Post Malone Covers Hootie & the Blowfish, and 10 More New Songs

Every Friday, pop critics for The New York Times weigh in on the week’s most notable new songs and videos. Just want the music? Listen to the Playlist on Spotify here (or find our profile: nytimes). Like what you hear? Let us know at and sign up for our Louder newsletter, a once-a-week blast of our pop music coverage.

Cut through with a tinny sample from an early Pokémon video game, this Post Malone cover of one of the essential Hootie & the Blowfish songs is both a symbol of the arbitrary cultural detritus that fifth-gear capitalism expels into the world and also an effortless, obvious merger of the roots-rock then and the arena post-rap now that suggests the conditions for this song to succeed have always been with us, and will never go away. (You’re welcome?) JON CARAMANICA

The English songwriter Jade Bird moves quickly from wistful clarity to raspy ferocity in “Open Up the Heavens,” from the coming album she made in Nashville with the producer Dave Cobb. She’s “alone in the middle of the night” and thinking too hard about a romance gone wrong: “Have you ever known love at first sight/Do you pick the bones of somebody left behind?” A grungy stop-start guitar line pushes toward a chorus with a forthright soul beat, as she sings about a drenching thunderstorm that might be all in her head. JON PARELES

Bachelor is the partnership of Palehound (Ellen Kempner) and Jay Som, two slow-burn songwriters who sound like they compounded each other’s daring on their first single, “Anything at All.” They sing about a liaison that could grow passionate or predatory — “She’s forever approaching, I’m forever in dread/Wrap me in silk and bite off my head” — while the track continually builds and bristles, starting with a skulking bass line and peaking with an onslaught of frenetic guitars. PARELES

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It’s been just over a year since Pop Smoke was killed, but his music never left. It was the persistent, urgent and tense soundtrack to a chaotic 2020, and the new year still feels like his time. This new song — from the soundtrack to the forthcoming film “Boogie,” in which he has a supporting turn — is reassuringly gravelly: “Am I a killer?/Might be.” An anthem for dark summer nights that feel like they’ll never give way to morning. CARAMANICA

A muted, Brazilian-tinged groove, with syncopated guitar and triangle, carries Noname through a densely allusive poem-rap that interweaves environmentalism — “They turned a natural resource into a bundle of cash” — with longings for love and pleasure. “When a rainforest cries, everybody dies a little,” Noname warns, but she also notes, “I just wanna dance tonight.” PARELES

A lot of music gets made now in ways that become impossible to visualize: not just played electronically, but dragged and dropped and cobbled together with a vanishing relationship to the span of time it actually takes to listen to the final track. Then there’s stuff that cleaves to the old markers of authenticity (so much small-group jazz; so-called Americana), committed to wax in real time using instruments made of wood and bronze. In some other zone entirely, you can find the saxophonist and producer Sam Gendel and his quickly growing body of work — a woozy galaxy of loops and fluttering sax and melted-down, reharmonized jazz standards. Listening to “Fresh Bread,” his new, 52-track album, you’ll be in an ambient-induced trance by the time you get to Track 43, “Fractl.” A soothing loop of acoustic guitar and bass and light percussion, it rises out of the tape it’s recorded on and ultimately disappears into it again. GIOVANNI RUSSONELLO

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“The American Negro,” the new album by Adrian Younge — a Los Angeles keyboardist, producer, film composer, podcaster and label owner who has worked with Kendrick Lamar — is a hardheaded manifesto, in spoken words and 1960s-rooted music, about the pervasiveness of racism. In “Revolutionize,” Younge deploys a sustained string arrangement, a free-swinging jazz rhythm section, a scrabbling distorted guitar and a choir that urges, “Revolutionize how we see our lives/Understand me brother, Black is beautiful.” PARELES

Dom La Nena, a Brazilian songwriter now based in France, played and sang nearly every note on her haunting new album, “Tempo,” by herself, in layers of plucked and bowed cello lines, sprinkles of piano notes and whispery vocals in French, Spanish and Portuguese. She made an exception to have the Mexican singer Julieta Venegas join her on “Quién Podrá Saberlo” (“Who Can Know”); together, they celebrate loving companionship as they wonder about ephemeral memories and unfinished songs. PARELES

Heard from a distance, Breland’s “Cross Country” is dead-on contemporary mainstream country music, which is to say, pop-friendly, crisply melodic, tender. But here’s the trick: Breland, who after the breakout success of his country-rap hybrid “My Truck” has become one of the few Black performers with some degree of Nashville success, is singing about his own musical path, which has taken him through various genres: “The houses I stayed in were great/but they never felt like home,” he sings, lissomely. And at the end comes something of a rebuke, especially to those who might still be inclined to police country music’s borders: “I’m going cross country/Know they might judge me/but I ain’t gotta, I ain’t gotta prove them wrong.” CARAMANICA

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Even a Jonas brother can succumb to Covid-19 malaise and isolation. “Mask off minute I get home/All safe now that I’m alone,” Nick Jonas sings, with reverb placing his voice at a distance; throughout the song, blurred, pulsing chords tick out the time cocooned from what used to be everyday life. PARELES

Don Cherry’s career in music is a tale of travel. A close associate of Ornette Coleman’s in the late 1950s and ’60s, he treated free improvisation as a vessel to parts unknown, and until his death in 1995 he moved around the globe often, gathering information as he went. In 1965, he was on one of many trips to Scandinavia — where he would later live — when he gave a short performance for a Danish radio broadcast, joined by local jazz musicians. The recently rediscovered recordings have just been released as an EP. Relatively new to each other, the quintet sticks to a mostly straight-ahead format, but on “Nigeria,” a peppery composition by Cherry and the saxophonist Alvin Batiste, the rhythm section braids passages of Afro-Latin rhythm into a scampering bebop melody, and Cherry takes a solo that’s loose, lyrical and briefly revelatory.

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