I am a big fan of music, not the biggest, but music is a huge part of my life. A large part of my time was spent on YouTube and Pandora just listening to music and trying to find songs I had never heard before. Now I mainly use YouTube Music to find all of my new songs. This list won’t follow a single genre really, mainly because there are new genres and sub-genres popping up all the time. You probably won’t hear most of them on the radio either, or at least not around where I’m from. All of them will be worth a listen though.
1. CITY OF ANGELS by 24kGOLDn
24kGoldn or Golden Landis Von Jones is a rapper, singer, and songwriter from San Francisco, California. This 19-year-old artist has made some amazing music recently. I’m picky when it comes to the rap music I listen to, but his songs are definitely the kind I’d put on full blast in my car with the windows down. He is a clever lyricist and he shows that on many of his songs like CITY OF ANGELS.
CITY OF ANGELS is classified as rap, but it probably doesn’t sound like what you think of when you hear rap. The first chords of the song come from a funk guitar. I’m a sucker when it comes to that kind of stuff. The song just has a kind of groove to it that makes you want to bob your head to the beat.
2. Soldier, Poet, King by The Oh Hellos
On the other end of the music spectrum from 24kGOLDn are The Oh Hellos. This indie-folk band has quickly become one of my all-time favorite artists. This brother and sister duo, Tyler and Maggie Heath, come from San Marcos, Texas. They got their start interestingly enough by writing a song for their mother’s birthday, and I am so glad they did. The Oh Hellos have this ability to weave stories into their music masterfully, in my opinion, in a way I don’t see too often today.
Soldier, Poet, King was a song when I first heard it, the music gave me chills and made me feel something in my soul. A tug towards adventure and a call to action. It sounds like I’m exaggerating, but honestly, this song is amazing. The lyrics sound pretty much like a nursery rhyme, or what you’d hear someone singing to a child to keep them occupied, but when mixed with the melody it turns into a masterpiece. It’s perfect for when you find yourself on an adventure or if you just need a little pick me up on a bad day.
3. All Over by CRUISR
This indie-pop band from Philadelphia started as a solo project in 2012 with singer/songwriter Andy States. He began corresponding with Jeremy Park from Youth Lagoon and sharing demos and collaborating. Eventually, this led to a collaboration project between States and Park, making a self-titled EP. They then picked up Jon Van Dine and Kyle Cook and formed the band CRUISR.
The high energy of this song makes it one of those feel-good fun songs. The bass line that drives the song makes you want to dance and have a good time. It is a great song, but my favorite part of the song would be the music video. It’s animated with a cool art style and features many likenesses of well-known 70s and 80s film characters.
4. Come Along by Cosmo Sheldrake
This multi-talented musician, composer, and songwriter who is based out of London is probably the most unique on this list. The uniqueness may be part of the reason you don’t really hear much from Sheldrake besides the fact that he is based in England. He started making music in 2014 and since then he’s only made three albums, with the last one being The Much Much How How and I which released in 2018. Other than his albums, he has produced music for film and theater, as well as doing live performances solo and with Johnny Flynn & The Sussex Wit.
Cosmo has been described as an artist who writes music that sounds impish with lyrics that come from a child-like imagination, and that sounds pretty spot on. The melody is quick and somewhat erratic. The lyrics also sound nonsensical, but in a way that a daydream is nonsensical. For me, a song like this really gets my creative juices flowing and brings me back to a place where I can use my imagination, which seems harder to do the older I get.
5. Dark Days by PUP
PUP, or Pathetic Use of Potential named by lead vocalist Stephan Babcock, is a Canadian punk rock band based in Toronto, Ontario. The band was originally called Topanga, but after settling on their heavy, punk rock style they felt like they should change the name as not to be associated with Disney’s character Topanga Matthews from Boy Meets World.
Dark Days is a perfect song for when you feel like you’ve hit a rough patch. Unlike the other songs on the list with a light tone that makes you feel good, this song seems to say: “Yeah life sucks a lot, but I’m going to get through it.”
6. Millionaire by DJ Quads
As for this artist, I’ll admit I don’t know much about them, and there isn’t really much about him out on the web. I found his Facebook Page, Spotify, and Instagram. He has an artist bio on Last.fm, but all it gives me is his name and what country he is from. Johan Lilja, who is from Sweden. Despite the little personal information, we know he is still a great artist. His focus is on trap music and remixes, and he contributes many beats to “Fair Use” YouTube channels and websites.
Millionaire is upbeat and fun to listen to. The main message in the song is that he’s never going to be a millionaire, but he doesn’t care. It’s about having fun and living your best life no matter how much money or fame you have. It’s a good song to listen to for writing or when you need to concentrate, but need something in the background. With the song being mostly instrumental, and with what few words that are being said being repeated throughout, makes it perfect. It is also included in his library of fair use music, so you can use it in your media as well.
7. California by Clayton James
Another Canadian singer-songwriter, Clayton James, is from Ottawa, Canada. He started on YouTube making gaming videos, but switched to vlogging and making music videos. He is a part of a popular YouTube channel called Sugar Pine 7, an affiliate of Roosterteeth. After 2015, he deleted many of his old videos on his personal YouTube and made a music-based channel.
California is a great example of an easy-going song that is relaxing to listen to. The slow beat and easygoing melody makes it easy to chill and not worry about much. The song talks about having the California dream, trying to make it come true, and some of the challenges that you face in the pursuit.
8. Sidelined by Chills
Chills may be the newest artist on this list. Also starting his career on YouTube, he was doing lists and vlogs on the video platform. It is here where he became internet famous for the way that he spoke. His main focus was horror lists, which his voice was perfect for, but not everyone was a fan. Many people spoke openly about how much they hated his voice. He solidified himself within meme culture with “Burger King Foot Lettuce.” This was a phrase he said in a list video while talking about a Burger King employee who took a picture of their feet in the lettuce used in Burger King burgers. He still does the list videos, but he decided to follow his aspiration to become a rapper. A pretty good one, as it turns out.
Sidelined is a rap song about relationship problems. It’s about a girl being with someone else even though she said she loved the narrator. A concept that is used a lot in music, but Chill’s execution of it is great. The natural sound of his voice blends perfectly with the somber tone of the song.
9. Voodoo by Aaron Taos
Aaron Taos is a pop artist based in Boston. He has been playing and writing music since he was 7, and he was playing in bands in his teens. However, soccer was his first priority and he pursued that until he started releasing his songs in 2015. His music style has been influenced by groups like Arctic Monkeys and The Strokes, mixing his love of guitar-based indie music with EDM.
Voodoo is another song about a girl, but her effect on Aaron. He explains the way it feels like she has put a “spell” on him and it makes him do things he normally wouldn’t do. It’s a song that’s easy to sing along to, which makes it even more enjoyable.
10. C’mon Down by Poor Man’s Poison
A very different band than what has been on this list: PMP is a band of four friends from a farm town in California. They grew up together and would sit on the front porch playing music, and whatever happened, happened. They take influences from country, bluegrass, hip hop, rock, and soul music. All of these styles come together to make a great sound.
C’mon Down is definitely a bluegrass-esque song. Complete with guitar picking and the country twang in their voice. The song is a kind of commentary about people selling “miracles,” or cures to peoples’ problems, like a snake oil salesman of the old west. It is definitely one of those songs you listen to with a cowboy hat on and a mason jar of ‘shine in your hand.
Music, in my opinion, is the greatest invention of mankind, but there’s only a small amount of songs that get cycled through on the radio. I swear I hear Lizzo on the radio every hour, not that it isn’t a good song, but I just want to hear something different sometimes. The songs in this list probably won’t be found on a mainstream radio station, but they deserve to be listened to at least once. All of the artists listed here have great music other than the mentioned songs as well. What songs do you wish you heard on the radio? Let me know in the comments below!