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The Playlist: Drake’s Moody Celebration, and 10 More New Songs


The Playlist: Drake’s Moody Celebration, and 10 More New Songs

In between the Toronto Raptors winning their first N.B.A. championship and Drake posting thirst traps on his Instagram to announce that he’s been in “album mode” came this pair of songs, dubbed “The Best in the World Pack.” Whether that’s a reference to his beloved basketball team or to himself doesn’t matter: a championship for one is a championship for all. “Money in the Grave” is Drake at his moody, petulant peak — a morbid anthem for a hot summer. But the real sneers are on “Omertà,” which is one long-stretch verse, no chorus. Drake more or less free associates his boasts here, even leaning into a signature Biggie Smalls flow to emphasize his comfort. In the wake of his hometown’s triumph, he’s feeling as blustery as ever: “I wish that I was playing in a sport where we were getting rings/I wouldn’t have space on either hand for anything.” JON CARAMANICA

This up-with-life synth-pop remaking of Nine Inch Nails’ “Head Like a Hole” (“I’m on a roll/Riding so high/Achieving my goals”) is sung by Miley Cyrus in her role as Ashley O, the pop megastar suffering under managerial cruelty in an episode of the new season of “Black Mirror.” The real-life “Black Mirror” is that it’s the most effective Miley song of the past five or so years. CARAMANICA

The new song on Spoon’s hits collection, due in July, is “No Bullets Spent,” which circles back toward the lean, guitar-driven indie rock of the Texas band’s first albums. The song arrives in a psychedelic vocal-harmony haze but soon solidifies into a hard-nosed sketch of a desperate situation. Over little more than than syncopated guitars and a drumbeat, Britt Daniel sings about a 22-year-old saddled with a mortgage and the ominous return of a “master” at the door, wishing for some miraculous “escape from the mess.” It won’t be pretty: “What we need now’s an accident/No one to blame and no bullets spent.” JON PARELES

Many of today’s jazz innovators have as much in common with the funk and soul musicians of the 1970s and ’80s as they do with the generation of jazz improvisers that directly preceded them. Philip Bailey — the vocalist, percussionist and central member of Earth, Wind & Fire — became aware of this when he first heard the keyboardist Robert Glasper a few years ago. Glasper wound up producing many of the tracks on Bailey’s new album, “Love Will Find a Way,” and on this cover of Curtis Mayfield’s “We’re a Winner,” the keyboardist’s longtime collaborator Bilal joins in, fortifying Bailey’s familiar falsetto with some lissome backing vocals (“Movin’ on up!”). Underneath, Glasper traces out a sparkling reharmonization of the song’s original chord pattern over a big, fathomless bed of bass from Derrick Hodge. GIOVANNI RUSSONELLO

Choose your jitters. During its nearly seven minutes, “Ducter” alternates between an insistent, minimal guitar vamp — with drums sputtering and erupting behind it — and a seething grunge guitar buildup that starts out slow and soon boils over. A sporadic vocal, in guises from calm voice-over to croon to scream, insists, “It could not break me.” PARELES

A heavy sigh to this soft-boiled Enron of Latin-pop-but-not-quite song-of-the-summer bait. CARAMANICA

There’s a deep, primal quaver in Baby Rose’s voice that makes it arresting from its first note. In “Mortal,” she testifies to an overwhelming longing — one that threatens to drown her — in an eerie track that compounds both her need and her disorientation. Guitar chords outline a slow waltz; a backup choir joins her and sometimes wanders away from her; heard through headphones, phantom voices arise from behind and above. The song ends with her just as unmoored as she was when it began. PARELES

The beat for “Shotta Flow” — which has catapulted the young Memphis rapper NLE Choppa out of obscurity and into the maw of label bidding wars — is an inebriated tinkle of a thing, part pounding and part meandering. For the last six months, it’s stood out as one of the year’s rowdiest and most infectious hip-hop songs, thanks to the way NLE Choppa bounces on top the beat (and bounces his way through a variety of dance moves in the video). The song’s official remix features Blueface, another of this year’s viral lightning bolts, though in this context he’s an elder. In the video, directed by Cole Bennett, the two yuk-yuk it up at a backyard barbecue, careering between menacing threats and goofy dances, tough guys who are also kids on a lark. CARAMANICA

“Rescuer” previews “Everywhere We Looked Was Burning,” the first album in English by Emel Mathlouthi, a Tunisian singer who emerged during the Arab Spring. As she sings about a mysterious experience, the sustained, modal melody and stretches of drone harmony hint at North African and Arab underpinnings, while its electric and electronic instruments pulse and hover in virtual space, maintaining the enigma. PARELES

The alto saxophonist Greg Ward and the bass clarinetist Jason Stein are two of Chicago’s most entrancing woodwind players, each as brightly articulate as he is evasive and contrarian. They often find themselves on the same gigs, typically in other people’s bands, but they recently decided to start Nature Work, a collective quartet of their own, with the indomitable Eric Revis on bass and the bushwhacking drummer Jim Black. On Stein’s “Porch Time,” from the band’s self-titled debut, a whispery convocation builds into nervous, reeling flurry; eventually the group establishes a freckly rhythm, horns dipping and dashing over a slanted bass pattern. Finally, Stein and Ward take turns blowing sparks over top. RUSSONELLO

Devotees of Shabaka Hutchings will already be aware that there’s a fleet of young South African musicians who have taken a renewed interest in the spiritual-jazz sound of the 1970s, and are turning its tools into something fresh and deep. The new sextet Spaza includes two members of Shabaka and the Ancestors (the British saxophonist’s collaboration with Mzansi musicians), plus other young vocalists and instrumentalists based in Johannesburg or Soweto. On “Sunlight, Glycerine, 2 Loose Draws,” voices, electronics, acoustic instruments and percussion make a humid, sultry stew. Their cyclical patterns may call to mind the steady tread of an evening walk in the woods, the comforts of nature and the danger of darkness closing in around you. RUSSONELLO

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