rihannas black panther ballad and 8 more new songs

Rihanna’s ‘Black Panther’ Ballad, and 8 More New Songs

28playlist 1 6b83 facebookJumbo

Rihanna, who hasn’t released a solo song since her album “Anti” back in 2016, returns to music on the soundtrack for “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.” The title of “Lift Me Up” has a gospel resonance, and the song is a hymnlike call for intimacy and security: “Keep me close, safe and sound.” Harp plucking — perhaps from a West African kora — and a string section support Rihanna and an African duet partner, the Nigerian star Tems (Temilade Openiyi). For all its structural clarity, the song doesn’t try to be a banger; it’s a prayer and a plea. JON PARELES

“In the dark right now, feeling lost but I like it,” SZA sings on the moody, mid-tempo “Shirt,” a long-awaited single produced by Rodney “Darkchild” Jerkins. Fans have been clamoring for a follow-up to SZA’s landmark 2017 album “Ctrl” with such intensity that a snippet of “Shirt” actually went viral on TikTok in 2020; last year SZA admitted that she followed fans’ lead in titling the song. The wildly cinematic, Dave-Meyers-directed music video features SZA and LaKeith Sanfield killing a bunch of people and a plot as jam-packed as an entire feature film, but perhaps the most exciting part is the wittily lyrical, acoustic-guitar-driven new song SZA previews over the clip’s credits. LINDSAY ZOLADZ

The South African crooner Nakhane and the American indie darling Perfume Genius have each crafted plenty of ballads that express the pathos of queer desire, but here, on the ecstatic “Do You Well,” they choose joy. “Stay in the light so I can see your face,” they sing together on the thumping disco number, that lyric serving as both a potent metaphor and a subtle joke about the deceptive lighting of the dance floor. Produced by Emre Türkmen with an assist from none other than Nile Rodgers, “Do You Well” is an immersive evocation of the mystery, romance and kinetic sweatiness of the club. ZOLADZ

The sub-two-minute “Bikini Bottom” is another brisk missive from the rising New York rap star Ice Spice, who sounds characteristically unbothered: “How can I lose if I’m already chose, like?” she raps in that already-signature flow that’s somewhere between a taunt and a whisper. RiotUSA’s beat is effectively minimalist; its only embellishment is a sped up, noodly riff that vaguely conjures — what else? — Squidward’s clarinet. ZOLADZ

At 75, Iggy Pop would be fully entitled to continue the kind of cranky, sepulchral, jazz-tinged musings he offered on his 2019 album, “Free.” Instead, he’s back to flat-out, buzz-bombing, hard-riffing rock with a new single, “Frenzy,” backed by a credentialed band including the producer Andrew Watt on guitar, Duff McKagan from Guns N’ Roses on bass and Chad Smith from Red Hot Chili Peppers on drums. Proudly foul-mouthed and convincingly irate, Pop lashes out in all directions, fully aware of his standing: “I’m sick of the freeze, I’m sick of disease/So gimme me a try before I [expletive] die.” PARELES

What’s up with all these young, equine-monikered bands totally nailing the sound and spirit of Gen X indie rock? Like Chicago’s precocious Horsegirl (who, true to form, released an endearingly reverent cover of the Minutemen classic “History Lesson Part 2” this week), the Pittsburgh quartet Feeble Little Horse know exactly how much noise belongs in their noise-pop, a balance they strike with ease on the shaggily infectious “Chores.” The vocalist Lydia Slocum sings, charismatically, of the in-house tensions of group living, like sparring over refrigerated leftovers and passive-aggressively asking roommates to pull their weight: “You need to do your chores, you need to clean the floors,” she sings on the chorus before adding, “Sorry.” The pigpen squall of guitars makes a gloriously greasy mess, but Slocum’s vocals cut through like vinegar. ZOLADZ

The Mexican songwriter Natalia Lafourcade offers pure, innocent, gender-neutral love in “Mi Manera de Querer” (“My Way of Loving”) from her new album, “De Todas las Flores.” It’s a retro-flavored, big-band arrangement rooted in bossa nova and Cuban son, and she sings it with teasing confidence. Lafourcade promises love without makeup or filters, “as innocent as the chords of this song,” in a vintage setting that holds a modern outlook: “It doesn’t matter to me if you’re a man or a woman,” she lilts. “I see you as a being of light.” PARELES

With stately, reverential keyboard chords and a whispery voice, Holly Humberstone delivers an ultimatum: “Go ahead and pack your bags/But once you’re gone you can’t come back.” As a choir musters behind her, she enumerates her partner’s failings and points out all that she’s done — “I was always there to pick up the pieces when you were a full-blown catastrophe.” Then quietly — probably against her better judgment — she offers one last chance. PARELES

Caroline Rose has traversed multiple styles since her 2012 debut album, from countryish roots-rock to gleaming electronic pop. None of them forecast the ghostly and then overwhelming “Love/Lover/Friend.” Her lyrics start by listing what she’s not — someone’s mother, keeper, debt collector, puppeteer, rag doll — in a diaphanous tangle of acoustic-guitar arpeggios. Then, as she announces “I am your love,” a string orchestra surges in, and further avowals — “I am your lover,” “I am your friend” — summon massed, Balkan-tinged vocals, as if that revelation is both ecstatic and humbling. PARELES