Not all great songs get the benefit of being a single. Here are the top 15 that have escaped the public’s consciousness, waiting for a release and remained hidden in albums.
15 – Act My Age by Katy Perry
Pop stars often get criticized for not evolving and not shaking things up. But as many have witnessed in Katy Perry’s new album, risks don’t always pay off. “Act My Age” is everything you enjoyed about her past material – infectious, catchy, simple and fun. Releasing it would not have been a breakthrough. But it would have definitely been a hit.
14 – I am Here by Pink
If anyone in the industry can create music for the bold and the fearless, it would be Pink. “I am Here” is an anthem for a generation scarred but ready to fight. It almost sounds like a soundtrack to the last few minutes of a film when the protagonist decides to get over his/her insecurities and finish the last mile.
13 – Hunt You Down by Ke$ha
I never knew Ke$ha would be a fit in country music or that she’d even interested in making a country record. Her courage to break out of Dr Luke’s domain enabled us to hear her experiment and try out new sounds. The fun she’s having with Rainbow is apparent, especially on this track where it’s less formulaic and more organic.
12 – PRIDE. by Kendrick Lamar
We all know Kendrick Lamar is self-assured and confident in his place atop the hip-hop kingdom. But when you give “PRIDE.” a listen, you realize he doesn’t have it all figured out and questions still linger in his decisions. It is strikingly different from the singles he’s released from DAMN. But this is proof he slows down and continuously introspects.
11 – Forgiveness by Paramore
No matter how difficult it is to forgive, we know it’s the right and mature thing to do. Unless you listen to this track from Paramore which unapologetically says no. The magic comes in the song’s arrangement and Hayley’s smooth and simple delivery. It isn’t fuming of anger and sorrow. It’s bitter sounding so sweet.
10 – What Do I Know by Ed Sheeran
Back in the days when all you had were friends jamming out and creating music on their own, the output would probably sound like “What Do I Know”. More than the ballads and the pop hits, I admire this for the simplicity of its arrangement, and Ed’s self awareness on the role his music plays in the bigger scheme of things.
9 – Medicine by Kelly Clarkson
If anyone can replicate Mariah Carey’s “Emotions”, it would be Kelly Clarkson and this song would be her submission. It’s been some time since we’ve had an upbeat material that is suited for a diva’s pipes. Her voice has not sounded so free and so liberated since her days in American Idol. And we all fell for her there so it’s good to have her back.
8 – Closure by Maroon 5
Yes, it’s a 12 minute track. And for more than half of it, we don’t get to hear Adam Levine singing. I love his voice but it’s a welcome break. All we hear is a band jamming and exchanging music through their keyboard, guitar, organ and all the tools at their disposal. It’s a good reminder of the extreme talent they also possess as composers.
7 – Midnight Train by Sam Smith
Although the pain and sorrow surrounding Sam Smith’s music still lingers on, “Midnight Train” shows Sam Smith finally selfish instead of selfless. It’s the heartbreaker’s song that we don’t often get to hear. And while we tend to demonize them, Sam Smith manages to humanize them.
6 – Roll It on Home by John Mayer
We all have that fantasy of residing by the country side and away from the cities that complicate our lives. While that may not happen in the near future, we have John Mayer’s music to take us there. And yes, part of that dream involves being in a pub, drunk and heartbroken.
5 – Sweet Creature by Harry Styles
It’s a disappointment “Sweet Creature” ended up being a promotional single, instead of an actual one. I’m not sure if this would’ve done commercially well. But it manages to showcase Harry Styles’s vocals well, and demonstrate how little engineering and manufacturing he has treated his music with.
4 – Tomorrow Never Came by Lana del Rey featuring Sean Ono Lennon
When I was listening to Lana del Rey’s album, I was surprised to hear a familiar voice that I thought belonged to a Beatle. Apparently, it was his son. I said The Weeknd was the perfect companion for Lana Del Rey’s voice. But so is Sean Lennon’s. I’d get crucified for saying this. But it can genuinely pass as a Beatles record.
3 – Get It Together by Drake featuring Black Coffee and Jorja Smith
At the pace Drake releases albums, mixtapes, playlists and singles, it’s inevitable that he’d get a placement on this list. “Get It Together” sounds like a 90s dance record that Drake picked up and infused with tropical/dancehall vibe. It’s trademark Drake – understated, addictive and seductive.
2 – Delicate by Taylor Swift
If there was any doubt that Taylor Swift still had it in her to dominate pop, “Delicate” should put any question to rest. “New Year’s Day”, the sequel of “All Too Well”, proved old school works. But “Delicate” is polished pop in the veins of “Style”. It’s a demonstration of songwriting excellence post-Kimye saga. It humanizes the inhuman Taylor.
1 – Supercut by Lorde
Any description I would write would be an injustice to the marvelous masterpiece care of Lorde. But let me try and attempt. If you put all the little elements of 90s dance pop that worked, hopefulness, hopelessness and heartbreak, all of Lorde’s quirks in performing and recording, and blended all of it, then you’d get this record.