Lil Nas X Makes a Coming-Out Assertion, and 9 Extra New Songs

Lil Nas X Makes a Coming-Out Statement, and 9 More New Songs

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Lil Nas X was born as Montero Lamar Hill and is happy with “Montero (call me by your name)” about the pleasure of being a gay man. “Romantic talking? You don’t even have to try, ”he sings over syncopated guitar and hand clapping in flamenco. “Call me when you want, call me when you need.” The video – an elaborate CGI production, a costume drama and a visit to hell – makes it clear that his identity is very important. (He also posted a note to his 14-year-old self on Twitter.) “In life, we hide the parts of us that the world shouldn’t see,” says Lil Nas X in the spoken introduction to the video clip. “But here we don’t.” JON PARELES

Teenage Taylor Swift, who wrote “You All Over Me” for her second album, 2008’s “Fearless”, has made a name for herself largely as a country singer. The original track was left as an outtake, still unreleased. But Swift probably wouldn’t have opened it up with the metronomic, minimalist blips that her re-recorded version begins with, which is part of her reclamation of the early catalog she lost to machinations in the music business. “You All Over Me” was a precursor to Swift’s many post-breakup songs. With her trademark of everyday details, emotional explanations, and terse, neat sentences, she complains that it’s impossible to evade memories of how she “burned you / held / held / held / held / God knows / held for too long. “Blips and everything – she worked with Aaron Dessner, one of the producers of her 2020 albums” Folklore “and” Evermore “- the track remains largely in the realm of country pop, with mandolin, harmonica and piano, while Maren Morris’ harmony- Singing offers subtle sisterly support. It’s hardly a throwaway song, and more than a decade later, its regrets can extend to both their contracts and their romances. PARELES

Julia Michaels’ latest blow against Kumbaya is tuneful and angry, exchanging feel-good marks for the much rougher wounds inside. Your enemy? Her lover’s past: “I want to live in a world where all your exes are dead. I want to kill all the memories that you have stored in your head. Be the only girl who has ever been in your bed.” It’s tough, funny, sad, and relatively petty. JON CARAMANICA

“Respect is mutual” is the improbable refrain of “dignity”; That’s the way we work together. A year ago Angelique Kidjo was a guest on “Shekere”, a big hit for Nigerian singer Yemi Alade. Now Alade Kidjo joins in on “Dignity,” a song that sympathizes with widespread protests in Nigeria against the brutality of the notorious Police Special Anti-Robbery Squad. It mourns people killed by the police; it demands equality, respect and “radical beauty” and at the same time insists: “No retreat, no surrender.” The track has a crisp Afrobeats core under pinging and wriggling guitars, as both female voices – separated and harmonizing – speak for strength and survival . PARELES

Timmy Thomas’ “Why Can’t We Live Together” was an old soul tune with an Afro-Latin undercurrent that became the basis for Drake’s “Hotline Bling”. In this cover the organist Dr. Lonnie Smith is largely true to the original, though his solo subtly doubles the funk factor and the band finds its way into a boastful mix. While Thomas sang the song as a serious, annoyed plea for social harmony, Smith’s guest singer Iggy Pop does it in an eerie mood, somewhere between a lounge singer and Lambchop’s Kurt Wagner. GIOVANNI RUSSONELLO

Not enough has been said about the sweetness that runs through a sector of contemporary hip hop. Hear Lil Mosey or Lil Tecca – not just the pitch of the voices, but also the breathable anti-density of the cadences and also how the subject rarely goes beyond a slight irritation. There is cuddling everywhere. CARAMANICA

Brockhampton’s return after a quiet 2020 is a top notch mess – a frenetic, nerve-wracking stomper (with an elastic verse by Danny Brown) nodding NWA, the Beastie Boys, Pharcyde and beyond. CARAMANICA

In a tired but determined groan, over a plucked acoustic guitar and subterranean bass, Rod Wave sings about compulsively “feeding the family” until he dies. In the middle of the song, he does it. Death turns out to be the ultimate publication: “At last I will rest in peace,” he sings. His voice rises to falsetto and becomes more relaxed. A gospel choir materializes to commemorate and uplift him. The video adds another story: of a deaf boy who was shot and laid to rest by police while Wave sings and repeats the Bible and Sam Cooke “by the river”. PARELES

“Under the Pepper Tree” is the latest album by Sara Watkins of the succinct acoustic bands Nickel Creek and I’m With Her. It’s a collection of children’s songs, mostly from their own childhood. “Night Singing” is her own new song, two minutes of pure benevolent lullaby as she urges, “Rest your eyes, lay your head down” as the music unfolds from leisurely acoustic guitar play to halos of soaring, reverberant lead guitar. PARELES

The stubborn, unorthodox quartet of cellist Christopher Hoffman – with vibraphonist Bryan Carrott, bassist Rashaan Carter and drummer Craig Weinrib – moves with loose limbs but held together. On “Discretionary”, the odd opening track of his new album “Asp Nimbus”, a backbeat is implied, but always overwritten or undermined. Henry Threadgill’s Zooid, an avant-garde chamber company that Hoffman plays in, might come to mind. Carrott’s vibes form a web of harmony that Hoffman’s curved cello supports at times and cuts through at other points. RUSSONELLO