Taylor Swift and Post Malone’s Regretful Duet, and 9 More New Songs


“I love you, it’s ruining my life,” Taylor Swift and a subdued Post Malone sing to each other, full of breathy regret, in “Fortnight,” the song that opens Swift’s new double album, “The Tortured Poets Department: The Anthology.” They’re both obsessing over a brief but unforgettable affair, even though both of the song’s narrators are now married — and, to make things worse, neighbors. “Your wife waters flowers, I wanna kill her,” Swift notes. The music is a measured march with vocal harmonies wafting through electronic spaces where the recriminations can smolder.

Greg Gonzalez, the songwriter behind Cigarettes After Sex, sets decadent, morbid, sex-and-drugs scenarios to plush, slow-motion retro-rock that David Lynch might appreciate. In “Dark Vacay” he’s taking pills, “sipping Château Lafite Rothschild” and listening “to the last message that you left/Then the voice from the suicide hotline.” He’s calm, even a little self-satisfied, as he invites someone to “Feel it all around you/Crash and fall.”

The arrangement is largely acoustic, yet there’s almost a trip-hop undertow to “Raat Ki Rani” (Urdu for “Queen of the Night”) by Arooj Aftab, the Grammy-winning, culture-fusing Pakistani singer who is now based in New York City. One piano note repeats throughout; Asian percussion supplies deep, deliberate syncopation, and Maeve Gilchrist’s harp swirls between verses. Aftab sings about allure and longing in a long-breathed melody suffused with melancholy poise.

Most of Claire Rousay’s discography has been wordless ambient music, full of ephemeral, edge-of-perception sounds. But her new album, “Sentiment,” is nominally a set of pop songs, with melodies and lyrics. It’s pop at its most fragile, attenuated and surreal. “Lover’s Spit Plays in the Background” — named for a Broken Social Scene song — is a ballad of lonely self-assessment, set to delicate guitar picking, cello drone tones and eerie reverberations. “For the most part I hate me too,” Rousay sings, with her voice electronically filtered, alienated even from herself.

The guitarist and songwriter Ben Seretan has a catalog that encompasses songs and instrumentals, quiet ambient tracks and blaring rock. “New Air,” from his coming album “Allora,” presents one more facet. Recorded in 2019 with a power-trio lineup of guitar, bass and drums, it’s a jammy, droney, eight-minute song that circles back to the refrain “We breathe new air for the first time.” It hints at kraut-rock and psychedelia, eases back for an occasional vocal and builds to pummeling, skirling peaks.

In 2016, Yannis Philippakis, the guitarist and lead singer from Foals, seized a chance to record in Paris with a band led by Tony Allen, the drummer who pioneered Fela Kuti’s Afrobeat and died in 2020. Now he has gotten around to finishing five songs for an EP, “Lagos Paris London,” due August 30. “Walk Through Fire” rides a crackling, ever-surprising Allen beat — there’s no telling where a quick little drumroll will erupt — and increasingly distorted guitar riffs, while Philippakis summons the apocalyptic tone of Jim Morrison, howling, “The city burns while it says my name.”

Self-doubt gives way to determined hope in “Light as Grass” by the English songwriter Lucy Rose. She wonders whether someone else can ever understand her; she’s willing to take the chance. The structure matches the thought process. For much of the song, she plays blunt piano chords that map a tricky, fluctuating meter. But as she reaches the chorus — “I saw you” — all that uncertainty is swept into a waltz.

Richard Thompson has been writing steely, stoic British trad-rock songs since the 1960s. His latest, “Freeze,” is from his next album, “Ship to Shore.” With rumbling drums, a crisp mandolin and brief, probing solos from Thompson’s electric guitar, the song jigs its way through typically bleak Thompson predicaments — “Another day without a dream/Without a hope, without a scheme” — for characters frozen at a moment of decision.

Dusty piano arpeggios carry “How It Starts” by the off-again, on-again trio Loma, whose members overcame career and geographical separations to record a new album, “How Will I Live Without a Body?” The song itself suggests a tentative but inevitable reunion: “This is how it starts to move again,” Emily Cross sings, as Jonathan Meiburg (from Shearwater) and Dan Duszynski build an arrangement behind her, gathering heft as they reconvene.

Kenny Wollesen — a percussionist who has played with Tom Waits, Laurie Anderson, Bill Frisell, John Zorn and many others — leads Latrala, a jazz quintet laced with electronics. “Uptown,” from an album due May 3, revolves around a two-chord vamp that’s layered with multiple little vibraphone motifs and melodies, sometimes flipped backward. Meanwhile guitar and saxophone wrangle on the sidelines. It’s a meditation that simmers with internal drama.



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