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Lil Nas X and Jack Harlow’s Prison Break, and 13 More New Songs


Lil Nas X continues his victory lap around a world of his own making on the triumphant “Industry Baby” with Jack Harlow, featuring appropriately brassy production from Take A Daytrip and Kanye West and a video in which the duo busts out of Montero State Prison. “Funny how you said it was the end, then I went and did it again,” he sings, his braggadocio packing extra bite since it’s directed not just at generic haters but pearl-clutching homophobes. (“I’m queer,” he proclaims proudly, in case there was any confusion there.) The wild video’s most talked-about set piece will probably be the joyous dance scene in the prison showers, but its most hilarious moment comes when Lil Nas X catches a guard enjoying the video for his previous single “Montero (Call Me By Your Name).” LINDSAY ZOLADZ

“Liquor Store” (and its “Pee-wee’s Playhouse” meets Peter Gabriel’s “Sledgehammer” music video) is a perfect introduction to the neon-Brite imagination of Remi Wolf, a charismatic 25-year-old pop singer from California. The song is a catchall repository of Wolf’s anxieties about sobriety and long-term commitment, but she tackles these subjects with such idiosyncratic playfulness that it all goes down smoothly. ZOLADZ

Fifth Harmony’s original defector Camila Cabello returns with the fun, exuberant first single from her upcoming album, “Familia.” Cabello leans harder than ever into her Latin-pop roots here, but there’s also a sassy rasp to her vocals that brings Doja Cat to mind. “Baby don’t go yet ’cause I wore this dress for a little drama,” she sings, and the song’s bright, bold flair certainly matches that sartorial choice. ZOLADZ

Alewya, a songwriter with Ethiopian and Egyptian roots who’s based in England, has been releasing singles that rely on a breathless momentum. “Spirit_X” has a defiant, positive message — “I won’t let me down” — expressed in terse lines that hint at African modal melodies, paced by looping synthesizers and a double time breakbeat. She makes a virtue of sounding driven. JON PARELES

Amapiano music is sparse and fluid, representing the hypnotic elasticity that is baked into South African dance music, simmering the textures and drums of jazz, R&B and local dance styles like kwaito and Bacardi house into a slow, liquid groove. “Thula Thula,” a new single from the genre’s queen Kamo Mphela, captures the hushed energy of the genre: a shaker trembles alongside a sinister bass line and a rush of drums claps under the surface. Mphela offers a summertime invitation to the dance floor, but the track’s restrained tempo is a reminder that the return to nightlife is a marathon, not a sprint. ISABELIA HERRERA

Lorde has always been an old soul; when she first arrived as a precocious 16-year-old in 2013, there was even a popular internet conspiracy theory that she was only pretending to be a teenager. Although she’s still just 24, Lorde sounds prematurely weary on her new single “Stoned at the Nail Salon,” from her forthcoming third album “Solar Power.” “My hot blood’s been burning for so many summers now, it’s time to cool it down,” she sings atop a muted chord progression that bears a striking resemblance to Lana Del Rey’s “Wild at Heart,” another recent Jack Antonoff production. The mellifluous “Stoned” flirts with profundity but then suddenly hedges its bets — “maybe I’m just stoned at the nail salon,” she shrugs in each chorus — which gives the song a hesitant, meandering quality. But perhaps the most puzzling declaration she makes is how “all of the music you loved at 16 you’ll grow out of.” Is this perhaps a self-deprecating wink at her own past, or a gentle hint that her new album might be a departure from what her fans have been expecting? ZOLADZ

As Illuminati Hotties, Sarah Tudzin has been rolling out deliriously catchy, high-octane summer jams for the past few months, like the incredibly titled “Mmmoooaaaaayaya” and the effervescent “Pool Hopping.” Her latest preview of her forthcoming album “Let Me Do One More,” though, slows things down considerably. “Every time I hear a song, I think about you dancing,” she swoons on “U V V P,” buoyed by a beachy beat. Late in the song, a spoken-word contribution from Big Thief’s Buck Meek transforms the vibe from a ’60s girl-group throwback to a lonesome country ditty, as if the versatile Tudzin is proving there’s no genre she can’t make her own. ZOLADZ

Sometimes a song only needs to communicate the most honest and heartfelt emotions to work. That is the spirit of Indigo de Souza’s “Hold U.” There’s a splatter of programmed drums; a jangly, soulful bass line; and the melted caramel of de Souza’s voice, which gushes with simple lyrics (“You are the best thing, and I’ve got it, I’ve got you”) and blooms into a falsetto, her sky-high oohs curling into the air. It is a love song, but it’s not just about romance — “Hold U” is about living fully with your emotions, and embracing the love that emerges from being in community, too. HERRERA

Piano ballad turns to power ballad in “Right on Time,” an apology that rises to a near-operatic peak as Brandi Carlile acknowledges, “It wasn’t right.” It’s clearly a successor to “The Joke,” but this time, she’s not helping someone else; she’s facing the consequences of her own mistakes. PARELES

The War on Drugs reaches back to the late-1960s era when folk-rock, drone and psychedelia overlapped, when the Velvet Underground and the Grateful Dead weren’t that far apart. But it’s self-conscious retrospection, aware of what’s changed in a half-century. “Living Proof” lays bare that awareness. “I know the path/I know it’s changing,” Adam Granduciel sings, as he returns to an old neighborhood and finds it’s not what he remembered. “Maybe I’ve been gone too long,” he reflects. The song has two parts: feathery acoustic guitar strumming and piano chords and then, at the end, a subdued march, as Granduciel declares, “I’m rising, and I’m damaged.” PARELES

An old-fashioned soul song is at the core of “Burn”: an invitation to “stay the night” that escalates toward despair — “There’s no hope for people like me” — and fury, as Jordyn Simone declares, “I didn’t ask for no goddamn savior.” Simone, 21, was a strong enough singer to be a teenage contestant on “The Voice,” and in “Burn” her vocal builds from a velvety tremulousness to flashes of a bitter rasp. Meanwhile, the production’s lugubrious strings and club-level bass open up new chasms beneath her. PARELES

The bassist, organizer and free-jazz eminence William Parker released two albums with separate trios on Friday: “Painters Winter,” featuring the drummer Hamid Drake and the saxophonist and multi-instrumentalist Daniel Carter, and “Mayan Space Station,” a sizzling free-fusion workout, with the guitarist Ava Mendoza curling out surf-rock lines and conjuring spacey fuzz while the drummer Gerald Cleaver drives the group steadily on. Together the LPs give an inkling of how broad Parker’s creative footprint has been on New York jazz. For a fuller measure, look to the 25th annual Vision Festival, happening now through next week in Manhattan and Brooklyn; he helped found the festival a quarter-century ago with the dancer and organizer Patricia Nicholson Parker, his wife. At 69, he hasn’t slowed down: Parker is slated to perform in no fewer than five different ensembles over the course of this year’s festival. RUSSONELLO

The alto saxophonist Kippie Moeketsi was among the first to fit bebop’s musical language into South African jazz, but he didn’t import it whole cloth. He made the language sing rather than banter, and he played with a circular, spinning approach to rhythm — related to marabi and earlier South African styles — not the typical American sense of swing. On his unaccompanied intro to “Blue Stompin’,” Moeketsi leaps in with a sharp, bluesy cry, then nods toward a carnival-style rhythm before growling his way to the end of the cadenza. Then he locks into the main melody, playing in unison with the American tenor saxophonist Hal Singer, who wrote the tune. A former Duke Ellington Orchestra member who had scored some radio hits of his own as a jump-blues saxophonist, Singer was in South Africa in 1974 on a State Department tour when he recorded a few tracks with Moeketsi. Those became an album, originally released in South Africa in ’77; it has just been remastered and released digitally by the Canadian label We Are Busy Bodies. RUSSONELLO

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