Safe's addition to a star-studded soundtrack, and 5 other songs you need to hear this week

Fresh Canadian tracks to add to your playlist right now.

Fresh Canadian tracks to add to your playlist right now

The new soundtrack for the feature film Judas and the Black Messiah features 'Contagious,' a song by Toronto’s Saif Musaad, a.k.a. Safe. (Supplied by the artist)

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:

  • Safe and Kiana Ledé.
  • Charlotte Cardin.
  • Ruth B. featuring the Harlem Gospel Travelers.
  • Rochelle Jordan.
  • Kallitechnis.

Scroll down to find out why you need to listen, too.

What new Canadian tunes are you currently obsessed with? Share them with us on Twitter @CBCMusic.

Hit play on our brand new Songs You Need to Hear stream, filled with songs that CBC Music's producers have chosen for their playlists, and tune into CBC Music Mornings every Thursday to hear CBC Music's Jess Huddleston and Saroja Coehlo reveal which of these tracks is the standout new Canadian song.

'Contagious,' Safe, Kiana Ledé

Judas and the Black Messiah, the new feature film about the betrayal and assassination of Black Panther chairman Fred Hampton, was released on Friday, Feb. 12. Its powerful soundtrack, The Inspired Album, lists a roster that includes Jay-Z and the late Nipsey Hussle, H.E.R., Nas, SiR, Masego, A$AP Rocky, Lil Durk — and Toronto's Saif Musaad, a.k.a. Safe. Safe is joined by Kiana Ledé on "Contagious," a smooth, mid-tempo meditation on the devil who knocks on your door: "It's so easy to reply and deny the love," cautions Safe, his cool, soft-grained vocals paving the way for Ledé's brighter, more incisive tone. When their unison voices merge in the chorus, they're a convincing couple as they try to reconcile the vagaries of human nature with the power of commitment. — Robert Rowat

'Meaningless,' Charlotte Cardin 

On Charlotte Cardin's two previous singles — "Passive Aggressive" and "Daddy" — the Montreal artist's voice took centre stage, but she never fully pushed her vocals to their limit. But on "Meaningless," the latest sneak peek at her upcoming album, Phoenix (out April 9), Cardin goes full force on the chorus. "I don't wanna live/ a meaningless/ life without you," she sings, soaring atop a disco-tinged beat that sounds like it could've been taken from an album by the xx. Here, Cardin is not afraid to let go and feel the all-consuming agony of a breakup, unable to see past the hurt as she admits out loud: "I can't imagine what even happens beyond the pain." It's a powerhouse pop performance by Cardin, and yet another reason why we can't wait to hear Phoenix in its entirety. — Melody Lau 

'If I Have a Son,' Ruth B. feat. the Harlem Gospel Travelers

"If I have a son/ I'll teach him to be brave/ because if I have a son/ he's never really safe." Ruth B's opening lyrics are just as heartbreaking on the second version of "If I Have a Son," this time released with the support of the Harlem Gospel Travelers. The Canadian-Ethiopian singer originally released the track in June 2020 following the police killing of George Floyd, and she donated the proceeds to Campaign Zero, Black Youth Helpline, Hope Ethiopia and True North Aid. On the 2021 version, released in the middle of Black History Month, Ruth B's voice is clearer and more intimate, nestled next to your ear. As the Harlem Gospel Travelers join in and lift her up on the chorus, Ruth B leans into her words of affirmation before circling back to the danger in her opening: "Your skin/ it glitters like gold/ there's love inside of your soul/ but no matter what you say/ no matter what you do/ this world will never be as friendly to you." With this re-release, backed by a gorgeous musical community, Ruth B is underlining how little has changed — but how much needs to. — Holly Gordon

'All Along,' Rochelle Jordan

New jack swing is alive and oh-so-well thanks to L.A.-based, Toronto-bred singer Rochelle Jordan and her delectably retro-infused new bop, "All Along." Jordan flexes her silky vocals over the popping beat, solidifying herself as a viable new player in R&B, alongside the likes of Jorja Smith and Jessie Ware (with whom Jordan has toured), while harkening back to the soulful dance building blocks laid down by greats like Janet Jackson. "All Along" is Jordan's second single of the year, leaving us ready for an album filled with more percussive self-love anthems that remind us — via equal parts punch and soul — that movement and good energy are the best paths forward. — Jess Huddleston

'Colo(u)rs,' Kallitechnis

You're sounding like my favourite colours,
You're tasting like my favourite colours,
You're looking like my favourite.

Montreal's Kallitechnis celebrates the senses on this sophisticated and gorgeously sung new R&B single, completing her survey of all five senses by adding, "Scent on your neck was all it took to take me there/ it's never enough, no/ pulling me in with your touch so insatiable." And if there's a sixth sense, it belongs to producer shanks (Ledisi, Sir), who immerses you in a rich sound bath with swirls of buoyant synths anchored by a resonant bass line and crisp percussion. Stick around for the outro to hear Kallitechnis break into French to name the colours of the rainbow while the beat recedes. — RR

'Meikyu,' TEKE::TEKE

Hitting play on Montreal band TEKE::TEKE's track "Meikyu" is to surrender yourself to the thrill ride ahead. Over the course of five-and-a-half minutes, instruments and styles pile on at an alarming rate — the track kicks off with a stomping drum beat that is soon joined by a relentless one-note guitar riff, horns and a flute, all before singer Maya Kuroki steps in for the first verse. There are also lots of sonic twists and turns (quite fitting given "Meikyu" loosely translates to labyrinth or maze in Japanese), showing off the band's wide range of influences: Japanese folk, psych-rock, punk and surf-rock. The energy here is bursting at the seams, and one can only imagine how much more fiery a live performance of the track would be, but until touring resumes, tracks like "Meikyu" will continue to fuel our dreams of once again standing shoulder-to-shoulder in a live venue. This track will be featured on TEKE::TEKE's upcoming album, Shirushi, out May 7 on the famed Portland label Kill Rock Stars Records. — ML


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