Top 10 Underrated Singles From Popular Bands

Script written by Shane Fraser

Minor hits from major bands. Welcome to WatchMojo.com and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the top 10 underrated singles from popular bands. For this list, we’re looking at popular bands and their not so popular songs. For inclusion here they must have been released as singles at one point, and must have artistic and fan-appointed merit.

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Script written by Shane Fraser


Top 10 Underrated Singles From Popular Bands

 
Minor hits from major bands. Welcome to WatchMojo.com and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the top 10 underrated singles from popular bands.
 
For this list, we’re looking at popular bands and their not so popular songs. For inclusion here they must have been released as singles at one point, and must have artistic and fan-appointed merit. The singles are ranked by their popularity in relation to the band’s other songs, their chart position, and the disparity between each song’s brilliance and their general lack of mainstream appreciation.
 

#10: “Intervention” (2006)
Arcade Fire

Alternative music never sounded so good. As inventive as it is minimalist, Arcade Fire’s catalogue is a pleasing menagerie of sounds and symbolism, and “Intervention” is a shining example. Though not one of their trademarks songs, “Intervention” has attracted favor in recent years for its beautiful arrangement contrasted with darkly symbolic lyrics, but the blend is sweet, not sour. It was one of four singles off their Neon Bible album, and though it missed the charts, fans regard “Intervention” as one of Arcade Fire’s best songs, and the perfect conceptual model.
 

#9: “She” (1995)
Green Day

In 1994, Green Day was a mid-level band on the brink of stardom, and it was Dookie that put them over. Among the album’s chart-topping singles like “Longview” and “Basket Case,” there was “She,” a somewhat buried but memorable pop punk track. Though initially overshadowed by the other singles, “She” has inclined in popularity since its release, possibly to a greater extent than the others. It’s clear that the musical merit was there from the beginning, as “She” is a raucous but thoughtful love story, in the uniquely Green Day way, but its appreciation took time. But that’s OK: some of the best songs follow that route.
 
 

#8: “Perfect” (1998)
The Smashing Pumpkins

There’s an inherent paradox where once something is recognized as underrated, it ceases to be underrated. A truly underrated song would be one that is not recognized as such, which keeps “Perfect” from sitting higher on today's list. ‘Pumpkins fans cite “Perfect” as one of the band’s most underrated songs, and certainly their most underrated single. A sonic sibling to the band's earlier #12 hit “1979”, “Perfect” didn't fare quite as well on the charts, peaking at just 42 on the Hot 100. Maybe fans just appreciated the lighter electronically-aided flavour, maybe they just enjoyed a break from how gloomy and gothy the band was becoming at the time, but regardless the song is adored by Pumpkin fans, and that adoration far outreaches chart success.
 
 

#7: “Doin’ It Right” (2013)
Daft Punk feat. Panda Bear

“Doin’ It Right” is a fully electronic song, and the only one of its kind to appear on Random Access Memories. Unlike the album’s other singles, “Doin’ It Right” did not make the Hot 100 chart, despite being one of the album’s best tracks. The song is a compositional masterpiece, with the duo bringing on Animal Collective member Panda Bear to co-write and provide vocals for the track. While much ofRandom Access Memories draws upon music of the past, “Doin’ It Right” sees the robots doing something completely new, unfortunately the general public wasn’t so receptive.
 

#6: “I Might Be Wrong” (2001)
Radiohead

With a band like Radiohead —a band whose sound is diverse - underrated songs are abundant. “I Might Be Wrong” is our answer, a metallic blues-inspired serenade that appeared on Amnesiac. Released additionally as a single in 2001, “I Might Be Wrong” failed to crack the mainstream charts in every country, and only reached number 27 on the US Alt. Chart, a far cry from tracks like “Creep” “High and Dry” or “Paranoid Android”. Despite its non-appearance on the charts it's a regular in fan-approved playlists.
 

#5: “Parallel Universe” (2001)
Red Hot Chili Peppers

Initially released as a promotional radio single, “Parallel Universe” was destined for indifference. Two years after Californication was released, “Parallel Universe” was chosen as the album's last single. The song arrived with little fanfare, no music video, and no physical release. Once released to the wild. the track only managed a one week stay at #37 on the Modern Rock Track chart. Despite virtually no-love shown at its release, serious fans embraced the song, and its quirkiness. “Parallel Universe” is now a crowd pleaser at live shows, though its appreciation is reserved for Chiliheads.
 
 

#4: “No Reply” (1964)
The Beatles

Owing to their diverse and eclectic catalogue, The Beatles have a surprisingly large number of lesser-known songs. One of these is “No Reply,” which, despite appearing during the peak of Beatlemania, has been lost in the shuffle. Released on the album Beatles for Sale and as a single in 1964, “No Reply” is quintessential Beatles: a melodic lyrical triumph; equal parts artsy and catchy. The song didn’t chart at all, and isn’t heralded like their other tunes, but for no other reason than being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
 

#3: “Fool in the Rain” (1979)
Led Zeppelin

Choosing an underrated Zeppelin song is a daunting task. Much of their catalogue is well-known and well-played, and even the more obscure songs have found fame in years since Zeppelin disbanded. “Trampled Under Foot” is a quality contender, but “Fool in the Rain” has to take first prize, being the last single before the band called it quits, and for being so unlike anything else they ever recorded. Although it did hit #21 on the Billboard Hot 100, this ethereal tune is often left in the shadows of songs like “Stairway to Heaven” and “Whole Lotta Love”. “Fool in the Rain” may have been a one off, or it may have been a new direction for the band but with the death of John Bonham it became an island onto its own.
 

#2: “Kids with Guns” (2006)
Gorillaz feat. Neneh

The Gorillaz have always charted well since 2001, when “Clint Eastwood” reached number four on the UK charts. While the majority of singles off of the group’s sophmore album Demon Days were highly successful, the record’s final single “Kids with Guns” didn’t quite fare as well as the others. Perhaps it was the decision to release the song as a double a-side with the more popular “El Manana”, or the track’s more violent lyrical content. Despite this, it’s a slice of pop music gold, as its brilliant multi-layered composition has caused the song to be regarded as an essential Gorillaz track by diehard fans.
 
Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions:
 
“Down” (2004)
Blink-182 
 
 “Strawberry Swing” (2009)
Coldplay 
 
 “Just Another Girl” (2013)
The Killers
 
“Keep Fishin’” (2002)
Weezer 
 

#1: “Pennyroyal Tea” (1994)
Nirvana

“Pennyroyal Tea” was a victim of collateral damage. A regular in the band's live show, it only finally got recorded for 1993's In Utero and was scheduled to be released as a single in April of 1994. However these plans were scrapped due to Cobain's death that same month. Instead “Pennyroyal Tea” languished as an album track for years, receiving little notice and no mainstream exposure, before a 2014 release launched the song to number one on the US Hot SinglesSales chart. 20 years later “Pennyroyal Tea” was finally recognized for its purely Nirvanic sound; a brash but sensitive mixture that writhes with artistic passion.
 
Do you agree with our list? What’s your most underrated single? For more titillating Top 10s published daily, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com.
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