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Taylor Swift Revises a Lyric on ‘Speak Now (Taylor’s Version)’

“Speak Now,” from 2010, was Taylor Swift’s third album, and it is now the third to be rereleased as a rerecorded “Taylor’s Version.” But all along, the album was a declaration of independence: It was the first she wrote entirely on her own, as a rebuttal to critics — perhaps like the one she cuts down on the sugary, spicy “Mean” — who suggested that Swift’s co-writers had a bigger hand in her previous successes than she’d let on. “Speak Now” remains one of Swift’s best and most sharply penned albums: The line “You made a rebel of a careless man’s careful daughter,” from the chorus of the great opening track “Mine,” is often held up as an example of Swift’s lyricism at its most expertly concise.

But “Speak Now” is an album of excesses, too; some of them are glorious — like the epic kiss-off “Dear John” or the romantic grandiosity of “Enchanted” — and some of them are the authentic artifacts of a 19-year-old’s somewhat myopic sensibility. “Mean,” which punches down, is guilty of that, and so is the acidic rocker “Better Than Revenge,” which has the most significantly revised lyrics in a “Taylor’s Version.” “He was a moth to the flame, she was holding the matches,” Swift sings on this 2023 update, a clumsier and less direct lyric than the original: “She’s better known for the things that she does on the mattress.” The change is unfortunate, and perhaps the beginning of a slippery slope of self-editing. The previous lyric was sanctimonious and nasty, yes, but it was also a historical document of Swift’s point of view at 19, and that of many young women who, being raised in a misogynistic society, are taught to blame the other girl before they learn how to curse “the patriarchy.” LINDSAY ZOLADZ

First Aid Kit is a duo of Swedish sisters, Johanna and Klara Söderberg, whose vocal harmonies are so perfect they can seem unreal. They have thoroughly studied 1970s Laurel Canyon folk-pop, with its gleaming, precisely blended electric and acoustic guitars. “Everybody’s Got to Learn,” from the expanded version of the 2022 album “Palomino,” sounds like parental advice from Fleetwood Mac. Over earnest folk-rock guitars and what grows into a hefty girl-group beat, the song reflects on the missteps that lead to maturity — “The blues and the bliss/you’ll hit and you’ll miss” — and promises, “You’re gonna see this through.” JON PARELES

The latest find from Prince’s vault is “All a Share Together Now,” a song he recorded in 2006 but never released in any form. Prince sings about generational responsibilities — “the debt of the ones before us must be paid” — in a taut, bare-bones funk workout built around a jumpy bass riff. Live drums kick the beat around and a note-bending guitar teases out terse licks that are simultaneously lead and rhythm. It’s a homily disguised as a jam. PARELES

Rauw Alejandro’s new album, “Playa Saturno,” eases back on the electronic experiments of his 2022 album, “Saturno,” in favor of earthy, party-ready reggaeton. But in “Cuando Baje el Sol” (“When the Sun Goes Down”), Alejandro and his fellow producers complicate the reggaeton thump with plenty of spatial and sonic mischief. Sampled and warped vocals, echoey synthesizers, turntable scratching and eruptive percussion all ricochet around his promises of hot times after sunset. PARELES

Is “Taking Shape” — the latest album by the bassist Kaisa Mäensivu and her quintet, Kaisa’s Machine — a journal, or a workbook? Original tunes like “Shadow Mind” (a listless ballad) and “Eat Dessert First” (the LP’s eager, clattery final track) bespeak a confessional urge, but they can’t help spotlighting Mäensivu’s conservatory chops and wily compositional tactics. When wizardry takes the wheel — especially in jazz, and especially today — the voice underneath it can end up muffled in the trunk. Mäensivu deserves credit for seeking a healthy balance. “Gravity” is the album’s only track without a piano, slimming down this band of young aces to just bass, drums, guitar and vibraphone. Moving at a fast, nine-beat clip, Mäensivu’s bass line squares up firmly in a minor key, easing you into a space of feeling before the tune’s harmonic center starts shifting around. GIOVANNI RUSSONELLO

The title is a plain-spoken survivor’s lament, ostensibly about living through a time of environmental collapse: “I don’t want to be witness,” Anohni wails, “seeing all of this duress, aching of our world.” But within the context of Anohni and the Johnsons’ piercing new album “My Back Was a Bridge for You to Cross” — which features a photo of the band’s namesake, the gay activist Marsha P. Johnson, on its cover — that question is also haunted by the ghosts of the queer community. By the end of this loose, mournful soul song, Anohni finds a hopeful answer to that titular inquiry: She’s here to tell these stories, to draw attention to these causes, to sing this song. ZOLADZ

Surrounded by swirling, twinkling, glimmering arpeggios, Little Dragon’s Yuki Nagano sings about sheer rapture: “Glowing in the dark to find streams of stars to taste.” Midway through, and inexplicably, Damon Albarn arrives from a different, bummed-out dimension, with apologies for being “Under the spell of the eyes that paralyze.” Having provided a little ballast, he vanishes in a download spiral and Nagano returns, still glowing and utterly unperturbed. PARELES

Fito Páez, Argentina’s most celebrated — and perpetually eccentric — rocker, decided to remake all the songs on his definitive 1992 album, “El Amor Después el Amor” (“Love After Love”), three decades later for the album “EADDA9223,” joined by duet partners including Elvis Costello, Nathy Peluso and Marisa Monte. “Sasha, Sissi y el Círculo de Baba” — a tale of passion and crime — used busy disco-funk guitar back in 1992. But the new version — trading vocals with the dynamic, torchy Chilean belter Mon Laferte — uncovers the retro bolero underlying the song. With reverb-laden guitar and a trumpet obbligato, Páez and Laferte revel in the drama together. PARELES

The Australian electronic music producer Flume usually juxtaposes bouncy, consonant chords with a little noise. But the track he brought to the Australian rapper Tkay Maidza is pure irritation: buzzes, distortion, wavery tones, a drone that bristles with dissonance. Maidza tops it with a speedy, shifty, percussive boast, racing through lines like “I’m a jigsaw, not a quick fix” and “I’m tactical, no attachments/I’m doing it for the passion.” From any angle, it’s combative. PARELES

Polly Jean Harvey meticulously constructed a narrative, a sound and a language — based on the local dialect in Dorset, where she grew up — for “I Inside the Old World Dying,” her first album since 2016. The music is folky but fringed with electronics; her vocals are high and eerie, nearly disembodied. In “Lwonesome Tonight,” she sings about encountering a mystically charismatic figure: “Are you Elvis? Are you God?/Jesus sent you, win my trust,” she sings, and at the end she’s left wondering: “My love, will you come back again?” PARELES

Over the past quarter-century, Brian Blade’s Fellowship has come to feel more like a brotherhood than an ensemble, accruing a repertoire of original music that will stand the test of time along with an unmistakable sound: a mix of country, jazz and gospel that exudes a feeling of choral warmth, despite not using any vocals. But beyond that, they’ve stood up against (and basically outlived) a few insidious trends in jazz: When so many fine improvisers seemed be reconciling themselves to a future where the audience might become an afterthought, Blade and Fellowship had no time for that. The group’s fifth album, “Kings Highway,” begins with “Until We Meet Again,” a slowly seductive Blade original that makes reference to a William G. Tomer hymn; it ends with “God Be With You,” a short and elegant rendition of the Tomer piece itself. We can only hope that those valedictory titles aren’t telling us something about Fellowship’s future. RUSSONELLO

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