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Taylor Swift’s New Old ‘Love Story,’ and 12 More Songs


As the first official release of her rerecorded back catalog, “Love Story,” from Taylor Swift’s 2008 album, “Fearless,” is a savvy pick. Not only is it one of her most beloved hits, but it also means that the first new-old lyric we hear the 31-year-old Swift sing is, “We were both young when I first saw you” — an immediate invocation of the past that subtly reframes the recording as a kind of tender love song to her 18-year-old self. Swift is more interested in impressive note-for-note simulacrum than revisionism here, though sharp-eared Swifties will delight in noticing the tiniest differences (like the playful staccato hiccup she adds to “Rom-e-oh!” on the second pre-chorus.) When Swift first announced her intentions to rerecord her first six albums, skeptics wondered if the whole project was just an uncomfortably public display of personal animosity toward her former business partners, and the songs’ new owners. But Swift has so far brought a sense of triumph, grace and artistry to the endeavor, and in doing so has begun the process of retelling her story on her own terms. It’s better than revenge. LINDSAY ZOLADZ

Let’s say you want to rewrite your past. Write it over, like an old hard drive. Take a thing that made you well known, and reclaim it. Send a message to the people who robbed that thing of the pleasure and satisfaction it brought you. Sure, you could do a note-for-note rerecording that serves primarily as a middle finger to equity investors. Or perhaps you could take the Rebecca Black route. It’s been around a decade since “Friday,” her debut single, made her an early casualty of social media cruelty. But Black has been releasing music steadily, and quietly, for the last few years, and recently she’s been inching back into the spotlight as a reliably charming presence on TikTok. Musically, she’s found her footing as an outré eccentric with sturdy savvy, an ideal approach for — and a natural position for — someone who’s been chewed to pulp by the internet. Hence, the reclaiming of “Friday,” with a chaotic, loopy, joyful, meta-hyperpop remix with Dorian Electra, Big Freedia and 3OH!3, all produced by Dylan Brady of 100 gecs. The original song became an ur-text of outcast misery. How wonderful to hold it tight all these years, and just wait for your band of misfits to come along. JON CARAMANICA

Dua Lipa is at her cheekiest on “We’re Good,” a bonus track from the new deluxe “Moonlight Edition” of her 2020 album, “Future Nostalgia”: “We’re not meant to be, like sleeping and cocaine,” she croons. OK then! The video is, similarly, full of irreverent, not-sure-it-all-quite-lands humor, as a tank of imperiled lobsters are saved from becoming dinner by … the Titanic sinking? Thankfully the song itself is pretty straightforward and fun — a sassy, slinky kiss-off that’s more reliably buoyant than that doomed luxury liner. ZOLADZ

“Fan de Tus Fotos” finds the smooth reggaeton star Nicky Jam and the bachata superstar Romeo Santos both longing for the same woman, crooning one come on after another. Santos, in particular, is vivid, singing (in Spanish), “I’m your fan looking for a ticket/for a concert with your body.” In the video, both are office drones obsessed with the same supervisor, who metes out two punishments for their workplace insubordination — she fires them (bad), then finds more direct ways to boss them around (ummmmm … not bad?). CARAMANICA

Clementine Creevy, the songwriter who leads Cherry Glazerr, has moved well beyond the lean, guitar-driven rock of her recent past. “Big Bang” is a negotiation with an ex who’s still in the picture: “I still call you when I need escaping,” she admits, only to insist, “I don’t wanna make you my lifeline.” Her mixed feelings play out over a stately march that rises to near-orchestral peaks. Is she arguing with her ex or with herself? JON PARELES

What happens when post-punks grow up? The guitar-and-drums duo Death From Above 1979 has one answer: a hard-riffing embrace of happy monogamy and proud fatherhood. “One plus one is three — that’s magic!” The drums still pound and skitter, and the guitar still bites, while the nuclear family is reaffirmed. PARELES

The pianist Robert Glasper and the alto saxophonist and multi-instrumentalist Terrace Martin played important roles in the making of Kendrick Lamar’s “To Pimp a Butterfly,” and they’re also at the nucleus of R+R=Now, a contemporary-jazz supergroup that works in conversation with hip-hop and R&B. (It also includes Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah on trumpet, Derrick Hodge on bass, Taylor McFerrin on synthesizer, and Justin Tyson on drums.) When the group performed at Glasper’s Blue Note residency in New York in 2018, Lamar’s “How Much a Dollar Cost” was part of the set. That show was released today as a live album; on the Lamar cover, without an M.C., the fiery interplay between Adjuah and Martin takes over storytelling duties. GIOVANNI RUSSONELLO

What could have been a country waltz becomes, instead, a hyperactive scramble of distorted Tuareg guitar riffs and three-against-two cross-rhythms. The weary voice and haunted lyrics of Will Oldham (Bonnie “Prince” Billy) are backed not only by Matt Sweeney but by the unstoppable Mdou Moctar Ensemble — which includes their songwriting collaborator Ahmoudou Madassane on guitar, from Niger. The track winds up, unexpectedly, as something like a love song. PARELES

Lightly resentful sad boy R&B from Lil Tjay and 6lack — Lil Tjay sounds depleted, while 6lack sounds like he never takes his sunglasses off when he looks you in the eye. CARAMANICA

Katy Kirby’s voice is modest and breathy, with a few unconcealed cracks, as she muses over a shaky relationship in metaphysical terms: “If we peel apart will we be stronger than before/we had formed ourselves together in a temporary whole?” She’s accompanied by calm, steady, basic piano chords in the foreground, while chamber-pop co-conspirators open up creaky mysteries around her. PARELES

The composer and singer Lucy Gooch layers her keyboards and vocals into enveloping reveries. “Ash and Orange” relies on organ-toned synthesizer chords, distant church bells and countless choirlike overdubbed harmonies for a song that evolves from meditation to an open-ended quasi-confession — despairing? forgiving? — from overlapping voices: “In my heart, in my head, I’ve tried.” PARELES

Fluidly spiraling up the violin’s neck, then dashing and plucking and scraping back down in a rough swarm: that’s the sound of Mark Feldman — unflinching and unconstrained as always — in a solo rendition of Sylvie Courvoisier’s “As We Are.” Later he lets the piece’s off-the-grid melody carry him into a stretch of intense improvising. This track opens Feldman’s engrossing new album, “Sounding Point,” his first solo violin LP in over 25 years. RUSSONELLO

In “Circles,” the producer and singer Brent Faiyaz ponders identity, purpose and eschatology: “Did I forget who I am? Chasing gold?/Only heaven knows if you can truly win in the midst of a world that’s gon’ end.” Nothing is reliable: not the computer-shifted pitch of his voice, not the loop of plinky tones behind him, not the beat that’s sometimes interrupted, not even whether it’s one song or two. For its last 47 seconds, the track changes completely, turning into retro soundtrack rock as, in the video, Faiyaz leaves the studio gloom, climbs into his sports car and drives off. PARELES


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