Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Most Underrated Songs

I don’t pretend to be an expert in music (which is just as well, because if I did, I’d just embarrass myself), but I do know what music I like; I love me my Kanye, my Girls Aloud, anything I can get my groove on to in a nightclub, etc. So I thought I’d spread some love for songs which I feel need and deserve more attention!

Singapore (Girls Aloud)
The moving away (whether it be literally or emotionally) of a loved one is a topic that has often been covered in songs, but Singapore’s soft rhyming scheme, gentle poetry and the genius way it divides its verses up by girl in order of whom it suits the most, just really strikes a chord with me. The song didn’t even make the album cut when Chemistry was released, but later the producers must have realised the error of their ways when they released it on The Sound of Girls Aloud: Greatest Hits. Miranda Cooper, Brian Higgins, John Shave and Lisa Cowling, the songs writers really deserve commendation for the way they’ve written in the longing feeling of wishing time away without that loved one with us: “I'm watching day time TV / And wishing you were with me / I'm counting hours and days / Gotta stop believing what the movies say”

Memory of You (Girls Aloud)
Released as a B-side with The Loving Kind, Memory of You is so hauntingly beautiful that it damn near threatens to eclipse the song it’s meant to be supporting. Kimberley Walsh, who is criminally used on the majority of Girls Aloud songs, takes centre vocals here, with Nicola Roberts playing second hand, and the combination of electro-pop, elegiac lyrics (“surfing channels ‘til I bleach out the pain”) and beautiful themes of love and loss render it one of the most beautiful songs I’ve heard.

Whatever you Like (Anya Marina)
I first heard this song playing softly in the background during a Dan/Vanessa/Hilary Duff threesome in gossip girl, and it fitted the scene so well. Whilst I like T.I.’s original, I found his delivery of some of the lyrics a bit seedy. The cover by Anya Marina only features the slightest of deviation in lyrics, yet there’s something about her ethereal voice that makes lines like “late night sex, so wet, so tight” sound almost angelic. It’s no mean feat, that.

Good Foot (Justin Timberlake & Timbaland)
This song was in Shark Tale. It was also a song that loads of the good dancers in my secondary school got their groove on to, leading me to consider it somewhat of a swagger song. And you know how I like my swagger. Anyway, it’s a simple enough piece, about dudes dancing in a club, but it has some brilliantly arrogant lines like “I’m not being cocky, I just noticed that she was looking at me.” Get you, JT, get you!

Fix Up Look Sharp (Dizzee Rascal)
Yet another swagger song. Whilst Dance wiv Me got all the fame for the Calvin Harris connection, I would argue that this song was a helluva lot cooler. “Sweet as a nut, sweet as Tropicana” and “if you don’t believe me bring your posse bring your crew” are lines that I would under normal circumstances, roll my eyes at, but Bow-born Dizzee carries it off with, you’ve guessed it, swag.

Pennies in My Pocket (Emilio Estefan)
Although I was far from won over by Miami Vice, the film which the song appeared in, I can’t help but love the song itself, which has a catchy beat and cute lyrics. The lyrics in fact, I found, were quite hard to decipher, but that is perhaps much of the song’s charm, that it makes you work for it.

I am not My Hair (India.Arie)
Five years before Will Smith’s daughter was whipping her hair back and forth, India.Arie sang about the topic in a much more refined style. The remix with Akon gives the song some added sass. The litany of hair-related experiments always makes me smile, the line “success didn’t come until I cut it all off” highlights the superficial nature of society and India.Arie’s heartfelt delivery of the line “I am not my hair” absolutely carries the song.

Photographs (Rihanna ft.
Aurally, this song sounds like another collaboration, with Cheryl Cole, Three Words. But I greatly favour Photographs and would go so far as to say it’s my favourite off the Rated R album. The song captures the yearning for a failed romance, and how the woman in it has been reduced to staring at photos of them, wishing they were real. I dig.

Good Old Fashioned Loved Boy (Queen) & Lullaby (Dixie Chicks)
Pure delightfulness!

Everybody wants to Rule the World (Tears for Fears)
I love Shout and Head over Heels, but this is probably my favourite Tears for Fears song. And I know one could refute it being an “underrated” song, as it did win Best Single at the Brits in 1986, but there doesn’t seem to be much love for it nowadays, or even from the band itself then. Which is shame, because despite the catchy nature of the song, the subject matter is deadly serious and deserves more attention; in the words of Curt Smith, “it's about everybody wanting power, about warfare and the misery it causes.”

Boys (Cheryl Cole)
The song was written by Adele, who’s cover of Make You Feel My Love stands as one of my favourite covers of all time, and it is so astute in capturing the mindsets of girls and boys, and how no matter how many times we get our hearts broken and how we should know better, girls still remain hopeful that love is out there. I like that.

Waking Up in Vegas (Katy Perry)
I tried to denounce the Katy Perry liking when she first came out, finding her a bit too bawdy and in your face. But, you know what? I’m bawdy and in your face, so it’s not like I can really talk?! Anyway, Waking Up in Vegas recounts a weekend in Vegas gone wrong, with hilarious consequences. Teenage Dream will by far and away be my favourite song of hers, but this is witty stuff.

November has Come (Gorillaz)
I love to try and rap along to songs, but the rapping in this song with its convoluted plays on words are so good that I am nowhere near conquering it. And Damon Albarn’s delivery of the chorus is some of his best work. A beautifully sad and nostalgic gem.

Jesus Walks with Me (Kanye West ft. Mase & Common)
I love the original, but this slight remix is even better because it has the terrific line “Do you know how I be embarrassed? / My prayers sound like Ben Stiller’s on Meet the Parents”. Which is genius, let me tell you. I also like "I walk with God, I got the scars to prove it". Although, to be totally honest, I feel that a lot of Kanye West songs are underrated. Which is somewhat ironic, considering.

So yeah, get listening! If you fancy a download of any of these, prod me and I'll get 'em uploaded for ya!


Robert said...

Oh how awesome, I love that song "I am Not My Hair". So much better than the Willow Smith thing! Oddly that song like, defined a summer for me. Hahaha

Emma said...

I absolutely love it when you can associate a song with memories/a period of time! :)

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