Home / Entertainment / The Playlist: Drake Preps for a Return, and 12 More New Songs

The Playlist: Drake Preps for a Return, and 12 More New Songs

Every Friday, pop critics for The New York Times weigh in at the week’s maximum notable new songs and movies — and anything that moves them as intriguing. This week, Mike Shinoda of Linkin Park releases his first track since Chester Bennington’s demise, Common groups up with Robert Glasper and Karriem Riggins, and James Blake unleashes a delightfully confounding observe.

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Drake, ‘God’s Plan’ and ‘Diplomatic Immunity’

“Don’t pull up at 6 a.m. to cuddle with me,” Drake cautions on “God’s Plan,” considered one of a pair of latest songs he put out closing weekend, his first releases in months. “God’s Plan” — which broke single-day streaming data on each Spotify and Apple Music — is an obvious pregame warm-up, filled with ambient paranoia, changed SoundCloud-rap flows and, after all, offhandedly imagistic lyrics destined to grow to be memes: “She say, ‘Do you love me?’ I tell her, ‘Only partly’/I only love my bed and my momma, I’m sorry.” For huge swaths of the previous few years, Drake has been at his tensest, so it’s reassuring to listen to him rap with muscle groups and perspective at ease. That’s much more true at the best of the 2 songs, “Diplomatic Immunity,” filled with acutely-singed boasts and threats delivered with the maximum casualness. A gaseous ramble, it veers from lamentations to accusations very easily. And with out a refrain, it feels as though he may just cross on for hours, a reminder that even if Drake may disappear, he doesn’t decelerate. JON CARAMANICA

Mike Shinoda, ‘Post Traumatic EP’

Mike Shinoda, Linkin Park’s rapper, labored thru trauma after trauma in his songs with the band. Now, 9 months after the 2017 suicide of Chester Bennington, the crowd’s lead singer, Mr. Shinoda has launched the three-song “Post Traumatic EP,” dealing with the aftermath in a suite of 3 songs — “Place to Start,” “Over Again” and “Watching as I Fall” — punctuated via hesitant phone messages from buddies and concluded via a warts-and-all monologue about occurring with lifestyles. The tracks are reverberant digital dirges; the rhymes, heading into sung choruses, testify to bewilderment, mourning, resentment, self-pity and questions on what to do after a cathartic memorial live performance: “I get tackled by the grief at times that I would least expect,” he raps. It intentionally finds awkwardness in conjunction with righteousness; it’s additionally, very self-consciously, your next step in a profession. JON PARELES

MGMT, ‘Hand It Over’

Absolute depression is simply contained via music shape and professionalism in “Hand It Over.” The observe may well be taken as a lightly metronomic homage to the Beach Boys and Supertramp, whole with vocal harmonies. But the unassertive lead vocals, and lyrics like “The deals we made to shake things up/And the rights that they abused/Might just [expletive] us over,” counsel that MGMT is a ways from insular, and the track’s placid, multilayered consonance represents numbness greater than acceptance. J.P.

August Greene, ‘Optimistic’

August Greene is a recently-formed trio of crossover jazz evangelists: the rapper Common; the pianist Robert Glasper; and the drummer and beatsmith Karriem Riggins. The crew gained an Emmy closing yr for “Letter to the Free,” a protest anthem straddling the gap between dirgelike lament and proud march, and a complete album is coming in March. The lead unmarried, “Optimistic,” options a visitor spot from Brandy, making a song of religion and self-belief over a beatific mattress of voices, much more luxurious than her conventional backing refrain (on standbys like “I Wanna Be Down,” say, or “Almost Doesn’t Count”). Mr. Riggins’s snare and bass drums kick up mud at the offbeats, and Mr. Glasper — first on effervescent electrical keyboard, then on acoustic piano — refuses to let his levitating gospel chords contact the bottom. New York lovers can catch August Greene on Friday night time on the Highline Ballroom. GIOVANNI RUSSONELLO

James Blake, ‘If the Car Beside You Moves Ahead’

James Blake's eerie new unmarried, “If the Car Beside You Moves Ahead,” is furtive, fragmentary and pleased with its perceptual video games. The undulating synthesizer bass line that runs thru lots of the observe assists in keeping dipping towards silence; above it's a quieter, glassy-toned loop that’s a consistent however far-off dissonance. Nearly all the vocals are pitch-shifted, chopped up or each, as though Mr. Blake is not certain he must be undisguised for even a syllable. The chorus is nominally reassuring — “You’re not going backwards” — nevertheless it does not inform you the place you’re going, both. J.P.

Dream Wife, ‘Let’s Make Out’

New wave construction meets punk blatancy and 21st-century gender fluency on this opening salvo from Dream Wife, a London art-school trio with an Icelandic singer-screamer, Rakel Mjöll. The 3 ladies percentage ooh-ahs with handclaps just like the Go-Go’s; then they blast thru 3 chords with Ms. Mjöll nearly shrieking, “Let’s make out! Are we just too shy? Are you too shy?” They can play issues beautiful, however most effective so long as they want to. J.P.

Alice Glass, ‘Cease and Desist’

A fundamental, cast two-chord oompah grows claws and fangs — with distortion-edged bass and Arctic gusts of static — as Alice Glass (the Canadian songwriter Margaret Osborn) deploys her shrillest prime sign up to call for, “Promise me you’re never the victim/Promise me you have to fight back.” There’s a again tale: Ms. Osborn has accused her former collaborator within the crew Crystal Castles, the band she co-founded as a teen, of years of rape and attack, fees he has denied. In this music, she’s no longer debating somebody; she’s preaching self-defense at some point. J.P.

Kris Davis and Craig Taborn, ‘Love in Outer Space’

Ms. Davis and Mr. Taborn are two pianists with an ear for stark readability and unflinching abstraction. Each is the type of participant whose presence is explanation why sufficient to move see a gig: They can grasp a whole band in combination, then throw its bone construction aside with a flick of the wrist. On Friday they launched “Octopus,” a selection of duets recorded on excursion in 2016. The pair ventures continuously into unfastened improvisations: playfully dyspeptic, scattered, opaque. But on “Love in Outer Space” — a Sun Ra vintage that Mr. Taborn assists in keeping in common flow along with his quartet — the six-beat, Middle Eastern plod grows most effective extra hypnotic over the process the just about eight-minute efficiency. Toward the top, a prime be aware begins tolling in a rusty chime; that’s Ms. Davis’s piano, ready with a little bit of steel clipped to a prime B-flat string, damn like a beacon or a tin heartbeat. G.R.

Leven Kali that includes Syd, ‘Do U Wrong’

The groove is a neo-soul throwback, with stable piano chords, a slow-creeping bass line and wah-wah guitar chords nestling within the areas. The song is a whispery male-female duet via Leven Kali (the person) and Syd (the lady), sharing a promising flirtation. The lyrics contemplate the questions and possible choices of 21st-century courtship. She wonders, “Should I be nice? Should I be rude/Do I text twice? Do I play cool?” whilst he makes gives each platonic and sensual. It’s an replace of the lesson of each and every rom-com: Even when issues are going simply positive, conversation can also be tough. Mr. Kali and Syd percentage the refrain: “Tell me what you like/I can’t read your mind, bad as I want to.” J.P.

Oneida, ‘All in Due Time’

The identify (and refrain) of “All in Due Time” could also be a bid for endurance, however the track emphatically disagrees; it’s all jittery double-time drumming, staticky twitches and nervously wavering analog synthesizer tones. It has been six years between studio albums for Oneida, the long-running Brooklyn band that misplaced its outdated studio to gentrification. But in this observe from “Romance,” which is due in March, Oneida’s edgy extrapolation of Krautrock — with a Minimalist pulse underlying improvisational, transferring construction — is as wild and useful as ever. J.P.

Sylvie Courvoisier Trio, ‘Èclats for Ornette’

“D’Agala,” the brand new album from Ms. Courvoisier, collects 9 authentic compositions devoted to artists and public figures who've impressed her. A Swiss-born pianist, Ms. Courvoisier is equivalent portions audacity and poise, and her trio with the bassist Drew Gress and the drummer Kenny Wollesen is a habitat of understated provocation. On “Èclats for Ornette,” devoted to the saxophonist and free-jazz pioneer Ornette Coleman, she has written a splintering and frayed melody that channels Coleman’s ludic streak, swinging drolly and exuberantly, nearly despite itself. It’s exhausting to believe some other sound that might higher mirror the operative phrase of the song’s identify, French for “shards” or “sparkles.” G.R.

Jon Pareles has been The Times's leader pop track critic since 1988. A musician, he has performed in rock bands, jazz teams and classical ensembles. He majored in track at Yale University. @JonPareles

Jon Caramanica is a pop track critic for The Times and the host of the Popcast. He additionally writes the lads's Critical Shopper column for Styles. He in the past labored for Vibe mag, and has written for the Village Voice, Spin, XXL and extra. @joncaramanica

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