When people use the phrase "Kids these days," it can come off as patronizing, but Vancouver duo Mu’s sweetly nostalgic number "Debauchery," which kicks off with those words, is no stern lecture to today’s youth. Instead, the bubbling synth track is a dreamy nugget of hope that debauchery can still exist even though it "ain’t what it used to be." It’s a new year so what better time than now to break free from our self-obsessed behaviour and do something fun and adventurous? Just make sure to have this song on as your soundtrack.
— Melody Lau (@melodylamb)
Good For Grapes, 'Show Me the Ropes'
This is the sonic epitome of waking up on the right side of the bed, and yet the most repeated refrain in "Show Me the Ropes" is "If I said no to love/ oh, I could start again." But for those of us who like our optimism measured, this undercurrent of melancholy is just right to keep the song's incredible momentum and brass-and-strings bounce in check.
— Andrea Warner (@_AndreaWarner)
Banners, 'Start a Riot'
Liverpool native Michael Nelson performs under the moniker Banners and has released an uplifting anthem to bring us into the new year. With emotional lyrics and deliberate vocals, "Start a Riot" is a heartfelt and poignant promise; passion without aggression and intensity without pretension.
— Joan Chung (@notjoanchung)
Foxtrott, 'Shaky Hands'
"Shaky Hands" is the story of anxiety, heartbreak and loss. Foxtrott is Montreal's Marie-Hélène Delorme, and she transforms her voice in this song, seamlessly shifting ranges from deep bellows to shrill pleas for help. The violence of her lyrics brings the physical pain of heartbreak to life through song, all anchored by a bombastic horn section. For fans of the Knife, Santigold or Grimes, Foxtrott's album A Taller Us is definitely worth a listen, but start with this track. Check out Delorme's videos for accompanying avant-garde choreography.
— Julia Caron (@cbcjulia)
Kimba Sorzano, 'Sorry (No Second Chances)'
Justin Bieber surprised a lot of people last November by making an album that not only defied the haters but turned them into fans. I'm one of those people: I like a lot of tracks on Purpose, but I was always drawn to "Sorry." Trinidad and Tobago's Kimba Sorzano put the soca back in it and made a good song great. Without a doubt, it will be played at beach limes across the Caribbean from Barbuda to Barbados, St. Vincent to Trinidad and Tobago. Looking for your Carnival jam? This is it.
— Judith Lynch (@CBCJudith)
Birdy, 'Keeping Your Head Up'
Birdy is starting the year right by teasing 1:30 of her new track, "Keeping Your Head Up," from an upcoming record that we should have by late spring. Although it's only five days into the new year, this is the best song I've heard so far in 2016 — and what a way to start. It's a perfect step for Birdy into an even bigger sound for her, on par with powerhouses such as Florence and the Machine. Hold tight, the full song is coming soon. For now, take a listen below for a preview of the year when Birdy really steps out onto the big stage.
— Matthew Fisher (@MattRFisher)
Majid Jordan, 'Something About You'
Majid Jordan will, no doubt, be the next R&B stars to spring from Toronto's current hit-making music scene. This is by no means the first time we've touted the excellence of the singer/producer duo consisting of Majid Al Maskati and Jordan Ullman (best known as the team behind Drake's "Hold On, We're Going Home") and it won't be the last. With the duo's debut self-titled full-length album out next month on Drake's OVO Sound imprint — following the release of their excellent EP and mixtape — get used to hearing more of Majid Jordan's atmospheric, seductive approach to music.
— Jesse Kinos-Goodin (@JesseKG)
John Paul White, 'Simple Song'
Beginning a song with the words "you’re gonna die" isn’t the uplifting message everyone wants for a shiny new 2016, but John Paul White has never hinted that he cares about the happiness of your heart. "Simple Song" is a track the former Civil Wars singer wrote and recorded for producer Dave Cobb, whose new album, Southern Family, also includes songs by Jason Isbell, Brandi Clark and Chris Stapleton. It is a beautiful, slow-build of a strummer that will make you think of the people in your life you’ve promised to remember, but have also decided to let go. White told NPR Music that this song is about a "brutally honest" intimate conversation, and we can’t help but wonder: was that conversation with his other Civil Wars half, Joy Williams?
— Holly Gordon (@hollygowritely)