Billie Eilish and Rosalía join eccentric forces, and 12 more new songs


By The New York Times


Pop critics for The New York Times weigh in on new songs and videos.


Billie Eilish and Rosalía, ‘Lo Vas a Olvidar’


What a joyous relief that two of the most intriguing, progressive and wildly loved pop stars of the last five years have collaborated for the first time on a song that will baffle perhaps all expectations. Billie Eilish and Rosalía’s “Lo Vas a Olvidar” is something other than a pop smash, which isn’t to say it won’t be popular. Rather, it takes what stars of this magnitude are expected to do — join marketing forces and maximize accessibility — and questions it, stretches it out, unravels it and remolds it. This is a meditation, spacious and unfettered. It rolls like a slightly unpredictable weather system: low fog, rolls of thunder, gusts of indifferent wind. The vocals are delivered with haunted reverb. Eilish sings most of her verse in Spanish. Neither singer is in any rush. It is, in the most literal sense, a mood.

— JON CARAMANICA


Weezer, ‘All My Favorite Songs’

Weezer’s latest sonic guise is a retro one. “All My Favorite Songs” is from the band’s coming album, “OK Human,” billed as all-analog with the group backed by a 38-piece orchestra and harking back to the orchestral pop of the late 1960s and early 1970s. Instead of power chords, there’s a muscular cello section; violins and trumpet take over for lead guitar lines. But Weezer is still easily recognizable in this song, from its chunky midtempo beat to a pure Weezer attitude: “All my favorite songs are slow and sad / All my favorite people make me mad,” Rivers Cuomo sings.

— JON PARELES


Lilhuddy, ‘21st Century Vampire’

Get resigned to the fait accompli that is the arrival to pop music of the TikTok alpha figure Chase Hudson (aka Lil Huddy, and now, Lilhuddy). His debut single, “21st Century Vampire,” and its video nail a perfectly crowdsourced (and perfectly aesthetically empty) intersection of trends: pop-punk, quasi-goth, eboy, post-Eilish melancholia. It is pop rebel cosplay by numbers, and dimly effective. If that’s too long of an assessment, try this: Listens to Marilyn Manson once.

— JON CARAMANICA


BRS Kash featuring Mulatto, ‘Kash App’

On “Kash App,” Atlanta rapper BRS Kash is preoccupied with a particular woman’s wobble with a quick-spitting fervor that recalls New Orleans classics like 504 Boyz’s “Wobble Wobble” and Lil Wayne’s “Drop It Like It’s Hot” (rather than the laid-back Atlanta hit “Wobble” by V.I.C.). He’s matched indelicacy-for-indelicacy by Mulatto, who asserts authority in the song’s second half and makes clear the first half was mere fantasy. “Kash App” is another filthy entry for BRS Kash, who broke through last year with “Throat Baby (Go Baby).” A surprisingly warmly affectionate ode to deeply bawdy intimacy, it has a new remix, with fellow libertines DaBaby and City Girls, that is an early contender for the most bleepable song of 2021.

— JON CARAMANICA


King Klavé, featuring J. Hoard, ‘Real Lovin’’Simon Dufour and Aaron Day, featuring J. Hoard, ‘Find Light’

J. Hoard, an exuberantly gifted young vocalist and songwriter who treats affirmation as an art form, has been leaving breadcrumbs all over the New York City scene, collaborating with artists in jazz, rock, soul and electronic music. He shines brightly on two singles released last week by different acts. On “Real Lovin’,” written the day Donald Trump was elected president in 2016, Hoard insists on connection (“Feel somethin’ / To heal someone / For real lovin’”), grazing melismatically across a King Klavé beat that’s equal parts Stevie Wonder and J. Dilla. “Find Light” was written last year with Simon Dufour and Aaron Day, when they were all playing a Dilla tribute show. A recurring jazzy chord progression feels lifted from a ’90s R&B cassette, but the message is all Hoard: “We are more than heroes, even angels / ’Cause livin’ isn’t easy, we still carry on.”

— GIOVANNI RUSSONELLO


Camilo, ‘Ropa Cara’

Designer brand names have been vocal hooks for decades in hip-hop, but elfin-voiced Colombian singer Camilo puts a sly twist on the gimmick in “Ropa Caro” (“Expensive Clothes”). The way he tells it — as the beat flips from reggaeton to a Cuban son — he’s got a girlfriend with a lot of social-media followers, and she wants him in fancier clothes. He can’t afford them, but that doesn’t mean he can’t list them in a chorus.

— JON PARELES


Goat Girl, ‘Badibaba’

Deadpan vocals, a tangle of guitars and synthesizers, a brisk beat and a seemingly blithe chorus topped by the nonsense syllables “Badi badi ba ba” disguise lyrics about the costs of ignoring the environment: “Shove it somewhere we won’t see / Turn our mess into debris,” the members of Goat Girl sing. But before the track ends, there are consequences.

— JON PARELES


Sheer Mag, ‘Crushed Velvet’

Philly punks Sheer Mag blend DIY ethos with a humongous, arena-ready sound. The approach has helped them build a cult following that includes Bernie Sanders — or at least whichever in-the-know Sanders campaign staffer played Sheer Mag’s “Expect the Bayonet” at one of his 2019 presidential rallies. The vampy one-off single “Crushed Velvet,” from the soundtrack to the recently released Hulu original movie “The Ultimate Playlist of Noise,” is the first we’ve heard from them since their 2019 album, “A Distant Call.” In classic Sheer Mag fashion, though, it sounds more like something from the “Dazed and Confused” soundtrack: lightning riffs, cavernous percussion, and Tina Halladay’s rock-star howl. Perhaps it’s what that mittened, memed-to-death Bernie wishes he were listening to at the inauguration.

— LINDSAY ZOLADZ


Carm featuring Georgia Hubley and Ira Kaplan, ‘Already Gone’

Carm — aka CJ Camerieri — plays trumpet and French horn in yMusic, the contemporary chamber ensemble he co-founded; he has also backed Paul Simon and Bon Iver. His solo album, “Carm,” includes collaborations with Sufjan Stevens, Justin Vernon, Mouse on Mars, Shara Nova (from My Brightest Diamond) and, on this song, members of Yo La Tengo. Over nervously pulsating keyboards, he multitracks himself into a three-dimensional brass ensemble, with thick chords and tendrils of counterpoint, as Georgia Hubley and Ira Kaplan sing in haunted whispers about being “still nowhere / still not there / already gone.”

— JON PARELES


Deb Never, ‘Someone Else’

The bare-bones opening of Deb Never’s “Someone Else” — a clicky programmed beat, a barely tuned guitar and her reticent voice — is nicely deceptive. She’s preemptively jealous; “Don’t want you to fall in love with someone else” she sings over Beatles-tinged chords. As her worries mount, so does her backup; she’s joined by more voices, much sturdier guitars and a bustling double-time breakbeat before falling back into her lo-fi reverie, as if it was all just a pop mirage.

— JON PARELES


Patricia Brennan, ‘Episodes’

The image on the cover of “Maquishti” — the debut solo album from Mexico-born vibraphonist and marimba player Patricia Brennan — prepares you for the tangled tranquility of her music. It’s a photograph of barren tree branches against a gray sky that has been cut up and refracted, creating an image that collapses into various focal points. Brennan recorded the album alone, improvising with focus and forbearance, leaving plenty of cloudless space around her notes and sometimes using effects to create echo or layers of electronic sound. Throughout the record, your ear is often guided into a comforting pocket of melody or something resembling a pattern, with Brennan’s vibes resounding against a stark background of silence. Then the pattern evaporates and you find yourself enmeshed in a new web, listening from a different angle.

— GIOVANNI RUSSONELLO


Jon Mueller, ‘Welcome’

Jon Mueller, a musician from Wisconsin who collaborated with Justin Vernon in the group Volcano Choir, creates eerie, cavernous and sometimes hair-raising moments in the extended drone pieces on “Family Secret.” He used gongs, cymbals, bells, singing bowls and other far less identifiable sources for music that suggests gaping, unfathomable voids and distant threats.

— JON PARELES