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Mariah Carey Calls for Action, and 12 More New Songs


This fall, Mariah Carey will throw the vault wide open: Not only is she releasing her long-awaited memoir “The Meaning of Mariah Carey” on Sept. 29 (mark your calendar, Eminem!) but she’ll also be putting out a career-spanning rarities collection on Oct. 2, featuring a trove of previously unreleased material. The first taste is “Save the Day,” a Jermaine Dupri-produced track that effectively samples Ms. Lauryn Hill’s iconic vocal from the Fugees’ 1996 cover of “Killing Me Softly.” The song’s message of sweeping uplift certainly fits the current moment (“If he won’t and she won’t, and they won’t, then we won’t, we won’t ever learn to save the day”) but the thumping beat and breathy vocals are a throwback to mid-90s Mariah. LINDSAY ZOLADZ

Sofia Coppola’s movies are known for their well-curated needle drops: Bow Wow Wow in Versailles! The Jesus and Mary Chain in Tokyo! One boon of being married to the Phoenix frontman Thomas Mars, though, is that it’s probably pretty easy to commission an ’80s-inspired pop song custom-made for the mood of your latest film. “Identical,” from the soundtrack of Coppola’s forthcoming father-daughter movie “On the Rocks” (starring Bill Murray and Rashida Jones) has a sleek surface and an appealing undercurrent of nostalgia, driven by sunset-hued synths and Mars’ sweet falsetto. You can almost picture the montage. ZOLADZ

Acutely observed bedroom pop about losing yourself on the path to someone else, served with a side of arena-emo triumph. JON CARAMANICA

BTS’s first single wholly in English is a sprightly bit of lite disco-funk somewhere in between Jamiroquai and Charlie Puth. Less musically adventurous than the songs that made the group a worldwide phenomenon, it relies on brightness, exuberance and relentless good cheer. Sadly, though, “Dynamite” includes no real rapping — always one of the group’s strong points, and a weapon that makes it among the most versatile of pop outfits. CARAMANICA

The decorated young British tenor saxophonist Nubya Garcia recorded her new album, “Source,” with thoughts swirling about her own identity and family history. Of course, that’s all inseparable from the work of communal engagement. Speaking to DownBeat, she wondered: “What’s the source of humanity’s power when the world’s falling apart?” Of the album’s nine tracks — recorded at sessions in both Colombia and the U.K. — perhaps none addresses that question more directly than “Stand With Each Other,” a lapping, mesmeric tune with inflections of reggae and cumbia. Musing and even-toned, doused in reverb, Ms. Garcia’s saxophone does a patient dance with the harmonizing voices of three women and a loose clatter of percussion. There’s no big climax to speak of; what you hear is the sound of musicians in deep communication, listening and feeling as they go. GIOVANNI RUSSONELLO

Bebel Gilberto’s new album, “Agora” (“Now”), produced by Thomas Bartlett, captures the untranslatable Brazilian mood of saudade — a knowing, nostalgia-tinged melancholy — by placing her whispery voice within a subtle electronic mix of instruments, loops and what sound like blurred old samples. Gilberto shares “Na Cara” (“To My Face”), a demand for truthfulness, with the raspy samba singer Mart’nália; around its slinky bass line are fleeting glimmers of vibraphone, piano and string orchestra, appearing and vanishing like fading memories. JON PARELES

“At Weddings,” the 2018 debut album from the indie-folk artist Sarah Beth Tomberlin, evoked reflective solitude. On “Wasted,” the first single from her upcoming EP “Projections,” she’s let a few well-known collaborators into the mix and captured an even more complex mood. Coproduction from the D.I.Y. maestro Alex G layers Tomberlin’s guitar atop a skittering, off-kilter beat that sounds like a children’s clapping game. And the music video, directed by the actress Busy Phillips and starring one of her daughters, is poignant and compelling: Two children idly explore their neighborhood while Tomberlin, in a striking neon green dress, haunts the background of the frame like a ghost of her own carefree past. ZOLADZ

The rising country star Hardy takes a detour toward nice-guy balladry with “Boyfriend,” a sharply written song about taking things to the next level. “I’m so sick of driving clear across town every night from my place to yours/I don’t wanna be your boyfriend anymore”: This is how sensitive country bros put a ring on it. CARAMANICA

“Waving, Smiling” couldn’t be more sparse. It’s just guitar and voice, Angel Olsen picking slow, tentative arpeggios like the skeleton of a soul ballad as she sing about the aftermath of a heartbreak. She moves gradually from accusation to sorrow to acceptance. “I’ve laid out all those tears/I’ve made my bed, made up of all my fears,” she sings, letting her voice tremble and then rise toward a tentative peace. PARELES

Father John Misty’s music wriggles in and out of scare quotes, but “To S.,” one of two new songs he released this week, spends most of its run time unfurling gently outside of them. Yes, there are a few wry Misty-isms here (“Guess what? I love you/Someone’s gotta clean up the mess”) but mostly the song finds Josh Tillman reveling in piano-driven Laurel Canyon melancholy. “What about life on the ground makes you feel so strange?” he croons, as backing strings render the song appropriately weightless. ZOLADZ

Alex the Astronaut — the Australian songwriter Alex Lynn — sums up a trapped, longtime abusive relationship in her character study “I Like to Dance,” from her debut album, “The Theory of Absolutely Nothing.” A guitar strumming four chords, a piano and a violin accompany the first-person narration: “He didn’t want to be like this/I just wish he’d stop,” she sings, as the harrowing details, the children and financial dependency, build up: “I just wish he’d stop hitting me.” PARELES

The producers and musical polymaths Adrian Younge and Ali Shaheed Muhammad have been treating their new collaborative project, Jazz Is Dead, as a chance to go past crate-digging, connecting directly with some of their biggest influences from elder generations. In June they released an album in collaboration with one of the most copiously sampled figures in music, the vibraphonist and vocalist Roy Ayers. Now they’re already back with another full-length, this time joined by the 76-year-old Brazilian musician Marcos Valle, whose stamp has also landed on countless hip-hop records through the art of appropriation. On “Queira Bem,” Valle’s wispy, vulnerable vocals drift over a placid backing of electric piano, analog synth, flutes, crinkly guitar and a stubbornly coolheaded beat carried by the bass and drums. RUSSONELLO

The beat, a loop of hand drums, a distant choir and a flute line, is resolute and unhurried. The lyrics, from a pitch-shifting Moor Mother and a calm, deliberate Billy Woods, are splintered but combative: “They don’t want me to shine ’cause I remind them of the fight,” Moor Mother intones. PARELES

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