There’s been an increasing amount of crossover between country and hip-hop in recent years, though often the relationship between the two influences can feel strained. But here’s a collaboration between two sing-rappers, both teenagers, that sounds utterly unforced: Kidd G, who’s making the kind of naturally syncretic music Nashville should be inching toward, and YNW BSlime, the younger brother of the incarcerated star YNW Melly. Kidd G taps into his Juice WRLD influences, with pitter-patter syllables and scraped-up singing, and YNW BSlime’s guest verse is chilling, and sung with disarming innocence: “Two years my brother’s been gone/And I’ve never/felt so alone.” It sounds like the No. 1 song of 2030. JON CARAMANICA

A peppy song about romantic dyspepsia, “Light Switch” is a lightly manqué version of the sort of electric funk-pop that made Charlie Puth’s 2018 album “Voicenotes” so appealing. The singing is slightly less committed, and the lyric construction not buttoned quite as tight, and there’s a light hyperpop-esque treatment on the vocals that makes Puth sound like hes lamenting from the inside of the synthesizer. But the anxiety of the words is pointed, and the sugar-rush production scans as breathlessness. CARAMANICA

Escalation suggests obsession in “Midnight Sun” from a new Nilüfer Yanya album, “Painless,” that’s due in March. “Maybe I can’t care too much/I can’t clean this up,” she sings. “Get me off this spinning wheel.” Both the acoustic guitar chords and the drumbeat feel looped, with more than a hint of Radiohead, but other sounds arrive — acoustic and electric guitars — sounding hand-played and offering possibilities of escape. It’s not clear whether she’ll use them. JON PARELES

The quantum guitar-chord crescendo of grunge — quiet-loud-MUCH LOUDER — gets a full, furious workout in Gayle’s “Ur Just Horny,” the teenage songwriter’s follow-up to “Abcdefu.” As the stop-start guitars stack up, she spells things out: “You don’t wanna be my friend/You just wanna see me naked/Again.” PARELES

Ecco2K and Bladee are members of the Drain Gang, a Swedish pop collective that has a sideline in fashion modeling. Their latest collaboration, produced by the German musician Mechatok, is a slice of pointillist hyperpop that treats voices and synthesizer tones alike as bits of blipping staccato counterpoint and computer-compressed nuggets of cosmic ambition: “Destroy and create, dreaming in the dream,” Bladee croons at the end, before the machines shut off. PARELES

Sofia Kourtesis makes songs that pulsate with the hope of a new day. “Estación Esperanza” is a master class in culling citations, opening with the chants of a Peruvian protest against homophobia before vocal samples of Manu Chao’s “Me Gustas Tu” glitch into focus, interspersed with vibrant bird calls and a steady horn. When Kourtesis’ own humming comes into focus, a single moment opens to infinity. ISABELIA HERRERA

The Miami duo INVT lets genres slip through their fingers on its latest track. A fever pitch dembow riddim lifted from Jamaican dancehall thumps to life. A vaporous echo and fleshy moan whisper under the production. There is the steady clang of a cowbell, the shake of a maraca. Is it reggaeton? Minimal techno? Does it even matter? HERRERA

Young Dolph, who was shot and killed in his Memphis hometown in November, had mentored and collaborated with his cousin, Key Glock. Key Glock’s tribute song, “Proud,” is the first single from the compilation “Paper Route Empire Presents: Long Live Dolph,” and it’s burly in presentation but the lyrics ache: “I can get it back in blood but still I can’t get back the time.” In the video, Key Glock raps his regrets at the site of the killing, a stark choice. CARAMANICA

John Mellencamp stays grim and grizzled throughout his new album, “Strictly a One-Eyed Jack.” In “I Am a Man That Worries,” he’s worried about everything and belligerent about it: “You better get out of my way,” he growls. It’s a vintage-style blues stop with slide guitar and fiddle flanking his voice, and though he proclaims his bitter solitude, he has a crowd shouting alongside him by the end. PARELES

Nervous energy courses through “Shadow in the Frame,” the first single from the solo album due in April from Daniel Rossen of Grizzly Bear. Rossen played every instrument except drums (by Grizzly Bear’s Christopher Bear) in the intricate arrangement, including strings and woodwinds. The song is a meditation on ephemerality and catastrophe — “You will watch us flash and fade and get torn apart,” he sings — carried by a restless, circling phrase that migrates among guitars and vocals, changing contour but never resolving, hinting at hope that keeps moving out of reach. PARELES

The songwriter Uwade explores infatuation in “Do You See the Light Around Me?” It’s a single on Sylvan Esso’s label, Psychic Hotline, and as it cycles through four chords with voices and instruments arriving and disappearing, it echoes that group’s mixture of sparse electronic beats and human warmth. But Uwade brings her own personality, at once uncertain and embracing. PARELES

The Austin-based songwriter Jana Horn keeps her voice small and whispery throughout “Optimism,” the debut album she releases this week. “Jordan” is the album’s eeriest, most exploratory, most determined song: a steady-pulsing march with electronics at the fringes, an enigmatic biblical narrative about a quest, an ordeal, a dilemma, a revelation. PARELES

The bassist Gui Duvignau begins his take on “Tristeza e Solidão” — a torch song by the Brazilian guitarist Baden Powell and the poet Vinícius de Moraes — unaccompanied, sounding plangent and contemplative as he lets low notes resound. The guitarist Bill Frisell, featured as a special guest, enters with the drummer Jeff Hirschfield, and trades the song’s somber melody back and forth with Duvignau. The track is overcast and melancholy and slow, lacking the quiet, motor-like samba groove of Powell’s and de Moraes’s original version but sounding just as haunted. This performance comes from Duvignau’s latest album, “Baden,” a tribute to the influential guitarist, who died in 2000. GIOVANNI RUSSONELLO

Cumbia rhythms, carried on drums stroked by hands and mallets, lift up a reverb-shaken guitar and the sleepy-eyed voice of Kiko Villamizar. “Sembrá El Maíz” (“Plant the Corn”) is an original urging hard work and patience, even in the face of climate catastrophe. By the end he’s full-throated, trading call-and-response vocals with the band. A musician, educator and organizer now based in Austin, Villamizar grew up primarily on a coffee farm in Colombia and later traveled the country collecting songs. When Los Destellos and Los Wemblers de Iquitos started making Peruvian jungle-surf like this in the 1960s, it rang cosmopolitan; today, writing similar songs, a younger musician from the Colombian side is building on what’s become a tradition of its own. RUSSONELLO



Source link