For some reason the topic has been running through my mind lately, so I thought I'd start a thread discussing great/underrated/underappreciated songs on generally well-regarded albums. These are tracks you love but usually aren't at the top of the list of the great or most popular songs on a given classic album. Here are some of my nominees:
"Martha My Dear" by The Beatles, from The Beatles
The White Album is amazing, but one of my favorite songs not only from that album but of all time is Martha My Dear, primarily a McCartney composition. Listen, I know this isn't the Beatles at their most revolutionary, intense, or thought-provoking, but I just think this song is utterly charming, sweet without being cloying, moving in its simple beauty. I love this track dearly.
"Hotwax" by Beck, from Odelay
I think Odelay
is one of the five greatest albums of the 1990s, even if I'm not so hot on the fact that Beck is a scientologist. This album is easily as influential as Nirvana's Nevermind
. While the most well-known tracks from the album (The New Pollution, Devil's Haircut, Jackass, Where It's At) are all classic (it was The New Pollution that got me hooked on the album), I think the little-discussed second track, Hotwax, is probably a defining song on this album; that is to say, this track is the most representative of what is great about Odelay -
its utter eclecticism. This one track features traditional Mexican accordion, hip hop, soul, techno, even a bit of country - but none of it sounds strained or silly. It's all mixed together with unbelievable taste, and deserves to be more popular.
"Kings" by Steely Dan, from Can't Buy A Thrill
Steely Dan's debut album is one of my favorite albums of all time; nearly every song is a winner. It has a couple pretty well known tracks (like Do It Again and Dirty Work), but I'm frankly surprised that Kings doesn't get more radio play - classic Steely lyrics, a couple great hooks, a superb guitar solo, and a really solid construction from beginning to end, this is one of Steely Dan's best songs.
What are your nominees for underrated gems on classic albums? And for those of you who know the albums I've discussed, I'd love to hear your thoughts on my choices as well.