Listen Up

From electropop to zouk, some of our favorite songs from the week

Jonah Yano + BADBADNOTGOOD: Nervous

Japan-born, Toronto-based Jonah Yano connects with BADBADNOTGOOD on a track that’s a delightful and seamless combination of their styles. Yano’s raw and relatable lyrics float comfortably atop BBNG’s rainy instrumental—one that employs acid jazz and blues. “Cigarettes make me nervous,” Yano proclaims. And it all burns smoothly until the track slips into a psychedelic spiral around the two-minute mark. Afterward, it picks up right where it left off—except accented with elegant drum rolls and orbiting atmospheric notes.

Carly Rae Jepsen: Too Much

Another song from Carly Rae Jepsen’s upcoming album Dedicated (out next week), “Too Much” is a minimal, sultry electro gem. While it’s downtempo compared with the previous releases from the record, the tune is still very much crafted for the dance floor—thanks to its flawless, gliding groove. As it includes two common Jepsen traits—layered, harmonized vocals and the topic of overwhelming emotions—the synth-heavy song is wildly satisfying.

Kassav’: Love and Ka Dance

Best known for popularizing zouk, Kassav’ gets their first album, Love and Ka Dance, reissued with both the original and the rare US version inside the set. This version (out 10 May, on Heavenly Sweetness) also dons new album art—a photograph taken by the late Rudy Jabbour. The title track is a lively summation of the group’s sound which blends cadence rampa, calypso, funk, merengue and more.

Mac Demarco: Here Comes The Cowboy

Sparse and repetitive, though tender and altogether pretty, “Here Comes The Cowboy,” the first track off Mac Demarco’s album of the same name, ambles along, lulling the listener. The track’s sole lyrics, “Here comes the cowboy,” are repeated a dozen or so times, but viewers lose count when entranced by the song’s music video. Cole Kush directed and animated the absurdist visuals, wherein a misfit troop of strangely familiar figures send off—or sacrifice—a chair-bound creature of tie-dyed complexion. There’s certainly a story here, though you’re left to interpret, or survive it, yourself.

Listen Up is published every Sunday and rounds up the new music we found throughout the week. Hear the year so far on our Spotify channel.