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The Playlist: Lady Gaga Dives Into a Fresh Era, and 15 More New Songs

Hear tracks from Lil Wayne, Barbra Streisand, Thelonious Monk and others.

Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper have released the first single from "A Star Is Born," the track "Shallow". Credit: Anthony Harvey/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

The first song from the upcoming remake of "A Star Is Born”, written and directed by Bradley Cooper, is a good, old-fashioned, sound-of-the-1970s, gumption-of-the-1980s, high-treacle-higher-pomp roots ballad. Mr. Cooper is a fine singer, fine as in adequate. It’s Lady Gaga who throbs intensely here, leaning deep into the natural husk of her voice, and swapping her ordinary costume for a different type of polish, one that reveals more than it hides.

Barbra Streisand, ‘Don’t Lie to Me’

It’s no secret that Barbra Streisand is a political liberal. She makes a contemporary and topical move, politically and musically, with “Don’t Lie to Me,” a song she wrote with three collaborators. Programmed percussion, digitized piano tones and a string section accompany the slow but furious crescendo of her indictment of a leader — likely the current president, though not named in the song — who builds “towers of bronze and gold.” With a voice full of sorrow and rage, she laments, “All that we built has come undone” and declares, “Enough is enough!” JON PARELES

Lil Wayne featuring Kendrick Lamar, ‘Mona Lisa’

An impressive track from “Tha Carter V,” the long-delayed and borderline apocryphal Lil Wayne album that finally arrived on Friday. Lil Wayne’s verse is long and winding, an elaborate story about running scams on rich men by sending beautiful women to distract them. And then Kendrick Lamar has an epic of his own about infidelity and mistrust that, halfway through, shifts gears into antic and proceeds to drive right off an emotional cliff. This is an older song — it was originally part of the leak of parts of this album by Martin Shkreli — and both men are rapping well, but differently. Mr. Lamar is a character actor, a texturalist who works equally well with thick and thin brush strokes. Lil Wayne isn’t always this narrative-driven, but his fluency and ease with syllables is unmatched. CARAMANICA

Thelonious Monk, ‘Nutty’

The vault continues to spill open and give us new, old Thelonious Monk. And why not? “Monk,” the latest treat, features a 1963 performance at a concert hall in Copenhagen, from a tour featuring one of the iconic pianist’s most tightly knit quartets: Charlie Rouse on tenor saxophone, John Ore on bass and Frankie Dunlop on drums. The album is only available on vinyl for now, but one tune — the flouncy Monk classic “Nutty” — was posted online in two parts. Don’t quit before you get to Part 2; Monk’s solo is a seminar in his language of chiming dissonance, off-the-cliff arpeggios and fistfuls of clanking harmony. GIOVANNI RUSSONELLO

Erthlings, a band of four 16-year-old women from Sydney, are both minimal and sophisticated in “Bridges,” a 1960s-new wave-indie concoction — a little Zombies, a little Siouxsie and the Banshees, a little Warpaint — that calmly, intently circles through a few chords and some self-directed advice: “Time to move on/You need to let go/You can’t keep hurting.” It’s sparse at first, then sneakily multilayered without losing its hypnotic cool. PARELES

The Joy Formidable, ‘The Wrong Side’

Five repetitions of a guitar chord in six beats are the engine of “The Wrong Side” from the tenacious Welsh power trio the Joy Formidable, which places the vocals and hard-rock guitar of Rhiannon Bryan at its forefront; it releases its fourth studio album, “Aaarth,” on Friday. (“Arth” is Welsh for “bear.”) “The Wrong Side” is tuneful, confrontational, conciliatory and combative, all at once: “Come back we’ll be lovers/You’re on the wrong side,” Ms. Bryan shouts. PARELES

Pistol Annies, ‘Best Years of My Life’

A restrained country version of a girl-group beat supports Pistol Annies — Miranda Lambert, Ashley Monroe and Angaleena Presley — through a confession of dead-end desperation, boredom and loveless settling down. “I’m in the middle of the worst of it/These are the best years of my life.” There’s no happy ending: just a drink, some TV reruns and a “recreational Percoset.” PARELES

Loretta Lynn, ‘Ain’t No Time to Go’

At 86, Loretta Lynn stares toward mortality in “Ain’t No Time to Go” from “Wouldn’t It Be Great,” a new album of songs she wrote or collaborated on. She wrote “Ain’t No Time to Go” with her daughter Patsy Lynn Russell. To what sounds like an old Cajun fiddle tune, with a deep Appalachian twang in her voice even when it’s whispery, she sings to a dying spouse about all that’s left undone, and begs, “Stay with me if you can.” PARELES

John Scofield, ‘Willa Jean’

At 66, John Scofield remains one of jazz’s sauciest improvisers. He’s got a piquant, devilish style on electric guitar, and a way of stoking friction between two notes. And he’s effectively coined his own subgenre of jazz-fusion waltzes: His tunes in that vein are coyly swinging, often with a spritz of country flavor, and plenty of lazy, drawling drag. On “Combo 66,” his new album, Mr. Scofield — joined by the pianist Gerald Clayton, the bassist Vicente Archer and the drummer Bill Stewart — adds two new ones to the mix: the whirling “Willa Jean” and the very next track, the softly guttering “Uncle Southern.” RUSSONELLO

Lauv featuring Julia Michaels, ‘There’s No Way’

Rhythm and double negatives propel “There’s No Way,” a song about that moment when a first touch feels like a historic milestone. Over piano chords and programmed percussion, Lauv’s croon and Julia Michaels’s tearful alto align nearly from the beginning in lines like “Maybe we could hold off one sec so we could keep this tension in check” — but they won’t. PARELES

Eli Paperboy Reed featuring Big Daddy Kane, ‘99 Cent Dreams’

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Almost three decades after his commercial peak, Big Daddy Kane remains an impressively taut and precise rapper, even on this harmless retro-soul ode to childhood time-passing. CARAMANICA

Marc Anthony featuring Will Smith & Bad Bunny, ‘Está Rico’DJ Snake featuring Selena Gomez, Ozuna and Cardi B, ‘Taki Taki’

A pair of deeply incongruous Latin-pop alliances that manage to transcend their inherent cravenness. “Taki Taki” is a whimsical club-pop showcase for Ozuna that happens to feature a pro forma Cardi B verse and some aftermarket cooing from Selena Gomez. But it’s the high-gloss “Está Rico” that becomes something bigger than its constituent parts. Marc Anthony’s controlled yelps soften the edges of Will Smith’s dad raps, while Bad Bunny coolly murmurs, a little bit gleeful and a little bit baffled. CARAMANICA

Deerhoof, ‘Midnight, the Stars and You’

“Midnight, the Stars and You” was already a nostalgic-turned-creepy artifact — a lo-fi British big-band ballad crooned by Al Bowlly with Ray Noble and his Orchestra — when it was used for the end titles of the 1980 horror movie “The Shining.” Deerhoof’s version is even creepier, with a few plucked string instruments behind Satomi Matsuzaki’s high, hesitant vocal and a coda that’s a cloud of nervous tremolo strumming. It’s all set in an echoey limbo that bodes nothing good. PARELES

Stefon Harris and Blackout, ‘Chasin’ Kendall’

Fifteen years ago, the vibraphonist Stefon Harris was a few paces ahead of the pack with Blackout, a group that reached back to the Young Lions era with one hand and grasped toward fresh ideas about genre-agnosticism and innovation by rhythm. The band hasn’t released a new album in almost 10 years, but now it’s back with “Sonic Creed.” A standout track is “Chasin’ Kendall.” On the UV-drenched original, with Mr. Harris dancing back and forth from marimba to vibraphone, the group spins together strands of joy from the Caribbean, South Africa and American soul. RUSSONELLO

Lionel Loueke, ‘Vi Gnin’

The Beninese guitar virtuoso and vocalist Lionel Loueke enjoys the support of a comfortable, loosely syncopated band on “The Journey,” his latest album. But for much of “Vi Gnin,” a ruminative original confronting the heartache of migration and family separation, he is alone. He dials down his typically frisky guitar style to a tender weave, and sings in French:

My child, do not cry.War has taken your mother awayLike the wind carries off the roses.Do not worry. She is watching over you.


Jon Pareles has been The Times's chief pop music critic since 1988. A musician, he has played in rock bands, jazz groups and classical ensembles. He majored in music at Yale University. @JonPareles

Jon Caramanica is a pop music critic for The Times and the host of the Popcast. He also writes the men's Critical Shopper column for Styles. He previously worked for Vibe magazine, and has written for the Village Voice, Spin, XXL and more. @joncaramanica

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