The 10 Best Lesser-Known Bops by Your Favorite Pop Stars
When it comes to pop music, it's not that I dislike the genre—in fact, it's one of my favorites—but if you were to judge based on what I scan on the radio, well, that's a different story.
Top 40 gives artists (of all genres) a bad rep (IMHO). While every now and then, the radio waves will grace my ears with a true gem, I find that, more times than not, a bad song from a good artist will top the charts in no time. I'm in shock over how many unreleased or non-charting tunes could have easily been huge hits for a slew of artists.
Because the radio isn't here to do it, I'm breaking it down instead. Here are the 10 best lesser-known bops by your favorite pop stars.
'Strangers' by Halsey f./ Lauren Jauregui (2017)
This song was a breakthrough for the LGBTQ community, as it was the first mainstream pop release to refer to a female/female relationship without sensationalizing it. It was one of Halsey's first singles, and never really picked up steam—but it happens to be one of her best, and should absolutely not go unnoticed.
'Who's That Chick?' by David Guetta f./ Rihanna (2009)
Rihanna has her hands on everything these days, so sometimes it's hard to remember an era when she was belting out new music left and right. While the Fenty Beauty founder has been more commonly associated with beauty and fashion as of late, let's not forget some of her finest musical moments. "Who's That Chick?," an updated (and much more upbeat) take on Madonna's 1987 track, "Who's That Girl," is a David Guetta collab that somehow fell between the cracks. Not sure how, because this is the song that needs to be on everyone's party playlists.
'Dressin' Up' by Katy Perry (2012)
Remember when Katy Perry released one of the best pop albums ever? I don't blame you, I often forget, too. But alas, buried under the incredible "Teenage Dream," "Part of Me" and "Firework" was a little-known bonus track called "Dressin' Up," tacked on to the singer's Teenage Dream: The Complete Confection album. It's a super fun track that surely hasn't gotten the mainstream love it deserves.
'I Wanna Be Your Baby' by Zara Larsson (2014)
Nowadays, Swedish singer Zara Larsson's new releases don't go unnoticed, but back in 2014 was when I believe she really broke through. "I Wanna Be Your Baby" has just the right melody and lyrics to make up a hit, so even though it never topped the charts way back when, it's never too late to have on your radar—this song is gold.
'Starstruck' by Lady Gaga f./ Space Cowboy & Flo Rida (2008)
When Lady Gaga hit it big in 2008 with the album appropriately titled The Fame, there was no shortage of hits being sent everyone's way. From "Just Dance" and "Poker Face" to "Love Game," "Paparazzi" and more, this little lady was unstoppable. But, TBH, I think "Starstruck" went unrightfully unnoticed, as this pop gem about being heart-eyes over someone checked all the boxes of a potential hit song—it just never made it there. That said, it's a hit in my heart, and should absolutely be one in yours, too.
'Julia' by SZA (2014)
SZA is known for her edgy, future R&B sounds, but the vocalist released one heck of a sultry, electro-pop jam in 2014 (who knew?!). I've had "Julia" on my Spotify Starred list for quite some, but it wasn't until recently that I looked closer to find it was by none other than SZA.
'Be the One' by Dua Lipa (2015)
Long before Dua Lipa was dating a Hadid and sitting front row at A-list fashion shows, the then-relatively unknown Brit released a vibey track called "Be the One," which should have catapulted her to instant fame. I became obsessed with the song right away, but it hasn't (yet) had the same effect on everyone else. It's never too late, though—to this day, it's still my favorite by the pop star.
'Small Doses' by Bebe Rexha (2017)
Ah, the overpowering feeling you get when you're in the presence of someone you're crazy about. Sometimes, emotions you feel for a person are too intense, causing you to only be able to take them in "small doses"—as Bebe Rexha explains in this alluring track that slipped under the radar.
'Starry Eyed' by Ellie Goulding (2010)
This fluttery song, by a then-emerging Ellie Goulding, takes me back to simpler times. Music, in general, was at its prime, and this song was no exception. It never quite took off, but it encompasses everything you feel when you're excited about someone—something that never gets old.
'Nuclear Seasons' by Charli XCX (2013)
If you've ever felt lost in a warped world after a split from someone, you'll relate to this synth-pop pick by Charli XCX. It never made it big, but given the popularity of so many of her other songs, it's nice to keep a gem to myself.
Honorable Mention No. 1: 'Music Feels Better' by Selena Gomez (2013)
This feel-good bonus track from Selena Gomez's Stars Dance album gets an honorable mention because it sounds a bit too dated to make the playlist but still holds a special place in my heart. One view of the music video below and you'll be transported back to happier times when the starlet was consistently all smiles. There are few songs that scream carefree vibes quite like this one.
Honorable Mention No. 2: 'Been You' by Justin Bieber (2015)
This would have easily made the Top 10, but since I went with all females, I decided to keep Justin in the honorable mentions. I've said this before and I'll say it again: This. Song. Should. Have. Been. A. Single. I get that JB has a lot of hit-worthy tracks in his lengthy catalog of releases, but my gosh, "Been You" is not only one of the best songs off "Purpose," but it's also one of his best songs, period. Poppy, melodic and uplifting, the radio wouldn't have known what hit it had this been a single. I could have totally done without hearing "Love Yourself" on repeat and replaced it with this instead.
Want the top 10 on a handy little playlist so you can soon become obsessed like I am? Look no further than below!
Need another playlist of our favs? HERE's a list of songs that sum up every single thing we feel during fall.