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"I would stand like an ant in an arena crowd just to witness his magnetism," Mitski once wrote about Harry Styles, likening him to the popular boy at school, too distant and beautiful to pine after. In a review of Styles' self-titled album, she explored the process of projection, in which you elevate an object of adoration until their ideal supersedes the person.

Why did Laurence Olivier return so often to Shakespeare's Othello? Why did Ansel Adams keep photographing the Grand Canyon? Obsessed or awestruck, artists revisit great inspirations because they believe there is yet another story to tell – about life, about themselves.

New Music Friday returns from a two-week break with some of 2018's most anticipated releases, including Death Cab For Cutie's Thank You For Today, Mitski's Be The Cowboy, Ariana Grande's Sweetener and more. All Songs Considered's Robin Hilton is joined by NPR Music's Ann Powers, Lars Gotrich and Stephen Thompson to talk about these and other essential albums being released on Aug. 17.

Featured On This Episode:

  1. Death Cab For Cutie: Thank You For Today
    Featured Song: "Gold Rush"

Aretha Franklin was so Detroit. Bring her pocketbook onstage at Washington, D.C.'s Kennedy Center and swing her fur coat behind her as she sits at the baby grand, Detroit. Pay Aretha in cash, Detroit. Stash that cash in her bra, Detroit. Unapologetic and black, Detroit. Lived in and represented Detroit till the day she died, Detroit.

It is overwhelming and profound to imagine just how many molecules and how many mountains Aretha Franklin has moved with her music. From the deeply personal, private moments of listening she has summoned in every individual listener, to the church choirs who have sung her arrangements, to the collectives that have raised their voices to the gospel of her songs, and stretching all the way up to the divine.

The Minnesota Orchestra will play one of its most important gigs of the year this month — at the Regina Mundi Catholic Church in Soweto, South Africa. In doing so, it will become the first major U.S. orchestra to visit that city. The performance is part of a year of celebrations recognizing the centennial of Nelson Mandela's birth. It makes sense for the orchestra to play in the community central to the freedom struggle which brought down apartheid.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Today we are honoring and remembering this voice.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "I NEVER LOVED A MAN (THE WAY I LOVE YOU)")

ARETHA FRANKLIN: (Singing) I tell you; I ain't never, I ain't never, no, no, loved a man the way that I love you.

Cattle raids, battles, betrayals and family loyalties are all commemorated in the ballads of the borderlands between Scotland and England, sometimes referred to as "the debatable lands." Join host Fiona Ritchie to explore this rich seam of music and song.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

I'm sure you've had this experience at some point: You hear the voice of an artist who was important to you at a particular time and all of a sudden, the sound of it sends you tumbling back through your own memory right to where you were – that college dorm room, those bleachers on that football field, that cross country road trip with your first love — the first time you heard that voice.

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