Olivia Rodrigo’s Emotional Road Trip, and 8 More New Songs

Hear tracks by Westside Gunn, Rosanne Cash, Dry Cleaning and others.

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OK, now that she’s got her license, here comes the road trip. Olivia Rodrigo’s “Deja Vu” opens in the car, with the singer recalling fonder times with an ex. As on “Drivers License,” there are three parties — Rodrigo, that former beau and the specter of that person’s new love, and it’s unclear which of the other two causes Rodrigo more anguish. The lyrics are plain and pinpoint pained: “That was our place, I found it first/I made the jokes you tell to her.” About halfway through, “Deja Vu” turns severely Swiftian, with lyrical asides about listening to music, a yelping section almost directly cribbed from Swift’s “Cruel Summer’” and a familiar power struggle over who taught who about cool music. Rodrigo would like to make it clear, though, that she is no mere student: “Play her piano but she doesn’t know/That I was the one who taught you Billy Joel.” JON CARAMANICA

Hazy, pugnacious and glowering, the latest from Westside Gunn is ragged in the best early ’90s way, so convincing in its fuzz and stagger that it’s almost like a recovered memory. CARAMANICA

Rosanne Cash considers her own past, her family’s Southern roots, and the South’s history of lynchings and injustice in “The Killing Fields.” She sings, “The blood that runs on cypress trees cannot be washed away/by mothers’ tears and gasoline.” The melody is mournful and minor-key; a lone, lightly strummed guitar supplies most of the accompaniment. And at the end, Cash resolves, “All that came before us/is not who we are now.” JON PARELES

Half Waif — the songwriter Nandi Rose — lets herself be buffeted by the paradoxes of love in “Take Away the Ache.” She sings, “I know that I’m asking for more than you can give/but isn’t love just living like that?” It’s a dizzying three-and-a-half minutes, veering amid minimal electronic abstractions, piano ballad and dance-floor thumper, all held together by passionate yearning. PARELES

The Jamaican singer Naomi Cowan sets her usual reggae aside in “Energy,” an ingenious, multi-leveled mesh of syncopations and silences produced by Izy Beats. Plucked strings, sporadic bass tones, finger snaps, flickering electronic hi-hats and teasing, elusive backup vocals poke in and out of the mix as Cowan chides an ex who ghosted her before declaring, “Love and war, baby, I’m no casualty.” PARELES

“If you like a girl, be nice — it’s not rocket science,” Florence Shaw deadpans on “Unsmart Lady,” a new single from the London four-piece Dry Cleaning that plays out almost like a psych-rock update of Nada Surf’s “Popular.” On Dry Cleaning’s excellent debut album “New Long Leg,” out on Friday, Shaw is equal parts frontwoman and spoken-word poet, weaving the random linguistic detritus of modern life into loose, surreal narratives. (She used to collect snippets of overheard conversations and intriguing phrases in her phone’s Notes app; when her friends asked her to join their band, she mined that found material for lyrics.) “Unsmart Lady” begins as a kind of curt, one-sided conversation, but by the end it has transformed into an imagistic meditation on the absurdities of femininity, like a “foot squeezed hopefully into a short boot.” Around her, the band unleashes its fury, but Shaw’s delivery stays steady — the gimlet eye of a storm. LINDSAY ZOLADZ

Mdou Moctar, a guitarist, singer and bandleader from Niger, deploys everything he has drawn from Saharan traditions and Western rock in the calm-to-storm buildup of “Afrique Victime,” the title song of an album due May 21. He warns, “Africa is a victim of so many crimes/If we stay silent it will be the end of us,” while the beat gallops ahead. Soon, his electric guitar leaps up from the band’s rhythmic core to trill, twirl, swoop and scream. PARELES

The excellent “Noho,” from the new album by the consistently refreshing AG Club, features a frictionless collision of Bay Area hip-hop traditions: the slow-and-low and the loopily exuberant. CARAMANICA

Dopolarians began in 2018 as a project uniting free-jazz musicians based in Arkansas with elder luminaries from the free-jazz world: the bassist William Parker, the drummer Alvin Fielder Jr. and the saxophonist Kidd Jordan. Their debut album, “Garden Party,” seesawed between singsong lyricism and reckless entanglement. The group has just released a new LP, “The Bond,” and while the lineup has changed — Brian Blade now fills the drum chair after Fielder died in 2019 at 83; Jordan, now 85, is no longer in the group — the loose but intense feel remains the same. GIOVANNI RUSSONELLO

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