Olivia Rodrigo’s Sassy Pop-Rock Banger and 8 More New Songs

Every Friday, pop critics for The New York Times weigh in on the week’s most notable new tracks. 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, and The Amplifier, a twice-weekly guide to new and old songs.

Olivia Rodrigo, ‘Bad Idea Right?’

The 20-year-old pop phenom Olivia Rodrigo extends her winning streak on “Bad Idea Right?,” the latest reason to be very excited about her second album, “Guts,” due Sept. 8. Departing from the sound of the album’s first single, the rock-operatic “Vampire,” “Bad Idea Right?” is a bright, kaleidoscopic head-rush of a pop song that inhales a dizzying array of influences — the chatty call-and-response hooks of ’60s girl groups, the gum-smacking sass of Toni Basil’s “Mickey,” the chugging guitars and elastic bass lines of early aughts pop-punk — and spits them all out in Rodrigo’s singularly conversational voice. “Seeing you tonight,” she sings of an ex, “It’s a bad idea, right?” Then she shrugs, mutters an expletive with sharp comic timing, and dives back into the mess. It’s a playful track, but there’s also something invitingly intimate about the way Rodrigo puts the rush of her own internal thoughts and feelings on display here. (“My brain goes ‘ahhhhh,’” sings a multi-tracked chorus of Rodrigos.) A girl’s got to make her own mistakes, after all. But if the listener is able to eavesdrop on her internal dialogue, she’s never completely alone. LINDSAY ZOLADZ

Noname, ‘Namesake’

The Chicago-based rapper Noname — Fatimah Nyeema Warner — wraps contentious positions in smooth grooves and high-speed, rhythmically adept wordplay on her third album, “Sundial,” her first since 2018. “The whole world is culpable/Why complacency float the boat the most?” she asks in “Namesake.” The song also gleefully attacks headliners of Super Bowl halftime shows as “propaganda for the military.” With a smile in her voice, Noname raps, “Go Rihanna go — watch the fighter jet fly high/War machine gets glamorized.” But then she calls herself out for playing Coachella this year: “I said I wouldn’t perform for them/And somehow I still fell in line,” she admits. Careers are complicated. PARELES

Fred again.. featuring Obongjayar, ‘Adore U’

Sheer affection courses through “Adore U.” The prolific dance-music producer Fred again.. surrounds and destabilizes the house thump with shimmering electronic syncopations, airborne sustained lines, choppy chords and looped vocal interjections. It’s a dizzying backdrop for the Nigerian-British singer Obongjayar, who croons his praises — “You walk through life just like a dancer” — in a tremulous falsetto; he sounds awe-struck. PARELES

Miguel featuring Lil Yachty, ‘Number 9’

Miguel builds a monumental enigma in “Number 9.” Over a stark but triumphal electronic march, he overdubs his voice into antiphonal choirs, trading lyrics like “In the gun a kiss/Let it blow your mind/Till the dust returns/To the number nine.” Lil Yachty arrives midway through to announce “I am the grim reaper.” Neither one sounds daunted by mortality. PARELES

Kelsea Ballerini, ‘How Do I Do This’

“I haven’t been on a date since I was 22,” Kelsea Ballerini sings in “How Do I Do This” — an arena-country song, with programmed drums and reverberating chords, about starting over even though she’s “scared of looking stupid.” The song elevates the awkward, in-between moments, then stops dead just as something might begin. PARELES

Ian Sweet, ‘Your Spit’

A crush-struck Jill Medford — who records as Ian Sweet — crafts an infectious, slightly gross hook on her latest single, which will appear on her upcoming album “Sucker”: “Kiss me like you mean it, kiss me like you’re leaving,” she sings. “Your spit tastes different.” Medford’s dreamy, sing-songy vocals dance atop the song’s driving electronic beat and squelching synths, giddily evoking fresh infatuation. ZOLADZ

Faith Healer, ‘I’m a Dog’

On “I’m a Dog,” the latest single from the Canadian dream-pop duo Faith Healer’s forthcoming album “The Hand that Fits the Glove,” Jessica Jalbert wryly confesses her baser animal instincts in an incongruously serene voice. “You can try to wash me if I’m dirty in the yard,” she sings as the song proceeds at a stately, parade-like tempo, “I’ll get into the kitchen and I’ll rip the trash apart.” ZOLADZ

Ora Cogan, ‘Katie Cruel’

The Canadian songwriter Ora Cogan revisits an eerie Celtic traditional song, “Katie Cruel,” about a woman scorned as her beauty fades. “When I first came to town/They called me the roving jewel,” she sings. “Now they’ve changed their tune/They call me Katie Cruel.” She and her band entwine the melody with modal guitar curlicues and distant vocals, yet somehow she sounds more alone than ever. PARELES

thanks for coming, ‘Loop’

Rachel Brown, who is half of the duo Water From Your Eyes, has been recording solo since high school as thanks for coming, and “Loop” is from an EP due in September. There’s more than one loop in “Loop,” a waltz that resigns itself to an obsessive, unequal romance: “I like you better/But you are never mine,” Brown sings. The track is an ever-thickening tangle of guitar, bass, piano and vocal lines over a stubbornly off-kilter drum loop. Brown knows that recognizing a pattern doesn’t break free of it. 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. More about Jon Pareles

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