Becky G’s Revenge Fantasy, and 11 More New Songs

Every Friday, pop critics for The New York Times weigh in on the week’s most notable new tracks. 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, and The Amplifier, a twice-weekly guide to new and old songs.

Becky G featuring Chiquis, ‘Cuidadito’

Becky G, an American singer with Mexican roots, has racked up millions of streams with hits in pop styles from across the Americas. On most of her new album, “Esquinas,” she latches onto the rising popularity of regional Mexican music, reviving ballads by Vicente Fernández, the revered Mexican ranchera songwriter, and collaborating with current regional Mexican hitmakers including Peso Pluma, Yahritza y Su Esencia and, on “Cuidadito” (“Be Careful”), the Mexican singer Chiquis. In a bouncy duet, they detail the kind of revenge they’re ready to take on a husband seen with another woman the night before: no breakfast, slashed tires, eviction. Spoiler: It was just a dream, but he’s been warned. JON PARELES

Debby Friday, ‘Let U In’

The Canadian electronic-pop songwriter Debby Friday, who just won Canada’s Polaris Prize, collaborated with the Australian producer Darcy Baylis on this new single. Over a double-time break beat and calmly pulsing synthesizers, Friday sings about an obsession that keeps her awake, even if the devotion may not be entirely mutual. She wonders, “Is the big heart my only sin?” PARELES

PinkPantheress, ‘Mosquito’

The latest single from the British pop star PinkPantheress is a sugary confection with a gothic edge. “I just had a dream I was dead, and I only cared ’cause I was taken from you,” she sings in her signature lilt, hopscotching across a skittish beat. Produced with Greg Kurstin, the track retains the dreamy charm of PinkPantheress’s homespun bedroom-pop but adds a glittery sheen. LINDSAY ZOLADZ

Jaja Tresch featuring Coco Argentée and Denis Dino, ‘Nonji Chom’

Here’s a burst of sheer jubilation. Jaja Tresch and two fellow Cameroonian singers, Coco Argentée and Denis Dino, trade verses on a track that hurtles along on six-beat rhythms, drawing on bikutsi and other styles original to their country. The lyrics, in the Meta’ language, tell young people to heed their parents and to persevere. As guitars, drums, balafons (marimbas), flutes and whistles all pile into the track, the music soars. PARELES

The Rolling Stones featuring Stevie Wonder and Lady Gaga, “Sweet Sounds of Heaven”

The absolute high point of “Hackney Diamonds,” the first album of new Rolling Stones songs since 2005, is “Sweet Sounds of Heaven.” It starts as a loose, gospelly song that just happens to have Stevie Wonder on keyboards; soon, Lady Gaga arrives to trade vocals with — and spur on — Mick Jagger. Horns come in to push the song to a grand finale, but apparently no one wants to let it end, and what sounds like a spontaneous studio jam lifts the song to another peak. Even in this digital era, it feels analog. PARELES

H31R, ‘Right Here’

H31R — the duo of the Brooklyn rapper maassai and the New Jersey producer JWords — conjures a sound for when lust conquers rationality on “Right Here.” The rap goes, “I know better/but if you wanna take me I could let ya,” over squishy electric piano chords, sporadic bass-drum hits and some tiny thing that’s just rattling and clanking around the mix. The mood is a tossup: eager but nonchalant, defensive but reckless. PARELES

Faye Webster, ‘Lifetime’

Turbulent love songs are everywhere; serene ones are much rarer. Faye Webster’s “Lifetime” savors a sense of permanence. The tempo is a very relaxed sway, piano and guitar trade little trickling phrases, and a chamber orchestra offers discreet support as Webster sings in a voice of bemused contentment, envisioning a lifelong connection. PARELES

Oneohtrix Point Never, ‘Again’

There’s an eerie beauty in “Again,” the title track from the latest album by the electronic experimentalist Oneohtrix Point Never. The glitchy, wordless composition progresses through cycles of malfunction and decay — melodies seem to break apart, revealing the ghosts in the machines. If HAL 9000’s death scene in “2001: A Space Odyssey” makes you cry, this one’s for you. ZOLADZ

Matana Roberts, ‘How Prophetic’

Reeds and violin explode in star bursts, over and again. A pair of drummers push ahead with a square-shouldered beat that could easily be lifted from a punk record, or from one of Junior Kimbrough’s electric blues. Alongside them, the alto saxophonist, multimedia artist and self-described “sound quilter” Matana Roberts speaks from the perspective of an ancestor (or maybe many), putting words to the critical consciousness that the women of Robert’s line have carried. “How Prophetic” arrives early on “Coin Coin Chapter Five: In the Garden,” the latest in a series of albums exploring Roberts’s ancestry and inheritance, drawing from a mix of archival material, interviews with relatives and the artist’s imagination. At the end of “How Prophetic,” Roberts recites a refrain which recurs across the album: “My name is your name, our name is their name, we are named, we remember, they forget.” GIOVANNI RUSSONELLO

The National, ‘Smoke Detector’

The National ends “Laugh Track,” its surprise-release second album of 2023, with “Smoke Detector,” an eight-minute live recording that’s a spiral of desperation. The lyrics work through free associations, promises and pleas — “Why don’t you lay here and listen to distant sirens with me?” — while the band circles obsessively through four chords, falling and rising, with its guitars tangling and seething, gnashing and wailing. “You don’t know how much I love you, do you?” Matt Berninger eventually asks, already knowing the sad answer. PARELES

Atka, ‘Lenny’

Atka is the singer and songwriter Sarah Neumann, who was born in Germany but is now based in London. In “Lenny,” she sings about trying to save a troubled man she still loves: “I need you, I always will,” she insists. She and her producer, Jung Kim from Gang of Youths, use frantically clattering percussion and an occasional sample of church bells to transform what could have been a basic two-chord rocker into an emotional siege. PARELES

Darius Jones, ‘Zubot’

It takes over two minutes for any prescribed melody to kick in on “Zubot,” as you can see clearly in the accompanying video, which animates Darius Jones’s written score. But by the time his alto saxophone syncs up with James Meger’s bass, playing a zigzagging, key-jumping melody while cellos and violins scrub and scrape around them, each instrument in the group has found a way to define itself. “Zubot” is the second of four movements in Jones’s new album-length suite, “Fluxkit Vancouver (It’s Suite but Sacred),” connected equally to 12-tone modernism and free jazz and the Southern soul saxophone tradition. RUSSONELLO

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