The Playlist: Sheryl Crow’s All-Star Girl Gang, and 12 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.

Sheryl Crow, Stevie Nicks and Maren Morris, ‘Prove You Wrong’

Here’s a big, gleaming bulldozer of a song, built for loudness-wars radio and women’s self-sufficiency: “I got my mind made up and my high heels on.” It’s a Rolling Stones-y stomper from Sheryl Crow’s coming album of collaborations, “Threads”; she has said it may be her last full-length album statement in an era of lone songs and playlists. Crow, Maren Morris and Stevie Nicks harmonize to tell some guy that, actually, he’s not going to be crushingly missed; Joe Walsh and Vince Gill provide guitars that slide and crunch. It sounds huge and happy. JON PARELES

Avicii featuring Arizona, ‘Hold the Line’

“We don’t get to die young/We just have to push on,” the band Arizona urged in a song that the electronic dance music producer Avicii was working on before his suicide in 2018. The track has the rising, twinkling, intrinsically hopeful keyboard tones that Avicii brought to so many of his productions, but now the song is an elegy. PARELES

Bon Iver, ‘Hey, Ma’ and ‘U (Man Like)’

Bon Iver (Justin Vernon) returns with his unmistakable just-before-dawn textures: hovering electric guitar picking, edgeless synthesizer chords, drums that tentatively arrive and disappear, vocals that cling to to a sturdy, deliberate melody but sound like they’re being blurted out — and what could be more elemental than a refrain of “Hey, Ma”? But introducing this song with a lyric video may not be the best strategy. “Tall vote, you know you mope it up.” Huh? PARELES

Raphael Saadiq featuring Rob Bacon, ‘Something Keeps Calling’

With a sluggish, lurching beat and a wash of amorphous guitar chords in the background, Raphael Saadiq captures the desperation of an addiction, the sense of being stuck forever. He sings sweetly about all the things he stands to lose until, just seconds from the end, the harmony changes and he vows, “I’m never turning back.” PARELES

Future, ‘Love Thy Enemies’

On the tragic final song on the new Future EP, “Save Me” the Atlanta melancholy and self-destruction specialist sounds spent. Over thickened-up flickers of Iron & Wine-esque guitar, Future rambles about being broken by a failed relationship: “How do I explain this to my children?/I need to find the words without sounding foolish.” A moment later, he coughs. Literally coughs. Whether a symbol of unprocessed pain, or of the side effects of the choices one makes to grapple with unprocessed pain, it’s a jolt. The more he crumbles, the harder it is to stop listening. JON CARAMANICA

Luke Combs, ‘Even Though I’m Leaving’

Luke Combs has one of the most emotionally tactile voices in contemporary country music. Here, he applies it to a classic mid-2000s-style country song in which the main motif changes meaning from one verse to the next — the father leaves the son as a child, the son leaves the father when he grows up, and then the father dies. Throughout, even at his most tender, Combs is firm, stepping into the rawness of the feeling, not away from it. CARAMANICA

Team Dresch, ‘Your Hands My Pockets’

It has been 19 years between new songs for Team Dresch, the Portland punk band that helped establish the subgenre called queercore. The band picks up exactly where it left off in 2000 with “Your Hands My Pockets,” a proclamation of woman-on-woman desire set to dense, fast, distorted and ultimately jubilant guitar riffs. A reunion tour starts on Friday. PARELES

Jai Paul, ‘He’

Even before a cache of unfinished Jai Paul material leaked in 2013 and became platinum internet samizdat, the innovative and poignant British electronic music producer and vocalist wasn’t much for the spotlight. His catalog was slim but influential, and beyond that he was a cipher. In the six years since the leak, he’s largely been quiet, apart from beginning an institute to nurture other musicians. But this week, he picked up where he left off. Or more precisely, where he was left behind. He formally released the stolen demos (sans a few samples) as “Leak 04-13 (Bait Ones),” and also put out two new songs, finished-up versions of music from the same time period as the leak. Of the two, the slithery electro-soul production “He” is the revelation. A student of Prince, and kin to Dev Hynes and Frank Ocean, Jai Paul blends warmth and abstraction, sparseness with absorption. It’s music that, six years after it was initially conceived, still somehow sounds like a vision of tomorrow. CARAMANICA

Esperanza Spalding, ‘How to (Hair)’

Spalding recently released an expanded edition of her offbeat, intellectual, sensory catharsis of an album, “12 Little Spells,” this time with four new “spells.” (She doesn’t call the pieces on the album songs; each one is aimed at heightening your consciousness about a different part of your own body). The bassist and vocalist released a video this week for one of the new tracks, “How to (Hair).” Over an ambient backing that funnels down into a slow, whorled beat, Spalding contemplates a history of America from the perspective of black hair, not bothering to rhyme or even to keep rhythm. “Whose image have we been made in? Composed for? Orchestrated by?” she asks. Then, defiantly, she asserts the power of song to make sense of a twisted world: “Our principles are the concertmaster.” GIOVANNI RUSSONELLO

Mateo Kingman, ‘Tejidos’

Mateo Kingman, from Ecuador, raps in Spanish about mystical and carnal merging in “Tejidos” (“Weaves”): “I want to enter your body, your skin/No destination, no rest, just take me.” Most of the rhythm comes from plucked harps — an Andean instrument, both natural and reprocessed as samples — along with the programmed sounds of trap; the song rides the beat but also floats way above it. PARELES

Chrissie Hynde, ‘Meditation on a Pair of Wire-Cutters’

Chrissie Hynde is utterly self-effacing — a wordless voice briefly appearing in the ensemble — on this track from her jazz-derived album due in September, “Valve Bone Woe.” It’s a sinuous Charles Mingus tune that glides above a leaping bass line; the arrangement slips some distorted electric guitar into a dense thicket of winds and percussion, but Mingus’s snaking, chromatic melody is the star. PARELES

David Sánchez, ‘Fernando’s Theme’

Known for infusing Afro-Caribbean tradition into contemporary jazz, the Puerto Rican-born tenor saxophonist David Sánchez typically turns heads with the enormous power and flash-bang fluency of his playing. But another side of his brilliance becomes apparent on “Fernando’s Theme,” a simple, one-chord piece. Over electric keyboard, piano, bass and hand percussion, he plays in cool, unhurried lines — halfway doleful, halfway glorious — communicating strength through subtlety. RUSSONELLO

Jon Pareles has been The Times’s chief pop music critic since 1988. A musician, he has played in rock bands, jazz groups and classical ensembles. He majored in music at Yale University. @JonPareles

Jon Caramanica is a pop music critic for The Times and the host of the Popcast. He also writes the men’s Critical Shopper column for Styles. He previously worked for Vibe magazine, and has written for the Village Voice, Spin, XXL and more. @joncaramanica

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