The Playlist: Christina Aguilera’s Bizarre Puzzle, and 13 More New Songs

Hear the tracks that caught our critics’ consideration this week, by Dirty Projectors, Protomartyr, Leon Bridges and others.

Christina Aguilera returns on “Accelerate,” a busy monitor produced by Kanye West, Che Pope and Mike Dean.CreditLuke Gilford

Every Friday, pop critics for The New York Times weigh in on the week’s most notable new songs and movies — and the rest that strikes them as intriguing. This week, Kanye West contributes an trustworthy verse to Travis Scott, Dirty Projectors’ David Longstreth leaves his breakup music behind and 14-year-old Joey Alexander debuts new unique tunes.

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Christina Aguilera that includes Ty Dolla Sign and 2 Chainz, ‘Accelerate’

What is going on right here? Christina Aguilera, possessor of one of many nice voices of the 2000s, has been largely silent the final 5 years. And along with her new single “Accelerate” — from the forthcoming album “Liberation,” due in June — she’s one thing not removed from silent, one small piece in a fantastically bizarre puzzle. “Accelerate,” produced by Kanye West, Che Pope and Mike Dean, sounds prefer it’s constructed from spare components: Ty Dolla Sign’s moans and yelps, sinuous keyboard strains, a charmingly staccato verse from 2 Chainz. Somewhere in there’s Ms. Aguilera, under-singing and making an attempt to not get pushed right into a nook. And but regardless of these disparate inputs, there’s one thing unfastened and admirable occurring right here: Everyone is making an attempt new issues, and the disarray verges on flamboyance. JON CARAMANICA

Dirty Projectors, ‘Break-Thru’

“Break-Thru” is the primary glimpse of the Dirty Projectors album due in July, “Lamp Lit Prose,” and with it the group’s songwriter, David Longstreth, leaves behind the sullen, disjointed breakup songs from the previous Dirty Projectors album. A perky Afropop guitar lick and a buzzy synthesizer hop and cackle round him as he praises a brand new love in comfortable staccato bursts: “She is an epiphany/her electricity.” JON PARELES

Joey Alexander, ‘Fourteen’

The 14-year-old virtuoso Joey Alexander is already on his fourth solo album, and “Eclipse,” out Friday, is his most engrossing but. Recorded on the day of the photo voltaic eclipse in 2017, it finds the pianist sounding uninhibited, letting some sweat fly. As all the time, his harmonies are a fantastic marvel, and these items are inclined to have an exuberant bounce — carried off with the bassist Reuben Rogers and the drummer Eric Harland — someplace between swing rhythm, calypso and Javanese propulsion. Six of “Eclipse’s” 11 tracks are originals; “Fourteen” is a spotlight with an look by the eminent tenor saxophonist Joshua Redman. An intensely responsive soloist, he maneuvers with assurance as Mr. Alexander dances about him, vivid chords and buzzing inflections laying contemporary bait at each flip. GIOVANNI RUSSONELLO

Travis Scott that includes Kanye West and Lil Uzi Vert, ‘Watch’

After a slightly draining few weeks within the public life of Kanye West comes this vivid verse, on a brand new Travis Scott tune (produced by Pi’erre Bourne) with a cuddly Lil Uzi Vert refrain. Mr. West lets down the veil a bit, giving chum to voyeurs whereas additionally taking them to process:

Wanna know the way I really feel? Step into my minefield?
Wanna know the way ache feels? I obtained off my major capsules
Bet my wifey keep shut, she know I’m on my Bezos
Opioid dependancy, pharmacy’s the actual lure
Sometimes I really feel trapped, Jordan with no Phil Jack
One yr it’s Illuminati, subsequent yr it’s the Sunken Place


Protomartyr that includes Kelley Deal, ‘Wheel of Fortune’

Joe Casey, the vocalist and lyricist of the post-punk band Protomartyr, posits capitalism as a grim reaper in “Wheel of Fortune,” from the band’s coming EP. “I decide who lives and who dies,” he growls, with backup vocals from Kelley Deal of the Breeders turning it right into a melody. The tune is a set of three disparate sections — two carrying lyrics, one wordless with a spooky excessive vocal, every part a crescendo of accelerating density and dissonance. As the strain rises, Mr. Casey observes issues like “A man with a gun and a deluded sense of purpose/A good guy with a gun who missed/A police state desperate to reach quota.” No comfortable endings right here. J.P.

Parker Millsap, ‘Gotta Get to You’

The growl and holler of Parker Millsap’s vocals tough up his meticulous songwriting: terse wordplay, focused melodies and detailed preparations that deploy the devices of a roots-rock band with rigorous economic system. “Gotta Get to You,” from his new album “Other Arrangements,” takes obsession to existential extremes — “I’m cutting through the chatter/I’m battling the bleak abyss” — as shifting layers of acoustic and electrical guitars make it rock furiously with none drums. J.P.

Remember Sports, ‘The 1 Bad Man’

Carmen Perry is in a superb temper delivering dangerous vibes on “The 1 Bad Man,” from Remember Sports’s third album, “Slow Buzz,” due later this month. When she sings, it’s potent and unsteady, and captures the nervousness of miscommunication — or slightly, speaking at cross functions — in tidy vogue. And behind her, the band is authoritatively slack on a mildly rootsy ramble. J.C.

Jessie Reyez, ‘Body Count’

Scraggly, barely out of tune guitar selecting runs by means of “Body Count,” nevertheless it shouldn’t be mistaken for fragility or diffidence. Jessie Reyez bluntly places her associate of the second on discover that she’s holding issues informal and staying autonomous. “Time won’t let you stay young,” she sings, “So we don’t care what they say/We gon’ love who we wanna love.” Abetted by the longtime producer and songwriter Babyface, the music stays sparse and crafty; lure percussion and blithe backup voices pop in, affirm her, and vanish. J.P.

Cheat Codes, ‘Balenciaga’

Blissfully dim dance music for a summer time on the seashore and within the membership (which can also be on the seashore). This tune cements Balenciaga’s primacy within the fashionable vogue creativeness — “Do you ever think about me? But you Balenciaga and Prada/that bougie kind of love ain’t cheap” — whereas additionally portending its doom following what could be months of runway-themed fist pumps. J.C.

Ben LaMar Gay, ‘Uvas’

The cornetist, multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Ben LaMar Gay has been recording music for some time — he simply hasn’t been releasing it. “Downtown Castles Can Never Block the Sun,” his first official album, pulls from seven totally different discs he’s created over the previous few years and handed round to household and buddies. Based in each Chicago and Brazil, Mr. Gay is an artist with nice conviction however no use for stability — or maybe no belief in it. Herein lies darkish soundscaping, tropicalia on tenterhooks, damaged beat, Tuareg melodies, Bahía drumming. On the low, staticky murmur of “Uvas,” the sonic partitions shut in tight round you: You would possibly hear it as claustrophobia, or consolation. G.R.

Leon Bridges, ‘Mrs.’

Even an excellent singer wants songs. Leon Bridges, the Texas-based singer and songwriter whose voice harks again to each the suave tenderness and the churchy grit of Sam Cooke, remains to be underserved by his materials on his major-label debut album, “Good Thing,” though he’s now collaborating with song doctors like Justin Tranter and Ricky Reed. But “Mrs.,” a bluesy throwback to Southern soul tucked close to the tip of the album, approaches his potential. It’s a few combative however nonetheless amorous marriage — “I remember how it felt the first few times/Skin to skin before you knew how to get under mine” — and Mr. Bridges captures each little bit of the ambivalent longing. J.P.

Tom Tripp, ‘Loving You More’

Tom Tripp is a younger British singer with a young and mild voice that remembers a younger Craig David, and this candy and simple thumper is hypnotic minimal lite-soul with Afrobeats and dancehall thrives. Sticky and coy. J.C.

Venetian Snares x Daniel Lanois, ‘HpShk5050 P127’

Collaboration as collision fills “Venetian Snares x Daniel Lanois,” an album of improvisational duets between two Mr. Lanois on pedal metal guitar and Aaron Funk, a.ok.a. Venetian Snares, on electronics that embody real-time processing of the pedal metal. In “HpShk5050 P127,” Mr. Lanois units out edgeless, weightless, swaying consonances; Venetian Snares zaps them with bursts of superhumanly frenetic percussion, teases at a near-reggae bass line and sends echoes skidding throughout. They’re working at cross-purposes, however collectively. J.P.

Ganavya, ‘Indo Blue’

Ganavya creates a lush twine out of American and South Asian traditions, and on “Aikyam: Onnu,” this vocalist and scholar’s majestic debut album, the upshot feels extra like an expansive invitation than any definable hybrid. Ganavya has populated jazz requirements with lyrics from Tamil poetry and songs of anticolonial resistance; the rendition of “Afro Blue” right here options Oscar Brown’s typical lyrics in addition to a devotional poem by Kanhopatra, a Marathi saint. No matter the language or the content material, Ganavya’s voice is a thick ephemera, like smoke as darkish as ink, simply coming off the hearth. G.R.

Jon Pareles has been The Times’s chief pop music critic since 1988. A musician, he has performed in rock bands, jazz teams and classical ensembles. He majored in music at Yale University.@JonPareles

Jon Caramanica is a pop music critic for The Times and the host of the Popcast. He additionally writes the boys’s Critical Shopper column for Styles. He beforehand labored for Vibe journal, and has written for the Village Voice, Spin, XXL and extra.@joncaramanica

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