We lovers of music all know one thing: music and the people who write it can give us words we didn't know we needed, words that give us hope, words that provide escape. Musicians work very hard, but few ever receive recognition, and if they do, it is only for a few songs. Here is a list of songs that I love. Some are deep cuts by well-known artists, and others my favorites by bands and artists that deserve more exposure.
1. twenty one pilots- Oh Ms. Believer
Standout Lyric: Your twisted mind is like snow on the ground
I am very happy that twenty one pilots are as big as they are, because their music helps many people. (myself included), who are dealing with anxiety and depression. This song has been in heavy rotation lately because the simple lyrics explain what I've had trouble putting into words, and the melody is unbelievably soothing.
Standout Lyric: I let the monster out/ And it's coming after me
This standout track from P!nk's latest record deals with the universal struggle of whether to reveal your demons to the ones who love you most. It also just so happens to be one of the most danceable and catchy tracks the 38 year-old has ever recorded.
3. Kacey Musgraves- Dime Store Cowgirl
Standout Lyric: I'm happy with what I got cause what I got is all I need/ Just cause it don't cost a lot don't mean it's cheap
This is where my love of masterful songwriting makes itself apparent. I was blown away by the talent Musgraves showcased on her debut record, 2013's Grammy-winning Same Trailer, Different Park, and this is my pick for the best track off her sophomore effort. She weaves a tight, catchy ode to her roots even as she revels in tour life. This track is an example of why I point everyone, country haters included, towards her songs. The fact that Saguaro cacti don't grow in New Mexico notwithstanding, I can't help but smile every time this comes on.
4. Maren Morris-I Wish I Was
Another example of an up-and-coming country artist I love. This is the best piece of songwriting off her debut, Hero. I never knew I needed a song like this until I heard it, and then I had a name for what I was feeling. Even if you can't relate to the regret of letting someone you care about go because you don't feel the same, the vocal delivery is enough to make you feel sorry by proxy.
5. Where Did You Sleep Last Night- Nirvana
Standout Lyric:I'll shiver the whole night through
This is unquestionably the most indelible, uncomfortable performance in Nirvana's tense, intimate set for MTV Unplugged in New York, but that doesn't mean it isn't outstanding. The set was filmed four months before Cobain's untimely death, and all the desperation, depression, and raw talent Kurt possessed come through crystal clear in this cover of a folk standard . I can't bring myself to listen to it very often, but every time I do, I am astounded at what a talent the world lost.
6. Taylor Swift- Ours
Standout Lyric: Don't you worry your pretty little mind/ People throw rocks at things that shine
This is Swiftian love in its purest, most unadulterated form, and it is delightful. A simple ode to the triumph of love over all, it is for my money, the best song she has ever written.
7.Paramore- In the Mourning
Standout Lyric:You were the greatest thing/And now you're just a memory/ To let go of
Written after the acrimonious departure of the Brothers Farro from the band in 2010, this Fleetwood Mac-esque song about letting go of your past remains a fan favorite despite few live airings. Fun fact: they pair it with Landslide when it is played live.
8. Chvrches- Clearest Blue
Standout Lyrics: Just another time I'm caught inside/Every open eye/ holding on tightly to sides/ never quite learning why
Chvrches is underrated in general, but I never hear anybody talk about this song which is equal parts empathy and ecstasy. The lyrics, which describe the fear of failure but look hopefully towards the future, are perfectly paired with the wall of 80's synth which eventually takes over.
9. Marianas Trench- Wildfire
Standout Lyric: You say that you're here but you've found a new home/I say that's a nice way to say I'm alone
Okay, so I'm cheating a little bit here ,because I just started to get deeper into Marianas Trench, but I had to include this song as a lover of honest songwriting. This was written after lead singer Josh Ramsay engagement was broken, and he lays the emotions bare in a way that is absolutely breathtaking.