Artist Exploration

Songs You Don’t Know (A Musical Experiment)

The other day while searching through third party developer tools for Spotify, I found a really interesting website – Forgotify.com. What is Forgotify? Basically, Forgotify brings up a random track that has almost no plays on Spotify. These songs come from all genres and every corner of the world. Quite frankly, most of these songs you don’t know are crap. Still….I see a challenge. So in the spirit of my Artist Exploration series, I explore a handful of these tracks and give you my honest opinions. I have to admit, I am kind of scared! I have no idea what awaits me….so….wish me luck. Ok, here I go….these are ten songs you don’t know.

Songs You Don't Know....and a flower...for reasons.

Morning Cravings: E.B. (2010)

Morning Cravings is an instrumental electronica piece. The main instruments in the song are synthesizers and a drum machine. You might hear Morning Cravings on a chill out playlist, or maybe in some out of the way, underground dance club. Honestly, I would not go out of my way to listen to Morning Cravings as the song sounds pretty generic. With that said, Morning Cravings is not bad for background noise. Maybe something you put on when you’re trying to concentrate on a big project, or perhaps while you’re cleaning house and you want to keep your feet moving.

Grade: C+

Mountaintown Lullaby: TenString Serenade (2009)

Mountaintown Lullaby is a relaxing instrumental. The band, TenString Serenade, prominently features an acoustic (six string) guitar and a violin (which usually has four strings, thus the band’s name). The results are absolutely gorgeous! Mountaintown Lullaby, really makes me want to explore the rest of the TenString Serenade catalog. Fans of Nickel Creek might especially enjoy Mountaintown Lullaby, as the instrumental sounds are similar. Just don’t listen to Mountaintown Lullaby if you’re trying to stay awake….they call it a lullaby for a reason.

Grade: B

Lonely: La Fiesta (2010)

The chorus of Lonely borrows the chorus from Bobby Vinton’s “Mr. Lonely” sung in kind of an annoying, computer generated voice. So…why do I love this song so damned much? Seriously, Lonely is good freaking pop. No, Lonely isn’t some deep, transcendental song. Lonely is a standard, R & B inspired Pop song. The thesis of the lyrics are easy to interpret – not complex in the least. However, Lonely pleases the ear. La Fiesta’s vocal strengths on the verses really shine!

Grade: B+

A5: G.u.Z. (201)

A5 gives us a bunch of bumping beats. Over…and over….and over. These beats aren’t bad, though these beats are not something you really want to listen to unless you’re dancing. Whatever, put on A5 if you’re at the club, or maybe if you’re training a marching band.

Grade: C-

Polka Dots and Moonbeams: Kayla (2008)

Originally written in 1940, and performed by the likes of Tommy Dorsey and Frank Sinatra, Polka Dots and Moonbeams has a crooner aesthetic. Kayla’s voice sounds less crooner-esque than Sinatra and company mind you, reminiscent of a singer songwriter or even an anti-folk singer. Still, Kayla makes Polka Dots and Moonbeams work for her unique voice. A pleasant song to listen to when chilling out. Pour yourself a glass of wine, and sink into a comfy chair, or maybe take your best girl for a slow dance with Polka Dots and Moonbeams.

Grade: B

The Music Turns Me On: Maria Dallas (1969?)

The Music Turns Me On presents a common thesis – the working day is done, and it’s time to get down and boogie with the music! Maria Dallas delivers this message through the lyrics, yes….but she also shows us with the actual genre(s) of the song. The Music Turns Me On features a country sound in the verses, representing the working man’s lament of a dreary day job. Oh, but when the chorus hits, we’re off work. We are a slave only to the rhythm! The chorus is straight on, rock and roll – something to dance to. What a great freaking song! I highly recommend The Music Turns Me On!

Grade: A

Was Mir Widerfuhr: Carambolage (1982)

Like, I can totally hear Mir Widerfuhr playing at an underground new wave club in the early 80s. I mean, that would be totally radical and tubular! Maybe Carambolage might play back to back with Nena’s 99 Luftballons and junk! Ok, enough with the valley girl speak….

In all seriousness, Was Mir Widerfuhr is a groovy track to dance to. Translated “What happened to you?” I can only imagine the song as a cry to a former friend who’s changed for the worse (especially given the tone of the vocals in the first verse). Was Mir Widerfuhr has a repeating instrumentation, and that gets a little annoying – but the bones of the song are solid! New wave fans will approve of Was Mir Widerfuhr. It’s totally awesome!

Grade: C+

Weather Balloon: Casey Nutman (1994)

Weather Balloon by Casey Nutman can be described in three words: Experimenting with synthesizers. Remember that episode of Friends where Ross starts playing keyboards – trying to find “the sound?” Yeah – I think one of the writers heard Weather Balloon and felt some sort of inspiration. I could totally see Ross playing Weather Balloon, and the song was released three years before the episode….you do the math! Casey Nutman probably deserves some royalties from that episode.

Grade: C+

Never Gone To You: Lisa Bastoni (2019)

Folk / Country singer Lisa Bastoni gives us a ballad of a lost love that breaks our hearts. About the twinges of love one feels, even after a love leaves, Never Gone To You explores how our emotions really can’t keep up with our heads. Never Gone To You by Lisa Bastoni certainly finds a place on any break up songs playlist. If you’re reading Lisa, thank you for sharing your pain with us.

Grade: A

Rock Crazy: Oney (1989)

Wow, this is hard rock at its finest! I have no idea who Oney is, and why Rock Crazy never got noticed, but the song would fit well on my 80s hard rock playlist. I could certainly see myself blasting this song on my headphones, and hoping my parents couldn’t hear it (I wasn’t allowed to listen to this type of music 1989). Don’t get me wrong – Rock Crazy is nothing special, but let’s be honest….most of the hard rock classics of the 80s were nothing special either. The songs were just an excuse to rock out. That’s what Rock Crazy provides. Play Rock Crazy by Oney as loud as your environment allows!

Grade: B+

Songs you don’t know: takeaways and parting thoughts.

Firstly, I did not rate every song I encountered on Forgotify. I skipped all the classical, most of the foreign language music, and even a lot of songs I just was not interested in writing about. In fact, to get these ten songs, I actually had to wade through 40 or 50 songs. So…don’t expect gold every time when listening to songs via Forgotify. Of course, if you like classical, Forgotify gives you a lot!

Secondly, this experiment with Songs You Don’t Know showed me a couple artists I want to explore more. I am currently listening to the rest of Oney’s album. Pretty standard 80s hard rock all throughout – but it’s decent enough. I also really want to explore Lisa Bastoni more. She has a strong voice, and writes from personal experience – including heartache.

Thirdly, well, I guess this experiment in songs you don’t know shows us that perhaps some of these artists could have been big (maybe some of them still could be big). Sometimes that pop singer just did not have the right publicist. Who knows, in an alternative reality, La Fiesta might climb to the top of the charts! Anything could happen.

My final thoughts on Songs You Don’t Know – be open to new music. Always be looking for that album that you had no idea you needed. You never know when or where you’ll find your next favorite song.