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Kendrick Lamar Gets Inspired (by Drake), and 9 More New Songs

Kendrick Lamar Gets Inspired (by Drake), and 9 More New Songs

Beefs make rappers productive. Earlier this week, Kendrick Lamar dropped a new salvo in his recently rekindled feud with Drake: a six-minute, multipart rejoinder to Drake’s recent “Push Ups” and “Taylor Made Freestyle.” It starts with Lamar rapping quickly but calmly over a smooth-jazz backdrop, taunting, “I make music that electrify ’em, you make music that pacify ’em.” But after he warns, “Don’t tell no lie about me/And I won’t tell truths about you,” the track changes to a tolling, droning trap dirge and Lamar’s delivery becomes biting, nasal and percussive. He switches from flow to flow with an accelerating barrage of attacks, professional and personal, from recording deals to parenting skills: “cringe-worthy” is a milder one. This track is unlikely to be the last round. Lamar posted a follow-up, “6:16 in LA,” on his Instagram Friday morning. JON PARELES

The country queen Miranda Lambert commands an atmosphere of smoky guitar licks and smoldering defiance on her new song “Wranglers,” her first solo single since her 2022 album “Palomino.” Lambert spins a third-person yarn of heartbreak and revenge at something of an emotional remove during the verses, but there’s a welcome grit in her voice when she gets to the irreverent hook: “She set it all on fire, and if there’s one thing that she learned/Wranglers take forever to burn.” LINDSAY ZOLADZ

Is multitasking a fear of facing yourself? Sarah Tudzin, who records as Illuminati Hotties, contemplates her own shattered attention span with “Can’t Be Still,” singing, “Oh when things are moving too slow/I, oh got places I wanna go.” With chunky, distorted guitar chords and little interludes of whistling — in harmony — she smiles through her nerves. PARELES

The London-based, Nigerian-rooted band Ibibio Sound Machine has evolved into a starkly efficient electro-funk band, delivering community-minded messages in English and the Nigerian language Ibibio. “Pull the Rope,” the title track of the band’s new album, deploys an octave-hopping bass line, videogame blips and eventually a horn section to propel a constructive chant: “Even though we’re eager to trigger/Let’s pull the rope, together we hope.” PARELES

Niki — the Indonesian singer and songwriter Nicole Zefanya, now based in Los Angeles — cheerfully saunters into an iffy new romance in “Too Much of a Good Thing.” Over a bluesy bass vamp and brushes on a snare drum, she notes, “Something tells me this is gonna hurt someday,” but that’s no deterrent. PARELES

The folk-blues stalwart Chris Smither has been contemplating mortality throughout his decades of songwriting; at 80, he’s more convincing than ever. “All About the Bones,” a modal blues with saxophone joining Smither’s foot-tapping and fingerpicked guitar, pays tribute to bone anatomy — “Some will make you stronger/Others make you tall” — along with the gruff reminder that sooner or later, “they end up on the pile.” PARELES

Amy Allen has extensive songwriting credits, including Sabrina Carpenter’s current hit “Espresso” and collaborations with Olivia Rodrigo, Justin Timberlake and Harry Styles. Allen whisper-sings “Girl With a Problem,” a sullen, grungy waltz about obsessive desire: “It’s moving so fast, it’s coming on strong/It wants you so bad, doesn’t care if it’s wrong.” Beginning with just acoustic guitars, the track thickens with drums, strings and backup vocals while Allen’s voice stays quiet and stubbornly fixated. PARELES

Mabe Fratti’s “Pantalla Azul” (“Blue Screen”) starts — as many of her songs do — with only her voice and her cello, here playing a few double stops. She sings, mysteriously, about someone who wants to leave reality behind and about seeing her own imagination as a blue screen; meanwhile, samples suggesting voices, pianos and harps arrive behind her, carrying her ever further away from earthly concerns. PARELES

“Izinkonjana” is a tranquil, unhurried ballad from the South African pianist Ndudzo Makhathini and his trio, a pearly melody over reassuring gospelly chords and a minor-key hint of Chopin. Midway through, Makhathini displays some improvisatory flourishes, but without disturbing the composition’s preternatural restraint. PARELES

Jane Schoenbrun’s “I Saw the TV Glow,” which comes out on Friday, is a coming-of-age horror film awash in teen angst and smeary ’90s nostalgia, and Caroline Polachek nails that vibe in a new original song from the soundtrack. Vivid and surreal adolescent imagery piles up during the dreamy, downcast verses, but Polachek rips the roof off the song during a cathartic chorus, singing yearningly from beneath the crush of guitar distortion, “My heart’s a ghost limb reaching, star-burned and unkissed.” ZOLADZ




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