This week’s music: What to press repeat, play and skip on

  Song of the Week Years & Years, “Sanctify” The way Olly Alexander uses his voice and the way he navigates melody would make him fit in well with a boy band. But with “Sanctify,” the first song off their upcoming second album, the boy-band comparisons end at the vocals. The driving percussion and slinky synths create a pulsating, moody and engrossing atmosphere. Coupled with a fantastic chorus and engaging imagery, this track is one of the catchiest, most anthemic pop tracks of the year.   Press Repeat Anderson .Paak, “Til It’s Over” The soul/R&B/hip-hop/pop singer returns with his...

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‘Red Sparrow’ is a revolting, pointless show of human cruelty

“Red Sparrow,” the latest Jennifer Lawrence vehicle, is an espionage thriller with a bland plot and very little in the way of thrills. It’s a film with a lot of production value that merely puts a glossy sheen over a story so trashy it ranks with gorefests like “Hostel” and other smut. Mindless and limitlessly cynical, its only saving grace is that eventually, it ends — though it makes us wait an excruciating 140 minutes for the sweet release of credits. Lawrence plays Dominika Egorova, a star Russian ballerina whose career is ruined after breaking her leg during a...

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Clever marketing couldn’t salvage ‘The Cloverfield Paradox’

On Super Bowl Sunday, two organizations pulled off miracles: the Eagles beat the Patriots, and Netflix made people interested in “Cloverfield” again. A commercial for the sci-fi thriller “The Cloverfield Paradox” aired during the big game, with a twist: it would be dropping on the streaming site as soon as the game ended. Shadow dropping is a brilliant marketing scheme that stars like Beyoncé have used effectively in the past; it generates a unique kind of buzz for the product — it must be good if they don’t even need to advertise it! Under that ploy, however, lies the ugly truth: “The Cloverfield Paradox” was going to be D.O.A. The film was originally being developed at Paramount as “God Particle,” to be released sometime last year. However, J.J. Abrams — creator of the 2008 monster movie “Cloverfield” — and his production company Bad Robot acquired “God Particle,” rebranded it “The Cloverfield Paradox,” and worked to include it in their budding sci-fi franchise. They used this same tactic with the (excellent) hostage thriller “10 Cloverfield Lane,” a couple years ago. Delays followed production on “Paradox,” until Netflix finally purchased the film for a whopping $50 million and sat on it for a few months. Good on Netflix for generating hype for a film that most people either forgot about or had never even heard of. But maybe they should’ve let...

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BROCKHAMPTON had an epic 2017, and you didn’t even know it

Picture the group that might utter a line like “best boy band since One Direction.” Do they look like One Direction, or the biggest boy bands before them? Young men with features sculpted by the gods themselves, seemingly placed on this earth to make teen girls cry and record labels rich? Or do you imagine a ragtag group of young and largely black music nerds that met on the internet and crash in the same house? If you guessed the second option, you’d probably be lying to yourself. You’d also be right. The group is L.A.-based BROCKHAMPTON. They make rap music, but sidestep titles like “hip-hop collective.” In their eyes, they are a boy band for a whole new crowd. BROCKHAMPTON’s origin story is a strange one. All of its members met via Kanye West fan forum Kanyetothe. They talked about their favorite music and shared their own creations online until, in a risky decision, deciding to relocate to a single house in L.A. Although they’re young, poor and a little crazy, the move paid off. Last year alone, while remaining an independent group, they released three full-length records as a part of the “SATURATION” trilogy. With stunning vision and immense talent, they emerged from the underground to gain millions of plays and amass an avid fan base, not unlike those of more stereotypical boy bands. One of the...

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TMS picks the 20 best albums of the year

Here are the 20 best albums of 2017 (so far). dvsn, “The Morning After” Even though they’re signed to Drake’s OVO Sound label, singer Daniel Daley and producer Nineteen85 have established an independent identity as R&B duo dvsn. Their sophomore effort adds cinematic flourishes to their moody, bass-heavy lamentations on the uphill battles of love and lust. Alvvays, “Antisocialites” It’s always dangerous borrowing heavily from an older sound, but Alvvays successfully informs their energetic sound with 1960s guitar-pop and 1980s synth-pop. “Antisocialites” is a delightfully sweet, expertly crafted collection of songs that, at a mere 32 minutes, doesn’t overstay...

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