Kodak Black Celebrates Clemency From Trump, and 10 Extra New Songs

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Kodak Black Celebrates Clemency From Trump, and 10 More New Songs

Every Friday, the New York Times pop critics rate the week’s most notable new songs and videos. Just want the music Listen to the playlist on Spotify here (or find our profile: nytimes). How what do you hear Let us know at theplaylist@nytimes.com and subscribe to our Louder newsletter, a weekly blast of our pop music coverage.

In 2019, Kodak Black pleaded guilty to federal gun possession charges, the latest in a series of legal troubles for the Florida rapper. But a surprising twist earlier this month: Kodak Black’s verdict was overturned by President Donald J. Trump in his final days in office. Shortly after his release, he released “Last Day In” – a gentle song about what he dodged and what he was looking forward to, with brief flashes of awe at my fate: “I told my lawyer, ‘Boy, I love you like a papa . “JON CARAMANICA

“Don’t judge me, take care of me,” FKA-Zweig sings like a heartbeat in a voice that is both fragile and free. She recently dosed and sued actor Shia LaBeouf over an abusive relationship. (In a statement to the New York Times, he said, “I have hurt the people closest to me in the past. I am ashamed of this story and I regret those I have hurt.”) But the agenda of this collaborative one Liedes is not only personal: The London drill rapper Headie One, again with his producer Fred, also takes on police brutality, racism and the media and calls for “permanent changes”. JON PARELES

Two weeks ago, songwriter Jensen McRae tweeted a verse of an affectionate, fine-tuned parody about how Phoebe Bridgers could sing – except for the breathless vibrato – about drive-up vaccinations at Dodgers Stadium. It was imitation as the most sincere flattery; Bridgers retweeted it. Now, after 5,000 more retweets, McRae has turned it into a full-fledged song with band and string arrangements and has developed into a chorus full of romantic fear from the pandemic: “What will we be with each other if the world doesn’t end? ? “PARELES

Jupiter Bokondji and his band Okwess come from Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The singer and rapper Ana Tijoux comes from Chile. They band together in a frenzied, furious, multilingual denunciation of the false promises of colonialism across both hemispheres. Jupiter growls and Tijoux sings sharp admonitions over the band’s sawtooth guitars and the throbbing synthesizers from Money Mark. It’s an early volley from a Jupiter & Okwess album due out in April. PARELES

Alostmen, a band from Ghana under the direction of Stevo Atambire, named their debut album “Kologo” after the mainspring of their music: the kologo, a traditional stringed instrument that drives its songs with jumping, syncopated riffs. But his music reaches across Africa and beyond; With a horn section and an electric bass, “Minus Me” hints at both Moroccan Gnawa music and Nigerian Afrobeat, while Alostmen, with the voice of Ambolley, who has been recording since the 1970s, connects with an older generation of Ghanaian highlife. It’s deeply funky; it just jumps. PARELES

Arena rock melodrama meets SoundCloud rap mood: “It’s Time to Rock” with the ethereal Tes X and the exuberant Mario Judah is theatrical, funny and impressive. CARAMANICA

Billie Marten sings the autobiography of a flower as a starved struggle for self-actualization: “Eat the sun and water yourself / Being someone / Can’t get enough.” Her voice is smoky and imperturbable, but the music isn’t. It starts with a choppy bass riff and collects percussion and counterpoint before it blossoms into a full, ringing chorus: “I want to feel alive.” PARELES

The boy band Prettymuch is back, recalibrated and deconstructed. The new EP “Smackables” largely leaves the regulated R&B of its early releases in favor of a foggier approach to feel. “Free” is calm, sweet, a little aloof – the group’s expertly hard harmonies are scattered everywhere, but mostly their members are left to their own forays. CARAMANICA

“This Land”, a new album by the all-brass quartet The Westerlies and the masterful singer Theo Bleckmann, celebrates the role of music as a protest throughout American history, mixing covers (Woody Guthrie, Joni Mitchell) and originals. The themes are often great, but the LP is also an ode to the close connection and our ability to strengthen one another: on purpose, harmony becomes solidarity. The final track is “Thoughts and Prayers,” written by downtown composer Phil Kline after filming at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in 2018. It was inspired by the words of Emma Gonzalez, a survivor of the attack who joined her classmates to become a gun activist. Bleckmann is held by the warmth of the even harmonies of the horns and sings in an almost calm voice that sounds as if his eyes are focused on a distant point: “Because they can only send thoughts and prayers / We must be the change, the we I’ve all been waiting for. “GIOVANNI RUSSONELLO

Ani DiFranco’s songs were often quickly spoken, precisely selected, balanced manifestos and arguments that make politics personal. “Bad Dream” from their new album “Revolutionary Love” with jazz and soul is different. Over a patient bluesy groove, DiFranco sings about how he has become blind from a sudden breakup and is still trying to find out what happened. PARELES

William Parker is a bassist, multi-instrumentalist, composer, organizer and mentor to countless young artists. For the past 50 years he has been one of the most stable pillars of the New York avant-garde. It can feel impossible to measure your enormous contributions. Well, here’s one option: listen to Migration Of Silence In And Out Of The Sound World, a 10-CD box of all-new material composed by Parker. Each CD was recorded with a different band or a different employee. The content includes solo piano pieces by pianist Eri Yamamoto and suites with a large ensemble that bring together influences from Latin America, the Middle East and beyond. “Baldwin” comes from the CD entitled “The Majesty of Jah” on which Parker plays a mixture of stand-up bass, ngoni (a bass guitar-like instrument from West Africa) and ambient electronics. It is accompanied here by a recording of James Baldwin meditating on how racism has stained his own upbringing in New York, and the crawling, searching trumpet of Jalalu-Kalvert Nelson. RUSSONELLO