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Futility, guillotines, and Tanya Tucker—these are the week’s 6 best new songs

Tanya Tucker, Rapsody

Tanya Tucker, Rapsody Publicity photos

Who reads intros? Not you—you’re an exceptionally busy human. So let’s just get to it: Here are the week’s best new songs.

Rapsody ft. GZA & D'angelo – “Ibtihaj”

9th Wonder flips a sample of the staccato beat from the old Wu-brand classic “Liquid Swords” as D’Angelo makes murkily reclusive noises, then GZA himself slides in with a little genius at the close. But guest spots aside, the track, named for bronze-medal fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad (the first American Olympian to compete in a hijab), is a showcase for the North Carolina MC who gets top billing, allowing her to make her case: “Women been leading the way/Since Roxanne Shanté.” 

Idles – “I Dream Guillotine”

If you missed these manly post-macho and feminist anti-fascist Brit revolutionaries at First Ave on Saturday, well 1) They knocked the house down and 2) We told you they would. The bloodier of two great new tracks they released last week is, true to form, both elliptical and engaged. You bring the blade, fellas, and I’ll bring the basket. Shoomp.

Sleater Kinney – “Can I Go On”

OK, now this is the stuff. It’s been all rumor-swirls and finger-pointing in the wake of drummer Janet Weiss’ sudden departure from the band, but after one intriguing cut and another outright puzzler, the third advance track from Sleater-Kinney’s upcoming The Center Won’t Hold offers a real fusion of S-K’s own molten identity and St. Vincent’s electronically candied guitar preferences, plus a bright melody that leavens the exhaustion of the lyrics. Verdict: Let’s just wait and see, K?

Ariana Grande ft. Social House – “Boyfriend”

Let there be no lingering doubt whether Grande’s got her tiny finger on the pulse of modern dating. What could be more 2019 than demanding sexual exclusivity without promising commitment? Well, maybe a pop star starting a song by admitting, “I’m a motherfuckin’ trainwreck.”

New Pornographers – “Falling Down the Stairs of Your Smile”

Their gloriously janky metaphor makes for an ironically elegant phrase, and a peripatetic bass dodges a big beat as the combined voices of Carl Newman and Neko Case offer their melodic finery up front.

Tanya Tucker – “The House That Built Me”

Tucker is launching a comeback after a 17-year lull, and what better way than with a Miranda Lambert song? If Lambert’s original followed a young adult seeking her bearings by revisiting a lost childhood, Tucker, her voice weathered yet sturdy, is clearly looking back on a distant memory.

Every week, music editor Keith Harris scours the vast musicscape for six worthy tracks to add to City Pages' ever-expanding 2019 playlist.