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New Tragically Hip, and other songs worth a listen

Gord Downie, lead singer of the Tragically Hip performs with his band at the Pemberton Festival on July 26, 2008.

JENNIFER ROBERTS/Jennifer Roberts/The Globe and Mail

ROCK

Streets Ahead

The Tragically Hip, from the forthcoming Now For Plan A; streaming here

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The second single from the Hip's next album drives strict and muscled, like a Humvee in a mood and on a hard deadline. Clear a path – the bass line slows for no one.

FOLK/GOSPEL

Talkin' to Jehova

Kelly Joe Phelps, from Brother Sinner & the Whale (Black Hen); streaming here

"Crashing waves, don't you break no bones; we're just holding on." Soulful, graceful and bluesy in a Chris Whitley way, this slide-guitar-driven beauty is based on Bible verses and suggests that a glory-bound march is about to pay off.

POP

We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together

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Taylor Swift, from the forthcoming Red; streaming here

The eyelashed icon doubles down on the dumb-down, issuing an unambiguous message in as plain-spoken a way as possible. This is highly juvenile pop, downloaded at inexcusably record-setting levels, with Swift singing "we" in the chorus as if she's enjoying a roller-coaster ride to the bottom.

FOLK/POP

Into the Waves

Lisa Bozikovic, from This Is How We Swim; streaming here

Sombre, haunting stuff from the Toronto songstress, who neither fears oceans nor Cat Power comparisons.

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ESSENTIAL VIDEO

Praise You

Fatboy Slim, from the DVD Live: From the Big Beach Bootique; streaming here

The Brighton-born DJ Norman Cook praises a soccer stadium full of hometown fans like he should, with confetti streams, fire-extinguisher blasts, knob twiddles and a big bow from dance-floor maestro.

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About the Author

Brad Wheeler is an arts reporter with The Globe and Mail. More

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