Mary J. Blige’s Daily Affirmation, and 12 More New Songs

Once again, Mary J. Blige battles and overcomes self-doubt. “I’m so tired of feeling empty,” she sings in a gritty croon over a slow-rolling, vintage-style soul track, abetted by a moody string arrangement. But she’s got the solution: looking in the mirror every morning with the self-affirmation, “Good morning, gorgeous.” She adds, “I ain’t talking about getting no hair and makeup/I’m talking about soon as I wake up.” The video makes clear she’s waking up in a mansion, toned and bejeweled, a long way from “all the times that I hated myself.” JON PARELES

Hurray for the Riff Raff, ‘Jupiter’s Dance’

“Jupiter’s Dance” is an exercise in tenderness. It is a welcome departure for Alynda Segarra, who typically makes warm folk-punk as Hurray for the Riff Raff, here trading grit for cosmic reverie. In a breathy whisper, Segarra coos: “Seven revolutions around the sun/Blessings on our way, it has only begun.” The video juxtaposes celestial NASA images with found footage of people dancing to the Afro-Puerto Rican genres bomba and plena. It is a galactic prayer, a belief in the promise of the future, rooted in the vitality of the past. ISABELIA HERRERA

Kali Uchis and Ozuna, ‘Another Day in America’

Pointedly released on Thanksgiving Day, “Another Day in America” borrows the tune of “America” from “West Side Story,” anticipating the release next week of the Steven Spielberg remake. Over syncopated guitar and a boom-bap beat, Kali Uchis sings and raps in English, keeping her tone cheerful but not mincing words: “Say ‘land of the free’/But the land was always stolen.” Ozuna, from Puerto Rico, sing-raps in Spanish, declaring, “Quisiera tumbar las fronteras de México a Nigeria”: “I would like to bring down the borders from Mexico to Nigeria.” It’s a conversation starter. PARELES

Aurora, ‘Heathens’

The Norwegian songwriter Aurora has announced her next album, due Jan. 21, is titled “The Gods We Can Touch,” and on “Heathens” she sings about Eve, Eden and falling from grace to a life on Mother Earth. It’s a shimmering, wide-screen production, with pealing harp, Aurora’s choir-like harmonies and a seismic beat that comes and goes. It’s also a warning that paradise was lost. “Everything we touch is evil,” Aurora sings. “That is why we live like heathens.” PARELES

Grimes, ‘Player of Games’

Recently “semi-separated” from the Tesla billionaire Elon Musk, with whom she has a child, Grimes (Claire Boucher) coos club-ready recriminations in “Player of Games,” which she sometimes sings like “play your love games.” Over a brisk house track written and produced with Illangelo, she asks questions like “Baby, will you still love me?” and “How can I compare to the adventure out there?” as the arpeggios repeat and the four-on-the-floor thumps. “If I loved him any less, I’d make him stay,” she asserts, teasing the gossip-industrial complex. PARELES

Kim Petras, ‘Coconuts’

A deliriously comic, sexually playful disco anthem from Kim Petras, advocating for, one could say, one kind of fruit over all the rest: “Strawberry, mango, lime/don’t compare to these.” JON CARAMANICA

Kerozen, ‘Motivation’

Kerozen, from Ivory Coast, praises patient, diligent hard work in “Motivation,” but the song provides instant gratification anyway. A galloping six-beat groove carries exultant close-harmony vocals, punched up by pattering snare drums and bursts of synthesizers and simulated horns — pure positive energy. PARELES

Joe Meah, ‘Ahwene Pa Nkasa’

The latest find from the indefatigable crate-diggers at Analog Africa is “Essiebon Special 1973-1984: Ghana Power House,” from the archives of the Essiebons and Dix labels. It’s Ghanaian highlife souped up with funk, Afrobeat, synthesizers and psychedelia, like “Ahwene Pa Nkasa,” a groove that materializes out of a funk backbeat, turns into a chattery, competitive stereo dialogue between two synthesizer keyboards and eventually gets around to its call-and-response vocals, fading out before the chorus gets done. PARELES

Cordae featuring Lil Wayne, ‘Sinister’

A casually excellent rhyme workout from Cordae, who reveres the complexity of the 1990s — “Eight months with no phone, dog/we aiming for brilliance” — and Lil Wayne, who at his late 2000s mixtape peak, which he recalls here, turned complexity into extraterrestriality. CARAMANICA

Eladio Carrión and Luar la L, ‘Socio’

A strategically placed beat change is more than a secret weapon: It can turn a standard rap track into delicious deviance. Elado Carrión’s “Socio” opens with a soulful piano intro and snare-driven beat reminiscent of something Drake’s go-to producer Noah “40” Shebib might pull out of his hard drive. But before long, the barbs arrive. A muted echo of Russell Crowe’s infamous “Gladiator” line “Are you not entertained?!” crashes into the production, and a muscular, speaker-knocking beat unravels. The guest rapper Luar la L shoots off punch lines like rounds of silver bullets, his full-throated baritone landing each with serrated precision. HERRERA

Chayce Beckham and Lindsay Ell, ‘Can’t Do Without Me’

A good old-fashioned power country duet, with references to the grim day job, a speeding car and the high-horsepower intensity of a rough-hewed love. CARAMANICA

Christian McBride and Inside Straight, ‘Gang Gang’

The Village Vanguard is where the bassist Christian McBride first performed, over a decade ago, with Inside Straight, which has become maybe the most distinguished acoustic quintet in jazz. McBride’s latest release with Inside Straight, “Live at the Village Vanguard,” was recorded there years later, in 2014, during another weeklong run. “Gang Gang,” written by the vibraphonist Warren Wolf, is the album’s longest track and its most intense. The group centers itself around the drummer Carl Allen’s heavy, spiraling swing feel, and Wolf takes a solo full of pelted, bluesy notes, painting a cloud of energy in pointillist strokes. GIOVANNI RUSSONELLO

Sara Serpa and Emmanuel Iduma, ‘First Song’

The Portuguese vocalist Sara Serpa traces an etched, wordless line while Sofîa Rei and Aubrey Johnson circle her with sung melodies of their own, and ambient street sounds gargle below. Soon Serpa begins singing words from the Nigerian writer Emmanuel Iduma’s book, “A Stranger’s Pose,” about his travels across the African continent: “I can recite distances by heart feet memory/I can tell wanderlust rounded as the eyes,” she sings. Then Iduma’s voice enters, accompanied by the pianist Matt Mitchell, reading a passage on the power of language to create a space “between reality and dream.” “First Song” opens Serpa and Iduma’s impressive new collaborative album, “Intimate Strangers,” a collage of her swimming melodies and his words — many of which describe the experiences of laborers seeking their fate on the road, sometimes heading north to Europe, but in many cases stuck waiting for something to change around them. RUSSONELLO

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