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12 New Songs From Janelle Monáe, Rosalía, PinkPantheress and More

“One day my baby just went away,” the British pop star PinkPantheress sings on “Angel,” an aching, bittersweet new track from the soundtrack to the upcoming movie “Barbie.” No grand tragedy has occurred here — just some run-of-the-mill ghosting. Still, PinkPantheress manages to squeeze pathos out of the story, thanks to a dreamy melody and a vocal delivery that blends wide-eyed optimism with creeping doubt: “Everyone tells me life was hard but it’s a piece of cake,” she sings, “even if Johnny hasn’t answered in a couple days.” Ken would never! LINDSAY ZOLADZ

“Tuya” (“Yours”) is the kind of song Rosalía can apparently toss off at will: a lilting tune carrying a cheerful, amorous boast. “Sex with me is mind-blowing,” she promises. The production, as usual, goes genre hopping: plucked notes on a Japanese koto, a reggaeton beat, some flamenco handclaps and vocal quavers and, for the big finale, a slamming gabber techno beat and hyperpop pitch-shifted vocals. For Rosalía, they’re all within easy reach. JON PARELES

A private, intimate confidence goes happily public in “Loveher” by Romy Madley Croft from the xx. “Hold my hand under the table,” she sings with quiet, breathy intensity. “It’s not that I’m not proud in the company of strangers/It’s just some things are for us.” The production — by Jamie xx, Stuart Price and Fred again.. — coaxes her into a proclamation. It evolves from sparse piano notes and a subdued four-on-the-floor beat to full-scale, chord-pounding house, while Romy’s vocal rises into an ecstatic loop: “I love her, I love her.” The beat suddenly falls away at the end, leaving Romy almost a cappella as she insists, “When they ask me I’ll tell them/Won’t be ashamed.” PARELES

The Oakland singer-songwriter Madeline Kenney fills her sonic canvas with bold, angular shapes on “I Drew a Line,” the latest single from her upcoming album, “A New Reality Mind.” “Had an idea of who to be,” Kenney sings on this tale of self-revision and emotional growth, as a silky saxophone solo suddenly takes the song in a new direction. ZOLADZ

Janelle Monáe’s new album announces its intentions in its title: “The Age of Pleasure.” It’s all about physical, carnal joy as self-affirmation, underlined by Monáe’s full-spectrum mastery of African-diaspora music. “She’s a mystic sexy creature,” Monáe sings in “Phenomenal,” adding, “She’s a god and I’m a believer.” The groove is spring-loaded, Caribbean-tinged and jazzy, and it works through ever-changing variations — with call-and-response vocals, teasing guitar lines, electronics and horns — on the way to a seamless segue into the next song, “Haute.” PARELES

Maren Morris has made it her business to prove that country singers listen outside that limited format. Her latest collaboration is with the broody goth-pop songwriter Jessie Murph, and they take mutual delight in slinging radio-unfriendly words in “Texas,” one of Murph’s typically dark, unhappy accusations. Murph and Morris sing about consequences that a man has shrugged off. “I’m cold, I’m lost, I’m ruined/And you go back to Texas,” Murph sings. The video is set at a rodeo, but cowboy hats, mandolin and fiddle can’t lift the darkness. PARELES

In a folk-rock fortress built around steady-strummed guitar, Shamir’s falsetto is simultaneously piercing and doleful as he sings about getting through a heartbreak. His palliatives are binge-watching TV, getting “higher than Mariah’s head” (voice), cuddling up in an oversized sweater and singing “until I believe in love again.” The marching, chiming production suggests he will. PARELES

Echoes ripple across “New Year’s UnResolution,” a richly unmoored track by Taja Cheek, who records as L’Rain. “I’ve forgotten what it’s like to be in love,” she sings in a blur of reverb, guitar swoops and harmony vocals over a programmed beat. The song ponders longing, time perception and memory, reaching no conclusion but raising evocative questions. PARELES

A lot of the music on “Distance of the Moon” — the debut album from the baby-faced duo of Nora Stanley and Benny Bock — has been added in layers, via laptop, on the second or the 15th pass. They’re working with tons of instruments here: analog synths, Fender Rhodes, digitally programmed percussion, baritone guitar, saxophones, kalimba. Still, the result feels organic and bleary-eyed and miniature, not overworked. Stanley lives in New York, and Bock in Los Angeles, and the sound reflects that distance: This is music with a sense of focus and intimacy, yet a kind of unknowability too. It’s gentle and lovely, but not settled. On “Peaches,” Stanley’s vibrato-heavy saxophone trembles in harmony with a wavy synth, over minimalist drum programming and an undressed two-chord vamp. Fans of Sam Gendel or Alabaster dePlume or (going back further) Jimmy Giuffre will dig the mellow saxophone; anyone who trances out to Laraaji will probably feel the hypnotic pull of the electronic vamp. GIOVANNI RUSSONELLO

The English songwriter and electronic-music producer Laura Misch celebrates a mystical communion of people, nature and art in “Portals” from an album due in October, “Sample the Sky.” Harplike plinks and clicking percussion rise around her voice, enfolded in instrumental and vocal harmonies as she sings that “portals open as you slowly drift through/surrounded by our love.” PARELES

One repeated note and an increasingly assertive beat propel “Lemon Treasure,” a drone and slide-guitar jam from the Chicago trio Black Duck: the bassist Douglas McCombs from Tortoise and Eleventh Dream Day, the guitarist Bill MacKay and the drummer Charles Rumback. McCombs can’t resist hopping through an occasional arpeggio, and Rumback’s drumming grows splashier and more insistent along the way, but the track is MacKay’s showcase. He bears down on chords, lofts raga-tinged scales, hints at the blues and bends and stretches sustained notes; his guitar both rides the beat and taunts it. PARELES

“Los Trabajos y Las Noches” is a 10-part song cycle that the Argentine vocalist Roxana Amed and the New York pianist Frank Carlberg wrote, using the poetry of Alejandra Pizarnik — a literary hero in mid-20th-century Argentina — as lyrics. Pizarnik’s verse, like Miles Davis’s trumpet playing, was known for its strategic use of silence and restraint. So the album’s first track, “Pido El Silencio,” (“I Beg for Silence”), is an apt opener: nine minutes of forbearance and cycling harmonies and non-resolution. Amed sings the short, mysterious poem repeatedly (in English, it’s: “Although it is late, it is nighttime,/and you’re unable./Sing as if nothing’s happened./Nothing happens”), then she sings in harmony with Carlberg’s piano and Adam Kolker’s tenor saxophone on a wordless bridge. The pianist starts a looming octave chime in the upper register and the band fixes upon a sequence of obscured, sometimes-mucky harmonies, until he finally breaks out into a lyrical solo. But even when Carlberg gets going, there are savory chunks of hesitation embedded in his phrases. RUSSONELLO

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