The Playlist: Kesha Simmers, and 9 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.

Kesha featuring Sturgill Simpson, Brian Wilson and Wrabel, ‘Resentment’

Amid folky guitars, choirboy voices and a close-harmony duet vocal — is that Sturgill Simpson? — Kesha portrays a particular kind of long-suffering romance that pop rarely addresses: “You hurt me and I don’t react/I’ve been building up this thing for months.” The vocal backdrop is elaborate; up front, Kesha’s voice is trying to hold on without caving in. JON PARELES

First Aid Kit and Maja Francis, ‘It Must Have Been Love’ (Musikhjälpen 2019)

Marie Fredriksson, the frontwoman of the Swedish pop outfit Roxette, had a broad, powerful voice that hit like lightning bolts. On “It Must Have Been Love,” the ballad that was Roxette’s biggest hit, it verged on melodrama, but never felt hokey — singing at her outer limit, she rendered the song with a kind of affectionate bombast. This tribute cover — a collaboration between the Swedish pop singer Maja Francis and the Swedish folk duo First Aid Kit — honors Fredriksson, who died this week at 61, and the song by removing the thrust at its core. Their version is restrained, a little tense, but most crucially, soothing. JON CARAMANICA

Usher featuring Ella Mai, ‘Don’t Waste My Time’

On the technically impressive and effortlessly floating “Don’t Waste My Time,” Usher channels the sensual side of New Jack Swing — a touch of Guy, a flicker of Ralph Tresvant — for one of his most convincing songs in years. CARAMANICA

Kaytranada featuring Kali Uchis, ‘10%’

“Where’s my residuals?” a petulant Kali Uchis demands in a pushy singsong, “Where’s my 10 percent?” In a song from Kaytranada’s new album, “Bubba,” she’s quantifying a relationship that might be social or business; meanwhile, Kaytranada’s warped disco production finds ever-shifting textural permutations for two chords. PARELES

Martha Wash, ‘Never Enough Money’

Martha Wash — the studio belter behind the Weather Girls’ “It’s Raining Men,” C+C Music Factory’s “Gonna Make You Sweat” and Black Box’s “Everybody Everybody” — applies her full gospel-rooted grit and a mounting fury to “Never Enough Money,” a pounding funk-Afrobeat indictment of greed. Dissonant guitar wails and piercing electric organ only stoke her contempt. PARELES

Lolo Zouaï, ‘Chain’

“Chain” is rigorously minimal most of the way through: a handful of percussion sounds, a calmly oozing synthesizer bass line, and probably less than a dozen vocal overdubs of words and ahs. A small string ensemble arrives at the end. That’s all that Lolo Zouaï — born in France to French and Algerian parents, raised in Paris and Nashville — needs to create this hypnotic plea. “Will you hold me down?” she sings, leaving it an open question as to how much “you” will commit. PARELES

Lil Uzi Vert, ‘Futsal Shuffle 2020’

The Lil Uzi Vert rollout strategy is perhaps particular to him. At the end of last month, he posted a video debuting a new dance routine to a new song. Obsessive fans — who have tracked the slow unveiling of his next album, “Eternal” — got excited, and began making dance videos of their own, emulating his steps. With the buzz and participation already generated, the song, “Futsal Shuffle 2020,” arrives as if already in motion. The beat is skittish and urgent, and Lil Uzi Vert raps as clearly as he ever has. (There’s also a funny bit sampled from an interview he did with Nardwuar the Human Serviette.) But no matter how sharp his rhymes are, it’s hard to listen to this song and want to do anything but dance. CARAMANICA

Fay Kueen, ‘Atmospheric Zebra’

Fay Kueen studied as a classical musician and composer in China; she came to the United States in 2008. “Atmospheric Zebra,” from her new EP, “A Place Called Home Is Not a Place,” is a richly layered mesh of rhythm, minimalistic keyboards and imagistic lyrics that she sings with guileless clarity, including a countdown that begins “Ten islands in silence. Nine cats in the bed. Eight birds in purse. Seven days without jays.” A danceable backbeat arrives halfway through, to become just one more variable amid the disorientation. PARELES

Sasha Berliner featuring Sirintip, ‘Marigold’

At just 21, the young vibraphonist Sasha Berliner has already started to make an impression as a bandleader on the New York scene. Her compositions have a way of grooving deeply while moving their weight and balance around in counterintuitive ways, keeping you riveted but just barely thrown off. That happens a bit on the 13-beat groove of “Marigold,” which comes from Berliner’s just-released debut album, “Azalea.” On this track only, her acoustic-electric quintet is adorned with the vocals of Sirintip, who sings in even, airy tones, drawing on the influence of Gretchen Parlato. GIOVANNI RUSSONELLO

Yussef Dayes, ‘Duality’

The drummer Yussef Dayes — one of the United Kingdom’s most popular young musicians at the intersection of jazz, hip-hop and electronic music — recently put out this video, which includes two new short pieces: “For My Ladies,” a sauntering, romantic intoxicant of a track, and “Othello,” a faster, more drum-and-bass-inflected light workout of a tune. RUSSONELLO

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