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 indie-rock supergroup boygenius — featuring Phoebe Bridgers, Lucy Dacus and Julien Baker — never promised to be anything more than a one-off side project when it released an excellent six-song EP in 2018. But this week, the group returned with the promise of a full album and three new songs that prove that EP wasn’t a fluke. The poignant, Bridgers-led “Emily I’m Sorry” is a compassionate folk-rock portrait of a relationship on the brink of collapse, while Dacus steers the ship on the heartening “True Blue,” a vivid snapshot of a love that’s going stronger than ever. (“It feels good to be known so well,” Dacus sings. “I can’t hide from you like I hide from myself.”) The revelation, though, is “$20,” a chugging rocker that finds the band kicking into a whole new gear, and allows Baker to inhabit a swaggering persona. “It’s a bad idea and I’m all about it,” she sings, sketching a scene full of indelible images (“It’s an all night drive from your house to Reno, to the T-Bird graveyard where we play with fire”). Halfway through, “$20” takes a thrilling turn when all three members of the band start singing different refrains in a round: Their voices converge and collide before the song erupts in a conflagration of primal screams — playing with fire, indeed.
Fenne Lily, ‘Lights Light Up’
On “Lights Light Up,” from the forthcoming album “Big Picture,” the English singer-songwriter Fenne Lily’s smooth, arpeggiated guitar playing has the fluidity of a babbling brook, and her murmured vocals flow with a similar kind of serenity. An undercurrent of melancholy and loss emerges from her lyrics, though, which chronicle a gradual acceptance of loss: “You didn’t listen when I told you I’m no dancer,” she sings, “now I dance alone all the time.”
Yaeji, ‘For Granted’
The New York-based musician and producer Yaeji has released two acclaimed house-inspired EPs and an impressionistic 2020 mixtape, but on April 7 she’ll finally put out her first full-length album, “With a Hammer.” The debut single, the shape-shifting “For Granted,” is certainly promising — a playful, sing-songy synth-pop track that, halfway through, explodes into skittish euphoria. “When I think about it, I don’t even know,” she croons dreamily, before letting her concerns go: “So I stop the thinking, let it rest and I’ll flow.”
Arlo Parks, ‘Weightless’
Arlo Parks works through indecision on the driving “Weightless,” the first single from her second album “My Soft Machine.” “I don’t wanna wait for you,” the young British artist sings on the chorus, “but I need you so I won’t go.” With its persistent beat and whooshes of melodrama, “Weightless” is a departure from the more muted sound she explored on her debut, “Collapsed in Sunbeams,” but the vivid lyrics still showcase her signature poeticism: “Cardamom and jade as your eyes screamed,” she sings, “on the night you showed your volcanic side.”
Kim Petras, ‘Brrr’
Kim Petras plays ice queen on the bold, commanding “Brrr,” a synth-pop track as industrial and echoey as a walk-in freezer. “Why don’t you take it out on me, if you think you’re so cold?” she asks a prospective paramour, delivering the line like a seductive dare.
Ice Spice and Lil Tjay, ‘Gangsta Boo’
Ice Spice cuts right to the chase on “Gangsta Boo” — “A baddie got’ get what she like/So what’s your sign, ’cause I like you?” — one of three new songs released today on her debut EP “Like..?” Her trusted producer RIOTUSA speeds up and adds some percussive crunch to a sample of P. Diddy’s “I Need a Girl Part 2,” while fellow Bronx rapper Lil Tjay drops in for an exuberant guest verse. “Gangsta Boo” doesn’t have the venomous attitude that made Ice Spice’s breakout single “Munch (Feelin’ U)” pop, but her effortless charisma sells the track just the same.