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NYT Syndicate

Pop critics for The New York Times weighed in on the most notable new songs and videos ” and anything else that strikes them as intriguing.
1) Gorgeous
The current iteration of Taylor Swift, circles back to meet the Taylor Swift of yesteryear in Gorgeous, a new single from 'Reputation', her album due on November 10. Like more than a few of her previous songs, it's about an unrequited crush; this one leaves her shy, infatuated and tongue-tied."You're so gorgeous I can't say anything to your face," she pouts. Maybe it's autobiographical ” fans have started guessing whose"ocean-blue eyes" she's drowning in ” or maybe it's just a return to a familiar pose. It also leaves open a distant possibility, given her choice of"gorgeous" as a descriptor, that it's not about a guy. Plinking, overlapping arpeggios and buzzy bass notes make a promising start, and the vocals are carefully acted, but the track runs out of ideas well before it ends.
2) Southern Gothic
"This town's got the good Lord shakin' his head/looking down thinking we ain't heard a word he said," Dan Tyminski sings in Southern Gothic, the brooding title song of a new album full of thoughts about heaven and hell, angels and devils. A bluesy slide guitar leads into a track that's a huge swerve away from the acoustic string-band music Tyminski sang with Alison Krauss and Union Station and on the soundtrack of O Brother, Where Art Thou?. The rhythm is a deep thudding loop, topped with other loops; churchy organ chords and ominous strings join a mournful choir of Tyminski's overdubbed vocals.
3) You & Me
Jock-jam pop-punk from the mystery man of EDM, who is singing on this song, an apparent first. This moves fast, and it needles, but it's clumsily effective ” more the exhausted, frantic panting after the 100-yard dash than the dash itself.
4) Snap
'Agrima', the remarkable second album from the alto saxophonist Mahanthappa's Indo-Pak Coalition, is more than a marriage of jazz and South Asian music. It's lovely, rampant and soaring, bringing together sharp Carnatic adroitness, tartly doleful harmonies fit for an English ballad, prog-rock muscle, bebop slipperiness, and ” here and there ” the blown dust of a Gustavo Santoalalla soundtrack. The songs here work as loose scaffolds, and Mahanthappa's trio-mates ” the guitarist Rez Abbasi and the drummer and tabla player Dan Weiss ” fill the space with low-slung body and warmth. On Snap, Weiss' tabla and Abbasi's reverby drone surround Mahanthappa's woven phrasing on the saxophone, hugging it tight and also giving it freedom of motion.
5) Me Levanto
Farruko, a reggaeton singer from Puerto Rico, usually devotes his songs to lust and street life. But his new single, Me Levanto (I Get Up) reacts to the aftermath of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, with proud self-reliance ("We're a race of warriors"), contempt for posturing ("to see my people suffering/and to see politicians campaigning") and calls for unity."If I fall, I get up," the chorus insists.
6) To the Moon and Back
The Swedish vocalist Karin Elisabeth Dreijer Andersson of the Knife released an album of moody electro-pop as Fever Ray in 2009, and then promptly hit pause. Her first new song under that name arrived this week, and it's closer to the bubbly dance reveries of Robyn than the dark, textured electro experiments of her self-titled debut."Hey, remember me?" she begins, then wanders into territory naughty enough to require us to embed this"air horn edit" that bleeps the dirty bits.
7) Believe Me
Young Dolph, from Memphis, Tennessee, has been easing his way toward hip-hop ubiquity in recent years as his music has become airier and less insular. The rollicking Believe Me is among his most accessible songs to date. But it's the video that will draw disproportionate attention. Last month, Young Dolph was shot in Hollywood, and this video was filmed in its aftermath, partly in the hospital, including on the day he checked out. (He pulls the SUV door shut with his left hand because his right arm is bandaged in a sling.) In the second half of the clip, he raps about resilience while playing with his son, wearing matching Gucci. But given recent events, it's hard not to not to hear this song's refrain and wince:"Yeah, we here now/but it wasn't easy."
8) Separating
The music of the multi-instrumentalist and sometime vocalist C`cile Schott is here to neutralise your expectations. There are plenty of idiosyncrasies and misdirections in the accruing, elliptical rhythms she creates. But your ear grows accustomed to them quickly, and finds a way to make a home inside them. Until recently, her weapon of choice has been the viola da gamba, typically run through a loop pedal. On 'A flame my love, a frequency', she opts for only a set of Moog pedals and Critter and Guitari synthesisers. As a result, she loses some of the warbling body and sense of contingency that defined records like the excellent 'Captain of None'. But the core principles abide, and the electronics add a kind of aqueous immersion. On Separating, her breathy incantations fit snugly into the equation: somehow both fey and reassuring.
9) Wild and Reckless
Missing Tom Petty? He lives on in Blitzen Trapper's Wild and Reckless, an accomplished slice of classic rock that unabashedly sounds like Petty singing a Bruce Springsteen song with the Heartbreakers' California guitars and a harmonica intro from Neil Young. The song presents teenage romance with anticipatory nostalgia:"When we've both grown old and we're looking back/on these wild and reckless times/are these the best days of our lives?" It's the title song of an album due on November 3, based on a stage musical by the band, completed long before Petty's death. But now it sounds like a ghost returning.
10) Millionaire and 11) The Older I Get
Two approaches to country music contemplation. For Chris Stapleton (Millionaire), it's a low, scratchy celebration of love, aided and abetted by his sterling-voiced wife, Morgane. The music is loose and rangy, and the lyrics are earthen:"She's my treasure so very rare/she's made me a millionaire." Alan Jackson, just inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame, dives deeper into the reserved melancholy that's defined the second half of his career in The Older I Get. His trick is making a quavering voice sound stoic. Here, that means greeting the slow withering of ageing with almost-credible optimism:"If they found the fountain of youth/I wouldn't drink a drop/and that's the truth."
12) Pocket Pass
Tomas Fujiwara is a drummer well known in certain experimental pockets of New York's jazz scene. As a composer, his tunes often reflect his drum attack: They're big-canvas renderings, with washes of bright colour and the mark of a patient hand. That's the kind of music he has long made with the Hook Up, his quintet. And certainly, those trappings show up on 'Triple Double', his new album. But generally it's a punchier, more acrid record. He's got two guitarists here (Mary Halvorson and Brandon Seabrook), a double-brass front line (Ralph Alessi on trumpet and Taylor Ho Bynum on cornet), and a second drummer (the stellar, empathic Gerald Cleaver). The moments of atmospheric splay, as on Hurry Home B/G and Hurry Home M/T, have a weightier trepidation than most of his music with the Hook Up. And the moments of release ” on the quick and dirty Pocket Pass, for one ” seem to streak across your ear like a fire, leading with light and leaving entropy behind.
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02/11/2017
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