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Beyoncé’s ‘Break My Soul,’ and 12 More Recent Songs


The primary song from Beyoncé’s album due July 29, “Renaissance,” has a clubby house beat and an attitude that equates defiant self-determination with salvation. She and her co-producers, Tricky Stewart and The-Dream, work two chords and a four-on-the-floor thump right into a continuously changing track. They sampled shouted advice — “Release your anger! Release your mind! Release your job! Release the time!” — from “Explode” by the Recent Orleans bounce rapper Big Freedia. Beyoncé extrapolates from there: joining the Great Resignation, constructing “my very own foundation,” insisting on love and self-love, facing every obstacle with the pledge that “You won’t break my soul.” When she invokes the soul, a gospel choir arrives to affirm her inner strength, as if anyone could doubt it. JON PARELES

A type of living cartoon character in his own right, the charismatic bassist Thundercat is a natural fit within the Gorillaz universe — a lot in order that it’s almost surprising he’s never collaborated with them before. Thundercat’s insistent bass line and backing vocals add a cool jolt to the group’s “Cracker Island,” a sleek and summery jam that happens to be about … a made-up cult? Thankfully the tune doesn’t get bogged down by anything too conceptual, though, and invites the listener to easily lock into its blissed-out groove. LINDSAY ZOLADZ

The Memphis-based vocalist Elizabeth King once seemed headed toward gospel stardom. Within the early Nineteen Seventies, she and a gaggle of all-male backing singers, the Gospel Souls, scored a radio hit and won the Gospel Gold Cup award, presented by town’s gospel D.J.s. But then King stepped back, spending a long time raising 15 children; her public performances were limited to singing on a weekly gospel radio program. It wasn’t until last yr that King, now in her 70s, released her first full album, the impressive “Living within the Last Days.” She returns this week with “I Got a Love.” On the title track, King reprises the sultry form of praise-singing that she had perfected within the Nineteen Seventies, telling us about her rock-sturdy romance with God over a slow and savory tempo. Behind her, a tube-amplified guitar slices out riffs, an organ alternates between full chords and long rests, and a heavy, pushing bass keeps the band’s muscles flexed. GIOVANNI RUSSONELLO

The title track from Amanda Shires’s upcoming album is a poetic and provocative torch song enlivened by an electrifying vocal performance. Featuring her husband Jason Isbell on guitar, “Take It Like a Man” is a sweeping ballad that constantly builds in blistering intensity — type of like something Shires’s Highwomen bandmate Brandi Carlile might release. However the song is a showcase for the unique power of Shires’s voice, which is each nervy and tremblingly vulnerable at the identical time. “I do know the associated fee of flight is landing,” she sings because the melody ascends ever higher, “and I do know I can take it like a person.” ZOLADZ

“Carolina,” from the soundtrack to the forthcoming movie “Where the Crawdads Sing,” holds the excellence of being certainly one of the spookiest songs within the Taylor Swift catalog; save for “No Body, No Crime,” it’s the closest she’s come to writing an outright murder ballad. Co-produced with Aaron Dessner, “Carolina” sounds of a chunk with Swift’s folky pair of 2020 releases: The arrangement begins with only a sparsely strummed acoustic guitar that eventually swells right into a misty atmosphere with the addition of strings and banjo. As on her 2015 single “Wildest Dreams,” there’s a touch of Lana Del Rey’s influence as Swift digs into her breathy lower register to intone ominously, “There are places I won’t ever go, and things that only Carolina will ever know.” ZOLADZ

“Canção da Cura” (“Song of Healing”) from the Brazilian songwriter Sessa’s latest album, “Estrela Acesa” (“Burning Star”), hints at some clandestine ritual. In his gentle tenor, Sessa sings, “To the sound of the drums I’ll devour you.” Acoustic guitars and percussion arrange an intricate mesh of syncopation, and in his gentle tenor, with hushed backup vocals overhead, Sessa sings, “To the sound of the drums I’ll devour you.” It’s a transient glimpse of a mystery. PARELES

After a decade of other projects, the wildly virtuosic, conundrum-slinging guitarist Omar Rodríguez-López and the singer and lyricist Cedric Bixler-Zavala have reunited because the Mars Volta, with a tour to begin in September and a latest song: “Blacklight Shine.” It’s a six-beat, bilingual rocker, stuffed with complex percussion and scurrying guitar lines, with lyrics like, “the high control hex he obsessively pets along with his thumbs/pondering nobody’s watching but I got the copy that he can never erase.” But unlike a lot of Mars Volta’s past efforts, this one strives for catchiness, and its rolling rhythm and harmony vocals hint, unexpectedly, at Steely Dan, one other band that tucked musical and verbal feats behind pop hooks. An prolonged “short film” connects the song’s underlying beat to the Afro-Caribbean rhythms of Puerto Rican bomba. PARELES

Commitment is an iffy thing; in “Watawi,” the Nigerian singers CKay and Davido and the South African rapper Focalistic stay evasive when girlfriends ask “What are we?” CKay suavely croons a non-answer: “We’re what we’re.” Keeping things up within the air is the production by Abidoza from South Africa, which hovers around a syncopated one-note pulse because it fuses the cool keyboard chords of South African amapiano with crisp Afrobeats percussion. In its final minute, the track introduces a fiddle that would easily result in an entire latest phase of the connection. PARELES

There’s something splendidly uncanny in regards to the music of Philadelphia’s Alex G. His songs often gesture toward familiar sounds and textures — “Runner,” from his forthcoming album “God Save the Animals” bears a melodic resemblance to, of all things, Soul Asylum’s early ’90s anthem “Runaway Train”— but their gradual accumulation of small, idiosyncratic sonic details produce an overall sense of strangeness. “Runner” initially seems like warm, nice alt-rock pastiche, but before it will probably lull the listener into nostalgia, the song suddenly erupts with unruly emotion: “I even have done a pair bad things,” Alex sings a couple of times with increasing desperation, before letting out a thrillingly unexpected scream. ZOLADZ

Exile is available in many forms — sometimes it’s spiritual, sometimes it’s literal. The pop-rap phenom Lil Nas X recently took umbrage — seriously or not, who can tell — at not being nominated for a BET Award at this yr’s ceremony. YoungBoy Never Broke Again stays on house arrest, certainly one of rap’s hottest figures but one who’s achieved that success without the participation of traditional tastemakers. Together, they share the kinship of outsiders, even in the event that they never quite align on this song, which is notionally aimed toward BET; the video incorporates a clip of somebody urinating on a BET Award trophy. They’re radically different artists — two different rapping styles, two different material obsessions, two different levels of seriousness. By the top it feels as in the event that they’re in search of exile from one another. JON CARAMANICA

“What does a lady like me want with you?” the Swedish songwriter Tove Lo asks in “True Romance,” a four-minute catharsis. The track uses only two synthesized chords and a slow pulse, however the vocal is pained, aching and continuously escalating the drama: a desperate human voice attempting to escape an electronic grid. PARELES

The composer Rachika Nayar explores the textural and orchestral possibilities of electrical guitar and digital processing: effects, loops, layering. Much of her work has been meditative, and so is the start of “Heaven Come Crashing,” with shimmering, sustained washes of guitar and abstract vocals from Maria BC. But there’s a surprise midway through: a hurtling drumbeat kicks in, and what had been a weightless drift is suddenly a warp-speed surge forward. PARELES

In an alternate universe, the discharge of latest music from the tenor saxophonist Abraham Burton and the drummer Eric McPherson could be a significant event. Each are Gen X jazz eminences, and across a long time playing together, their styles have grown in complement to at least one one other. Burton holds long notes in a powerful but wavery yowl or shoots out notes in string-like bursts, conveying a wounded tenderness regardless of all that volume and power. McPherson has a comparatively gentle touch on the drums, but still channels the earth-moving polyrhythmic force of Elvin Jones. Last summer, these longtime musical partners gave a concert, joined by the bassist Dezron Douglas, as a part of Giant Step Arts’ outdoor series on the old Seneca Village site in Central Park. The performance closed with “Will Never Be Forgotten,” a lament with a descending bass line and a melody that winds downward like a teardrop. A full recording of the concert was released on Juneteenth, as “The Summit Rock Session at Seneca Village.” RUSSONELLO

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