early to pick a favourite track from the Weeknd's new album, Starboy, but "Sidewalks" is a clear frontrunner. From the retro-sounding production that feels straight off the set of Luke Cage (A Tribe Called Quest's Ali Shaheed Muhammad, who scored Cage, produced the track along with Doc McKinney and Daniel Wilson) to Kendrick Lamar's acrobatic guest verse, it's the perfect example of how the Weeknd can still appease day-one fans even as he breaks through the stratosphere. Starboy is packed with enough hits that the singer could easily dominate 2017, but "Sidewalks" reminds me of why I ever liked the Weeknd in the first place.
Listen to "Sidewalks" via Spotify.
— Jesse Kinos-Goodin (@JesseKG)
Nelly Furtado, 'Pipe Dreams'
Nelly Furtado is set to return with a new album in the new year entitled The Ride. Furtado has released a couple of low-key, left-field songs in recent months in addition to last year's "Hadron Collider" collaboration with Blood Orange's Dev Hynes, yet "Pipe Dreams" appears to be the first proper single off the album — Furtado's first since 2012's The Spirit Indestructible. "Pipe Dreams" finds the singer at a moment of vulnerability, seeking a pledge of authenticity from a partner over an insistent melody that grows on you the more you hear it. The song's pure intentions are gradually ratcheted up by the refrain "If I can't really know you/ I'd rather walk on," as it comes to a gospel-tinged, organ-fuelled climax. Furtado has always drawn from an eclectic palette for her music, and this entry is intriguing enough to indicate her new project will not deviate from her established pattern.
— Del F. Cowie (@vibesandstuff)
Eons, 'White Feather Roses'
Eons is the solo project of Matt Cully, a founding member of Toronto's Bruce Peninsula. Earlier this month, Cully released his LP Long Walks, which features this wicked track, "White Feather Roses". The rhythmic start and soft vocals provide a unique contrast while the song marches toward a striking chorus of voices. The recognizable tone and slight twang of Misha Bower's (also of Bruce Peninsula) vocals are heard 49 seconds in. "White Feather Roses" channels a darker side of '70s pop-rock combined with folk harmonies — think Fleetwood Mac meets folk-inspired indie.
— Olivia Pasquarelli (@oliviapasq)