Every Friday, pop critics for The New York Times weigh in on the week’s most notable new songs and videos — and anything else that strikes them as intriguing. Just want the music? Listen to the Playlist on Spotify here (or find our profile: nytimes). Like what you hear? Let us know at [email protected] and sign up for our Louder newsletter, a once-a-week blast of our pop music coverage.

Maren Morris, ‘Girl’

Maren Morris gets the cursing out of the way right at the top of “Girl,” the first single from her second album, due this year. It’s a reminder she’s a country singer, but not really. “Girl,” which Morris wrote with her “The Middle” collaborator Sarah Aarons, as well as Greg Kurstin, has a bit of Billie Eilish, a little Lana Del Rey, maybe some Alannah Myles. And yet thanks to some meaty guitar, it has a slow-country stubbornness. Morris’s ambivalence extends right to the vocal mix, which obscures her, and the arc of the melody, which gets thickened but never builds or finds resolution. JON CARAMANICA

The Cranberries, ‘All Over Now’

There’s no avoiding it: Dolores O’Riordan’s death a year ago (she died from drowning in a London hotel bathtub after heavy drinking) haunts “All Over Now,” the first song from an album — “In the End,” due April 26 — that the band completed from demo recordings by O’Riordan and Noel Hogan. In the first verse she sings, “Do you remember, remember the night/at a hotel in London.” It turns out to be a song about seeing a woman trying to pretend she’s not a domestic-violence victim yet not getting involved. Guitars buzz in minor chords over a choppy beat, while O’Riordan’s voice — the demo included vocal harmonies — holds stoic regret. Her death multiplies the sadness of the chorus: “It’s all over now.” JON PARELES

Tamaryn, ‘Fits of Rage’

Tamaryn, a songwriter originally from New Zealand, has long placed her voice amid washes of reverb-laden guitar, mingling impulses from 1960s girl groups and 1990s shoegaze. “Fits of Rage” snaps her reveries into focus; the guitars still echo, but her voice leaps out from them, demanding accountability from someone who seems about to shrug her off. Her voice grows furious as she declares, “You can’t deny I was so close to you.” Sometimes anger is clarifying. PARELES

Lily & Madeleine, ‘Can’t Help the Way I Feel’

Here’s a thoroughly convincing period piece: a Phil Spector girl-group beat, three chords and lots of reverb behind Lily & Madeleine singing in unison about passion overriding reason: “I try to keep myself together but I’m losing it anyway.” PARELES

Glen Hansard, ‘I’ll Be You, Be Me’

Glen Hansard, the Irish songwriter from the Frames, the Swell Season and “Once,” reduces his voice to a depressive, scratchy monotone in the ominous, low-self-esteem love song “I’ll Be You, Be Me,” from an album arriving in April. A ticking snare drum and a skulking bass accompany lines like “My lover is all good things/and I’m the fool whose spell she’s under.” By the end of the song he’s engulfed in a tsunami of strings, choir and feedback, but still too glum to raise his voice. PARELES

Anuel AA and Karol G, ‘Secreto’

An adorable video for a pro forma duet from two of Latin music’s rising stars who’ve been playing are-they-or-aren’t-they for months. The song is sweet, a little evanescent. Committed-to-video memories are forever, though. CARAMANICA

Dawn, ‘Sauce’

Dawn (Richard, from Danity Kane) promises a weekend-long sexual marathon in “Sauce,” invoking Rihanna, La Perla and the Kentucky Derby over a slow, undulating trap beat. For nearly the entire track, her lead vocal stays on just two low notes; it couldn’t be more single-minded. But around it, voices and instruments materialize like stray fantasies, and a sweetly unexpected a cappella coda anticipates satisfaction. PARELES

YNW Melly featuring Kanye West, ‘Mixed Personalities’

In which post-Young Thug fever-pitch syllable squeals finally come full circle and arrive at saccharine-sweet pure-pop accessibility. YNW Melly is one of the most impressive young melodists working — see “Murder on My Mind” — and even though there’s not much material to work with in the verses here, the chorus is bright, effusive and sneakily rich. Kanye is a low-impact accent piece here, singing part of the hook and adding bonus whimsy to the video. CARAMANICA

Inna, ‘Sin Ti’

Elena Alexandra Apostoleanu, the Romanian singer who records as Inna, pivots toward pop’s center. A decade ago she was singing in English over house-music beats and EDM synthesizers. But more recently, her high, smiley voice has been heard alongside Latin pop hitmakers like J Balvin, Pitbull and Daddy Yankee, in English and Spanish. In “Sin Ti,” a song about a sudden infatuation, she whispers insistent endearments in a catchy, extremely canny production by David Ciente that hops all over the Latin map: dembow verses and flamenco-tinged acoustic guitar in the chorus, with bits of sampled vocals and fleeting string-section phrases winking in and out of earshot. In a small world, she’s up-to-the-minute. PARELES

The Killers, ‘Land of the Free’

Echoing the keyboard chords of Bruce Springsteen’s “My Hometown,” the Killers’ “Land of the Free” is a compendium of issues — mass incarceration, immigration, racism, gun control — heading into a gospelly chorus. The video clip, centered on news footage, is by Spike Lee; the Killers’ willingness to face a social-media backlash is as significant as the song. JON PARELES

Snarky Puppy, ‘Xavi’

Snarky Puppy might be today’s most popular band whose audience wouldn’t be fazed by a nearly 10-minute-long lead single with no words. “Xavi” is the first thing we’re hearing from “Immigrance,” a forthcoming album from this large ensemble of virtuoso music nerds and studio hotshots. Crunchy guitar slices out a truncated phrase in conversation with an insistent snare drum, and flutes and trumpets drape a humid cloud cover overhead. The tune’s head-nodding six-beat rhythm is based around an antique chaabi groove, which Snarky’s bassist and leader, Michael League, learned from Gnawa musicians while performing in Morocco last year. It accords with “Immigrance’s” overall bent, which considers the role of migration and exchange in shaping our world. GIOVANNI RUSSONELLO

Greg Ward and Rogue Parade, ‘The Contender’

The alto saxophonist Greg Ward’s new album, “Stomping Off From Greenwood,” has the rusted, resonant sound of so much beat-driven jazz coming from Chicago natives today (Jeff Parker, Makaya McCraven, Marquis Hill). But its instrumentation — alto sax, two guitars, bass, drums — calls to mind another standout album from last year, Logan Richardson’s “Blues People.” Like Richardson on his album, Ward bobs gracefully through a coolly plotted improvisation on “The Contender” as his rhythm section handles a stop-and-start polyrhythm, creating friction and expectation and the illusion of an incline for Ward to climb. RUSSONELLO

Jon Pareles has been The Times’s chief pop music critic since 1988. A musician, he has played in rock bands, jazz groups and classical ensembles. He majored in music at Yale University. @JonPareles

Jon Caramanica is a pop music critic for The Times and the host of the Popcast. He also writes the men’s Critical Shopper column for Styles. He previously worked for Vibe magazine, and has written for the Village Voice, Spin, XXL and more. @joncaramanica

Source: Read Full Article