One perk of keeping up with mainstream songs and the Billboard Hot 100 is that you constantly stay aware of what’s trending and know what people are talking about. One negative about trends, however, is they either don’t stay popular long enough for you to properly enjoy them, or they stay too long that you grow to hate them.
Love it or hate it, though, trending music doesn’t offer you the opportunity to deep dive into the artist’s other work. Many people will hear an artist’s song on the radio, love it and then feel as if they know the artist and dismiss the rest of the artist’s work, making them one-hit wonders and eventually pushing them to the side.
If you’re one of these people and you’re rightfully wondering what you’re missing, here is a list of five artists within the alternative genre that are producing fantastic music, beyond the song they’re known for.
1. Milky Chance
German folk group Milky Chance is best known for their 2013 song “Stolen Dance.” Those who loved “Stolen Dance” will recognize lead singer Clemens Rehbein’s gravelly, sleepy, half-lidded voice crooning over rich, hollow beats and intoxicating layers of sound. These intriguing elements, however, extend throughout “Sadnecessary,” the album that features “Stolen Dance.”
While the majority of songs off of “Sadnecessary” are strong representations of Milky Chance’s artistic skill, the most underrated are “Running” and “Fairytale.” “Running” is slow and intense, maximizing the use of strong, bass shaking beats that, when experienced in headphones, offer an almost otherworldly sensation that you can feel, pounding in your brain.
“Fairytale,” besides its use of odd sound effects, includes fantastic use of guitar and drums to create a song that will leave you bouncing in your seat or on your toes.
Garrett Clark Borns, known by his stage name BØRNS, is an American singer/songwriter known for his 2015 pastel pop hit “Electric Love,” which is characterized by idyllic vocals and flirtatious, synthetic beats. The rest of “Dopamine,” the parent album to “Electric Love,” continues Borns’s ethereal vocals and use of synth, but expresses a strong variety of contexts for those elements to appear in.
“The Emotion” is a soulful, quietly passionate song that gets deeper with every listen — and you will listen to it a lot, as the chorus is surprisingly catchy for a slower song. As with the rest of his work, “The Emotion” also displays powerful use of beats and binaural synth to create a full experience.
If you preferred the bouncy, upbeat nature of “Electric Love,” then the title track “Dopamine” will be more your speed. The upbeat synths combined with his light, layered vocals make it impossible to keep still while listening.
3. Florence + The Machine
British indie rock band Florence + the Machine, fronted by Florence Welch, has been on the music scene for over a decade, and no song of theirs is more recognizable than the lighthearted 2009 anthem “Dog Days Are Over.” Its use of tambourine, drums and handclaps, combined with Welch’s strong, unique vocals, create an organic optimism that listeners remember even ten years later.
Florence + the Machine have released many albums since the success of “Dog Days,” all hanging on the rawness and power of Welch’s vocals. Two of the more underrated examples of her strong voice are “What Kind of Man” from the 2015 “How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful” album, and “Patricia” from her most recent album, “High As Hope.”
“What Kind of Man” balances gentle synths and aggressive guitar beautifully on the tightrope of her vocals, which alternate between soft and strong throughout the song. Similarly, “Patricia” alternates between quiet and intense, saddled by her inflection and incredible, effortless riffs. Both songs include the classic use of tambourine, which was so recognizable in “Dog Days.”
4. Bishop Briggs
British newcomer to the music scene Sarah Grace McLaughlin, known as Bishop Briggs, caught worldwide attention with her 2016 single, “River.” Due to her belting vocals and intricate, gritty beats created by handclaps, tambourines, synths and strong drums, “River” got quickly commercialized.
Briggs released her debut album, “Church of Scars,” in 2018. Alongside “River,” the album also boasts powerhouse tracks like “The Fire” and “Water.” Both songs, while consistent with the anthemic beats showcased in “River,” also see Briggs’s voice soften and build to a crescendo, conveying powerful emotion effortlessly. “Water” slows down even more, allowing Briggs to explore emotional expression, not only through her vocals but also through soft beats and unusual sound effects.
5. Jon Bellion
American rapper, singer/songwriter and producer Jon Bellion is nothing short of a genius. He pulls out all the stops while creating his unique compositions, whether it be adding his own sound effects or creating unique combinations of synth, drums, and voice. His most well-known piece, employing all of these elements, is “All Time Low” off of his debut album, “The Human Condition.”
If you appreciated “All Time Low,” then you’ll love “JT” and “Cautionary Tales” from his most recent album, “Glory Sound Prep.” While both employ Bellion’s unique, original sound effects and intricate layering of sound, “JT” is a lighter, bouncier track where “Cautionary Tales” is grittier and more intense, featuring more rap and stronger synths.