Some artists have songs that blow up the charts, but those over-commercially-successful works seem to overshadow their other soulful creative tracks. Here are the 7 gems that I find way more worthy of attention, from artists that already have (way too much of) your attention.
- Tears in the rain – The Weeknd
There was a time The Weeknd was the underrated guy with a pineapple on his head. Now that he’s become a motherfucking starboy, and not just any mainstream sensation, he’s also one of the most critically acclaimed young artists of this decade (like, the next Michael Jackson!). People have been flocking to his channel, digging through all stuff they could find on YouTube for his earlier melancholic sounds. Though I won’t join the herb that whine about how he is not delivering the dark, poignant vibe as he used to, I do resonate more with his earlier works. “Tears in the rain” is the gem that I’m so thankful I did not miss. Starting with a passage of rhythmic beats that gives out the ominous feelings of a storm coming, the song continues as vocal falls down like a pouring rain of emotions “They all feel the same”, followed by streams of beats complimented with Abel’s expressive voice. The song will make you feel like standing in the showering rain, missing someone you lost. It’s an aesthetic feeling is not so easy to find in today’s pop songs.
2. Perfect – Selena Gomez
Selena Gomez, oh, Selena. It’s either her clean, scandal-free life, her smart sense of fashion, or her on-off dramas with that blond Canadian guy (who happens to be quite famous himself), those are the things that draw my attention to her. Other than that, I rarely see Selena as an artist, honestly. I actually enjoy many of her songs though, only that Selena’s voice is not one that could attach a “professional” badge. Magically how, she has managed to transform from a Disney princess to a chart topper today, and her music has evolved significantly over time – “Come and get it”, “The heart wants what it wants”, “Good for you”, “Same old love”, “Can’t keep my hands to myself” have been repeated many times on my iPod. Oh, then I’ve not mentioned, another song that should’ve captured more attention for Selena, “Perfect”, a soothing contemporary ballad that touches on the subject of “the third person”. Loving someone could hurt badly, especially when we have to see them love someone else. As emotional as the song goes, Selena’s thin yet vulnerable vocal suits quite well with the theme and rhythm, producing a surprisingly beautiful combo that you might wanna feed your ears every night, if you feel yourself in the story she’s telling.
3. Lost – Katy Perry
Katy Perry could sing all about California gurls, or roaring in a jungle, or tapping up on future life, nothing could portray her naked soul as well as her ballads. While Katy’s live vocal ability has always been somewhat of a controversy, her recording tracks has some unique demeanor that presses the very right buttons in me. I don’t remember how I stumbled on Lost, but this is the sound that I wish to hear more from Katy. The heart-breaking lyrics complimented by her fractured vocal seems to push the vulnerability within the song to a sorrowful, breath-taking climax.
4. Mona Lisa – Britney Spears
I’ve got a favorite tee that says “If Britney could survive 2007, you can handle today.” 2007 was Britney’s year, and it was not a good one. Maybe it also was the year Hollywood paparazzi had the biggest Thanksgiving meal ever. Her downfall was making headlines everywhere, and she came from national sweetheart to, mmm, I’m not sure what to call then. It was an entertaining show for tabloids, but it was heartbreaking for people who loved Princess of Pop.
Now, this song (kind of) came out way before that downfall. While Britney’s crisis is linked by conspiracy theorists to Illuminati, her efforts to break away from that (theorized) prison had been predicted since the mysterious missing of an album called “Original Doll”. It’s a bizarre story, but hey, I’m just gonna talk about the song, which never really made its way to be released. Taken out from that lost album, Mona Lisa is an eerie pop song, with haunting lyrics. No one knows for sure what Britney was singing about in this track, only that this would fit perfectly fine with crazy theories out there on her career success. Anyway, this is a good song, which arguably could’ve added a fair share into Spears’ collection of hits.
5. Just a little bit of your heart – Ariana Grande
Written by Harry Styles, how could this song not swoon-able? Yet, Just A Little Bit Of Your Heart has never been an official single, and that’s why it is less known than her other hits. Ariana, however, seemed to never miss a chance to show off this melodious ballad, including her Grammy’s performance. Touching up on the subject of unrequited love, Ariana sings about loving someone that clearly is giving his attention to someone else, yet all she is asking for is a little bit of his heart. Oh, love. Sometimes I wonder if it’s just a dangerous kind of drugs that is not only legal, but also romanticized and praised by artists and mainstream media. If only there was an antidote for it, since humans will forever be stupid enough to get addicted, and then hurt. That’s the reason these beautiful love songs exist.
6. Drowning shadows – Sam Smith
There’s no one like Sam Smith. He can sing about a one-night stand, and it still sounds like the sweetest, most romantic love song. I think I feel Sam – when you’re highly emotional and sensitive, every little incident could bring down a shower of feelings; everyone that passes by your heart leaves a deep mark; every moment drowning deep in thinking would result in an epiphany.
Drowning Shadows, as described by Sam, is the saddest song he’s ever written. Now, I’ve listened to just a few of his, and though most of them are devastatingly sad, I believe him. The saddest thing in love is not necessarily a breakup, but sometimes, well, a lot of times, it’s not being in love when we desperately wish to. Drowning shadows is literally about having too much of casual sex but it never fills the void inside. It’s not something that many souls in love can relate to, but still Sam’s magical voice could send even darkness to heaven, and transform the most casual part of love life into a beautiful palette of melancholic sounds.
7. Last flowers – Radiohead
When I first heard Last Flowers, I literally had goosebumps. It was in the movie Confessions, and though the movie gives goosebumps itself, this piece of music just takes the eerie feelings to another level. The alluring melody flows in the vein like an addictive drug that sets you free from earthly matters. There were days I did nothing but lying on the ground in this music, eyes shut and brain turns up. And all of a sudden, a tear runs out of the corner of my eye. Nothing explained. Nothing needs explaining. It just happened.
Last Flowers was included in the bonus tracks of In Rainbows, Radiohead’s widely critically acclaimed album in 2007. From what I see, the song is like an underdog. It could’ve done better, but then it’s just there, included as bonus, and not many people have really associated Radiohead with it. Underrated as it is, Last Flowers becomes priceless for music junkies who have found it. Like me. It feels like nirvana sometimes. So magical what music can do to our souls.