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Ariana Grande’s House-Groove Kiss-Off and 9 other new songs

Written by The Anand Market

Updated on:

Every Friday, New York Times pop critics look at the week’s biggest new songs. Listen to the playlist on Spotify here (or find our profile: nytimes), and subscribe to The amplifiera bi-weekly guide to new and old songs.

Ariana Grande returns with a hard-hitting crimson-lipped kiss to “Yes, And?” », a confectionery light as a feather safely – but still pleasant – in your comfort zone. Grande has been filming the film version of the hit musical “Wicked” since her 2020 album “Positions,” so this comeback single lets her have some fun with the house-music revival (a la Beyoncé’s “Break My Soul”) “) which became popular in his absence. The most obvious sonic reference that Grande and fellow writers and producers Max Martin and Ilya Salmanzadeh evoke here is Madonna’s “Vogue,” and while the song does its best to sound like a common rallying cry (“Boy, Go ahead, put on your lipstick / Go on and walk through the fire”), its most pointed lyrics speak to the peculiar and seemingly vexing experience of being Ariana Grande. “Don’t comment on my body, don’t respond,” she intones in a suddenly serious tone. “Your business is yours and mine is mine.” It’s a relief when the rhythm returns and she climbs back up, happily resuming her dance on the air. LINDSAY ZOLADZ

Lil Nas (He also confronts the devil on a basketball court and presents himself as a cheerleader with a skirt and pom-poms.) The underlying song is solid but secondary: a piano stab, a percussive melody, and a brutal attempt of notoriety. The hook is “Bitch, I’m bad like J. Christ,” but another line is the important point: “Is he about to give them something viral?” Let the algorithms decide. JON PARÉLES

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Jeymes Samuel, Jay-Z and the elusive D’Angelo are in no particular hurry on “I Want You Forever,” a loose, sprawling nine-and-a-half minute reverie taken from the soundtrack of Samuel’s new film “The Book of Clarence. “All I want to say is I love you so much, I don’t want to be without you,” D’Angelo croons repeatedly, until his tongue seems to liquefy. Under such hypnosis, even Jay seems unusually cold, but his laid-back flow can’t hide the sorrow in his words: “I slept on the couch, because the bed isn’t a bed without you.” » ZOLADZ

Confidence is an aphrodisiac in “Safe Word.” Josiah Wise, who records under the name serpentwithfeet, promises that “The Safe Word is Me” and “I’m Your Refuge,” while adding that he’s “insatiable” on “Safe Word.” Plucked guitar notes, sparse percussion and whistling accompany the high-pitched crooning of his voice, which insists on intimacy even when given a few Auto-Tuned flourishes. PARÉLES

Waxahatchee singer-songwriter Katie Crutchfield marvels at long-term love as she admits how it tests him. “I let my mind run wild/I don’t know why I do it,” she sings, “But you settle in like a never-ending song.” The track is laid back and country, with warm banjo playing, and MJ Lenderman provides harmony vocals and supporting electric guitar. But the raspy tension in Crutchfield’s voice betrays his lingering doubts. PARÉLES

Indie-folk crooner Faye Webster and iconoclastic rapper Lil Yachty have been friends since middle school, and their easy chemistry makes “Lego Ring,” a single from Webster’s upcoming album “Underdressed at the Symphony,” sound more cohesive than expected. Amid crunchy guitars and percussive piano stabs, Yachty’s Auto-Tuned warbles provide textured backing vocals for Webster, singing an ode to one of the cheapest jewels ever coveted in a pop song. “Me and you, the dream team,” Yachty sings playfully, when he takes the lead, “always together like green beans.” ZOLADZ

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Sheryl Crow questions artificial intelligence in “Evolution”. She hears his fake music on the radio; she wonders, “Where are we going in this paradise?/We are passengers and there is no one at the wheel.” » The song is a broad-shouldered rock anthem, backed by strings and a screaming lead guitar solo. He posits the superiority of human feelings and hopes for a “great solution,” but the best chance Crow can offer is “maybe.” PARÉLES

Can love be a renewable energy? “You recharge me,” Jhené Aiko coos in “Sun/Son,” as she connects the warmth of an embrace to “solar energy.” She’s surrounded by cascading vocal harmonies over a purring, melodic bass line, basking in romance; a substitute piano-centric version turns the same feelings into an anthem. PARÉLES

Bruce Hornsby collaborated with contemporary chamber group yMusic on the upcoming album “Deep Sea Vents”, showcasing their fusion as BrhyM. “Deep Blue” touches on minimalism, psychedelia and traditional jazz, with a steady beat, a polytonal piano lick, an electric sitar and back-talks of trumpet, clarinet and violin. It’s nonchalantly philosophical. “I said to the universe, ‘Sir, I exist,’” Hornsby sings. “The universe responded: “This fact does not create in me a feeling of obligation. » » PARLES