These Are the Best Songs of the Week, Featuring Stormzy, Mannequin Pussy, and More

As we gear up for July 4 barbecues next week, it’s time to start thinking about what music we’ll want to be soundtracking our big get-togethers. Sure, you can play Americana classics like Springsteen, Petty or “America, Fuck Yeah,” but why not instead be a little more modern and impress your friends with some brand new music. Oh how cool you’ll look.

Every Friday, Esquire is going to compile a list of the best songs released within that week (or so). But, we’re not going to stop there. We’ve also partnered with the music app FanLabel to put the power in your hands.

Each week throughout June you can head to the FanLabel app, where you can pick the one song you think will be streamed the most. FanLabel uses real market data to determine streaming performance and which song prevails each week. Depending upon the song you pick, you move up or down on the leaderboard. The challenges begin on Friday at 5 a.m. EDT and end at midnight EDT on Thursdays.

See this week’s best songs below, and participate in the contest over at FanLabel.

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Mark Ronson feat. Angel Olsen — “True Blue”

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It’s not a collaboration that many people saw coming—folk singer-songwriter Angel Olsen and funk pop master Mark Ronson. Yet, this meeting of artists is a surprisingly perfect match, with Ronson’s glowing production propelling Olsen’s dramatic vocals. What’s interesting about this collaboration is it could mark Olsen’s biggest hit of her career, despite many years of critical success. It also gives Ronson a certain cache of cool, adding to his roster a revered songwriter like Olsen as opposed to typical pop superstars like Miley Cyrus who appear elsewhere on his new album.

Florist — “Time Is a Dark Feeling”

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The latest cut from Florist’s forthcoming Emily Alone “is about looking at the ways in which we construct time,” singer-songwriter Emily Sprague said in a statement. “I don’t think that time really exists at all, but obviously in our reality, in our lives, we have a very rigid construct of time our whole lives.” And that existential musing is at the heart of “Time Is a Dark Feeling,” a curious and gentle track consisting of tender piano plucking and Sprague’s delicate vocals. It’s not a song that provides answers, or even poses questions—rather it feels like a very of-the-moment exploration of her own relationship with the light chanting of the titular refrain.

The Raconteurs — “Thoughts and Prayers”

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The Raconteurs have never been considered a “political band.” That’s why it was so surprising to see the band take a rare political turn on their new album, Help Us Stranger. As Jack White told Esquire in an interview, this was kind of unavoidable in our current times and the titular phrase “made sense, because it’s become such a meaningless, almost insulting phrase at this point.” It’s interesting to see a musician so obsessed with the history of music and sounds and rock come to terms, musically, with our delicate and frustrating culture and political environment.

Mannequin Pussy — “Fear/+/Desire”

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“When you hit me, it does not feel like a kiss,” frontwoman Marisa Dabice sings in the second verse of “Fear/+/Desire.” It’s a chilling lyric—one that references a 1962 Crystals song “He Hit Me (And It Felt Like A Kiss)” that was later covered by Hole and Lana Del Rey. Here in this song, Dabice rewrites this narrative of domestic abuse as glamorized by previous musicians. “Like the singers promised a lie that was written for them / And you’re touching me, my skin, it turns to mold / And I’m crying out, a story never told / I was hiding out,” she concludes on the verse. They’re lyrics that are hard to read, but, with the context, provide an essential new conversation in rock music.

Stormzy — “Crown”

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With the crossover success of his debut album Gang Signs & Prayer here in the states, Stormzy has become the biggest new voice coming out of the UK grime rap scene. With a headlining performance at this year’s upcoming Glastonbury, he’s currently on his way to being one of the most powerful new rappers in the game. That’s what he’s wrestling with on the gospel rap of “Crown,” a surprisingly melodic and beautiful turn for the young rapper. Stormzy compares his own success — “They sayin’ I’m the voice of the young black youth / And then I say “Yeah, cool” and then I bun my zoot” — with world leaders abusing their own power — “The irony of trappin’ on a Boris bike.” It’s a beautiful track that ensures Stormzy will not be giving up his crown any time soon.

Head over to FanLabel to pick which song will be the top of the week, and see the results of last week’s contest here.