The Playlist: Maren Morris Is a Little Bit Country, and 11 More New Songs | Modern Society of USA

The Playlist: Maren Morris Is a Little Bit Country, and 11 More New Songs

The Playlist: Maren Morris Is a Little Bit Country, and 11 More New Songs

Maren Morris gets the cursing out of the way right at the top of “Girl,” the first single from her second album, due this year. It’s a reminder she’s a country singer, but not really. “Girl,” which Morris wrote with her “The Middle” collaborator Sarah Aarons, as well as Greg Kurstin, has a bit of Billie Eilish, a little Lana Del Rey, maybe some Alannah Myles. And yet thanks to some meaty guitar, it has a slow-country stubbornness. Morris’s ambivalence extends right to the vocal mix, which obscures her, and the arc of the melody, which gets thickened but never builds or finds resolution. JON CARAMANICA

Tamaryn, a songwriter originally from New Zealand, has long placed her voice amid washes of reverb-laden guitar, mingling impulses from 1960s girl groups and 1990s shoegaze. “Fits of Rage” snaps her reveries into focus; the guitars still echo, but her voice leaps out from them, demanding accountability from someone who seems about to shrug her off. Her voice grows furious as she declares, “You can’t deny I was so close to you.” Sometimes anger is clarifying. PARELES

Here’s a thoroughly convincing period piece: a Phil Spector girl-group beat, three chords and lots of reverb behind Lily & Madeleine singing in unison about passion overriding reason: “I try to keep myself together but I’m losing it anyway.” PARELES

An adorable video for a pro forma duet from two of Latin music’s rising stars who’ve been playing are-they-or-aren’t-they for months. The song is sweet, a little evanescent. Committed-to-video memories are forever, though. CARAMANICA

Dawn (Richard, from Danity Kane) promises a weekend-long sexual marathon in “Sauce,” invoking Rihanna, La Perla and the Kentucky Derby over a slow, undulating trap beat. For nearly the entire track, her lead vocal stays on just two low notes; it couldn’t be more single-minded. But around it, voices and instruments materialize like stray fantasies, and a sweetly unexpected a cappella coda anticipates satisfaction. PARELES

Elena Alexandra Apostoleanu, the Romanian singer who records as Inna, pivots toward pop’s center. A decade ago she was singing in English over house-music beats and EDM synthesizers. But more recently, her high, smiley voice has been heard alongside Latin pop hitmakers like J Balvin, Pitbull and Daddy Yankee, in English and Spanish. In “Sin Ti,” a song about a sudden infatuation, she whispers insistent endearments in a catchy, extremely canny production by David Ciente that hops all over the Latin map: dembow verses and flamenco-tinged acoustic guitar in the chorus, with bits of sampled vocals and fleeting string-section phrases winking in and out of earshot. In a small world, she’s up-to-the-minute. PARELES

Echoing the keyboard chords of Bruce Springsteen’s “My Hometown,” the Killers’ “Land of the Free” is a compendium of issues — mass incarceration, immigration, racism, gun control — heading into a gospelly chorus. The video clip, centered on news footage, is by Spike Lee; the Killers’ willingness to face a social-media backlash is as significant as the song. JON PARELES

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