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Missy Elliott to Lizzo: 7 songs you need to hear this week

Holly Gordon

Each week, staff from CBC Music, Radio 2, 3 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 in the comments or via @CBCMusic what catches your ear, or if you have a new song you just can't stop playing.

Kobo Town, 'London Town'

It's been almost four years since Kobo Town's last album, but this Friday, Where the Galleon Sank will be released. Drew Gonsalves is the Trinidad-born Calypsonian leading the band, writing political lyrics and exploring post-colonialism at a time when it seems more relevant than ever. Gonsalves wrote the new single "London Town" during his first trip to London. In the song, he reflects dejectedly on the past "glories" of London, centre of the British empire: "We were the flesh/ you were the mind and soul/ at least that's how we heard the story told/ by you." Musically the message is buoyantly expressed with a blend of Caribbean rhythms — political music you can dance to.

— Reuben Maan (@rjmaan)


Thundercat feat. Michael McDonald and Kenny Loggins, ‘Show You the Way’

Valentine’s Day is around the corner and, right on cue, Thundercat drops this highly amorous advance track from his album Drunk, due out in a few weeks. This is some serious satin sheets-style soul music, with heavyweights (and former songwriting partners) Michael McDonald and Kenny Loggins joining Thundercat on achingly sexy vocals. It’s a vaguely — and probably unintentionally — homoerotic threesome, abetted by Thundercat’s suggestive bass line that penetrates (ahem) the whole song.

— Robert Rowat (@rkhr)

Lizzo, ‘Scuse Me’

"I don't need a crown to know that I'm a queen."

This song (and its video) has so much going on thematically: a feminist, self-love anthem written and performed by a radiant, plus-size Black woman celebrating her sexuality and agency. She does this inside a church and as, basically, the leader of a vibrant goddess squad that hangs out in flowing, artfully draped fabrics in a garden waterfall. It's hot, erotically charged and a radical size-acceptance club banger, which is unlike anything we've ever heard before. Bless, Lizzo, and her badass, bold, beautiful self.

— Andrea Warner (@_andreawarner)

Ti.Po.Ta, ‘Moonlight Avenue’

When Manu Chao releases three new songs at once, how does one decide which song to focus on? The unlikely superstar is known for highlighting the disadvantages that globalization has on the developing world, so of course two of the new songs — "Words of Truth" and "No Solo en China Hay Futuro" — are filled with positivity and hopeful lyrics. But it’s a warmhearted love song that really stands out: "Moonlight Avenue" is attributed to Ti.Po.Ta, which is a new project for Manu Chao and Greek actress Klelia Renesi. They playfully strum ukuleles underwater and film themselves frolicking in a sunny paradise. "Be the lighthouse of my dreams/ please forgive all of my sins/ in my moonlight avenue." — RM

Jamiroquai, ‘Automaton’

It’s been seven years since Jamiroquai has released an album. The new offering, Automaton, will drop on March 31, and the title track is unmistakably Jamiroquai, electro-infused with funk. He sings of a coldness that comes with the digital world — a disconnect, a lack of heart and feeling between each other. The video is a post-apocalyptic vision: frontman Jay Kay, as a human/machine hybrid, is alone on a desolate planet. His mood-ring helmet holds the only clue to his “emotions.” Kay’s character is fascinated by the artifacts of a now-extinct species, including remnants of a version of himself, perhaps his progenitor. Still searching out the analog in a digital world.

— Angeline Tetteh-Wayoe (@MissAngelineTW)

Gabriel Garzón-Montano, ‘Crawl’

When Drake dropped his short film Jungle a couple of years ago, the end credits sampled “6 8,” a track from Brooklyn artist Gabriel Garzón-Montano. Turns out Zoe Kravitz (yes, that Zoe Kravitz), a friend of Garzón-Montano’s, let Drake hear his music and the Toronto hip-hop artist was immediately hooked. Not that “Crawl,” taken from Garzón-Montano’s just-released album Jardin, needs friends in high places to register with any music-loving ear. True to his Stones Throw label affiliation, "Crawl" is bonafide artistry via soulfully insistent and intricate melodies and arrangements all helmed by multi-instrumentalist Garzón-Montano himself, begging repeated plays.

— Del Cowie (@vibesandstuff)

Missy Elliott feat. Lamb, ‘I’m Better’

Missy just released her third single in as many years, and "I'm Better" is a burning techno murmur that flows with such precision, it's hard not to beg for a new album already (12 years is a long time, OK?). The slow creep of the beat lets Missy take the spotlight, and her Scandal reference is on point. This isn't a Missy video to take to the gym, though: balance exercises are already torture enough without her dancers showing off their skills as if they were born on an exercise ball. Take "I'm Better" slow, and take it often.

— Holly Gordon (@hollygowritely)

More to explore:

The Courtneys, Del Bel, Zaki Ibrahim: 5 artists to watch in 2017

Sarah McLachlan: the essentials

First Play Live: Alejandra Ribera, This Island