Music

Tate McRae's shout-out to her spurned exes, and 6 more songs you need to hear this week

Listen to fresh new tracks from Drake and J. Cole, DijahSB, Peach Luffe and more.

Listen to fresh new tracks from Drake and J. Cole, DijahSB, Peach Luffe and more

Tate McRae, a woman with long blonde and brown hair, leans against boxing ropes in a closeup of her face.
Calgary pop singer Tate McRae is adding single 'Exes' to her list of growing hits. (Beth Saravo)

Songs you need to hear is CBC Music's weekly list of hot new Canadian tracks.

Scroll down to find out what our producers are listening to this week.


'Evil Ways,' Drake feat. J. Cole

Fans of Drake and J. Cole were thrilled when the pair teamed up on the hit "First Person Shooter," the anticipated collaboration between the two rap titans. Only days after dropping the over-the-top music video for that track, "Evil Ways" arrived as part of the extended version of Drake's For All the Dogs (the project was teased to be the third standalone Scary Hours EP from Drake rather than a deluxe album). Co-produced by Boi-1da, Vinylz and others, it serves as a soul-inflected followup that samples the '70s song "Change" by the Family Circle. The pair rap about getting older, the crustiness of Adidas shoes, and Scary Hours being "undefeated." In the midst of it all, Drake finds the time to hit on Rosalía and puff his chest up a little, but ultimately it's a smooth back-and-forth between the two friends. Considering it's one of the six new songs on the project that were penned in only five days, it shows that break or no break, Drake's still got gas in the tank, especially when rapping about his favourite subject: himself. — Natalie Harmsen


'Exes,' Tate McRae 

Calgary pop star Tate McRae is back with "Exes" following the breakout success of her September single, "Greedy." Written alongside Ryan Tedder and Tyler Spry in just 30 minutes, "Exes" is another upbeat dance number that will surely add to McRae's growing list of hits. "I'm a wild ride that never stops/ I'm a hard case they can't unlock," she admits on her latest, revealing her own flaws in a relationship as she shouts out spurned exes and "next ones who think they can live without me." While it can come off like she's just shrugging off her past, the track does end with McRae accepting responsibility for her self-sabotaging tendencies: "Kisses to my exes, I know I did you dirty/ little messed up, little selfish, we ain't married, I ain't 30." — Melody Lau


'Back Outside,' DijahSB feat. Mina Lioness

"Who's ready to bloom with me?" DijahSB asked on Instagram a week before dropping their new release — and they delivered on that promise of growth with The Flower That Knew, a full-length album seeded with 11 tracks that see the Polaris-shortlisted Toronto rapper stepping out into the sunshine after periods of darkness. "For the first time ever in my life I feel energized," DijahSB reveals in the first verse, before detailing the work it took them to get to this unburdened space ("Almost lost my mind at the time/ but it's cool though," they deliver, both sharply and nonchalantly). The laidback beat, care of producer Cheap Limousine, and gorgeous backup vocals from London-based singer Mina Lioness give "Back Outside" the lift of a springtime breeze, even though we're hurtling toward the end of November — so lean in to The Flower That Knew and you'll have a bounce in your step when winter hits hardest. — Holly Gordon


'Quite Like You,' Peach Luffe

There's no one quite like you,
Who knows me like you do.
Holding on my heart,
That you could break at any moment.

There's often a tinge of tragedy in the cheerful-sounding, dream-pop music of Peach Luffe, a.k.a. Toronto singer-songwriter Jong Lee. In the case of "Quite Like You," it's the spectre of heartbreak when you open yourself up completely to another. Verse 2 gives voice to those insecurities: "What if all I am is not enough? What if you don't accept all of the sides of me?" And when words fail, an impassioned violin solo takes over, before Lee returns to conclude the song with a whisper. — Robert Rowat


'Nowhere,' Emotional Oranges, Nonso Amadi

From raging forest fires to hurricanes, the devastating impacts of climate change persist — so it's no wonder that imagery of a world in crisis can serve as musical inspiration. On this second collaboration from R&B duo Emotional Oranges and Afro-R&B singer Nonso Amadi, neither blazes nor acid rain will keep two lovers apart. The stirring lyrics paint a bleak picture of a world on fire, yet the vocalists assure their love interests that they'll brave nature's wrath to be a dependable partner: "Flames, even though the world's burnin', I'ma be here." The smooth, impactful single is the first from an upcoming collaborative EP between Emotional Oranges and Amadi, who will head overseas for a European tour together next spring. — NH


'Last Page,' Rhyan Douglas

R&B has an indisputable foundation in Canada, with artists including Daniel Caesar, Dylan Sinclair and Savannah Ré serving as the genre's pillars — and now Toronto singer-songwriter Rhyan Douglas can be added to the top of that list. Douglas introduced himself earlier this month with the debut track "Last Page," a raw, poignant ballad that serves as a personal testament to heartbreak against an acoustic guitar backdrop. The song takes the listener on a profound journey through Douglas's self-discovery amid pain, offering a glimpse into the depth of his emotions. In addition to laying bare his heart, Douglas showcases impressive vocal abilities, turning his singing into a healing moment — akin to discovering a home remedy for all ailments. If this debut is indicative of what listeners can expect from the singer's promising future, it's a reassuring sign that R&B music is in capable hands — with Douglas as the torchbearer for what lies ahead. — Ryan Chung


'Pain & Pleasure,' Moonshine feat. Amaal Nuux, Vanyfox and Aluna

Moonshine knows how to get a party bubbling. With every new release, the Montreal-based collective (co-founded by 2022 Polaris Music Prize winner Pierre Kwenders) proves why its parties are beloved around the world. The ear the team has for boundary-pushing dance music is unparalleled, and makes Moonshine a perfect fit as the first signees to British electronic artist Aluna's new label, Noir Fever. "Pain & Pleasure" is the collective's debut single on the label, which came to fruition after Aluna wrote an open letter to the dance music industry in 2020, calling out the lack of Black representation at all levels. 

"Pain & Pleasure" also includes Portuguese Angolese producer Vanyfox, whose signature syncopated drums are heard right off the bat, and Somali Canadian singer Amaal Nuux, whose R&B vocals add a heightened sensuality to the track. In a press release, Moonshine shared that the song stays true to the group's "global Afro-diasporic influences and identity, a catalyst to the genre blending that you hear both at our events and on our albums." In this infectious tune, batida (an electronic genre created by Lisbon's African immigrant community) and R&B meet to encourage increased heart rate, hip-swaying and bodies melting together on the dance floor. — Kelsey Adams


To hear more about these standout songs, tune in to CBC Music Mornings every Thursday (Canada-wide) with producer Ryan Chung and host Saroja Coelho, and Here and Now with Gill Deacon every Wednesday afternoon (in Toronto). Both are available via CBC Listen.

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