The best new music of the week: Justin Bieber, Alessia Cara, k-os and more

By Nicholas Jennings

As music columnist for hellomagazine.ca, each week I’ll bring you my selections for the best and most notable new music, albums you’re going to want to add to your collection plus a five-song playlist to try out. Happy listening!

Scroll down for playlist…

TOP ALBUMS:

Alessia CaraFour Pink Walls
She’s only 19, but Brampton, Ont.’s Cara has an assured confidence that is making her one of pop’s fastest rising stars. That maturity shines through on her five-song EP, an r&b and hip-hop flavored collection that features “Here,” her stunning wallflower hit whose video has 5.6 million views (and counting) on Vimeo. There’s nothing sad about Cara’s take on being at a house party she has zero interest in. Instead, it’s a powerful lone-wolf stance that rejects all the inebriation, gossip and sexual advances faced at such gatherings. Other songs reflect similar wise-before-her-years observations. On “Seventeen” she admits to growing up too fast and discovering she lacks the wisdom to deal with it. Even her love song “I’m Yours” has an edge. “How rude of you to ruin my miserable,” she sings, “and tell me I’m beautiful.” The track “Outlaws,” with its skittering rhythms and honking sax, sums up Cara’s outsider personality best and it’s just the kind of bold expression to help this savvy pop misfit “take on the world.”

k-osCan’t Fly Without Gravity
Canada’s Juno-winning rapper has always favored eclecticism over straight-up hip-hop, crooning, rocking out and mashing up genres long before Drake started stretching boundaries. The sixth album from the “Crabbuckit” man keeps up that wildly inventive approach, especially on the pop ballad “Another Shot” and the catchy electronica track “Hussle & Flow.” Along with his trademark rapid-fire flow, k-os employs some impressive samples with gifted vocalists. “Crucify” features Ella Fitzgerald singing “De-Lovely,” while his track “Boys II Men,” a posse number that includes appearances from Saukrates, Kardinal Offishall, Choclair, King Reign and Shad,” squeezes in a snippet of Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You.” To let the world know how much he favors authentic singing over synthetically smoothed-out vocals, he curses AutoTune on “WiLD4TheNight (EgoLand),” a standout track with a wide-eyed cinematic sweep.

OTHER NOTABLE RELEASES:

Justin Bieber – “What Do You Mean”
The first taste of his new album, out Nov. 13, is a bubbling percussive track in which Bieber wonders where he stands in a relationship “when you don’t want me to move, but you tell me to go.”

Beach HouseDepression Cherry
The fifth album by Beach House, the duo of Victoria Legrand and Alex Scally, weaves synths and guitars with Legrand’s ethereal vocals on the flinty “Sparks” and other excursions into their dream-pop wonderland.

The LibertinesAnthems for Doomed Youth
Pete Doherty and Carl Barât reunite for the English band’s first album in 11 years and the results are explosive, from the rousing romp of “Gunga Din” to the edgy chaos of “Glasgow Coma Scale Blue.”

DestroyerPoison Season
The latest album from Destroyer, a.k.a. Vancouver’s Dan Bejar, is a string-drenched collection of crooning ballads, late-night jazz and giddy brass-filled numbers like the euphoric “Dream Lover.”

PLAYLIST OF THE WEEK:

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