Karol G and Romeo Santos’s Sensual Goodbye, 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.

Karol G and Romeo Santos, ‘X Si Volvemos’

Two Latin pop songwriters who thrive on breakup drama — Karol G, from Colombia, and Romeo Santos, a stadium-scale headliner from the Bronx with Dominican and Puerto Rican roots — arrange a last tryst in “X Si Volvemos.” Karol G points out “No funcionamos” — “We don’t work” — and “We’re a disaster in love,” but she admits, “In bed we understand each other.” He tells her their relationship is toxic, but wonders if he’s addicted to their intimacy. The musical turf, a reggaeton beat, is hers, but the temptation is mutual. JON PARELES

Morgan Wallen, ‘Last Night’

The distance between acoustic-guitar sincerity and electronic artifice is nearing zero. Morgan Wallen, the canny country superstar, has what sounds like a loop of acoustic guitar — three chords — backing him as he sings about a whiskey-fueled reconciliation: “Baby, baby something’s telling this ain’t over yet,” he sings, sounding very smug. PARELES

Sunny War, ‘No Reason’

Sunny War, a songwriter from Nashville born Sydney Lyndella Ward, sings about a flawed but striving character — maybe herself — in “No Reason,” from her new album, “Anarchist Gospel.” She observes, “You’re an angel, you’re a demon/Ain’t got no rhyme, ain’t go no reason,” as folk-rock fingerpicking, a jaunty backbeat and hoedown handclaps carry her through the contradictions. PARELES

Yves Tumor, ‘Echolalia’

There’s a dreamlike quality about “Echolalia,” the breathy, percussive new single from Yves Tumor’s wildly titled upcoming record “Praise a Lord Who Chews But Which Does Not Consume; (Or Simply, Hot Between Worlds).” Basically a three-minute swoon, “Echolalia” finds the 21st-century glam rocker dazed with infatuation and, however briefly, cosplaying conventionality: “Just put me in a house with a dog and a shiny car,” Tumor sings breathlessly. “We can play the part.” LINDSAY ZOLADZ

James Brandon Lewis, ‘Someday We’ll All Be Free’

When Donny Hathaway sang his “Someday We’ll All Be Free,” it was determinedly encouraging. On his new album, “Eye of I,” the tenor saxophonist James Brandon Lewis makes it both militant and questioning. Chris Hoffman’s electric cello snarls distorted drones and Max Jaffe’s drumming moves between marching-band crispness and rumbling eruptions, while Lewis and Kirk Knuffke, on cornet, share the melody, go very separate ways simultaneously and then reunite, contentious but comradely. PARELES

Unknown Mortal Orchestra, ‘Layla’

The New Zealander Ruban Nielson, leader of the tuneful lo-fi psych-rockers Unknown Mortal Orchestra, is known for being a prolific songwriter, so it makes sense that the band’s forthcoming “V,” its first release in five years, will be a double album. “Layla” is full of warmth, with a soulful vocal melody, Nielson’s nimble guitar playing and the band’s signature fuzzy tones all contributing to an enveloping atmosphere. “Layla, let’s get out of this broken place,” Nielson sings, conjuring an alluring elsewhere. ZOLADZ

Temps featuring Joana Gomila, Nnamdï, Shamir and Quelle Chris, ‘Bleedthemtoxins’

“Do not fear mistakes,” floating voices advise for the first minute of “Bleedthemtoxins,” a bemused miscellany overseen by James Acaster, an English comedian, actor and podcaster turned musical auteur. His debut album as Temps, “Party Gator Purgatory,” is due in May. The studio-built track is loosely held together by a loping beat, but it rambles at will through Beach Boys-like harmonies, free-form raps and small-group jazz, all thoroughly and cleverly whimsical. PARELES

Debby Friday featuring Uñas, ‘I Got It’

“I Got It,” from the Toronto musician Debby Friday, is an explosive, pounding, relentlessly calisthenic dance-floor banger with attitude to spare. A pulsating beat flickers like a strobe light as Friday and Chris Vargas of the duo Pelada, appearing here as Uñas, trade braggadocious bilingual verses. “Let mama give you what you need,” Friday shrieks before calmly assuring, “I got it.” ZOLADZ

Caroline Polachek, ‘Blood and Butter’

Sheer, euphoric infatuation courses through “Blood and Butter,” the latest single previewing the album Caroline Polachek is releasing on Valentine’s Day: “Desire, I Want to Turn Into You.” Polachek and her co-producer, Danny L Harle, constructed a song that starts out in wonderment — “Where did you come from, you?” — on its way to declarations like “What I want is to walk beside you, needing nothing.” Springy hand percussion, a bagpipe solo and multilayered la-las sustain the bliss. PARELES

Raye, ‘Environmental Anxiety.’

Most of the songs on “My 21st Century Blues,” the impressive new album by the English songwriter Raye, are about personal struggles: with romance, with the music business, with drugs, with exploitation. But “Environmental Activity” views the generational big picture: a poisoned planet, a toxic online culture, a rigged economy. The song is elegant in its bitterness, opening with a sweetly sung indictment — “How did you ever think it wasn’t bound to happen?” — leading to a snappy dance beat, a matter-of-fact, half-rapped list of dire situations and a poised chorale sung over church bells and sirens: “We’re all gonna die/What do we do before it happens?” PARELES

Yuniverse, ‘L8 Nite Txts’

Yuniverse, an Indonesian-Australian songwriter, collaborated with the producer Corin Roddick, of Purity Ring, to make a familiar situation shimmery and surreal: “You’re smiling through your lies again/You’re telling me she’s just a friend,” she sings. Her voice is high and breathy, with hyperpop computer tweaks; it floats amid harplike plinks and fragments of deep, twitchy, drill-like beats. Even in the synthetic soundscape, heartache comes through. PARELES

Jana Horn, ‘After All This Time’

The Texas folk singer Jana Horn makes music of arresting delicacy; her songs take shape like intricately woven spider webs. “After All This Time,” from a new album due in April, is a hushed, gently off-kilter meditation full of Horn’s peculiar koans: “Looking out the window,” she sings in a wispy voice, “is not the same as opening the door.” ZOLADZ

Lankum, ‘Go Dig My Grave’

The Irish band Lankum amplifies the bleakest tidings of Celtic traditional songs, leaning into minor modes and unswerving drones, harnessing traditional instruments and studio technology. “Go Dig My Grave,” an old song that traveled from the British Isles to Appalachia, is death-haunted and implacable. It begins with Radie Peat singing a cappella, insisting “tell this world that I died for love.” The band joins her with somber vocal harmonies, tolling drone tones, clanking percussion and baleful fiddle slides, a crescendo of dread. PARELES

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