The Playlist: The Weeknd’s Cold Heart, and 8 More New Songs

Every Friday, pop critics for The New York Times weigh in on the week’s most notable new songs and videos. 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.

The Weeknd, ‘Heartless’

On “Heartless,” one of a pair of new songs, the Weeknd unites the gleaming glamour of his peak pop era with the louche brokenness of his earliest work. The lesson is clear: Success might smooth your edges, but it can’t heal the corrosion within. JON CARAMANICA

Khruangbin and Leon Bridges, ‘Texas Sun’

This is as much an atmosphere as a song, warm and leisurely and insinuating. It’s a midtempo jam that puts folky strumming and pedal steel guitar atop a steady 1960s soul beat, merging soul and country as Leon Bridges earnestly pitches woo to a girl who misses the “wind going through your hair” and the sun that could be “caressing you from Fort Worth to Amarillo.” JON PARELES

Ozuna featuring Diddy and DJ Snake, ‘Eres Top’

Continuing a trend of reggaeton crossover via very-obvious-sample is “Eres Top,” from the sturdy new Ozuna album “Nibiru.” The borrowing is from “I Need a Girl, Pt. 2,” one of the great Diddy whisper jams, and Diddy himself shows up here to update the story. Spoiler: He still needs a girl. CARAMANICA

Grimes, ‘My Name Is Dark’

Is Grimes looking over her shoulder at Billie Eilish? In “My Name Is Dark,” she wants to reclaim her own place as “the girl who plays with fire,” then goes on to invoke “the angel of death.” The bass is low and grungy, the beat is basic and programmed, and Grimes’s voice is mostly a high, teasing bubble gum coo — until she switches to a scream. “Imminent annihilation is so dope,” she sings, with cool-girl panache. PARELES

Kali Uchis, ‘Solita’

Reggaeton and Latin trap usually flaunt shallow, tinny mixes. Kali Uchis finds a richer, more spacious hybrid in “Solita,” whose producers include the reggaeton titan Tainy (J Balvin, Bad Bunny). Uchis is an American with Colombian parents, and the song switches easily between Spanish and English; the lyrics declare that it’s better to dance alone than to dance with the devil. The sound joins her story: a twisty, echoey guitar line, a reggaeton drumbeat with twitchy trap interjections and Uchis overdubbing many, many voices, until she finds her way out of a lonely labyrinth. PARELES

Natalia Lafourcade, ‘Una Vida’

The Mexican songwriter Natalia Lafourcade implores forgiveness for straying, contrite and gauged for drama, in this old-fashioned ranchera. “There is only one life,” she argues. It’s a waltz that escalates from a lone guitar to a full deployment of mariachi strings and trumpets. Her voice barely seems to rise above them all, until — in an a cappella flourish near the end — it most clearly has. PARELES

Julianna Barwick, ‘Night’

Sustained and soothing, “Night” is built from sounds without edges: Julianna Barwick’s wordless vocals, undulating bass tones, electronic sounds that twinkle and glow. It was generated by an artificial-intelligence program responding to images from a rooftop camera in downtown Manhattan; this is just 4:20 of an ever-changing sound installation. But the mastery isn’t in the computer; it’s in materials that find so many ways to be consonant. PARELES

Steve Aoki featuring Sting and Shaed, ‘2 in a Million’

What happens when three people who don’t know each other schedule their birthday parties at the same tiny nightclub. CARAMANICA

Jeff Parker and the New Breed, ‘Max Brown’

The guitarist Jeff Parker makes up about one-half of his own five-piece band. That is to say, he’s behind the slinky guitar playing, the compositions, the drum machines, the synth bass, various other forms of percussion and — crucially — the mixing and splicing of the music after it’s been recorded. But on “Max Brown,” from an LP due next year, his group the New Breed is rounded out by four other expert Los Angeles musicians with jazz backgrounds and an ear for collective understatement. Together they play grooves that ooze and wend, sounding like a broken trance, or like experimental hip-hop as science experiment. It’s another step in the direction Parker first took on his landmark 2016 album, “The New Breed.” This video, showing three people dancing privately to the track, is directed by Mikel Patrick Avery, a polymath Chicago-jazz-scene expatriate like Parker. GIOVANNI RUSSONELLO

Source: Read Full Article