By Alex Dulude
Ever get tired of hearing those same songs repeated on the radio? Popular music nowadays has become focused on effectively creating a catchy beat but there are plenty of songs out there that have a special quality to them, they just get lost under the big names. Pandora and Last Fm help link you to other artists to check out, and websites like Indieshuffle allow you to browse through songs that you may not have found elsewhere. Then of course there’s the glory of Youtube video hopping. But I scoured the depths of my iTunes and came up with 10 songs to add to your iPod or MP3 player, all of which have some unique and very listenable qualities to them.
1. Coney Island- Good Old War
From what I’ve heard of Good Old War, they have this uplifting sound that makes them great summertime driving music. They are essentially indie folk and “Coney Island” is perfect for those days when you roll your windows down. It’s catchy, easy to drum along with, and has some great lyrics too.
2. Ariel- Stateless
“Ariel” can appeal to a few different audiences, touching a little upon the world of dubstep sounds in parts. The beginning starts out sounding almost Middle Eastern and then sweeps into a sound that is pretty difficult to put your finger on. However, they define themselves as electronic alternative rock.
3. If I Ever Feel Better- Phoenix
This Phoenix song came to me by way of a mixtape and has grown on my ever since. Though they are sometimes classified as alternative rock, “If I Ever Feel Better” has a completely different sound. It has a catchy beat with good lyrical content.
4. The Queen- Art Decade
Hailing from Boston, MA, this band labels themselves as “post pop,” but “The Queen” has a lot more going for it and lyrical content is a big factor here. It has a fantastic indie rock quality, along with some impressive guitar playing. By the end, the bass will give any speaker a run for its money, and the chorus sticks with you.
5. Lofticries- Purity Ring
One of my newer finds, “Lofticries” caught my attention with its electronic opening and the complementary vocals. The group is actually described as “trap pop” and the video for Lofticries has gained some attention for its interesting aesthetic. The beats flow in such a way that make it a unique listen all the way through.
6. Panic Switch- Silversun Pickups
Being familiar with their hit “Lazy Eye”, this was the last song I expected to hear from Silversun Pickups. The sound is completely different. “Panic Switch” reached number one on the Billboard Alternative Songs chart and is much more intense and rock based than its more well-known counterpart. It has a bass line heavy and present throughout the song. It has an urgent quality that draws you in instantly.
7. This World-Selah Sue
For those who like Adele and Amy Winehouse, Selah Sue has that same soulful, somewhat bluesy voice and tone. “This World” also has a bit of a reggae sound to it. She has a unique voice and a big sound to back it up.
Telepopmusik is a French electronic group with house and downtempo sounds and the song “Breathe” has appeared in numerous places since its 2001 release. It was even nominated for a Grammy. It has a really mellow vibe to it and the beat is relaxing yet also upbeat, taking you with it along the way.
9. I Would Do Anything for You-Foster the People
Foster the People became a familiar name with their hit “Pumped Up Kicks,” which was extremely popular in 2011. But from what I’ve heard, the entire album is well put together and Pandora introduced me to this song. Its sound is different from “Pumped Up Kicks,” but the chorus is catchy and the music has an overall feel-good quality.
10. Cold War-Janelle Monae
Janelle Monae gained popularity with her song “Tightrope” featuring Big Boi and was even featured in Just Dance 3. But some of her other work has the same danceable and fun quality to it, making her hard to define, but definitely a worthy listen. “Cold War” is one of those songs and Monae proves that she’s not only talented, but worth looking into as well.
Narrowing down this list was difficult and there are plenty more that could have been included. If you have any songs that are off the beaten path and worthy of a listen, send us a comment and share your musical tastes.