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Screen grab from video of Rihanna singing “Stay” on Saturday Night Live
Screen grab from video of Rihanna singing “Stay” on Saturday Night Live

Music: Essential tracks

Rihanna says ‘Stay’, and other new songs worth a listen Add to ...

Foxygen; streaming here

With a name like Foxygen and an album called We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Music, these guys had better be good. And dang it if they aren’t. The first song off the California retro-twosome’s forthcoming second album is a doozie – a shape-shifting collage of pyschedelia with two of its many parts paying tribute to Shuggie Otis, that strawberry-scented, trip-funk dude from the early seventies. Other segments include a suave, stringed Serge Gainsbourg intro about a daughter with rhinoceros-shaped earrings and a bolder glam-theatre bit that endorses flower-haired philosophy: “If you believe in yourself, you can free your soul.” Far out – Foxygen, as you live and breathe.

Rihanna, from Saturday Night Live; streaming here

From Rih Rih’s new album Unapologetic, out Nov. 19, an elegant, memorable piano ballad with a drum-cymbal shimmer for dramatic effect, as heard on this past weekend’s SNL. “Something in the way you move, makes me feel like I can't live without you,” the Barbadian bombshell sings, possibly about a restraining-order boyfriend or possibly about a dog – “stay” – or perhaps they are one and the same.

Working Girl’s Guitar
Rosie Flores, from Working Girl’s Guitar (Bloodshot); streaming here

Her six-strings are not for show. A galloping rock-and-twang from the Rockabilly Filly, sung from the point of view of a musical instrument which, like its owner, pays its dues and looks for harmony.

Lana Del Rey, from Paradise EP (Universal); streaming here

Another creamy, cinematic sweeper from the pop-noir drama queen. The song is marred by a couple of abrupt Pro Tools edits, and is notable for its unique Pepsi-drink product placement.

I’m Shakin’
Jack White (directed by Dori Oskowitz), from Blunderbuss (Third Man); streaming here

He’s black, and he’s powder blue too. On a staggering rhythmic strut, Jack White is a dandy-double, wardrobe-mixing mirror image of himself, suited up with two bands in a standoff that stylishly reflects both his best sides.

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