The Playlist: Robyn’s Dance-Floor Weeper 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 — and anything else that strikes them as intriguing.

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, New York Times
Every Friday, pop critics for The New York Times weigh in on the week’s most notable new songs and videos — and anything else that strikes them as intriguing.
Robyn, ‘Missing U’

The Swedish pop singer, songwriter and producer Robyn makes music for fembots and dancehall queens and everyone in between; for kicking losers to the curb and welcoming new love; for flipping the bird to technology and rules and anything holding you back. But she specializes in songs suited for “dance crying,” tracks that smother loss in synth supernovas. In 2007 there was “With Every Heartbeat,” then came “Dancing on My Own” in 2010. Now the trilogy is complete with “Missing U,” her first solo release since 2010, which she wrote and recorded with her longtime collaborator Klas Ahlund and Joseph Mount (who records as Metronomy). The lyrics describe presence and absence — finding the physical detritus of a relationship in her pockets and memories in her mind, sensing the weight of what’s gone. The track twinkles and throbs, nudging her along. Robyn is here, thankfully, once again. — CARYN GANZ

Neneh Cherry, ‘Kong’

Robyn has made no secret of her admiration for Neneh Cherry, and the two Swedish musicians collaborated in 2014 on the sassy “Out of the Black.” Now Cherry is back in a very different mode: “Kong,” produced by 3D of Massive Attack and Four Tet, is somber and ominous, blending lyrics about personal challenges with the struggles of refugees seeking peace. A dubby bass line provides a guidepost — at times, it feels like everything else is fading in and out of consciousness or awareness; awake, but lost. — CARYN GANZ

Cuco and Clairo, ‘Drown’

A lovely downer duet about the last dregs of a relationship from two casually confident young singers. Clairo is pulling away — “I need some time away from you/Can’t even be in the same room” — while Cuco is pleading his case: “Call me, you’ve got my number/Don’t let me go yet, lover.” The song oozes gently, not favoring one or the other. Like most tugs of war, there’s no resolution, only that persistent feeling of uncertainty that never quite fades. — JON CARAMANICA

Mac Miller, ‘Self Care’

Throughout his new album “Swimming,” Mac Miller sounds genuinely submerged, sonically and emotionally. He’s given to a lush, deeply textured production style, and for the most part here, he sounds content to be swaddled by synths and drums. “Self Care” is one of the album’s high points, largely because it nails the sentiment of being low. Produced by DJ Dahi with Nice Rec, it’s appealingly insular, fill of lyrics about what a joy it is to be the one to save yourself. Touches of Dev Hynes vocals and Erykah Badu’s “On and On” add density to the haze. — JON CARAMANICA

Tony Bennett and Diana Krall, ‘Fascinating Rhythm’

Tony Bennett and k.d. lang? Hm! Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga? Whoa. Tony Bennett and Diana Krall? Ah, yes. This eminently logical duo will release its first full-length collaboration next month. And get ready to be even less surprised: It’s a collection of Gershwin covers, titled “Love Is Here to Stay.” The first single is a medium-fast take on “Fascinating Rhythm,” whose snappy spirit befits Bennett. (He turned 92 on Friday, by the way.) But Krall sounds even more comfortable, hugging the rhythm’s curves and wisely underinvesting. — GIOVANNI RUSSONELLO

Hprizm, ‘Clearbody’

From Hprizm’s EP “Catching a Body,” this is a frantic, sure-footed instrumental hip-hop track that recalls the boom-bap of the early 1990s and also the ways in which his old outfit, Antipop Consortium, scrambled that sound up in the late 1990s. — JON CARAMANICA

Freelance, ‘Your Love’

An electric bass line that creeps quickly across the carpet. Woven, Stevie Wonder-esque harmonies from horns and synth. Svelte vocals by Smithsoneon, occasionally curling into a croon so velvety he sounds like Aaron Neville. Sounds come at you fast and dense — but always reassuringly — on “Your Love,” a single off the debut album by Freelance. This week the Harlem-based musical collective unveiled the music video; it covers just over half of the almost-seven-minute song, fading out right before an Afrobeat-tinged instrumental section. — GIOVANNI RUSSONELLO

DJ Khaled featuring Justin Bieber, Chance the Rapper and Quavo, ‘No Brainer’

Last year, the unlikely alliance of DJ Khaled, Justin Bieber, Chance the Rapper and Quavo delivered one of the essential songs of the summer, the feather-light “I’m the One.” Lightning does not strike twice. Sometimes it’s best to leave well enough alone, though this effort did lead to a video in which DJ Khaled wears what appears to be a custom-made leather shirt designed to match his Chanel sneakers, and Bieber seems to wear a shoelace for a belt. — JON CARAMANICA

Caleb Wheeler Curtis, ‘Brothers’

Caleb Wheeler Curtis’ alto saxophone playing has plenty of modern-jazz conventions within it — that technical, patterny stuff that turns most listeners cold almost immediately — but they’re not what he’s about. On “Brothers,” the scholarly vocabulary becomes part of the background in comparison to the relatable content he’s putting forth: his occasional, cooing vibrato, or his sincere, dancing runs. “Brothers” is the title track from his debut album. — GIOVANNI RUSSONELLO

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