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Bruce Springsteen, "Do I Love You (Indeed I Do)"

"Only the Strong Survive," Springsteen's achingly sincere new record of soul covers, feels a little superfluous on the whole, but it's hard not to be charmed by his faithfully jubilant rendition of Frank Wilson's 1965 Motown classic. The twinkling, xylophone-forward arrangement, and Springsteen's cheery vocal performance, recall his rendition of "Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town," but his reverence for the material is palpable, and his exuberance is infectious.


Margo Price, "Lydia"

In this stoic, matter-of-fact, devastating song, Price sings about a pregnant woman at a clinic, thinking back through a life of poverty, addiction and bad luck, telling herself, "Just make a decision." A studio version will be on Price's forthcoming album, "Strays"; in this live performance, she and her stark, strummed acoustic guitar are backed by a string quartet arrangement that suggests the sorrows held back behind Price's plain-spoken observations.

JON PARELES, New York Times

Gina Burch featuring Thurston Moore, "Wish I Was You"

The music of the post-punk icons the Raincoats was often unapologetically spiky, angular and homespun, so this second solo single from the band's bassist comes as a bit of a surprise: It's a blast of bouncy, hummable power-pop. Guitarist Moore, though, adds a six-string squall that gives the song some art-punk texture, and Birch's vocals have attitude to spare. "I used to wish I was you," she sings to a cooler-than-thou rival from her past, "Now you wish you were me."



Rauw Alejandro, "Lejos de Cielo" ("Far From Heaven")

The Puerto Rican songwriter keeps pushing against the predictability of standard reggaeton, rethinking its sounds and setting aside its reflexive machismo. "Where are you?" he moans in this song from his new album "Saturno." His lover isn't answering his calls, and he's trying to pretend he's not heartbroken. A reggaeton beat keeps surfacing behind him, only to melt down into sustained electronic chords and watery echoes; his vocal keeps losing its façade of confidence. He's admitting that swagger won't get him through.

JON PARELES, New York Times

New releases

  • Neil Young & Crazy Horse, "World Record"
  • Nickelback, "Get Rollin' "
  • Brockhampton, "The Family"
  • Weyes Blood, "And in the Darkness, Hearts Aglow"