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Screen grab from video of Madonna singing "Like a Virgin" in Berlin in 2012.

Screen grab from video of Madonna singing "Like a Virgin" in Berlin in 2012.

Music: Essential tracks

Madonna’s a virgin (again), and more songs you need to hear Add to ...

FOLK

Dallaire
Cara Luft, from Darlingford (Blue Case Tunes); streaming here

It can’t be done, so don’t even try to turn away from the affecting insistence of Canada’s Luft, who sings like an angel named Joni or Alanis and sees through the eyes of a peacekeeper who stood in blood and shook hands with the devil.

ROCK

Region of Fire
JEFF the Brotherhood, from the forthcoming Hypnotic Nights (Warner); streaming here

Putting aside their Weezer fascination for a second – three minutes and 58 seconds, actually – this Nashville rock duo go all sitar, saxophone and fuzz-guitar psychedelia for a starlit, drug-soaked love song. Far out? You bet.

SOUL/FOLK

When We Get There
Chastity Brown, from Back-Road Highways (CDMN); streaming here

Chastity Brown is not a blaxploitation film, but rather a mesmerizing Minnesota-based singer-songwriter whose softly powerful song is about gonna-come changes. If politicians were truly empathetic, this would be their type of campaign song.

COUNTRY/ROCK

I Just Started Hating Some People Today
Beck (Third Man); streaming here

“I just started wanting to punch your face/ You might want to wear a helmet just in case." Beck seems to have woken up in Nashville, with one antisocial mood and three songs in his head, all of them having to do with somebody wished dead. Produced – or egged on – by Jack White.

ESSENTIAL VIDEO

Like a Virgin
Madonna; streaming here

So struck by her art – involving an over-poignant waltzing-ballad version of an old dance-pop hit – Madonna cries like it’s the very first time, and then is fitted dramatically with a corset by a strange, shirtless man. Yes, odd, from a fan-held camera at a concert in Berlin.

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