New Songs by Kacey Musgraves, Maggie Rogers, girl in red and More

New Songs by Kacey Musgraves, Maggie Rogers, girl in red and More

Folky fingerpicking and new-agey thoughts about self-help make “Deeper Well” one of the gentlest but firmest rebuffs imaginable. After musing on astrology and negative energy, Kacey Musgraves notes, “I’m saying goodbye to the people I feel/are real good at wasting my time.” In the next verses, she leaves behind marijuana and rises above the limits of her upbringing. There’s no rancor, no gloating, just added shimmery reverberations as she grows up and moves on. A new album of the same name is due March 15. JON PARELES

Maggie Rogers wants someone who will “wreck her Sundays” on “Don’t Forget Me,” the warm, yearning title track from her forthcoming third album, which she co-produced with Musgraves’s trusted collaborator Ian Fitchuk. Her friends’ relationships, she admits, don’t provide models for what she’s looking for: Sally’s getting married, Molly’s out partying every night. Rogers is after something more casual — but still lasting in its own way. “Love me til your next somebody,” she sings to whoever’s listening. “And promise me that when it’s time to leave, don’t forget me.” LINDSAY ZOLADZ

Beth Gibbons — the brooding, smoky-voiced lead singer of Portishead — will release her solo debut album, “Lives Outgrown,” on May 17. Its first single, “Floating on a Moment,” faces mortality with bittersweet acceptance. “All going to nowhere/all going, make no mistake,” she sings, adding, “All trying but can’t escape.” It’s a slow march paced by a loping bass line, gradually enfolding her solitary voice with harpsichord, flutes and a children’s choir as Gibbons finds a kind of peace with the realization, “All we have is here and now.” PARELES

The English-speaking Norwegian songwriter Marie Ulven Ringheim, who records as girl in red, catalogs toxic partner behavior as she works up to a pumping dance beat and a punk-pop guitar blast in “Too Much.” She realizes she’s been inhibited, minimized and gaslit: “For a second I thought you were sincere/But you’ve been dragging me down all of these years,” she sings. It’s a joyful indictment, a call for honesty after all. PARELES

Unbridled rage explodes in “Power to Undo” from Brittany Howard’s turbulent new album, “What Now.” She furiously rejects a reconciliation — “How could you want me back after the damage is done?” — in a roar of distorted funk and jabbing, buzz-bombing guitar. She’s steeling herself against backsliding. PARELES

J Noa, a teenage rapper from the Dominican Republic, delivers soul-baring confessionals at breakneck speed. In “Era de Cristal” — “Age of Glass” — she details struggles with depression and anxiety. “I’m having a breakdown in my mental health/I screamed for help and they applauded me nonstop,” she sings in Spanish over somber piano chords and a boom-bap beat. An instrumental coda gathers an orchestra — not for triumph, but for tension. PARELES

“Juanita, why do you call me?” Angélica Garcia asks in Spanish, with mounting drama and volume, over the measured, clip-clop beat of a cumbia. With a voice that leaps and keens like Kate Bush, and with echoes multiplying behind her, Garcia sings about an attraction that surges beyond the physical to the metaphysical: “Rhythm pulsing the eternal waves of the sea/pulling away my clothes, my conscience.” PARELES

Gwen Stefani and Blake Shelton — the pop-punk and country singers whose careers have led them both to reality competition shows — sing about lasting, age-appropriate love in “Purple Irises.” The rhythmic underpinnings hark back to the Police; the lyrics recognize passing years but reaffirm affection: “The way you look at me I swear my heart hits rewind,” Stefani sings. It’s a song for couples on guard against younger rivals but together for the long term, against the odds. PARELES

The version of “Butterfly Net” on Caroline Polachek’s 2023 album, “Desire, I Want to Turn Into You,” was largely a 1960s-flavored folk-rock march that had her singing about “trying to catch your light.” Her remake with Weyes Blood — Natalie Mering — is far more transporting. It has a nervous bass pulse, flickering electronic undercurrents and looped vocals. Mering sounds more natural, Polachek more bionic, with both of them immersed in a kind of digitized yearning. PARELES

The saxophonist Charles Lloyd’s composition “Monk’s Dance” pays homage to the pianist Thelonious Monk, and he shares it with a redoubtable pianist: Jason Moran, who starts the track with a skittery, vertiginous, harmonically restless intro that also hints at ragtime. Lloyd, at 85, zooms through and above the tune’s convolutions with Olympian ease as Moran, the bassist Larry Grenadier and the drummer Brian Blade chase along. PARELES

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