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Dolly Parton Goes Arena Rock, and 9 More New Songs

Dolly Parton has announced an album due Nov. 17, “Rockstar,” that will be full of remakes of hits, often joined by the original performers. But she also brought some songs of her own including this one, her worried, indignant assessment of a “World on Fire” that’s full of lies and conflict. It’s Dolly gone arena-rock goth, with power-chord blasts and martial drums. A gospelly bridge asks, “Can’t we rise above/Can’t we show some love?,” but then it’s back to minor chords as Parton belts her best intentions — “Let’s heal the hurt/let kindness work” — against a grim, stomping, “We Will Rock You”-style chant: “Whatcha gonna do when it all burns down?” Parton concludes by posing that same question. JON PARELES

Joni Mitchell’s surprise appearance at the 2022 Newport Folk Festival, bolstered and surrounded by dedicated admirers like Brandi Carlile, was a demonstration not only of gumption, support and resilience, but of enduring musicianship and control. “Both Sides Now” previews an official live album, “At Newport,” due July 28. As a piano ripples and strings swell behind her, with Carlile and Lucius adding vocal harmonies, Mitchell makes each phrase purposeful, reflective and improvisatory, and her lowered, roughened but precise voice makes every word a life lesson. PARELES

Fresh off winning the Pulitzer Prize for music for her opera, “Omar,” Rhiannon Giddens releases “You’re the One,” the title song of her first full album of her own songs (though she has written, adapted and collaborated widely). As she sings about finding a love that turns “shades of gray” into “a new Technicolor world,” the song explodes out of her string-band foundations — banjo and fiddle — into full-tilt rock choruses, bursting with euphoria. PARELES

A jazzy piano lick and frenetic beat drive the English R&B artist Jorja Smith’s new single “Little Things,” which captures the atmosphere of a vibey, intimate house party with a densely populated dance floor. “Just a little thing for you and I,” Smith intones before shrugging with a cool nonchalance. “And if it’s meant to be than that’s all right.” LINDSAY ZOLADZ

Fatoumata Diawara, from Mali, rides a galloping six-beat modal groove topped by the Cuban pianist Roberto Fonseca in “Blues,” which is by far the rawest song on her new album of international fusions, “London Ko.” She produced it with Damon Albarn of Gorillaz. The lyrics, in Bambara and English, are about gratitude to her family; the spirit is centered and fierce. PARELES

Acróstico means acrostic, and the first letters of the five-line verses for Shakira’s new song spell out the names of her sons, Milan and Sasha. It’s the latest missive following her breakup with the soccer player Gerard Piqué, and it’s a declaration of unswerving maternal devotion through her own pain. “Even if life treats me this way/I will be strong for you alone,” she sings over steadfast piano chords. “All I want is your happiness/And to be with you.” There’s a hint of U2’s “Every Breaking Wave” in the chorus as it climbs to a tremulous peak: wounded but resolutely compassionate. PARELES

Hélöise Letissier, a.k.a. Chris, the songwriter and voice of Christine and the Queens, plunges into separation and consolation in “Tears Can Be So Soft.” It’s built on a sample of the string arrangement from Marvin Gaye’s “Feel All My Love Inside”: an octave-leaping, tremulous swoop that changes from major to minor. Chris sings about missing family, friends and a lover and crying while driving on the freeway, with only the warmth and release of tears for comfort; a string section pays witness. PARELES

Rob Moose’s violin mirrors Phoebe Bridgers’s nocturnal anxiety on “Wasted,” a song from Moose’s upcoming EP, “Inflorescence.” Plucked notes echo her tense nerves while a groaning bed of strings brings an added pathos to the lyrics, which were written by Bridgers’s collaborator Marshall Vore. “I used to have the energy to get mad, used to know how to say sorry,” Bridgers sings with wry self-judgment and an escalating intensity. “But now I’m back with none of that.” ZOLADZ

A keyboard loop that hints at harpsichord or koto, pitch-shifted vocals, sporadic drum thuds, bits of static and the sound of a sword being unsheathed run through “Sword,” a stubbornly fragile track by the singer Ana Roxanne and the producer DJ Python. They have collaborated as Natural Wonder Beauty Concept for an album due July 14. “Sword” is at once transparent and elusive, with barely intelligible lyrics — “Everyone passes through,” Roxanne coos — and a willingness to tweak everything; the last section lowers and slows down every element but remains enigmatic. PARELES

Ben Chasny records as Six Organs of Admittance; Rick Tomlinson records as, among other names, Voice of the Seven Woods. Both love minimalist repetition and gradual unfoldings, and in 2017 they made an album of duets. “Waking of Insects” was recorded live, just two acoustic guitars. They share interlocking fingerpicked patterns and, with moments of dissonance, nudge one another toward new ones, very gradually making their way from quick, fluttering interplay to tolling repose. PARELES

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