Sam Smith’s Ode to Self-Acceptance and 10 More New Songs

“Every day I try not to hate myself,” pop crooner Sam Smith sings on a new single, “but lately it doesn’t hurt like it used to.” “Love Me More” is a simple yet touching ode to self-acceptance, and Smith delivers it with a lighthearted levity that delivers the message compellingly. The arrangement keeps things airy and understated, so that even when a chorus of backing singers enters in the middle, the effect isn’t painful or heavy. The song, like Smith, keeps moving forward with a confident spring in its step. LINDSAY ZOLADZ

Regina Spektor traces an ecological treasure hunt – from the ocean to the mountain via the forest, the garden, the flower and the nectar – in “Up the Mountain”, seeking an answer in the taste of this nectar. It’s mystical and earthy, moving from booming piano to relentless rhythm, with strings and horns stringing behind it; whether or not she finds her answer, she has thrown everything into research. JON PARELES

Wilco is going country – or maybe he’s just coming back. Jeff Tweedy has always had a complicated relationship with the genre: his work with Uncle Tupelo and early Wilco records certainly flirted with it, but they also had the kind of punk grit that usually earned them the “alt” prefix. There’s a direct sincerity to “Falling Apart (Right Now),” however, that makes the lead single from the band’s upcoming “Cruel Country” feel like new territory for a band 12 records and three decades after its run. . “Baby, being blue, when it comes to you and me,” Tweedy sings, “it’s always on the menu.” Its delivery has a playful, nasal warmth, but what really sells the song and its country bonafide is Nels Cline’s nimble steel guitar playing. ZOLADZ

Many artists in the Latin music industry have spent the past year experimenting with electronic textures. But Dominican rebel dembow Tokischa has never been one to conform, so don’t consider her new collaboration with trendy EDM producer Marshmello. “Estilazo” is pure Toki: raunchy lyrics, shy moans and an unapologetic queer aesthetic. “Larga vida homosexual”, she says on the track – long live the gays. The video is also a delightfully playful game: Dennis Rodman, Nikita Dragun and La Demi preside over a drag contest, while dancers walk and parade down the runway. RuPaul is shaking in his boots, and I’ll be shouting “ser perra está de moda” (“being a bad female dog is fashionable”) at the club all summer long. ISABELLE HERRERA

I Am is a duo composed of Isaiah Collier on saxophone and Michael Shekwoaga Ode on drums. “Omniscient (Mycelium)” has a basic structure – a 4/4 rhythm and a mode – which gives them ample room to improvise and embellish. Collier lands steadily on two low notes before trampolining into upper-register acrobatics; the drums become increasingly overactive to match it, and the track fades before it peaks. Talk

It’s hard to recreate the magic of a balada, a nostalgia song popular in the 1970s that defined a generation in Latin America. Black Pumas guitarist and producer Adrián Quesada manages to harness the power of the genre on an upcoming album titled “Boleros Psicodalicos”. “El Paraguas”, with the Colombian artist Gabriel Garzon-Montano, exemplifies the raw, full-throated vocal drama of the record; Montano unleashes a torrent of verve and angst that slides over the woozy production. A vintage organ helps evoke a spaced out, nostalgic haze. HERRERA

Brazilian singer Flora Purim never sang like a jazz crooner, nor an average bossa nova whisperer. When she burst onto the scene in the 1970s, she had something unique: an ingenuous, diaphanous voice that became instantly recognizable and fit perfectly into the booming landscape of jazz fusion. On his latest album, “If You Will”, Purim pays homage to Chick Corea, whose Return to Forever was his first major concert; the pianist died last year. She presents here a version of “500 Miles High”, their most famous collaboration of the Return to Forever years. She sounds remarkably intact at 80, as her band takes great energy through the air, driven by the hot-footed drums of Endrigo Bettega. GIOVANNI RUSSONELLO

Maria de Fátima, from Rio de Janeiro, has spent much of her career singing for the main Brazilian songwriters and singers: Milton Nascimento, Gilberto Gil, Chico Buarque, Flora Purim. But in 1981, while living in Uruguay — it’s a long story — she seized her chance to record a solo album, “Bahia Com H”, reissued today. The album blended its Brazilian spirit with its Uruguayan backup; she sang acclaimed Brazilian songs alongside her own, among them “Vocé”, which envisions lovers united as the sun and the moon. Syncopated acoustic guitars and hand percussion in odd meter – ⅞ – carry her through a melody that skips and continues to land on expressive dissonances; imagine if Joni Mitchell was born in Brazil. Talk

Guitarist Miles Okazaki and his longtime quartet, Trickster, have never sounded more limitless than on their latest album, “Thisness.” Trickster’s normal signatures are his elaborately stitched unbalanced grooves and his affinity for misdirection, following the example of Okazaki’s single-note playing. But it’s all immersed here in a mix of rhythmic acoustic guitar, wobbly bass from Anthony Tidd, and distant sonic elements that rise and fade (you can hear vocals lurking behind the instrumentals, but only faintly and only for brief moments). At first, it recalls the aesthetic of 1970s ECM albums by Eberhard Weber, Gary Burton and Ralph Towner. In the end, something closer to Trickster’s usual brand of woozy kinetics kicked in, but the newfound sense of mystery wasn’t dispelled. RUSSONELLO

Giveon’s voice floats in the limbo of jealousy in “Lie Again,” a new take on the plight of the age-old lover who tries and fails not to think about a partner’s past. “Lie so sweet until I believe / It’s only me touching you,” he implores in painful sweetness. The track unfolds over a vintage soulful chord progression, but the production summons ghostly vocals and stealthy instruments, like all the facts the singer wishes he could avoid. Talk

Coming out of marital and legal entanglements with her first album in six years — self-titled as a statement of sincerity — Skylar Gray whispers of desperation for a second chance in “Runaway.” She is barely accompanied as she sings “I need a place where I can be alone”; the ropes rock her as she hopes to “start all over again”. The music builds patiently as it hopes for the best. Talk


Source link

Grace D. Erickson