Alessia Cara’s Ode to Single Life plus 12 other new songs

Alessia Cara writes skilful, clever and elegantly melodic songs. On his new album, “In the Meantime”, there is a lot of post-breakup ambivalence, trying to balance loneliness and loneliness against conflicting relationships; most of the music leans retro, towards neo-soul, reggae and bossa nova. But the last track on the album, “Apartment Song”, finds the possibility of releasing, as Cara sings it, “Got no lover / but the color of the sky tonight is so nice I don’t mind”. Pure musicality is her way forward: a two-chord groove that hints at “Genius of Love”, transporting her into a blissful coda of her own wordless a cappella harmonies. JON PARELES

Excavation of the Soul, Senior Edition. J. Cole’s new song – which borrows the beat from Drake’s recent “Pipe Down” – grapples with familiar demons: is he one of the greatest of this generation? Should he be worried if he is? Or if it is perceived as such? He assesses himself with an almost cold and clear eye:

Maybe deep down I’m afraid of my brightness
So when you see me on the red carpets I move awkwardly
Posing all nervous, afraid of judgment
And the idea of ​​showing my day too much is disgusting

But Cole has traveled this territory enough to make it clear that Internal Calculus is where he gets his strength, not the answer to any of those questions. He raps patiently and calmly. In the video, he’s wearing Crocs (and not the cool ones). He looks very comfortable. JON CARAMANICA

Soul Excavation, Junior Edition. The lyrical vanity that unites the verses of young New York rappers Wiki and Navy Blue (which also produced the dusty gallop of a track) is unexpected and refreshing: “When I was born my mom said I didn’t not bad, ”Navy Blue raps, and Wiki echoes the sentiment moments later. It is the humblest of boasting, a statement of purpose and connection to the earth itself. CARAMANIC

Can K-pop and Max Martin transport Coldplay to the 2020s? It is doubtful. Everyone makes great efforts in “My Universe”, concocted by a platoon of collaborators. The rhythm is booming and metronomic, under the cosmic reverberation of Coldplay; BTS raps and sings in Korean and English as Chris Martin draws, once again, to metaphors from astronomy and physics, promising “You are my Universe” and praising “the infinite within with your eyes ”. The trail is smooth, careful and joyless. PARÉLES

Plinks, bursts of static and impassive words from Charlotte Adigéry – “Thank you very much for taking the time to tell me this. It is a real revelation. »- arrive on a vintage electro noise which distorts through equalizations and assorted mixes. It’s a deeply sardonic salvo that, in a better world, would annihilate mansplaining once and for all. PARÉLES

A jagged escape into hell, DJ Lag and Lady Du’s “Lucifer” commands you to listen augurally. DJ Lag is the revolutionary ancestor of gqom, an electronic genre born in the townships of Durban, South Africa. Here he is joined by Lady Du, a luminary of amapiano, a South African house style that has caught on into the mainstream in recent years. On the first single from Lag’s debut album, dark synths, spinning engines and piercing sirens merge into a premonitory vision of the exciting future of South African electronic music. ISABELIA HERRERA

Like a bold red lip, “Boys Are From Mars” is a lavish surge of confidence. Princess Nokia and Yung Baby Tate pair perfectly here, their quiet, unhurried beards bouncing off each other during the three-minute ride. The production layers simple hats, guitar licks and the floating R&B melodies of Yung Baby Tate, the chorus striking like an overwhelming snob: “I can’t make myself come, but you think you’re a genius,” announce- they wink. HERRERA

YoungBoy Never Broke Again – who is currently in jail facing federal weapons charges – has just released a new album, “Sincerely, Kentrell”. This is perhaps his most skinned piece, full of passionate squeaky vocals on a wobbly, morbid guitar. CARAMANIC

In composing “Dreaming in Lions”, the sequel to his new album and his debut on Blue Note Records, pianist and composer Arturo O’Farrill was inspired by Malpaso Dance Company from Cuba, and Ernest Hemingway. The novelist gives his name to the sequel (in “The Old Man and the Sea” the Cuban protagonist Hemingway often finds himself dreaming of lions playing on distant shores), and the dancers undoubtedly have something to do with it. with giving this music its propelling influence. Working with his Afro Latin Jazz 10-piece ensemble, O’Farrill centers most of the suite’s tunes – like “The Deep” – around a combination of melodic and rhythmic repetition, creating small phrases that he can modify and modify. re-harmonize and create momentum. about. GIOVANNI RUSSONELLO

The first full track from trumpeter Theo Croker’s new album, “Blk2life || A future past ”, is“ Soul Call || Vibrate ”, a sprawling, jerky original that functions as a statement of identity for millennial jazz. The influence of J Dilla and his jazz drummer followers – including Karriem Riggins, and especially Chris Dave – is written all the way. A more subtle debt is owed to Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah, with his steaming trumpet sound and arching melodies. After “Soul Call || Vibrate ”, Croker and his band show the flexibility of this firm identity, with a different guest star (Ari Lennox, Wyclef Jean, Iman Omari) on most of the tracks on the album. RUSSONELLO

Sufjan Stevens and Angelo De Augustine took inspiration from the movie storylines for their new album, “A Beginner’s Mind”, and “You Give Death a Bad Name” is a zombie storyline: “What was dead comes for you.” It is not delivered as a threat but as a meditation, with the sweet twin voices of songwriters hovering amid rippling, intertwined guitars and pianos, bringing together layers of otherworldly instruments and voices, while his words – thoughts of death, contamination, American exceptionalism and senseless destruction – have implications far beyond cinematic entertainment. PARÉLES

DJ and producer Lotic sings “E-mer-gen-cy” as the synthesizers stutter and climb, and the bass sounds. A four-note keyboard pattern runs through most of “Emergency,” and it’s foundation and prod equally, in a track that holds the suspense until its last note. PARÉLES

At first, only basic chords – acoustic guitar, then piano – accompany FPA (Frances Priya Anczarski) as she agonizes over someone she can only claim “You are my something”. The backdrop widens, with a sustained guitar, revolving piano horns and arpeggios. But his need never diminishes. PARÉLES

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About Dawn Valle

Dawn Valle

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