SZA and Phoebe Bridgers’s Team-Up, 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.

SZA featuring Phoebe Bridgers, ‘Ghost in the Machine’

​“I need humanity,” SZA sings in “Ghost in the Machine,” a largely computerized track from her new album, “SOS.” Even the voices behind her sound quantized. Phoebe Bridgers, breathily multitracked, arrives midway through the song — singing about liminal spaces like “an airport bar or hotel lobby” — but their organic, analog presence can’t deny what numbers can deliver. JON PARELES

Lana Del Rey, ‘Did You Know That There’s a Tunnel Under Ocean Blvd’

The name of Lana Del Rey’s new single — the title track from her forthcoming eighth album — may seem like a mouthful, but as she repeats it across this nearly five-minute ballad, it becomes a hypnotic incantation. “Ocean Blvd” continues in the pleasantly meandering, piano-driven style that has served Del Rey so well on her last few albums, spotlighting her lyrical musings and the swells of emotion in her vocals. She moves elegantly between the minute and the universal here, making an observation about a specific time stamp in a Harry Nilsson song one moment, and the next imploring, vulnerably, “Love me until I love myself.” ZOLADZ

Caroline Polachek, ‘Welcome to My Island’

Caroline Polachek’s playful “Welcome to My Island” sounds like several different songs — from several different eras of pop — spliced together. There’s a bit of Blondie’s “Rapture”; a potent reminder why Polachek covering the Corrs’ “Breathless” was such a no-brainer; and a healthy dose of Olivia Rodrigo’s spoken-word angst on the bridge. (Rodrigo’s collaborator Dan Nigro was a producer on the track, alongside Danny L Harle, A.G. Cook and Jim E-Stack.) What brings it all together is an absolute monster of a chorus, on which Polachek sings the lyric from that gives her forthcoming second album its title, as if she’s shouting it off the peak of a mountain: “Desire, I want to turn into you.” ZOLADZ

Paramore, ‘The News’

“I worry and I give money and I feel useless behind this computer,” Hayley Williams sings on “The News,” a vertiginous exploration of modern information overload. The lyrics don’t necessarily offer a solution, but the pervasive anxiety evoked by Zac Farro’s skittish drumming and Taylor York’s dissonant riffs at least let Williams know that she’s not alone. ZOLADZ

Sparklehorse, ‘It Will Never Stop’

Mark Linkous, who recorded as Sparklehorse, died by suicide in 2010; his family discovered the previously unreleased “It Will Never Stop” among his recordings. It’s a noisy, low-fi stomp with just about everything distorted, vocals included, and it’s equally rowdy and desperate. “Please don’t vaporize into the sun,” Linkous sang, suddenly blasting louder as he added, “my love.” PARELES

Kate NV, ‘Oni (They)’

Sparkling and kaleidoscopic, the Russian experimental musician Kate NV’s “Oni (They)” is an intricate, miniature world unto itself. Kate weaves a colorful tapestry of retro-futuristic synthesizer sounds and an elastic rhythm section, singing, in Japanese, lyrics written by the producer Takahide “Foodman” Higuchi. ZOLADZ

Harvey Mandel, ‘Moon Talk’

The guitarist Harvey Mandel has been active since the 1960s, playing with Canned Heat at the 1969 Woodstock festival and straddling jazz, rock and blues with John Mayall. Now 77, he has made a freewheeling new instrumental album, “Who’s Calling.” “Moon Talk” is a funk track with echoes of Miles Davis’s “On the Corner” and a jabbing, wriggling, sliding, squealing guitar lead that’s anything but mellow with age. PARELES

Jackie Mendoza, ‘Pedacitos’

Jackie Mendoza strives to restore someone’s sense of self-worth in “Pedacitos” (“Little Pieces”), insisting, “I can see your tears/You can throw them away.” Produced by Mendoza and Rusty Santos, who has worked with Animal Collective, the song is harmonically and spatially ambiguous, with harplike plucking, swooping electronics and vocals wafting in from all directions. Yet Mendoza makes her reassurance sound like everyday common sense. PARELES

Weezer, ‘I Want a Dog’

Some animal shelter should benefit from “I Want a Dog,” Weezer’s song about the pure support of a prospective pet. It’s from the band’s current project, “SZNZ,” a cycle of songs based on the seasons, headed now for winter. The track expands from acoustic vulnerability to multitracked, Queen-style, massed-harmony domination, all well within Weezer’s skill set. And the sentiment — loneliness searching desperately for loyal companionship — is eternal. PARELES

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