Taylor Swift, ‘All of the Girls You Loved Before’
Here’s Taylor Swift at her most forgiving. Of course her guy has a past, and so does she, but she’s willing to consider that a learning experience. “Every woman you know brought you here,” she reasons. “All the Girls You Loved Before” — no relation to a similarly titled Willie Nelson-Julio Iglesias hit — have just “made you the one I’ve fallen for.” The previously unreleased track from her “Lover” era is one of four songs, the rest re-recordings, Swift put out on Friday ahead of the start of her Eras Tour. Its easy-rolling beat and doo-wop chord progression underline the eternal cycle of falling in and out of love before finding The One. JON PARELES
The Cultural Impact of Taylor Swift’s Music
- New LP: “Midnights,” Taylor Swift’s 10th studio album, is a return to the pop pipeline, with production from her longtime collaborator Jack Antonoff. Here is what our critic thought of it.
- Millennial Anti-Hero: On her latest album, Swift probes the realizations and reckonings of many 30-something women around relationships, motherhood and ambition.
- Lawsuit Over Lyrics: Weeks before a trial to determine whether Swift stole lyrics in her hit song “Shake It Off,” a judge dismissed the case.
- Pandemic Records: In 2020, Swift released two new albums, “Folklore” and “Evermore.” In debuting a new sound, she turned to indie music.
Feist, ‘Borrowed Trouble’
Leslie Feist makes boisterous, joyful noise on “Borrow Trouble,” the latest single from her upcoming album, “Multitudes.” Atop a bed of echoing, droning strings that recall, unexpectedly, the John Cale era of the Velvet Underground, the Canadian singer-songwriter bemoans the entrenched anxiety that follows from day to day: “Even before your eyes are open,” she sings, “the plot has thickened ’round your fear.” In the song’s final minute she finds potent catharsis, flinging her cares to the wind as she lets loose some primal screams: “Trouble!” LINDSAY ZOLADZ
Alison Goldfrapp, ‘So Hard So Hot’
On May 12, Alison Goldfrapp — the longtime voice of the beloved electro-pop duo Goldfrapp — will release her first solo album, “The Love Invention.” Its debut single, “So Hard So Hot,” is a blissed-out dance floor reverie, as shimmery synths and Goldfrapp’s breathy vocals drift over a thumping beat. “Don’t know why, don’t know why, don’t know why we love this way,” she sings, before deciding the best course is not to ask too many questions but simply lose herself in the rapture of the groove. ZOLADZ
Tiwa Savage, Ayra Starr and Young Jonn, ‘Stamina’
Here’s a friendly challenge to men: “You gonna need more stamina,” the Nigerian songwriters Tiwa Savage and Ayra Starr declare. In the programmed, crisply percussive track, shared with the male voice of Young Jonn, they sing about ecstasy enabled by permission: deeply carnal but ethical. PARELES
100 gecs, ‘Dumbest Girl Alive’
“10,000 gecs,” the long-awaited major-label debut from the hyperpop hellions 100 gecs, opens with a pretty hilarious sonic joke: a sample of the nostalgic and evocative THX Deep Note, as if to say, 100 gecs: Now in Glistening Hi-Fi. Even with a bigger budget, though, a scrappy, anarchic spirit and the duo’s unpredictable sense of humor course throughout the exhilarating album, which features a dark, snaking ditty sung from the perspective of a serial killer and a song that sounds like Less Than Jake covering Crazy Frog. The crunching, Godzilla-sized riffs and absurdist one-liners (“put emojis on my grave”) of the first track, “Dumbest Girl Alive,” set the scene for the album’s loving embrace of alternative rock while slyly shooting a confetti cannon at the haters: “I’m smarter than I look,” Laura Les sings, in a cadence that’s almost cartoonishly melodic. “I’m the dumbest girl alive.” ZOLADZ
Matthew Herbert featuring Theon Cross, ‘The Horse Has a Voice’
The composer and producer Matthew Herbert often constructs his music around a set of found sounds — industrial, animal, human, urban. His album due in May, “The Horse,” uses instruments made from a horse’s skeleton and hair, along with the London Contemporary Orchestra, jazz musicians and sampled horse sounds. “The Horse Has a Voice” features Herbert playing a flute made from a thigh bone, the orchestra and the tuba player Theon Cross. It’s a fast (around 151 beats per minute), steady-thumping stomp, with handclaps, a huffing thighbone-flute riff, gusts and flurries from the orchestra and leaping, scurrying tuba improvisations — frantic and relentless, high-tech and primitive. PARELES
Pieta Brown and JT Bates, ‘Thing or 2’
“Thing or 2” drifts in and out of formlessness. Pieta Brown — the daughter of the longtime Iowan folk songwriter Greg Brown — sings about love and trust over the producer JT Bates’s edgeless electronic chords and sputtering 6/4 beats. “In my heart you sing clear and bright/It makes me feel like things will be all right,” she intones, convincing both herself and anyone listening. PARELES
Luke Combs, ‘5 Leaf Clover’
The country star Luke Combs perfects the humblebrag in “5 Leaf Clover.” It’s a sturdy waltz that exults in a good life: hometown, partner, friends, a truck in the driveway, healthy parents and “a fridge full of cold beer,” not to mention a tail-wagging dog. The track is grounded in country, complete with fiddle fills, but it’s also pointed toward a wide pop audience. PARELES
Esther Rose featuring Hurray for the Riff Raff, ‘Safe to Run’
“How does it feel to blow a kiss to the wind?” the singer-songwriter Esther Rose wonders on “Safe to Run,” a poignant country-folk song with a wandering spirit. Alynda Segarra of Hurray for the Riff Raff harmonizes with Rose on the chorus, on which the pair dispense some bittersweet wisdom: “You know there’s no place safe to run/Angels surround everyone.” ZOLADZ