New York Times: New Music Friday round-up includes Madame Gandhi “See Me Thru”

By Jon ParelesJon Caramanica and Giovanni Russonello for the New York Times

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.

The singer, songwriter, drummer and producer Madame Gandhi finds a swinging backbeat — often doubletiming into drum-and-bass — for “See Me Thru,” a dreamily multilayered love song happily buffeted by rhythmic crosscurrents. The extended a cappella vocals over the video credits are an invitation to remix. PARELES


Introducing “Gigaton,” its first studio album since 2013, Pearl Jam has come up with what might have happened if Talking Heads had invented grunge when they made “Speaking in Tongues.” The beat is funky, jabbed by jumpy rhythm guitar, and Eddie Vedder’s vocal lines hop all over the place, leaping an octave or arguing with themselves in staccato bursts or turning to sustained melody: “Expecting perfection leaves a lot to ignore/When the past is the present and the future’s no more.” Even if its references are obvious, Pearl Jam is clearly pushing itself. JON PARELES

This is not pop-punk. Hayley Williams, from Paramore, drives her solo statement (although she’s still collaborating with Paramore’s guitarist Taylor York) with syncopated, almost Caribbean-tinged drums. The song starts with her panting breath pacing the beat; the video shows her on the run, nude, in a horror-movie pursuit. But her voice is levelheaded, refusing to panic, trying to gauge “the line between wrath and mercy” while vowing to protect her child. There’s more tension because she refuses to explode. PARELES

Megan Thee Stallion is still trying to determine the best way to package her ferocious, sharp-elbowed rhymes into a package that has both hard and soft appeal. On “B.I.T.C.H.,” she turns for inspiration to a star of an era when that was the norm: 2Pac. “B.I.T.C.H.” updates “Ratha Be Ya ____,” one of his more salacious songs (and itself an update of the Bootsy’s Rubber Band track “I’d Rather Be With You,” the bedrock of many a ’90s rap hit). But while 2Pac’s song was a flirtatious encouragement by a sexual scalawag, Megan’s version is brimming with stern resentment to a man who can’t seem to commit. Not that she’s waiting around: “I got my mind on gettin’ paid, we ain’t spoke in some days/He prolly’ thinkin’ I’m in pain but I’m really on game.” JON CARAMANICA

Mitski unleashes psychic demons and massive grunge guitar chords in this inexorable eruption of a song. She sings with a sociopathic air of control as the music floods in around her — distorted guitars, queasily hyperactive strings — and she sweetly delivers a final threat. PARELES

Tony Allen, 79, is the Nigerian drummer who helped Fela Kuti invent Afrobeat in the 1970s. Hugh Masekela, who died in 2018, was a South African trumpeter who became symbolic of his country’s long-suppressed culture during the darkest years of apartheid. The two master musicians first met a half-century ago, when Masekelawas working with Kuti; they discussed recording an album together for many years before finally doing it in 2010. Now, 10 years later, the results are finally being released. On “We’ve Landed” — the album’s low-key but persuasive debut single — only a simple, repeated bass line and a generous cloud of reverb stand between Allen’s quilted drumming and Masekela’s loose coils of trumpet. GIOVANNI RUSSONELLO

Jessie Reyez has a special voice that’s capable of serrated soul belting and several more nuanced modes. It can sizzle, it can hiss, it can quiver with nerve. On this arresting song about loss, it’s pulsing with perseverance and strength in the face of trauma. The song moves slowly and with reverence, and Reyez is singing with sadness and restraint while drizzling in some of her signature twists. But the raw power of the words is undeniable: “I’d do anything to relive our memories/And listen to your songs play in my head/’Cause I hate the silence, it’s the only thing I get.” CARAMANICA

“You say it’s worth it for the view,” Jenn Wasner sings to a partner who forces her to confront her fear of heights. The song’s restlessly strummed folk-rock ponders whether the trauma was worth it, circling through possibilities but never settling on an answer. PARELES

Maybe eight months ago, the quasi-comic sleepy-voiced rapper Sueco the Child made his debut with a viral hit, “Fast.” Now he’s on a song with Wiz Khalifa, Lil Yachty and Ty Dolla Sign from the soundtrack to the forthcoming Sonic the Hedgehog movie. Also: There is a forthcoming Sonic the Hedgehog movie. Also: Wiz Khalifa persists, rapping about “rings of gold.” This year is already wild. CARAMANICA

Guitars, guitars, guitars: churning and tangling and wriggling and racing and squealing. Endless Boogie, founded in 1997, put its concept in its name, bringing Minimalist drone and endurance to basic garage-rock. “Jerome” has Rolling Stones roots — it’s “Live With Me” turned into a manic fixation. Joining the members of Endless Boogie are Stephen Malkmus and Matt Sweeney on additional guitars, keeping things especially frantic. PARELES

Wire has been making lean, cleareyed, dystopian rock since its 1977 debut album, finding the common ground of punk and Minimalist repetition and distilling dire observations into telegraphic lyrics. The band is still trenchant in “Cactused” from its new album, “Mind Hive.” The song has two contrasting sections — one clinically spoke-sung, one ominously cheerful — as the lyrics note “the collective hive mind algorithmically scanning” and warn “Ooh, you better watch your step.” PARELES

Soon after he won the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition, Ben Williams made it clear that he intended to be more than a virtuoso bass player. His debut album, “State of Art” (2011), put him near the top of his class in a generation of jazz musicians just starting to get comfortable with their omnivorous appetite for fusion. Now 35, Williams has stayed that course; on “I Am a Man,” his forthcoming third album, looming synths and steady-rocking beats accompany songs that insist upon perseverance and social justice. The album ends with Williams’s trudging but faintly glamorous take on “We Shall Overcome,” the Civil Rights Movement anthem, with a droning synthesizer alternating between just two chords while Williams sings the lyrics in harmonized overdubs, echoes of D’Angelo’s “Africa” ricocheting around. RUSSONELLO