10 Best
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12.09.2018, Words by Felicity Martin

The 10 Best Underrated Pop Gems, according to LIZ

LIZ treats us to some of her favourite pop anthems that fell under the radar...

If there’s one thing LIZ knows about, it’s pop. Channeling the looks and sounds of early noughties throwback artists like Mariah and Destiny’s Child, the LA-based pop trailblazer has worked with some of the best producers of the genre on the planet, including PC Music, Lido and Pharrell, making cuts that hark back to the Y2K era of hyper-glossy chart music. Having released a slew of candy-coloured bops in early 2018, her newest track, ‘Pandemonium’, sees production from Nico Stadi – whose credits include Justin Bieber and Jason Derulo, to name a few.

Here LIZ shares her favourite poptastic hits that were criminally overlooked at the time of release…

1. Britney Spears – ‘Radar’

“OK. So, this is one of my favorite Britney songs ever. I imagine her hunting her prey as a black velvet panther. It goes down like a mango boptini with a spicy kick. The song is pop perfection, but it was never on the radio or really, truly, pushed as a single. Her label put it on two albums, ‘Blackout’ and ‘Circus (Deluxe Version)’, which makes you think they had to be considering giving it some real promo love. But alas, all us stans got was this bizarre music video where she comes off as some Eastern European pop star (you know, the kind whose mob boyfriend owns the record label she’s signed to and encourages other men to gaze at her, but pulls a gun on anyone who tries to “touch”). Her styling in it is awful and they objectify a polo horse as it’s getting hosed down. This might’ve been the era of her fake British accent, so that explains a lot. Let’s pretend this video never happened, but you should definitely add this track to your playlists…you won’t be sorry. #JusticeforRadar.”

2. *NSYNC – ‘The Two of Us’

“This was when JC [Chasez] was super involved in the writing process. He appreciates UK garage and that is one of the many reasons why we love him. Solid melodies and vocal production. This track really influenced a song JC and I wrote together called ‘Do I Like U’.”

3. Nicole Sherzinger – ‘Don’t Hold Your Breath’

“This might’ve been big in the UK, but it was definitely underrated in America. It’s one of those break-up songs where you roll down your sunroof while driving down the PCH [Pacific Coast Highway] and shout it at the top of your lungs (as if your bitch-ass ex-boyfriend on the other side of town can hear you). I feel my heart stomping with every beat. It’s a shame there was no choreo in the video.”

4. Avril Lavigne – ‘Hot’

“This wasn’t one of Av’s biggest songs, but I think it’s dope and catchy and it was one of my faves on the ‘Best Damn Thing’ album. I appreciate her urban-meets-Canadian pop punk phrasing in the chorus. She’s super hot in her steampunk/cabaret looks in the video too.”

5. Coldplay – ‘Warning Sign’

“Sure… just go right ahead and rip my heart out. When I hear the opening chords of this song, I’m immediately transported back to those nights, aimlessly driving around with my newly acquired license as a confused, angsty teen suffering from unrequited love and many an existential crisis. Everything about this song is just heartbreaking, including the fact that when I saw Coldplay live at the Hollywood Bowl as a high-schooler, THEY DID NOT PLAY IT. I was v disappointed. I wanted so badly to breathe in that second-hand weed smoke and cry in public with my best friend.”

6. Noonie Bao – ‘Pyramids’

“Noonie is SO talented. Her melodies are insane. No wonder she’s become one of the hottest pop writers in the world. This track is super catchy and she reminds me of a current Kate Bush.”

7. Tinashe – ‘Superlove’

“I was really hoping a Miami Bass pop song would take off, but I guess people weren’t ready for that kinda nostalgic heat. I’ve been doin shit like that for years, and it’s only truly appreciated in the underground. (See ‘Stop Me Cold’ and ‘Could U Love Me’).”

8. Ashley Parker Angel – ‘Where Did You Go’

“RIP Ashley P Angel’s pop-rock solo career. The ‘Soundtrack To Your Life’ album was actually very well put together – it had some big-deal pop producers on it like Max Martin, Dr. Luke and The Matrix. This last track on the album always stuck out to me with its beautiful, simple melodies and lush harmonies…it made me tear up on the regular. A nightcore remix of this would be lit. Fun LOL fact: My ex-boyfriend played in Ashley’s band sometimes, and I went with them to Palm Springs when they played the Miss Teen USA pageant. JoJo was also performing!!!”

9. Allie X ft. VÉRITÉ – ‘Casanova’

“What a brilliant track – clever lyrics with attitude and stellar production. Their voices also blend really nicely together. Cool conceptual video too. Time and time again, Allie serves us quality alt-pop content.”

10. A.G. Cook – ‘Superstar’

“Oh hello, epic chord progressions. This song just keeps building and building. I don’t even care that his vocal levels peak in the mix – he makes use of it and turns it into a distorted instrument to bring home that vibe of bittersweet emo bedroom pop. <3.”

Related: Read our interview with LIZ:

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