CreditValerie Macon/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
Every Friday, pop critics for The New York Times weigh in on the week’s most notable new songs and videos — and anything else that strikes them as intriguing. This week, a ferocious song from Screaming Females’ new album, 5 Seconds of Summer returns with a different sound and something extra: four bonus jazz tracks.
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Janelle Monáe, ‘Make Me Feel’
Whatever grand narrative concept informs “Dirty Computer,” Janelle Monáe’s coming visual album — she calls it an “emotion picture” — it pauses to party through the taut funk and polyamorous dance moves of “Make Me Feel,” which has pleasure on its mind above all. The music openly pays homage to Prince, borrowing his keyboard tones, staccato rhythm-guitar punctuations, bombshell buildups and sudden silences, while it carries Ms. Monáe’s preferences on how an “emotional sexual bender” should feel: “powerful with a little bit of tender.” JON PARELES
Screaming Females, ‘I’ll Make You Sorry’
A clear punk-pop structure does absolutely nothing to temper the ferocity of “I’ll Make You Sorry” from “All at Once,” the seventh album by the New Jersey band Screaming Females. Marissa Paternoster, the band’s leader, singer and guitarist, sings the title with calm certainty at the beginning and makes it a rising threat as a repeated refrain; vocal melody, sharpened with Ms. Paternoster’s penetrating vibrato, prevails in both verses and choruses, even as she flings shards of guitar from above and below. And the chorus is cutting: “I once was in love before I knew you/But I’ve given up.” It’s a song that accepts convention instead of veering wildly out of it, as Screaming Females songs have often done, and in the first verse, Ms. Paternoster sings, “Am I losing faith in my own anger?” No, just packaging it more tightly. J.P.
Mozzy featuring Jay Rock and DCMBR, ‘Nobody Knows’
Like many Bay Area rappers, Mozzy (from Sacramento) has been persistent, releasing around a dozen full-length projects in the last three years. But he raps with the pensive tone of someone in no rush, answering only to himself. Coming off a shout-out from Kendrick Lamar at the Grammys, he’s just released a new single, “Nobody Knows,” on which he continues to play earthen spiritualist, a man forever grappling with the here and now. JON CARAMANICA
5 Seconds of Summer, ‘Want You Back’
When we last left 5 Seconds of Summer, the young and wildly popular Australian band was almost single-handedly restoring pop-punk into the mainstream. Two years have passed, though, and apparently if left unattended, bratty thrashing and pimply innuendo oxidize into something very much like the Chainsmokers. J.C.
Jason Moran, ‘Big News’
Drum-line marches. Piano-blues turnarounds. A duet between the conceptual artist Theaster Gates and the singing bassist Katie Ernst on Schubert’s “Der Doppelgänger.” And, all over the place, the loose energy of the Kenwood Academy Jazz Band, a Chicago high school orchestra that superimposes an unexpected new dimension on Jason Moran’s trio, the Bandwagon. A pre-eminent jazz pianist, Jason Moran wrote “Looks of a Lot,” a suite of blues-derived compositions, in close collaboration with Mr. Gates. He debuted the music in a 2014 concert, and it’s out in recorded form on Friday on Yes Records, the label Mr. Moran runs with his wife, the operatic vocalist Alicia Hall Moran. GIOVANNI RUSSONELLO
Speedy Ortiz, ‘Lucky 88’
Apathy becomes a defense in “Lucky 88,” which previews the Speedy Ortiz album, “Twerp Verse,” due in April. It reveals the inroads that slidey, buzzy synthesizers have made in a previously guitar-driven band. “I don’t care anymore,” Sadie Dupuis sings blithely amid cryptic and pointed complaints: “Can’t you act responsibly?/You’re the sick pup who created me.” The video, directed by Emily Yoshida, tells a clearer story, as every bit of gratification Ms. Dupuis orders online — décor, food, a date — turns into slime that eventually engulfs her. J.P.
Ganser, ‘PSY OPS’
Done right, post-punk can still fray nerves. Ganser uses ingredients that hark back to the era of Gang of Four, Siouxsie and the Banshees, the Raincoats and the Fall. “Psy Ops” has gnashing, dissonant, trebly guitar riffs over pounding drum syncopations, with Nadia Garofalo wedging telegraphic little bursts of lyrics — “now pay attention/your anger/fear/has got me” — wedged tightly into the groove. The song dissolves into echo-laden loops of voices, before the band returns to land its final jabs. J.P.
Soulive’s brand of crackling funk can be casually irresistible: It’s in the nonchalant, flick-of-the-wrist percussiveness, and the way its grooves linger tantalizingly close to liftoff. This organ-guitar-drums trio has just released a new EP, “Cinematics, Vol. 1,” ending a six-year hiatus from recording. The track “Sidekick” gets the band’s balancing act just right: part George Benson lacquer, part Native Tongues bounce, part acid haze. G.R.
Imagine Dragons, ‘Next to Me’
“Next to Me” is one of countless recent songs about gratitude for being loved despite so many imperfections, and it’s delivered with folky fingerpicked guitar and an oh-so-sincere vocal. Yet as the narrator lists some unusual flaws — “stress lines and cigarettes/politics and deficits” — the beat constantly resists the rest of the song. In most of Imagine Dragons’ big anthems, the drumbeat marches proudly in support of the melody, while in “Next to Me,” the drums loudly sock a constant waltz against the 4/4 of guitar and voice. “I’ll always let you down,” the chorus proclaims. “Still I find you there next to me.” Could this narrator be a hugely unpopular president speaking to his loyal base? J.P.
Twin Shadow featuring Haim, ‘Saturdays’
Driving but not quite urgent, structured but not quite strong, anticipatory but not quite felt: “Saturdays” is the better of a pair of new songs from Twin Shadow (the project of George Lewis Jr.). It’s laser focused on 1984, from the jumpy John Hughes-soundtrack post-new-wave rock to the Bruce Springsteen reference to the light Prince brush strokes. And yet it’s all nods and winks, homage that’s careful not to ask any questions that haven’t already been answered. J.C.
Orquesta Akokán, ‘Un Tabaco Para Elegua’
The vocalist Pepito Gómez has a siren sound that reaches right back into the 1940s, when the punchy pop music known as mambo overtook Cuba. He’s embracing that affinity with a new 16-piece band, Orquesta Akokán, featuring some of the island’s greatest instrumentalists. Its fine debut album is due on Daptone Records next month, and on Friday the group released the video for “Un Tabaco Para Elegua,” a slow, snaky tune paying tribute to the wily Santería god of roads and pathways. G.R.
Nubya Garcia, ‘When We Are’
Those with ears close to the London turf already know about Shabaka Hutchings, the tenor saxophonist whose star is ascendant across the globe. It’s time to make way for Nubya Garcia, the city’s other major voice on the instrument. She’s about to release an EP, “When We Are,” and the high-stepping title track just became available. Over a woozy piano part and an effervescent drum feel, Ms. Garcia takes a spirited solo, her bright and peppery tone reflecting a dose of Dexter Gordon’s influence. G.R.
Alfredo Rodriguez, ‘De Rua Pra Rua (From Street to Street)’
The virtuoso Cuban pianist Alfredo Rodriguez, a Quincy Jones protégé, recorded many of the tunes on “The Little Dream” in a single take: His chops are that solid, and his trio is that tightly woven. The album’s final tune, “De Rua Pra Rua (From Street to Street),” loosens things up just a touch, with Mr. Rodriguez draping high, quizzical harmonies over the billows of energy coming from Munir Hossn’s bass. G.R.
Matthew Shipp Quartet, ‘Lines of Energy’
The alto saxophonist Mat Walerian seems to have a cooling effect on Matthew Shipp, an influential pianist whose free-form playing can be effusive to the point of pugnacious. Even when tumbling through an open-plan improvisation, the two don’t seem to be jockeying or sniping. They tangle and embrace, letting you relish the physicality of their connection. “Lines of Energy” comes from “Sonic Fiction,” a new album from the Matthew Shipp Quartet, which also features the bassist Michael Bisio and the drummer Whit Dickey. (Mr. Shipp simultaneously released a solo disc, “Zero.” Both are on the storied ESP-Disk label.) G.R.