The TCR Field Guide to Underrated Teen Pop
1. Play - "I Must Not Chase the Boys"
DISCUSSION: Play doesn't seem to be very well liked by teen poppers, as they were from Sweden but marketed to the US and mainly made a career off of shamelessly covering other European hits. Actually I agree with all of that, but this is a really, really good single in my opinion. Easily relatable lyrics for any pre-teen girl or guy (or any girl or guy who was a pre-teen), and really catchy music. Follows the "Everywhere"/"Since U Been Gone" model musically, but still sounds fairly original. A classic. (I mentioned this in the previous non-comprehensive guide, but wanted to highlight it more here).
2. Hilary Duff - "Jericho"
DISCUSSION: I was surprised at the Hilary love I've seen from the teen pop community. Nevertheless, while I've seen "Come Clean" and "Fly" promoted numerous times, and even seen "The Math", but I've never seen anybody praising this song. It wasn't a single, but it was featured prominently in Raise Your Voice. Anyways, this is my favorite Hilary song apart from "Come Clean" and "Fly" (Dioguardi + Shanks appear to be unbeatable), and is yet another song that is perfectly matched to her uniquely thin voice. Say what you want about her voice, but it is quite distinctive, and so far her writers/handlers have done a really good job of matching song to voice.
3. Avril Lavigne - "He Wasn't"
DISCUSSION: Avril was obviously one of the more influential teen pop artists of her time. The pop fans in general don't seem to like her very much. But, since her time has kind of passed, there isn't too much discussion of her these days, and what discussion there is seems to center upon her biggest hits: "Complicated" and "My Happy Ending". Well, I kinda like Avril, and those are good songs, but this is definitely my favorite Avril song, and I haven't seen any discussion of it really. Great confessional lyrics, plus high energy and catchy chorus. Also seek out the solo acoustic version of this song, which is really good.
4. Katelyn Tarver - "Undeniable"
DISCUSSION: Katelyn Tarver is a new artist (and American Juniors grad) that not much has been written about. This is perfectly understandable, as her music is all really generic, and her first single "Wonderful Crazy" isn't a very good song at all. Even though "Undeniable" may not be too great, I feel the need to rep for it, as it sounds like a pretty good song to me. I think something deserves to be written about it, so here you go Katelyn. Katelyn was on the Disney Radio IncubaTor, which hasn't done too much for most of the artists so far, and certainly hasn't done much for her. Anyways, she's moving on to her next album now, so I guess this will never get a single release, which is a real shame, as it is my personal favorite of her songs.
5. Kelly Clarkson - "Just Missed the Train"
DISCUSSION: All the KC love seems to be (justifiably) centered around her excellent second album. Even though her second album was obviously superior to the first, the first did have it's highlights, and none higher than song, which is a cover version (of a Danielle Brisebois tune) that I definitely prefer to the original.
6. Simon and Milo - "Get a Clue"
DISCUSSION: The movie Get a Clue, starring then Disney queen Lindsay Lohan came out on DC right when I was in my original kick of watching the Disney Channel a lot. They played this music video nonstop for about 2 straight months. At first, I hated the song but it really grew on me, and I could never really turn the station off when the video came on. Really, really cheesy, but also really catchy; like the Katelyn one above, not the best song, but worthy of some rep.
6. Ivanushki International - "Tucci"
7. Ivanushki International - "Gde Ti"
8. Ivanushki International - "Topoliniy Puh"
DISCUSSION: I have known and enjoyed this Russian boy band since 2000, when, through a series of rather bizarre contrivances I won't get into here, I received a copy of their first album for free from somebody I barely knew. It's unfair to include these guys, since they are so old even if everybody loved them nobody would talk about them any more. Nevertheless, I love these three songs so much, and I would be remiss not to mention them here. These three songs can all stand toe-to-toe with any American boy band songs. All extremely catchy, and though I can't understand any of the lyrics, based on the videos I get the impression that might not be a bad thing...
"Tucci" - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b-4eKfNeXJE
"Topoliniy Puh" - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tWNULY-vJlo&mode=related&search
"Gde Ti" - N/A