Every Friday, the pop critics of The New York Times take part in the new songs and highlights of the week, and in everything else that seems intriguing. This week, Prince's original recording of 1984 of a song better known as a hit by Sinead O & # 39; Connor, three versions of reggaeton-pop crossover and a Grant Green version of a song by James Brown.
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Prince, & # 39; Nothing Compares & # 39; 2 U & # 39;
Prince & # 39; s estate has released their original recording in 1984 of "Nothing Compares 2 U", the song that became an international hit for Sinead O & # 39; Connor in 1990. Prince recorded all the parts except some choruses and one saxophone solo (both by Eric Leeds), and it's a mystery why he did not release it initially. It is already a crescendo of anguish underlined by everyday details, a finished song. (Ms. O & # 39; Connor's version hollowed out the arrangement, amplifying the loneliness, and added a crucial touch, a jump up when she sings "Nothing"). The video clip uses Prince's rehearsal images dancing with his bands: strutting, kicking, spinning, doing splits, all in his high-heeled boots. While the images distract the song, they are a reminder of their physical presence: cheerful and, yes, incomparable. JON PARELES
Ariana Grande, & # 39; No Tears Left to Cry & # 39;
A little less than a year ago a suicide bomber killed 22 people who left a concert of Ariana Grande in Manchester, England; the victims were between 8 and 51 years old. From the title, Ms. Grande's first new song since the attack – "No Tears Left to Cry" – seems to be a ballad about emotional exhaustion and the long number of traumas. Is not that. Instead, Ms. Grande offers pop-dance gelding with British influences with a letter sprayed from time to time – "We also flew to participate in all this hatred / We are here vibrating" – which scans more as a discourtesy than as a tribute . JON CARAMANICA
Sugarland with Taylor Swift, & # 39; Babe & # 39;
This song – a discarding of the "red" sessions, written by Taylor Swift and Pat Monahan of the train – sounds like Sugarland covering "Red" -was Taylor Swift. Jennifer Nettles has been one of the most famous country singers for her talent for tightly controlled howls, but here she shivers, locked in another vocalist's box. And Sugarland's roots jubilation is replaced by anodyne folk sands. J.C.
Anteloper, & # 39; Oryx & # 39;
Like Anteloper, drummer Jason Nazary and trumpeter Jaimie Branch direct their acoustic instruments through an atmosphere of electric whirls, rhythms and earth tones. There is nothing distant or timid about these digital sounds, but it is the analog game that provides clarity and direction (even when Branch retains his aversion to a smooth and linear phrasing). "Oryx", the opening song of Anteloper's debut album, "Kudu", begins with a gargle of static and treble tones; Mr. Nazary begins an irregular pattern on the drum and the charles, and Mrs. Branch's trumpet is swirling very close. Finally, it begins to sound, a melody of anticipation, almost like a son. Just when things are about to dissolve again, a Moog arrives with a synth-pop hook, inviting a poignant and moving trumpet statement to the exit, reinforced, of course, by an octave pedal and a fleet of acidic effects. . GIOVANNI RUSSONELLO
Aurora, & # 39; Queendom & # 39;
Optimism follows from "Queendom," a statement from the female empowerment dance floor of the Norwegian composer Aurora. The rhythm is a solid but discrete four on the floor; on top are the electronic devices and the airy, pulsating and boisterous voices, in a production that is reconstructed differently with each verse, without ever deciding to repeat it. "You have a home in my mind," Aurora promises. JP
Billie Eilish with Khalid, & # 39; Lovely & # 39;
"Lovely" is the song of someone inextricably tied or trapped: "I hope that someday it leaves here", Billie Eilish sings with Khalid – Not in dialogue or counterpoint, but in unison, as if they were the companion and the burden of others. "I want to feel alive outside / I can fight my fear". The backdrop is the piano and the strings persist in two chords; the melancholy never rises, and in the end Khalid and Mrs. Eilish share a chilling greeting: "Hello, welcome home." JP
Liam Payne and J Balvin, "Familiar"
BURNS with Maluma and Rae Sremmurd, "Hands on Me"
Kylie Minogue starring Gente de Zona, & # 39; Stop Me From Falling & # 39;
How would you like your crossover reggaeton-pop?
a) At the mercy of a former mid-level British singer who graciously sings, "Your hips roll, you make the calypso"
b) delivered in English as part of a courageously calculated collaboration with an electronic music producer and a pair of infinitely flexible rappers
c) with a resurfacing publication -Diva disc doing a digital update of Gipsy Kings
] This may well become the year of the true pop of Latin mix and mixed influence, with minor artists seeking to appear progressive in the haze after the "Despacito." So far, few of these efforts have really worked (and Pitbull was doing it years ago, with little recognition or respect). From this last harvest, the correct choice, insofar as there can be one, is b. But maybe it's really
d) Let's call all this.
Kimbra, & # 39; Everybody Knows & # 39;
Late recriminations erupt and erupt in "Everybody Knows," which was a first single from "Primal Heart," the album released on Friday by the composer Kimbra of New Zealand. "I'm not going to try to forget what I've been through," she sings, adding, "I was young and gullible, but baby, I grew up. And now everyone is watching you." The song begins with a tentative tinkle, but picks up the impact as the accusations arise. J.P.
Tank and the Bangas, & # 39; Smoke. Netflix. Chill. & # 39;
Tank and Bangas just complain a little – "What are you trying to ruin everything?" – how a relationship becomes an occasional booty call. After all, the dyed groove of the 70s continues to navigate, with small bursts of jazz keyboard, fragments of spoken words that turn into babbling and what turns out to be a minor request: "Just be honest." JP
Grant Green, & # 39; I do not want anyone to give me anything (open the door, I'll get it myself) & # 39;
Grant Green's guitar style is one of the simple pleasures of jazz: loud and crispy; articulated in strong lines of a single note or small rotating harmony propellers. In his own inconspicuous way, Green in the late 1960s was doing a lot to exploit the divisions that the record industry had helped establish in the black music scene. The albums he did for Blue Note covered hard-bop and bossa nova, blues dripping with molasses and serious funk. In "Funk in France: from Paris to Antibes (1969-1970)", a new file release on Saturday, Green covers "I do not want anyone to give me anything" from James Brown (open the door, I'll get It Myself), "managing to sound at home, au courant and prophetic all at once." Listen to his dark and seductive riffs here – minor caustic phrases about Larry Ridley's unique and repeated bass note – and you can easily hear the seeds that are planted for the contemporary jazz brand powered by Jeff Parker GR
Ras G and the Afrikan space program, The Arrival & # 39;
Los Angeles-based producer Ras G makes futurism feel comfort, especially on their new album, "Stargate Music." The tracks here look as if they were built in a laboratory full of microscopes and mirrors: they concentrate on small elements, giving them crisp clarity even in the most dark; rhythms and small patrons they bounce and complement each other, like a mosaic of reflections. An avowed Afrofuturist, Ras G is making music for his soul and for his imagination, inviting a combination of close inspection and expansive thinking. (In "The Arrival", is it a sample of Alice Coltrane? Maybe it does not matter.) GR