St. Vincent’s Synth-Funk ‘Pain,’ and 9 More New Songs


St. Vincent (Annie Clark) piles craftsmanship on craft on the way to a digitized primal scream in “Pay Your Way in Pain” from a new album, “Daddy’s Home,” due out in May. A disposable music hall piano introduction cuts to fat, squeezing 1980s synthesizer tones as she sings mischievously but with growing desperation about rejection on every front, surrounded by multiples of her own voice processed into gasping, trembling onlookers . They join her to reconcile the words “pain” and “shame”, as decades later the echo of David Bowie singing “fame”. It’s funny until it’s no more; At the end, she proclaims, “I want to be loved,” and that last word spans 17 creaking, breathless seconds. JON PARELES

Professionals recognize professionals. It’s telling that Charli XCX (the id girl of Hyperpop) and 1975 Matty Healy (the most confident and ambitious arena rock deconstructor) both chose to work with No Rome, a Filipino songwriter and producer who made introversion, Electronics combine melody and music. The song lands on Charli XCX’s lawn: teasing, danceable and unstable, showing off its pitch shift and digital processing. But it is also quite danceable and flirtatious: full of senseless movement. PARELES

Both Anderson .Paak and Bruno Mars are hardworking students of R&B history devoted to the most opulent, funkyst and idealistic moments of the 1970s before the disco. No wonder, then, that their collaboration – Silk Sonic, although they also keep their own search-optimizing names in the accounts – in “Leave the Door Open” goes back to the harmonious seduction of groups like the Spinners and the Manhattans and the style; Yes kids, this is an analog tape deck that is playing at the beginning of the video. The descending guitar glissando, the glockenspiel, the noticeable key changes, the contrast of grainy lead and perfectionist backup vocals, the detailed erotic invitation of the lyrics – “Come on over, I’ll love you” – are all good things to revive can. PARELES

What is a palate cleaning for Drake is beyond the reach of their ambition and skill for most rappers. In between albums, he throws away songs that focus on his heavier side and leans on wordy verses that are mostly devoid of melody. “Lemon Pepper Freestyle” – from his new “Scary Hours 2” EP – is a laid-back classic of form, full of clever rhymes that are delivered so casually that they almost obscure the technical boldness. The song features Rick Ross, a frequent mischief buddy who, however, immediately forgets him so that Drake can begin a more than four minute verse that touches his notary, some wild times in Vegas, a smooth upbringing together (“I’m sending her child support / She sends me the heart emoji “), the dampening effects of too much fame, the overpriced equipment of too much fame and the usual confession / Braggadocio connection that still sticks after more than a decade:” To be real , Man, I never committed a crime. But none of my brothers can label this line. “JON CARAMANICA

New year, Nü disco. Bebe Rexha turns whispering diva on “Sacrifice” – “Want to be the air every time you breathe / run through your veins, and the spaces in between” – on an elegant track that has the slightest nod to Real McCoy’s ultra-bouncey mid-range ’90s includes “Another Night.” CARAMANICA

Tank pours out his regrets and asks for reconciliation on “Can’t Let It Show”: “I should have been everything I promised,” he croaks in a painful tenor and continues: “I was stupid, heartless / me was useless, thoughtless. “Then he responds in falsetto with her supposed side of the dialogue: a misappropriated Kate Bush chorus -” I should be crying but I just can’t show it “- that makes him believe he still has a chance because She worries. Or is it all just wishful thinking? PARELES

An awkward night in a ungrateful marriage between a partner who is barely trying to save face and a partner who tries very hard to do just enough so that watchers may not notice how badly the couple are a match. CARAMANICA

Perhaps Finneas is a little frustrated – albeit well compensated – while keeping things calm (but deeply menacing) working with his sister Billie Eilish, whose singing is more of a melodic whisper. Fittingly, he walks in an appropriate, orchestral wall of sound to share great crescendos with Ashe in “Til Forever Falls Apart,” which begins as a vow of loyalty but turns into visions of the Californian apocalypse. PARELES

When prolific Cuban pianist and composer Omar Sosa toured East Africa with his trio in 2009, he brought a small recording setup and held on as he played with leading musicians in every country he visited. He then copied additional layers of drums and piano onto the original recordings; Now he has finally released these recordings as the album “An East African Journey”. In Zambia, Sosa met Abel Ntalasha, a multi-instrumentalist and dancer whose song “Shibinda” tells of a young man who is growing up and preparing for marriage. Ntalasha plays the kalumbu, a one-stringed instrument, and sings the central evocation of the song. Sosa gradually joins in, bringing in vocals and percussion as well as rhythmic splashes high up on the piano. GIOVANNI RUSSONELLO

For his new album “Facets”, saxophonist Hafez Modirzadeh brought three leading jazz pianists into the studio. But before they arrived, he retuned many of the piano’s strings to reflect an ancient Persian technique of finding notes in the spaces between the tempered scale. Modirzadeh doesn’t play the saxophone on “Facet Sorey”; Instead, the multi-instrumentalist Tyshawn Sorey takes care of the piece alone, conjures up contradicting clouds of harmony and lets the slightly sour mood of the piano create a feeling of insecurity. RUSSONELLO



Robert Dunfee