The Playlist: Green Day’s Time Warp, 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.

Green Day, ‘Father of All …’

Don’t call it a comeback, but Green Day borrows the look of Elvis Presley’s 1969 TV comeback special for the video clip of “Father of All …,” which transmogrifies the band’s old punk-pop into 21st-century mutations: processed vocals and artificial-seeming handclaps over vintage Beatles-tinged chord progressions. The song is a frantic, fractured response to America’s fact-challenged moment — “I’m obsessed with the poison and us/What a mess because there’s no one to trust” — trying to figure out what communicates right now. JON PARELES

Kills Birds, ‘Worthy Girl’

Nine songs, 26 minutes: The debut album from Kills Birds is a furious, fuzzy bombshell. The Los Angeles band is fronted by Nina Ljeti, who is likely familiar with “Rid of Me,” “Asking for It” and “Art Star,” and its producer is Justin Raisen, who worked on standout albums including Yves Tumor’s 2018 LP “Safe in the Hands of Love” and Sky Ferreira’s “Night Time, My Time.” The album’s rumbling, squealing opening track is the perfect soundtrack to 100 beers spilling on the floor of a dark rock club. CARYN GANZ

Soccer Mommy, ‘Lucy’

“Lucy,” clearly, is Lucifer. In her new single, Soccer Mommy — the songwriter Sophie Allison — feels herself being seduced by pure handsome evil: “His body’s a temple/Made up of brimstone and fire.” Her music gives her little to hold on to against his temptations, as guitars waver and echo in a psychedelic maelstrom that just might drown her. PARELES

Gang Starr featuring J. Cole, ‘Family and Loyalty’

A new Gang Starr song — featuring two posthumous Guru verses — so crisp it could have been released in the mid-90s, and that includes the verse from J. Cole, who fits seamlessly into a song redolent of the era he’s most indebted to. In a time in which flow patterns have melted into slush, it’s refreshing to be reminded of the power that comes from certain pacing, smooth gravitas and square-cornered rhymes. JON CARAMANICA

L’Orange & Jeremiah Jae, ‘After Alley Life’

“Tell me what is wrong with you,” goes the slowed-down hook, only to have the Los Angeles-based rapper and singer Jeremiah Jae answer, with scratchy resignation, “I feel like I’m going insane.” It’s from an album, “Complicate Your Life With Violence,” due Oct. 4. L’Orange’s production — one recurring minor guitar chord, a prowling bass line, a draggy beat — gives “After Alley Life” a resolute foreboding. Jae’s oblique lyrics and the animated video allude to warfare and inner struggles: “Demons all around me I’ve become,” Jae raps, almost with a shrug. PARELES

Celine Dion, ‘Imperfections’

Four summers ago, Justin Bieber released a pair of singles — “What Do You Mean?” and “Where Are Ü Now” — that brought soft-edged EDM into pop-soul. That sound has been squeezed dry since then, to the point where a faint scent of it is detectable in the new Celine Dion song “Imperfections.” One of three new songs from her forthcoming album “Courage,” due in November, “Imperfections” is a casually impressive stride. Dion sounds confident and steady, and the production moves with a light sultriness, never taxing her but bursting with the tug-of-war between darkness and joy that suggests Dion would have made a great disco diva. CARAMANICA

Hailee Steinfeld, ‘Afterlife’

Here’s a new loyalty test: Hailee Steinfeld wants her partner to still love her “when my heartbeat stops” and on into reincarnation, to “search for us/Will you find me after life?” The music is a synthesized march, with trap percussion and an Auto-Tuned backup choir behind Steinfeld’s tremulous lead. She’s 22, and thinking about death. Morbid enough? PARELES

Night Dreamer, ‘Another Life’

The Smashing Pumpkins guitarist Jeff Schroeder’s other life is in a dreamy duo with the singer Mindy Song. “Another Life” is chiming, moody taste of its debut EP, “Treasure,” out Oct. 11. GANZ

Zsela, ‘Earlier Days’

Zsela studies her own crumbling relationship with smoky-voiced stoicism in “Earlier Days.” A backbeat sets a deliberate pace, only to have the Brooklyn singer interrupt its steadiness, suspending the beat in the moments she recognizes her partner’s increasing distance: “Now you take my hand and it’s as cold as when you speak.” Churchy organ chords cushion her when she recalls the “earlier days when I was in your heart,” but fall away as she comes to terms with where she stands now. PARELES

Bakar featuring Dominic Fike, ‘Stop Selling Her Drugs’

On this amiable song about tragic attractions, Bakar — who is from London, and delivers a bit of King Krule-esque dryness — sings about heartache with a stop-start casualness. He’s joined by the Florida post-SoundCloud singer-songwriter Dominic Fike, who takes a different approach, leaning into the vanity of newly-arrived success. They both get disappointed though. CARAMANICA

Ethan Iverson, ‘I Can’t Get Started (Live at the Village Vanguard)’

Free of tempo, with just enough clutter in the left hand to sow some doubt, the pianist Ethan Iverson starts this famously bittersweet melody in one key before slipping absently into another, then another. Finally he returns to where he began, and his all-star quartet — the trumpeter Tom Harrell, the bassist Ben Street and the drummer Eric McPherson, doing delicate brushwork here — slumps down around him, all hands on deck to carry the piece forward together. He and Harrell each take coolly elucidated solos, savoring the melody and taking time to draw a lot out of certain individual phrases, before Iverson finishes the way he began: alone, wandering between keys, destabilizing his resolutely sturdy sound. GIOVANNI RUSSONELLO

Taylor Ho Bynum 9-tette, ‘Neither When Nor Where’

In writing “The Ambiguity Manifesto,” the cornetist Taylor Ho Bynum used a variety of standard and nonstandard musical notation techniques, encouraging his bandmates to think beyond the dichotomy of what’s composed and what’s improvised. It’s a dangerously esoteric technique — and potentially played-out: A lot of composers are toying with it these days — but for this ensemble’s nine members, it becomes an invitation to listen deeply as they go, to contribute only what will enrich the shade and texture of the total sound. The album’s opening track, “Neither When Nor Where,” sets this generous tone, with the group uniting around a simple, roomy groove. It is the sound of this miniature orchestra tuning up, and tuning in. RUSSONELLO

Bruce Cockburn, ‘April in Memphis’

Bruce Cockburn, a Canadian treasure, writes such thoughtful, pointed songs that it’s easy to overlook what a guitar virtuoso he is until he releases an instrumental album like “Crowing Ignites,” arriving on Friday. He wrote “April in Memphis” on Martin Luther King Day and it’s mostly solo except for the appearance of tolling chimes. The video sometimes displays King’s writings, while the music is a folky, elegiac rumination: fingerpicking, meditating, letting quiet chords resonate, drifting in and out of the blues, letting lone melodies keen in a private memorial. PARELES

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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