The Playlist: Katy Perry and Haim Reach for New Flavors
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. You can listen to this playlist on Spotify here. Like this Playlist? Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org, and sign up for our Louder newsletter here.
Katy Perry feat. Migos, ‘Bon Appétit’
There’s nothing organic or not craven about “Bon Appétit,” which pairs Ms. Perry, a pop star of the old, Big Record Label sort, with Migos, fresh off a No. 1 song and album owing almost exclusively to bottom-up virality. Everything happening here is a face-off: pop and hip-hop, white and black, male and female, slick and tactile. (Ignore, for a moment, the disorienting and curious cover art, which features Ms. Perry’s disembodied head atop a plate of fruit, with each of the Migos’s hands reaching out for a piece.) Ms. Perry is in her least convincing mode — dance-floor diva — but the production is direct and effective. The contributions from the three Migos members are collapsed into one verse, lasting around 36 seconds, a small stretch of time in which more happens than in the rest of this song. JON CARAMANICA
Willie Nelson, ‘God’s Problem Child’
Willie Nelson didn’t write the title track of his latest album, “God’s Problem Child”; Tony Joe White and Jamey Johnson did, and they sing some of the verses. It’s not the typical chuckling or avuncular Willie Nelson song; it’s haunted and morose, a minor-key existential blues without a wry twist. “The higher I flew, the farther I fell,” Mr. Nelson sings. It puts its hope, stoically, in faith, with or without concrete evidence: “Heaven must love God’s problem child,” the song insists. JON PARELES
DJ Khaled feat. Justin Bieber, Quavo, Chance the Rapper and Lil Wayne, ‘I’m the One’
There’s instinctual genius at work in the seemingly inevitable DJ Khaled summer anthem “I’m the One,” which gathers a murderers’ row of stars — Justin Bieber, Quavo, Chance the Rapper and Lil Wayne — and swaddles them in unerringly soft production that makes a lot out of simple, breezy parts. For a song about how money makes men irresistible (with a few dubious lines scattered throughout), there’s an uncommon calm to this song, and also the video, which overcomes its alternate purpose as an advertisement for liquor…