Gracie Abrams and Taylor Swift’s Tortured Duet, and 8 More New Songs


The title of the singer-songwriter Gracie Abrams’s second album, “The Secret of Us,” comes from this feverish duet with her friend and onetime tour mate Taylor Swift. “If history’s clear, someone always ends up in ruins,” Abrams, 24, sings breathily through a thicket of fingerpicked notes, the signature sound of her and Swift’s mutual collaborator Aaron Dessner, who co-produced the track with Jack Antonoff. (Dessner’s band the National gets a shout out toward the end of the song, when Abrams sings of being “mistaken for strangers.”) Midway through, the wise elder Swift swoops in to put Abrams’s youthful heartbreak in perspective. “If history’s clear, the flames always end up in ashes,” she sings. “And what seemed like fate, give it 10 months and you’ll be past it.” LINDSAY ZOLADZ

The latest single from Jamie xx’s long-awaited second album “In Waves” pairs playful and effortlessly cool vocals from Robyn with a thumping, skittish beat intercut with lively horn samples. Her personality shines brightest on the bridge, when she throws out some vampy non-sequiturs and dissolves into giggles at one of them: “You’re giving me strong torso.” Whatever you say, Robyn! ZOLADZ

Mavis Staples preaches self-affirmation in “Worthy”: “When they try to kick you, don’t let yourself get down,” she urges. Written and produced by a team including Amanda Warner, a.k.a. MNDR, “Worthy” has Staples bouncing her inimitably husky voice against a soul horn section and a funk beat that heads toward James Brown territory, with just a few electronic tweaks to place the song in the 21st century. JON PARELES

Rakim, the grandmaster of multileveled wordplay and internal rhymes since the 1980s, has re-emerged to preview his first album since 2009, “G.O.D.S Network (Reb7rth).” In “Be Ill,” a brooding, midtempo track that he produced, he’s joined by two of his many admirers, Kurupt and Masta Killa, and he calmly and efficiently raps about being “a conscious lyricist, atom splitter/complex as quantum physics is.” PARELES

Peso Pluma’s new album, “Exodo” (“Exodus,” another biblical title following “Génesis” last year), is a double album: one disc of Mexican-rooted music, the other claiming connections across the Americas, especially to hip-hop and reggaeton. “Put Em in the Fridge” has Peso Pluma rapping, not singing, alongside Cardi B, atop a track that uses trap percussion and deep bass below samples of Mexican-style guitar and horns. Rapping in Spanish and English, Peso Pluma mixes threats and boasts: “40 shooters if I send ’em in they coming in/50 kilos if you need them then they coming in.” He’s not belligerent, just matter-of-fact. PARELES

“I never, never, no no, thought I could put anybody before me,” Kehlani sings in “Next 2 U,” sounding both astonished and pugnacious; it’s from her new album, “Crash.” The song is an onrush of shifting moods — devotion, gratitude, protectiveness, intimacy, possessiveness, wonder — mirrored by a quick-changing structure. In under three minutes, the track moves through choral harmonies, brittle programmed beats, meter changes and vocals that veer from ethereal to aggressive: all the euphoria and uncertainty of new love. PARELES

Kali Uchis has reclaimed a song from her 2012 mixtape, “Drunken Babble,” to make it even more luxuriously twisted. The production offers posh, slowly swaying two-chord bliss, with wind chimes, echoey guitars, tinkling glockenspiel and cooing backup vocals. But Uchis isn’t basking in romance; she’s ending a shallow, materialistic relationship: “You changed, here’s your receipt,” she sings. “I’ll never be yours nohow.” PARELES

Amber Bain, an English songwriter who records as the Japanese House, offers a (rare) positive testimonial to a dating app in a song titled with the smiley-face emoticon. “Talking to someone who I’ve never met/Thank you God for making internet,” she sings over buoyant folk-rock picking, full of eager anticipation for a transcontinental rendezvous. PARELES

The Chicago footwork D.J. and producer RP Boo backs the hip-hop duo Armand Hammer — Billy Woods and Elucid — with sputtering drum-machine beats and samples of Sun Ra’s big-band horn arrangements and spoken words in this track from a new Red Hot Org compilation album, “Outer Spaceways Incorporated: Kronos Quartet and Friends Meet Sun Ra,” which also has material from Moor Mother, Jlin, Laurie Anderson and Terry Riley. “Blood running high, gas selling low” goes the refrain, over fluctuating beats. “The universe is very delicate, and everything you do here affects other beings,” Sun Ra advises. “It reaches all the way up to God.” As the track unfolds, RP Boo latches onto a swinging horn-section passage, then dissolves back into abstraction. PARELES



Source link

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top