Florence + the Machine’s Conflicted Coronation, and 12 More New Songs

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Career vs. family. Artistic inspiration vs. a stable life. “The world ending and the scale of my ambition.” Florence Welch takes them all on in “King,” which affirms both the risks and rewards of her choices. Like many of the songs Welch writes and sings for Florence + the Machine, “King” moves from confessional to archetypal in a grand, liberating crescendo, while its video elevates her from a tormented partner to something like a saint. JON PARELES

It’s an old story: the bitter end of a romance. “Made Up Mind,” written and first recorded by a Canadian band called the Bros. Landreth, tells it tersely, often in one-syllable words: “It goes on and on/For way too long.” On the first single from an album due April 22, “Just Like That,” Bonnie Raitt sings it knowingly and tenderly, after a scrape of guitar noise announces how rough the going is about to get. PARELES

Kehlani has long narrated tales of devastating romance, but “Little Story,” the latest single from the forthcoming album “Blue Water Road,” opens a portal to a world of candor. Sounding more self-assured and tender than they have in years, the singer (who uses they/them pronouns) curls the honeyed sways of their voice over the delicate strumming of an electric guitar. “You know I love a story, only when you’re the author,” Kehlani sings, pleading for a lover’s return. Strings crescendo into blooming petals, and Kehlani makes a pledge to embrace tenderness. “Workin’ on bein’ softer,” they sing. “’Cause you are a dream to me.” ISABELIA HERRERA

A bluesy lite-country simmerer in which the cowboy does not stick around: “I was his Texaco/A stop just along the road/I shoulda known I ain’t his last rodeo.” JON CARAMANICA

With the 20th anniversary of Norah Jones‘s millions-selling debut, “Come Away With Me,” arrives a “Super Deluxe Edition” featuring this previously unreleased alternate take of the title track, with the band work shopping the song. There’s a constant, pendulum-swinging guitar part in this version, matching the songwriter Jesse Harris’s lulling bass figure and pushing the band along. Ultimately you can see why this take didn’t make the cut: The biggest draw is Jones’s matte, desert-rose voice, and it seems most at home when in no hurry, cast in lower contrast to the rest of the band. GIOVANNI RUSSONELLO

One electric guitar chord is strummed in what seems to be 4/4 time, repeated, distorted and topped with additional noise for the first full minute of “Back to the Radio.” Then Dana Margolin starts singing, decidedly turning the 4/4 to a waltz as the lyrics push toward a confrontation with someone who matters: “We almost got better/We’re so unprepared for this/Running straight at it.” The song is pure catharsis. PARELES

The threat is both restrained and potent in “Letter to Ur Ex” from the English songwriter Mahalia. She’s singing to someone trying to maintain a connection that has ended: “You can’t do that any more,” she warns. “Yeah, I get it/That don’t mean I’m gonna always be forgiving.” Acoustic guitar chords grow into a programmed beat and strings; her voice is gentle, but its edge is unmistakable. PARELES

The Dominican American artist Esty collides genres and aesthetics like a kid scribbling on paper. “Pegao!!!,” from her new “Estyland” EP, mashes up the singer’s breathy, coy raps and sky-high melodies with razor-sharp stabs of synth and a skittish, percussive dembow riddim. She declares her imminent ascent in the music industry, whispering, “They say I’m too late/But I feel like I’m on time.” Her visual choices are part of the plot too: between the anime references, her love for roller skating (which has made her famous on TikTok) and a head full of two-toned braids, Esty’s aesthetic is a kind of punk dembow, her own little slice of chaotic good. HERRERA

Here is how layered things can get in 21st-century pop. The English producer Mura Masa discovered “Babycakes” by the British group 3 of a Kind. He pitched it up and sped it up, keeping the catchy chorus hook. He also connected with Pink Pantheress, Lil Uzi Vert and Shygirl. The new, multitracked song is still both a come-on and a declaration of love, but who did what is a blur. PARELES

Saucy Santana’s “Material Girl” is the optimal viral hit — easy to shout along with, organized around a catchy phrase, full of performative attitude. For Saucy Santana, onetime makeup artist for the rap duo City Girls turned reality TV star, its emergence as a TikTok phenomenon a couple of months ago (more than a year after the song’s initial release) was a classic case of water finding its level. And now, a future full of promising party-rap club anthems beckons. This easy-as-pie collaboration with the D.J.-producer R3hab is an update of Freak Nasty’s “Da Dip,” one of the seminal songs of Atlanta bass music, and a bona fide mid-1990s pop hit as well. It doesn’t top the original, but it doesn’t have to in order to be an effective shout-along. CARAMANICA

The first single from the upcoming Lil Durk album, “7220,” is full of exuberant menace. Lil Durk raps crisply and with snappy energy while touching on awful topics, including the killing of his brother DThang and of the rapper King Von, and instigating tension with YoungBoy Never Broke Again. In the middle of chaos, he sounds almost thrilled. CARAMANICA

On “Comandante,” two generations of eccentrics — the Dominican dembow newcomers Kiko el Crazy and Braulio Fogón, alongside the Puerto Rican reggaeton titan Randy — join forces for a send-off to a cop who threatens to arrest them for smoking a little weed. Randy drops a deliciously flippant, baby-voiced hook, and Fogón’s offbeat, anti-flow arrives with surprising dexterity. When that timeless fever pitch riddim hits, you’ll want every intergenerational police satire to go this hard. HERRERA

The drummer Charles Goold and his band are hard-charging on “Sequence of Events,” the opening track to his debut album as a bandleader, “Rhythm in Contrast.” He starts it with a four-on-the-floor drum solo that has as much calypso and rumba in it as it does swing. When the band comes in — the slicing guitar of Andrew Renfroe leading the way, with Steve Nelson’s vibraphone, Taber Gable’s piano and Noah Jackson’s bass close on his heels — that open approach to his rhythmic options remains. Goold graduated from Juilliard, probably the premiere conservatory for traditional-jazz pedagogy, but he’s also toured with hip-hop royalty. All of that’s in evidence here, as he homes in on a sincere update to the midcentury-modern jazz sound. RUSSONELLO


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