Books

Carly Rae Jepsen’s Brand-New Boy Problems, and 7 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 theplaylist@nytimes.com and sign up for our Louder newsletter, a once-a-week blast of our pop music coverage.

Carly Rae Jepsen, ‘Beach House’

Boy problems? Carly Rae Jepsen’s got them in spades on “Beach House,” a cheeky earworm from her forthcoming album “The Loneliest Time.” Jepsen employs her deadpan sense of humor as she lists off the red flags and deal-breakers that marred relationships with “Boy No. 1” to “Boy No. I Can’t Keep Count Anymore.” Amid all the silliness, though (“I got a beach house in Malibu,” one prospect tells her, “and I’m probably gonna hurt your feelings”), the song effectively taps into the romantic frustration of endless, “Groundhog Day”-esque first dates and long-term singledom: “I’ve been on this ride, this roller coaster’s a carousel,” Jepsen sings on the anguished pre-chorus, “And I’m getting nowhere.” LINDSAY ZOLADZ

DJ Khaled featuring Drake and Lil Baby, ‘Staying Alive’

A quizzically melancholic opening salvo from the upcoming DJ Khaled album “God Did,” “Staying Alive” nods casually to the Bee Gees on the way to somewhere far less ecstatic. In this construction, staying alive is an act of defiance, not exuberance. Drake bemoans “This life that allow me to take what I want/it’s not like I know what I want,” while in the video, he plays a doctor smoking hookah in the hospital and absently signing off on charts of patients who might need some help achieving the song’s title. JON CARAMANICA

Benny Blanco, BTS and Snoop Dogg, ‘Bad Decisions’

Equally unimaginative as the BTS English-language breakthrough hit “Dynamite” but somehow less cloying, this collaboration benefits from the grandfatherly presence of Snoop Dogg, who at this stage of his career always raps as if his eyebrow is arched, and he can’t quite believe what he’s called upon to do either. CARAMANICA

The 1975, ‘Happiness’

“Happiness,” the latest single from the eclectic British pop group the 1975, manages to sound both sleek and a little spontaneous; the dense, ’80s-inspired production gleams but there’s always enough air circulating to keep the atmosphere well ventilated. The frontman Matty Healy sounds uncharacteristically laid back here, trading in his usual arch, hyper-referential lyrics for simpler sentiments: “Show me your love, why don’t you?” he croons on an ecstatic chorus that’s catchy without feeling overdetermined. The video, directed by Samuel Bradley, is a hoot, finding the group mugging in all variety of louche, gorgeously lit environments — basically the visual equivalent of the lush saxophone solo that drops in the middle of the song. ZOLADZ

Bandmanrill, ‘Real Hips’

A surprisingly luscious and nimble offering from the Newark rapper Bandmanrill that makes plain the through lines that connect drill music, Jersey club and bass music. CARAMANICA

Panda Bear & Sonic Boom, ‘Edge of the Edge’

Fans of Panda Bear’s beloved 2007 album “Person Pitch” will likely enjoy the sunny, collagelike “Edge of the Edge,” which will appear on “Reset,” the Animal Collective member’s collaborative album with Spacemen 3’s Sonic Boom, out next week. “Edge of the Edge” pairs a playful sample of the doo-wop group Randy & the Rainbows’ 1963 hit “Denise” with Panda’s serenely melodic vocals, which cut through the carefree, pop-psychedelic vibe with some light social critique: “Can’t say it’s what you bargained for,” he sings, wagging a finger at the frenzied escalation of technology, “It’s forever at the push of a button.” The song, in opposition, sounds contentedly off the grid. ZOLADZ

Bonny Light Horseman, ‘Exile’

The voices of Eric D. Johnson and Anaïs Mitchell entwine beautifully on “Exile,” the opening track from the folk trio Bonny Light Horseman’s upcoming second album “Rolling Golden Holy.” The song is a duet in the truest emotional sense, as Mitchell swoops in to finish some of Johnson’s lines and, on the chorus, provides a warm, glowing harmony that meets his lonely plea, “I don’t wanna live in exile.” ZOLADZ

YoungBoy Never Broke Again featuring Rod Wave, ‘Home Ain’t Home’

The two loneliest howlers in hip-hop unite for a meditation on the joylessness of fame. CARAMANICA

Related Articles

Back to top button