Doja Cat Goes Horror Pop, and 12 More New Songs

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A brash, blown-speaker quality animates “Demons,” the latest single from Doja Cat’s upcoming album, “Scarlet.” “How my demons look now that my pockets full?” she shouts with a defiant rasp, before switching to a lighter and more viciously humorous register on the verses. (“Who are you, and what are those? You are gross!”) “Demons” also features a horror movie-inspired video, which stars Christina Ricci and features a very creepy Doja slithering around like a red-eyed monster. Other pop stars merely tune out their haters; Doja exorcises them. LINDSAY ZOLADZ

Nicki Minaj doesn’t usually admit to any regrets or second thoughts. But she does in “Last Time I Saw You,” a song that seesaws between guitar-flecked ballad and rueful rapping. “I wish I remembered to say I’d do anything for you/Maybe I pushed you away because I thought that I’d bore you,” she sings, confessing that she was the one in the wrong. JON PARELES

Misjudgments pile up in “You Thought,” which transforms from percussive, triplet-driven rock to ballad with brisk hip-hop wordplay. Teezo Touchdown moves between rapping and singing; Monáe is melodic, singing, “I thought we were better.” The song details a breakup from both sides: missed opportunities, misunderstandings, unfulfilled needs, all compressed into pop. PARELES

Tyler Gilmore — the New York-based composer and musician known as Blankfor.ms — makes music using degraded tape loops, analog synthesizers and an old spinet piano. He was approached recently by the producer Sun Chung about doing an album with jazz improvisers, and his first call was to the pianist and composer Jason Moran, his former teacher at the New England Conservatory. His second was to the drummer Marcus Gilmore. Those two are among the finest improvisers alive: It is an impressive team for a first foray. On “Refract,” their new album, the trio works across medium and style, with composed elements and prepared loops by Blankfor.ms sparking improvisations from his collaborators. “Eighth Pose” turns on a twitchy, coiled synth phrase, like a keyed-up Aphex Twin track; Moran picks it up on the piano, toying with it, while Gilmore adds a nervy drumbeat, passed through compressed effects. GIOVANNI RUSSONELLO

Speedy breakbeats equate with dating jitters in “Strangers,” Kenya Grace’s whispery complaint about how 21st-century romance too often ends in ghosting. She’s the singer, songwriter and producer on the track. “One random night when everything changes/you won’t reply and we’ll go back to strangers.” Synthesizers hum as the percussion races ahead, while she sings about feeling like “Everyone’s disposable.” PARELES

The Long Island-born punk lifer Jeff Rosenstock tests the limits of love on “Will U Still U,” the jet-propelled opening track off his new album “Hellmode.” “Will you still love me” after I’ve messed up, he asks (with an expletive) in a catchy, incongruously cheery melody, before unleashing a rapid-fire rundown of his relationship worries. In the song’s cathartic finale he’s joined by a chorus of voices shouting that refrain at the top of their lungs and fist-pumping in anxious solidarity. ZOLADZ

Oneohtrix Point Never is the composer and mastermind Daniel Lopatin, who has been the Weeknd’s producer and created the nervy soundtrack for “Uncut Gems,” along with making his own albums. “A Barely Lit Path” begins as a reverent, electronics-edged dirge with processed vocals imagining “a barely lit path from your house to mine.” Then it goes through a multiverse of wordless transformations: pulsing synthesizers, a stately quasi-Baroque string orchestra, a choir accompanied by synthesizer arpeggios and a gradual, virtual decrescendo. Absolutely anything can happen as long as it’s in the same key. PARELES

An expansive sound design — with bell-toned ostinatos, throaty cellos and multidirectional echoes — underlines Peter Gabriel’s troubled but determined optimism in “Love Can Heal,” a new track from his gradually accruing album “I/O.” His vocal sets aside his usual grizzled hoarseness for a modest tenor; a choir joins him, yet the song stays fragile. PARELES

There’s an Appalachian feeling to the melody of Jason Hawk Harris’s rootsy incantation “Jordan and the Nile,” a leisurely, mystical song about rivers and generations. An organ and a string section provide droning chords as he sings about determined optimism informed by biblical imagery: “I’m feeling heavy but I see the light/A world is dark but my abyss is bright,” he promises. PARELES

The debut solo single from Lauren Mayberry — the lead singer of the Scottish electro-pop group Chvrches — is a sparse, plaintive piano ballad written with Tobias Jesso Jr., chronicling nocturnal anxieties and open-ended questions. “Are you awake? I feel a sadness in my skin,” Mayberry sings, her voice melancholy but chiming with the faintest hint of hope that her message will be answered. ZOLADZ

Glimmering electronics, tolling guitars and hovering vocal harmonies gather in “Amber” and “Watcher,” two segued songs that meditate on closeness: “Your scent is on me now/Your senses draw me out,” Maria BC sings. “There is no place to hide and no wrong.” It’s blissfully enveloping and humbly awe-struck. PARELES

“Dolores” is easily one of the most infectious melodies Wayne Shorter wrote during his stint as musical director for the Miles Davis Quintet. But it’s not one of the (many) Shorter tunes you’re likely to hear called at a jam session or covered at a straight-ahead gig. Maybe there is something intimidating about the balled up, stop-and-start melody; the centerlessness of its structure; or how perfectly the quintet plays it on the classic 1966 recording. Well, none of this scares the pianist and composer Kris Davis. Strong-but-bendable rhythm, splintered melodic lines and rough-and-tumble interplay are par for the course for (this) Davis, especially with her Diatom Ribbons project. On a new album, recorded live at the Village Vanguard with a five-member version of that ensemble, the group takes its time getting to the theme: The bassist Trevor Dunn makes some references to it, the drummer Terri Lyne Carrington establishes a heavy groove, and finally Julian Lage’s guitar comes together with Davis’s piano to grapple with the melody. When Lage departs from it on his solo, he travels far — and the band comes with him. RUSSONELLO



POST AUTHOR: Jon Pareles, Giovanni Russonello and Lindsay Zoladz

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