The five best songs we heard this week.

By Marcus JonesAlex Suskind and Eli Enis
July 31, 2020 at 07:21 PM EDT
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Taylor Hill/Getty Images; Derek Blanks; Kevin Mazur/Getty Images; Andrew Chin/Getty Images; Andrew Lipovsky/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images

Every Friday, EW's music team runs down the five best songs of the week. In today's edition, Angel Olsen returns to the sparser sounds of her earlier work, Dominic Fike has vampires on the brain, Juicy J is smoking a lot of kush, Brandy showcases her expert-level vocal control, and Robert Plant takes a drive through the Mississippi backroads.

"Whole New Mess" — Angel Olsen

Angel Olsen's 2019 record, All Mirrors, is one of the most grandiose entries in her catalog — a cavernous noir epic replete with 10-piece string arrangements. For her follow-up, this year's Whole New Mess, Olsen went in the exact opposite direction, revisiting the sparse, solo folk songs of her earlier work. Its first single, the title track, is solely composed of tense, spindly guitar chords and her warm, crackling vibrato. The production is decidedly shabby: At times her vocals almost feel like they're clipping, and there's noticeable background noise in the mix that sounds like either her foot tapping or her guitar gently knocking against her chair. It's a welcome return to the stark intimacy that many listeners first associated her with. —Eli Enis

"Vampire" – Dominic Fike

Dominc Fike singing "I only showed up to tell you everyone at this party's a vampire" is indicative of the self-awareness and dark humor of the singer's debut album, What Could Possibly Go Wrong, which is filled with songs that tackle the pitfalls of his rags-to-riches story. The Florida native feels a bit like a 2020 update of Sublime, with rap-inspired production and vocals that pull from variety of genres — pop, rock, R&B, and yes, ska. —Marcus Jones

"Gah Damn High" — Juicy J

Juicy J's quarantine probably looks a lot like yours: He's painting, he's doing yoga, he's wiping everything down with Lysol, and he's smoking a stupid amount of weed. As he raps on "Gah Damn High," the lead single off his upcoming album, "It's a bird, it's a plane, I'm so goddamn high/ I got drugs on my brain, I'm so goddamn fried." The song even comes with a mockumentary-style music video showcasing said pandemic lifestyle in full. If only all our houses had that pool.—Alex Suskind

"Rather Be" — Brandy

Brandy worked with co-writer Victoria Monét on this mellow cut off B7, which acts as both a nod to the current pop-R&B scene (Monét had a hand in crafting Ariana Grande's "Thank U, Next" and Chloe x Halle's "Do It") and a reminder to listeners where the new girls draw their inspiration from. There's a purity to Brandy's voice here; her expert-level vocal control on the bridge sees the icon executing ad-libs few artists could replicate. —M.J.

"Charlie Patton Highway (Turn It Up, Pt. 1)" — Robert Plant

Robert Plant's work in Led Zeppelin still looms large, but his solo work is deserving of its own legacy. It will get it in Digging Deep, an upcoming anthology series that collects work from the singer's 11 post-Zep albums along with a selection of unreleased tracks. The first, "Charlie Patton Highway (Turn It Up part 1)," is a chug-along, bluesy roots cut inspired by Plant's time driving through the hill country of north Mississippi around Como. —A.S.

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