|If you’ve ever seen “Love, Rosie,” you’ll probably know who Lily Allen is. The iconic “F*ck You” from the movie’s soundtrack is annoyingly catchy and relevant / Photo by: Benoît Derrier via Wikimedia Commons|
The music industry has always been very accommodating of varying music tastes since it became clear that niche audiences will only grow more sizeable each era. Now, there is an infinite number of ways to listen to music as well as an infinite number of combinations that they can be in. Whatever kind of niche you are into—avant-garde, country rap—there’s something for you.
In this list, we look at some of the most underrated albums that deserve a listen as well, starting from the relatively unknown albums known mostly to their own niche audiences as well as old but gold albums of iconic bands to the best of 2019.
The Relatively Unknown
“Consumer Complaints” (2013)
It’s got that post-punk inspiration, for all of those unfamiliar with their sound. According to Junkee, an Australian popular culture and news website, the charm of Shopping is their consistent sense of humor, something that pop-punk bands usually have. Their approach to the genre is balanced, as writer Joseph Earp says that they “have always balanced their Devo-style surreal bops with a taste for tongue-in-cheek kitsch.”
Apt for its title, “Consumer Complaints” also takes a swipe at capitalism in the best way possible.
If you’ve ever seen “Love, Rosie,” you’ll probably know who Lily Allen is. The iconic “F*ck You” from the movie’s soundtrack is annoyingly catchy and relevant. Beyond that, though, people who do not follow Allen’s career would probably think that she peaked and, well, submerged underneath so many other acts. But she didn’t really; Allen has only consistently been improving her work behind the scenes, even though not a lot of people really notice her influence in the music industry.
Recently, she released “Sheezus” too, described by Junkee as “both a reflection on time’s passing and an ode toward the potential of the future, [it] might be her magnum opus.”
Old But Gold
People would be hard-pressed to say that most old music is ever underrated. This is especially so since the current music-scape of formulaic songs has been mocked constantly by literally everyone, chastising the newer, shinier music of the scene and comparing them to the albums of the great.
But there’s actually some truth in this as underrated albums exist in every era. For the old but gold category, here are some classics that are worth giving a re-listen at least.
“Reload” of 1997, says What Culture, an online resource for film, TV, gaming, music, and comics news, is Metallica’s most underrated album because it is the moment that the metal band has been criticized for allegedly selling out. In these circles, accusations like that bear immense weight, and Metallica has well and truly been burned because of it. Nevertheless, What Culture suggests “Reload” in their list because of the album having a great feel of experimentation. Though fans are almost always skeptical of the brand’s reinventions, the band itself is admittedly not that bad.
What Culture describes the album as Metallica at their moodiest and “is a great snapshot of a band trying to adjust themselves to fit the times.”
|What Culture describes the album as Metallica at their moodiest and “is a great snapshot of a band trying to adjust themselves to fit the times” / Photo by: Raph_PH via Wikimedia Commons|
Best of 2019
“Norman F*cking Rockwell” (2019)
Lana Del Rey
For many people, Lana Del Rey is quite the acquired taste. She is one of the more recent artists who flirt between mainstream and indie, in that both her style and subject matter only appeals to some of us. “Norman F*cking Rockwell” is a good example of her growth in the industry, though, and Slant Magazine even describes the whole album as having songs that “reveal themselves not to be hollow vessels for vapid self-absorption, but frank assessments of the psychic effects of a world spiraling into chaos.”
Initially, she had been accused of releasing the same slow, potentially problematic music, but in this new production, Lana seems to have truly come to her own, sticking it out with her beliefs when she first started. Even if you don’t like her, you have to applaud that consistency.
|For many people, Lana Del Rey is quite the acquired taste. She is one of the more recent artists who flirt between mainstream and indie, in that both her style and subject matter only appeals to some of us / Photo by: Harmony Gerber via Wikimedia Commons|
There’s so much to say about FKA Twigs sometimes that a portion in a bulk article may not be enough. FKA has always made transcendent, intriguing music that has established her in those of us with more niche interests. “Magdalene,” her recent album, speaks to her niche audience incredibly well, and though it’s a well-known album for her fans, it’s a relative unknown to the general public.
If you want to give “Magdalene” a listen, Slant Magazine endorses the artistry of FKA in this one and describes the album as a whole as having “distinctly feminine energy” and a kind of vivid emotional depletion that she started to feel after she and ex-boyfriend Robert Pattinson called it quits rather publicly.
Furthermore, the album is also described as “a knotty meditation on the process of separating self-perception from public perception, and of Twigs’ reclamation of her body and work as hers and hers alone.”
So go ahead now and have a listen to anyone on this list. You won’t regret spending some of your time in these hidden nuggets.