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Red Hot Chili Peppers to Greta Van Fleet: Six Hidden Gems

Sure, you know their hits, but have you heard these overlooked tunes?

Adam Shay

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How often do you hear someone say, “Oh, I know that band for their one song,” and think to yourself: “That song is overplayed and kind of sucks?”

Probably a fair amount if you are diehard fan of a band or musician.

Mainstream radio beats the hell out of songs for a couple months, and then rolls onto the next one. What’s frustrating is how those mainstream songs are usually not a band or artist’s best work.

Sirius XM has the right idea with their channel Deep Tracks, swaying from the path of mainstream bops and playing songs not familiar to many fans. In that spirit, here is a short list of songs from mainstream artists and bands worth listening to that will not hit the airwaves — in hopes of expanding a every music fan’s horizons. 

  1. “Turn it Again” by Red Hot Chili Peppers. “Turn It Again” could be the greatest rock song of their iconic career. As the 13th track on the Mars side of Stadium Arcadium, the 6:06 minute song is an all-out, guitar screaming jam, driven by the incredibly underrated John Frusciante. The tune shows a different side of the Peppers, showcasing their true sound and varying from mainstream hits like “Dani California” or “Snow (Hey Oh).” However, with Frusciante no longer in the band, I doubt the band can produce more moments like “Turn it Again,” no disrespect Josh Klinghoffer.
  2. “Hypocrite” by Cage The Elephant. Melophobia was a massive success for Cage The Elephant, spinning off huge hits like “Come A Little Closer,” “Cigarette Daydreams,” and “Take It or Leave It.” But “Hypocrite” is the best song on the album. With a melodic rhythm, memorable lyrics — and having never been formally released as a singe — this song should not be overshadowed by their other hits. Plus, who can’t relate to a song about being a hypocrite at some point in your life?
  3. “Parlor” by Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats. First of all, this band is incredible and is one of the most talented groups going right now. That’s why “Parlor,” a B-side, is just as good, if not better than their radio hits like “You Worry Me.” “Parlor” is an upbeat, retro song meant to be played at a 1950s diner. Also, what makes this song so lovable is the simplicity behind it. There are no rocking solos, incredible vocals or a wild drum line, yet, it’s near impossible not to sway and hum this song. “Parlor” is a defining song for Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats.
  4. “Too Late to Say Goodbye” by Bruno Mars. Bruno Mars can do everything, it seems, and despite his remarkably catchy songs like “That’s What I Like” or “Finesse,” the last song on his 24K Magic album may be his best. “Too Late To Say Goodbye” emphasizes his true vocal talent as he holds nothing back, screaming his heart out while supported by a 70s soul-ballad backing. Everything about this song sounds as if it came off an Al Green album, and for that, thank you Bruno Mars.
  5. “Soulfight” by The Revivalists. A song that tugs at your emotions in all the right ways. “Soulfight” appears on their 2008 self-titled EP The Revivalists, way before they achieved global success with “Wish I Knew You” and “All My Friends.” Those songs are more pop,  but “Soulfight” is the complete opposite. A song with emotional lyrics, beautiful piano, and powerful lead vocals from David Shaw, the tune . feels like it could reduce the strongest human to tears. The Revivalists may have gone more mainstream with pop bops, but the band still have hidden gems like “Soulfight.” 
  6. “A Change Is Gonna Come” by Greta Van Fleet. With a Led Zeppelin-esque revival sound, Greta Van Fleet has taken the U.S. by storm and are selling out venues nationwide. Known for stompers like “Highway Tune” and “When The Curtain Falls,” their cover of Sam Cooke’s “A Change Is Gonna Come” is beyond overlooked. The band took a chance by covering a soul anthem, removing the classic piano and adding melodic riffs and wild vocals from lead singer Josh Kiszka. Their cover will never match the legacy of Sam Cooke’s ballad, but Greta Van Fleet did a damn good job of covering one of his best known songs. 

If you obsess over singers and bands, and are one of those people who make a playlist for every occasion, join CMN’s Music Journalism Course and get real-time experience, intense feedback on your writing, exposure to music industry insiders, and a great place to display build your portfolio. Get all the details on the Music Journalism Course here.

Adam Shay is a graduate from Eastern Illinois University with a bachelor’s degree in journalism, During his four years at EIU, he wrote for the Daily Eastern News for two and a half years, covering multiple sports, news events, and writing feature stories. He was also on the rugby club team for two years, a member of the Society of Collegiate Journalists, and finished third in applying for his commencement speech. Currently, he runs a public relations system for a bar in Palatine, Illinois, and in his free time, he is always learning about music, sports history, and American history.

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