Beyoncé’s Surprise Juneteenth Anthem, and 12 More New Songs


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Beyoncé released “Black Parade” on Juneteenth, and it makes ambitious, far-reaching connections. The lyrics allude to black American achievement, culture and struggle, to African history and deities, to the power of women, to Beyoncé’s own success and to this month’s protests: “Rubber bullets bouncin’ off me/Made a picket sign off your picket fence/Take it as a warning.” The music pulls its own connections — to trap electronics, African songs, brass bands, gospel choirs — while Beyoncé flaunts new melody ideas in each verse. Voices gather around her, as her solo strut turns into a parade, or a more purposeful march: “Put your fists up in the air/Show black love,” she insists. JON PARELES

“Witness 4 the Prosecution (Version 1)” is the first previously unreleased song from what will be a vastly expanded reissue of Prince’s 1987 double album “Sign ‘o’ the Times,” due Sept. 25. It’s meaty funk-rock that sounds like it was recorded live: heavy on the backbeat, with sassy horns, thumb-popping bass, a gospelly backup choir (shouting “witness!”) and biting, distorted lead guitar, all stoking Prince as he testifies in a case of obsessive love. PARELES

Dinner Party is the alliance of the producers and musicians 9th Wonder, Terrace Martin, Kamasi Washington and Robert Glasper. Phoelix joins them to sing “Freeze Tag,” about an all-too-common scenario: “They told me put my hands up behind my head/I think they got the wrong one,” he recounts in a high, gentle croon. “Then they told me if I move, they gon’ shoot me dead.” The music is quiet-storm R&B, complete with wind chimes, but as the chord progression circles and Phoelix sings the verse again and again, the fraught, frozen moment grows harrowing. PARELES

More than 25 years after Sun Ra’s death, the Afrofuturist pioneer’s ensemble continues to uphold his legacy in performances around the world, but it hasn’t released a studio album of new music in two decades. That will change later this year. The first single from the Arkestra’s forthcoming LP is “Seductive Fantasy,” a slow-moving, blood-pumping vamp that first appeared on the 1979 album “On Jupiter.” On the new version, the first sound you hear is the steady baritone saxophone line of Danny Ray Thompson, who played on the original too; he died just months after this newer recording was made. Across a quick four minutes, saxophones carry a simple melody, then join up with the…

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