As someone who listens to mostly mainstream artists, I have spent a lot of time deep diving into their discographies to try and discover the hidden gems. Therefore, I wanted to write about eight songs by eight popular artists that I think deserve just as much love as their biggest hits. Because the word “underrated” can be hard to define, I decided to choose songs that had low Spotify streams in comparison to other songs on the same album.
1. Adele — “All Night Parking (with Erroll Garner) Interlude”
When Adele finally announced her fourth studio album 30 six years after the release of her record breaking album 25, the first single “Easy On Me” was an instant smash hit. But personally, one of my favorite tracks from Adele’s latest record is actually an interlude that I’m afraid will get overlooked by many listeners. On “All Night Parking,” Adele sings a jazzy melody that is reminiscent of Amy Winehouse over a sample of “No More Shadows” by the late jazz pianist Erroll Garner. While she is more known for her powerful ballads, I think Adele’s voice fits perfectly with this more laid-back style, and listening to “All Night Parking” makes me feel like I’m at a cozy cafe with rain pouring outside.
2. Ariana Grande — “Step On Up”
Even the more dedicated fans of Ariana Grande may not know that this song exists, and that’s because it is a bonus track that used to only be available on the Target Exclusive Edition of Dangerous Woman. Last year, “Step On Up” was finally released to streaming services to celebrate the fifth anniversary of the album, and the song became an instant favorite for me. The percussion beat reminds me of a marching band drumline, and Ariana’s vocal performance is a highlight of the track as usual.
3. BTS — “Where You From”
If I’m being honest, almost all of BTS’s Korean discography is underrated by the general public in the West simply due to the language barrier. However, I decided to pick a song that I think is underrated by the fandom as well. “Where You From” is a B-side track from BTS’s 2014 mini album Skool Luv Affair, and unfortunately I think it gets overshadowed by all of the other tracks that happen to be fan favorites. However, I will single handedly advocate for this song because the beat is too groovy to ignore, and the playfully flirtatious lyrics never fail to bring a smile to my face.
4. Dua Lipa — “Cool”
Dua Lipa’s Future Nostalgia era has delivered some of the best mainstream pop music I’ve heard in recent years, and I have basically run the album into the ground at this point. While I love the chart-topping hits such as “Don’t Start Now” and “Levitating,” my favorite track from the record is actually the non-single “Cool.” The instrumental hits different when I have my earbuds turn up to full volume, and the vibes of the song make me feel like I’m having a summer romance of my own.
5. Lady Gaga — “Americano”
Born This Way was one of Lady Gaga’s most iconic eras, yielding timeless classics such as “Born This Way” and “The Edge of Glory.” However, I firmly believe that “Americano” should have been one of the singles. The song is a Latin-influenced electropop banger with lyrics that detail a whirlwind lesbian romance. As far as I’m concerned, “Americano” should be on every pophead’s playlist.
6. Megan Thee Stallion — “Kitty Kat”
Megan Thee Stallion’s 2021 mixtape Something for Thee Hotties flew under the mainstream radar for the most part, which is tragic because I think it contains some of her best work. One of the standout tracks is “Kitty Kat,” a short but powerful banger that highlights Megan’s spitfire rapping over an infectious beat. It’s an excellent recommendation for anyone that is looking to explore Megan’s discography beyond her hit songs,
7. Taylor Swift — “Treacherous (Taylor’s Version)”
Red is my favorite album by Taylor Swift, and I was on cloud nine when Taylor’s Version of classics such as “All Too Well” and “Everything Has Changed” dropped last November. However, the rerecording I was anticipating the most is “Treacherous”, which often gets overshadowed by the more iconic songs from Red. I will admit, a large part of my love for this song stems from nostalgia—I used to loop it on my bus rides to and from school every day. But “Treacherous” also has the poignant lyricism that we’ve come to expect from Taylor, and the bridge may just be one of my favorite Taylor Swift bridges of all time. If you haven’t listened to “Treacherous,” I am begging you to change that now.
8. The Weeknd — “The Knowing”
While practically everyone has heard “Blinding Lights” by this point, my favorite songs by The Weeknd will always be from his earlier works, in particular his first mixtape House of Balloons. “The Knowing” is the final track on the mixtape and almost six minutes long, but the listening experience does not feel like six minutes at all. Throughout the song, The Weeknd masterfully blends R&B and electronic elements to create a dark and haunting atmosphere. “The Knowing” is also a song that hits different during late nights with my earbuds turned all the way up.