Music

T. Thomason's exuberant Bruce Cockburn cover, and 3 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

T. Thomason says his cover of Bruce Cockburn's 'Lovers in a Dangerous Time' is him claiming the hit song as a 'new queer anthem.' (Katie Clarke)

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:

  • T. Thomason covering Bruce Cockburn.
  • Charmaine featuring Haviah Mighty.
  • Geoffroy.
  • Ellis featuring Chastity.

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 Songs You Need to Hear stream, filled with songs that CBC Music's producers have chosen for their playlists.


'Lovers in a Dangerous Time' (Bruce Cockburn cover), T. Thomason

There's something about T. Thomason's voice that always feels a bit joyous, his heart normally carried on sleeve — and the way the Halifax singer-songwriter covers Bruce Cockburn's 1984 Cold War-inspired hit is no different. The song's '80s synth pulse transforms it into a pop hit that spans the distance between conception and cover, Thomason's vocals starting gently and building to that exuberant release. "Claiming 'Lovers in a Dangerous Time' as a new queer anthem, during what is hopefully our last pandemic Pride season, has been cathartic and brought me closer to my community," said Thomason via email. "I hope this is the coming-out party 'Lovers in a Dangerous Time' never got but always deserved!!"

The video, directed by Katie Clarke, Thomason's partner, is sweet and vulnerable, the first half made up of snippets of intimate times between the two in their most recent pandemic lockdown, and the latter half a short film filled with the faces of "different queer folks' love stories (with themselves, with lovers, or with friends) in pandemic times," as Clarke explained in an email. It's a joy to watch. —  Holly Gordon


'We Don't Care,' Charmaine feat. Haviah Mighty 

Back in April, Toronto-based artist Charmaine released her debut EP, Hood Avant Garde, a collection of bold, fiery anthems that established her as an artist to watch. Now, Charmaine has released a deluxe version of that EP featuring new contributions from Valentino, Kali and fellow Toronto rapper Haviah Mighty. Mighty hops on opening track, "We Don't Care," an unapologetic display of confidence as Charmaine opens the track with a dare: "Tennessee bitch don't fight me/ test me bitch I'm feisty." Money and flashiness don't impress Charmaine and Mighty much as they take turns basking in their own accomplishments and boss energy. "Look I ain't got to brag because my catalogue shows/ every track always rattles the floors," Mighty claims on her verse. With this latest addition, that track record remains untarnished. The Toronto hip-hop scene can still feel very male-dominated today, but this song is a loud reminder that the women and non-binary acts here are just as deserving of attention. And it's not a matter of if, but when, as Charmaine warns us: "You gon' see me on a billboard like a star." — Melody Lau  


'Cold World,' Geoffroy 

As the world reopens, Montreal singer-songwriter Geoffroy cuts through the party-happy noise with "Cold World," a brooding acoustic reminder of the position we remain in — possibly deeper and more complex than ever. It's hard not to feel the urgency of Geoffroy's chorus ("Good lord, can we start all over again?") when recalling the sociopolitical issues that underscored so much of the global pandemic and beyond, as temperatures continue to reach record highs, disturbing reminders of our country's history are uncovered and the unhoused population grows. The sun may be shining, but large parts of our cold world remain unaddressed by us as a collective, by those with the means to influence real change, and that reality remains chilling. In a statement from Geoffroy, he explains: "The song delivers a criticism of a society based on individualism and egoism, driven by greed and an endless pursuit for growth, innovation and profit. But at what cost for humanity?"  — Jess Huddleston


'Hell,' Ellis feat. Chastity 

Some people fear death, others fear the afterlife. The former is an inevitability, but the latter feels like a wide-open mystery that can consume one's thoughts. On singer-songwriter Ellis's latest single, "Hell," she and collaborator (and real-life partner) Chastity challenge the idea that hell is a concept of the future instead of the present. "I've seen hell and I'm not afraid to die," Ellis and Chastity sing on the chorus, calm and collected in their fearlessness. That's because the version they've witnessed is on Earth, as Ellis explains in a press release: "We see it all the time. I like to think that death isn't the gateway to hell, it's some kind of freedom from it." From that perspective, the end of one's life is a salvation, a promise that the turmoil we see and feel on a daily basis will one day be washed away. Hopefully that sensation will feel as comforting as this track. — ML

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