Underrated but Talented Artists


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Many underrated musicians stray from the distinct pop sound.

The pop sounds of the music industry drown out the individual sounds of smaller artists. With such a dominating norm having a chokehold on the industry, artists whose unique melodies and beats diverge from the “pop sound” struggle to gain popularity, regardless of how great their talent may be.

There is a sore lack of lyricism within music on the charts. Cavetown and Phoebe Bridgers are a couple of underrated lyricists whose music deserves greater recognition. Their talent extends beyond their ability to make a likable song but to structure their music with such poetic lines. Cavetown’s song, “Meteor Shower,” has the lines, “Missing pieces of my skull. I’ll sew on patches of my own soul. There’s nothing you or I can do so let the stars fall. ‘Cause from up here the sky is my thoughts, and we’re all so small”. This refers to his battle with his mind and mental illnesses such as anxiety and depression. If your skull is missing parts, then your brain is more susceptible to harm. Sewing patches of his soul on, Cavetown uses his energy and personality to mend the “holes in his skull.” In Phoebe Bridger’s song, “Moon Song,” she sings, “You are sick and you’re married. And you might be dying, but you’re holding me like water in your hands”. Phoebe uses the metaphor of water to explain that people are fragile like water in the sense that if one lets them go, they will disappear. People often overlook the amount of talent it takes to write a line that will move people, and these independent artists (and so many more) have continuously released songs that deeply resonate with their listeners.

Pop music tends to have a certain sound, changing every decade or so. Dr. Dog and Steve Lacy have created a sound distinct to themselves, an insanely difficult task that they execute with style and consistency. The workflow of these artists is admirable and extremely difficult to duplicate. Musician Steve Lacy composes songs on his phone using the app Garageband. Within seconds, he creates chord progressions, drum beats, and melodies. His compositions depart from generic pop music to form a new song without precedent. Lacy has access to high-quality equipment, but he chooses to keep making his music this way, keeping his specific and distinctive sound. The “psychedelic” indie rock band, Dr. Dog, produces music with witty lyrics and quirk. Dr. Dog writes their music with a vintage approach, constantly making an effort to make their songs sound live in the studio. Like Steve Lacy, Dr. Dog tries to stray away from the computerized and digital editing that “everyone uses these days.” The artistry and creativity that it takes for these artists to successfully stray from the norm, without models or exemplars to guide them, is beyond talented.

The talent of thousands of small artists is widely unrecognized, lost in a sea of more popular performers. Even if they have excellent musical talent, artists who have a different sound from the mainstream generally have a difficult time attaining popularity. Beautiful music deserves to be heard and appreciated by everyone.