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I’m Just Ken: A Festive Edition and 12 Other Songs for the Holidays


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A well timed vacation remix that doubles as an unapologetic Oscar marketing campaign? Indeed, it’s! Ryan Gosling and Mark Ronson’s “Barbie” standout “I’m Just Ken” will get a contemporary interpretation in three distinct codecs — an acoustic lament, a membership banger, and a Christmas novelty — on the not too long ago launched “I’m Just Ken” EP. “I’m Just Ken (Merry Kristmas Barbie)” transforms the association right into a dignified, vaguely festive little bit of chamber-pop. Gosling refrains from cluttering the lyrics with Christmas-themed puns, fortunately, and easily whispers a plaintive “Merry Christmas, Barbie… wherever you might be.” LINDSAY ZOLADZ

“We put the entice in entrepreneur,” raps British drill artist Central Cee in his first solo single of the yr, following distinguished collabs with Dave, Drake and PinkPantheress. With his trademark, intricately conversational stream, Cee brags about his hustler mentality and sudden success, by no means forgetting his humble beginnings: “Went from a Toyota Yaris to Urus,” he rhymes. “I nonetheless received the identical work charge as earlier than.” ZOLADZ

Flagboy Giz was raised on hip-hop but in addition proudly carries the traditions of New Orleans, having been a member of the Mardi Gras Indian tribe Wild Tchoupitoulas since 2015. The title of his 2023 album, “Disgrace to the Culture,” alludes to his resolute fusion of hip-hop with New Orleans folklore. Nervous entice programming and a mellow piano riff complement traces of brass-band sousaphone and Mardi Gras tambourine on “Fell in Love on the Secondline,” a flirtation mapped out on town’s streets. JON PARELES

A relentless beat, ever-changing — that includes percussion, vocals, and programming — propels “Survivor,” a decided promise of defiance within the face of all adversity. “I’m the lawless, formless, inconsiderate, flawless chaos of the solar/I’m the seed of life and love, you see the blaze, you higher run,” chants Ghana-born, Australia-based Genesis Owusu. The monitor is unrelenting, loaded with paradoxical wordplay — and unapologetically confrontational. PARELES

Iza, a Brazilian singer and rapper, is not simply breaking apart in “Que Se Vá” (“Let It Go”); she’s additionally cancelling her ex’s bank card. Her gleeful good riddance, propelled by Afro-Brazilian rhythms, programmed handclaps, and a concord refrain that revels in its spite, with verses that construct to laughter. PARELES

Kesha put aside her pop and rock impulses for the somber “Eat the Acid” from her 2023 album, “Gag Order.” She sings about indelible drug revelations and warns, “You do not wanna be modified/prefer it modified me.” With stark keyboard drones, a cappella moments, processed vocals, and distant, ethereal harmonies, Kesha pushes into the experimental territories of songwriters like Julia Holter and Björk. PARELES

Medicine, the indie-rock band led by Brad Laner since 1990, thrives on extra, packing poppy tunes right into a pile-on of devices, voices, electronics, and distortion. “That’s Alright, Friend” — the opening monitor on their 2023 album, “Silences” — bashes out a six-beat stomp behind Julia Monreal’s cheerful voice, whereas concurrently introducing bells, electronics, and layered guitars. The monitor finally sways into new territory, swerving via a number of episodes earlier than touchdown someplace like a psychedelic sea chantey, with Monreal repeating the title as reassurance amid the cacophony. PARELES

A vocalist performs seated on a stool in a dimly lit underground jazz membership, sporting a beret, swinging via requirements. Even if that is what springs to thoughts when the phrase “jazz” is talked about, it is possible not what involves thoughts when the title “Esperanza Spalding” is talked about. Nonetheless, in 2018, Spalding veered into the outdated songbook, perched subsequent to piano grasp Fred Hersch throughout a weeklong residence on the Village Vanguard. Just a few tracks from that week had been launched as an album earlier this yr. GIOVANNI RUSSONELLO


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