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Red Hot Chili Peppers Honor Eddie Van Halen, and 10 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 theplaylist@nytimes.com and sign up for our Louder newsletter, a once-a-week blast of our pop music coverage.

Red Hot Chili Peppers, ‘Eddie’

Red Hot Chili Peppers memorialize Eddie Van Halen and 1980s Los Angeles with what sounds like an old-fashioned, real-time studio jam in “Eddie.” Anthony Kiedis sings biographical snippets — “My brother’s a keeper/I married a TV wife” — while Flea’s bass and John Frusciante’s guitar chase each other all the way through the song, in an ever-changing counterpoint of hopping bass lines and teasing, wailing, shredding, overdriven guitar — the sound of a band in a room, still pushing one another. PARELES

Kelsea Ballerini, ‘Muscle Memory’

In “Muscle Memory,” Kelsea Ballerini orchestrates an instinctive reunion with an old flame — “my body won’t forget our history” — with classic tools: two chords, a backbeat, a lead guitar with wordless caresses. “How long will you be back in town?” she asks, concealing her eagerness. PARELES

Margo Price, ‘Change of Heart’

Margo Price reaches toward the 1960s and the confrontational side of psychedelia with “Change of Heart.” A wiry blues guitar riff and jabs of organ hint at the Doors as Price delivers a breaking-away song that toys with paradoxes: “You run from danger/straight into trouble,” she sings, adding, “Way down deep you’re as shallow as me.” Just to keep things off- balance, every now and then the band adds an extra beat, while a long, gradual fade-out suggests she’s still a little reluctant to move on. PARELES

Jamie xx, ‘Kill Dem’

It’s now been seven long years since the D.J., producer, and longtime xx member Jamie xx released his beloved solo album “In Colour,” but this year he’s put out two rousing new singles: first the ecstatic “Let’s Do It Again” and now the elastic “Kill Dem.” Built around a sample of the dancehall great Cutty Ranks’ “Limb by Limb,” Jamie minces his source material into barely discernible syllables and launches it into hyperspace, leaving its component parts to ping off one another with a bouncy, exuberant energy. ZOLADZ

The Comet Is Coming, ‘Pyramids’

The British jazz saxophonist Shabaka Hutchings, who lived in Barbados from ages 6 to 16, is at the core of multiple groups with different lineups. In the Comet Is Coming, he works with the synthesizer player Dan Leavers, or Danalogue, and the drummer Maxwell Hallett, a.k.a. Betamax, in a zone where electronic dance music and jazz collide. “Pyramids” is from the trio’s new album, “Hyper-Dimensional Expansion Beam”; the title of this track might allude to “Pyramid Song” by Radiohead, which shares some of the same ascending yet foreboding chords. Danalogue uses 1980s synthesizers for plump bass tones and upward swoops; Betamax mixes drums and drum machines, constantly accenting different offbeats. And with his meaty tone on tenor saxophone, Hutchings plays a jumpy, dissonant line that’s equally mocking and party-hearty, a bent Carnival shout. PARELES

Witch, ‘Waile’

In the 1970s, the Zambian rock band Witch — an acronym for We Intend to Cause Havoc — fused garage-rock, psychedelia and funk with African rhythms, spurring a movement called Zamrock. The wider world discovered them with the release of a 2011 collection, and surviving members of the band — the singer Emmanuel (Jagari) Chanda and the keyboardist Patrick Mwondela — returned to the studio in 2021 backed by international musicians, including the Dutch neo-psychedelic songwriter Jacco Gardner. “Waile,” written in 1978 but not previously recorded, addresses “sorrow and suffering” and the separation of a family. It moves through a percolating xylophone-and-guitar riff, blasts of fuzztone, some brisk African funk and, midway through, a slower lament carried by women’s voices before the beat picks up again and hard-nosed guitar riffs push ahead — undaunted. PARELES

Flo, ‘Not My Job’

On “Not My Job,” the British girl group Flo update the glittering sound of Y2K pop-R&B with a little modern-day therapy-speak: “It’s not my job to make you feel comfortable,” the trio asserts on the chorus. “If you ain’t being vulnerable, that says it all.” The blingy sheen, skittering beat and synthesized strings all conjure an aesthetic you may have not even realized you were nostalgic for — it’s giving “Case of the X”; it’s giving “The Writing’s on the Wall” — albeit enlivened with a fresh, contemporary twist. ZOLADZ

Lil Nas X, ‘Star Walkin’

If Lil Nas X continues to play jester, expertly, on social media — this week, he posted impishly hilarious videos of himself sending pizzas to protesters outside of one of his concerts, and of his newly minted wax figure FaceTiming his confused friends — his new single “Star Walkin’” suggests that he is still interested in using his music as an outlet for feelings that complicate that persona, like anxiety, light melancholy and self-doubt. “They said I wouldn’t make it out alive,” he sings defiantly on this gleaming, synth-driven track, which serves as the theme song for this year’s League of Legends World Championship. The one-off certainly doesn’t rank among his most memorable singles, but it’s further proof that he’s figured out a reliable sonic formula to turn personal apprehension into steely braggadocio; by the end of the song, he asks, “Why worship legends when you know that you can join them?” ZOLADZ

Emiliana Torrini & the Colorist Orchestra, ‘Right Here’

Emiliana Torrini attests to the reassurance of a lasting relationship in “Right Here”: “Here’s to all the roads that we’ve been down,” she sings with a smile. “I’m right here by your side.” She’s backed by the Colorist Orchestra, a happily quirky Belgian chamber-pop ensemble that mixes standard instruments with homemade ones — including, for this song, the sound of stone scraping stone. Torrini and the Colorist Orchestra rearranged some of her older songs on an album they shared in 2018, while “Right Here” previews an LP of new collaborations due early next year. There’s pointillistic syncopation from marimba, glockenspiel and pizzicato strings, with a backdrop of sustained chords: the ticktock of everyday minutiae held together by the promise of constancy. PARELES

Shannen Moser, ‘Oh My God’

Shannen Moser recreates a community sing and a hometown band concert in “Oh My God,” from her album arriving next week. In “The Sun Still Seems to Move,” she offers theological and existential musings — “I know that life’s not one linear seamless destination” — over fingerpicking and woodwinds, muscles and hands and breath. The music is thoughtful but determinedly physical. PARELES

Anna B Savage, ‘The Ghost’

The London-based artist Anna B Savage’s devastating new single, “The Ghost,” derives its power from a gradual accumulation of small, intimate details. “We used to notice the same things: His toenails, that little bug,” she sings to an old flame in a trembling low register. “But that changed, you couldn’t see the grave we dug.” Long after the breakup, though, the memory of her ex still lingers. “Stop haunting me, please,” she begs on the chorus, as the austere, piano-driven arrangement suddenly fills up with an eerie atmosphere. It sounds like an exorcism — or at least a yearning, last-ditch attempt at one, in desperate hope that it works. ZOLADZ

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