Culture Club: The top five songs that should have been singles

The State Hornet discusses their favorite non-single tracks


Graphic created in Canva by Zachary Cimaglio and Mercy Sosa.

Many avid music fans might say that an album is one complete work, meant to be experienced in order, as the artist intended. However, that doesn’t stop artists and record labels from picking one or two specific tracks from an upcoming album to release as a single in order to drum up interest.

Whether it’s the title track or the one the studio decided was the best representation of an artist’s work for marketing purposes, oftentimes an entire album will be defined by one or two songs.  This can lead to unfortunate oversights by listeners who might end up missing out on some of the more ambitious or creative tracks that record labels decided weren’t fit for the radio.

Here, the State Hornet’s Arts & Entertainment section has compiled their definitive list of album cuts  that they believe deserve the same recognition as the singles from the same album.


Zach – “Cough it Out” by The Front Bottoms

The Front Bottoms

If you follow me on any of my social media, you probably know a lot more lines from songs by the New Jersey alternative folk-punk group the Front Bottoms than you might realize, since they frequently make up the captions in some of the random cat photos I like to post all the time. While I find it hard to pick a favorite album, the song  “Cough it Out” from their 2015 LP “Back on Top” is not only the best song on that album, but my all-time favorite song of theirs. The album did not actually have any singles at all to begin with, so picking it might be cheating, but in any case, it’s not the most popular one on the album. 

The song starts with a slow, melancholy verse lamenting the changing of seasons, but in reality, he is referring to the sensation of smoking marijuana and reflecting on previous relationships. It then breaks into the chorus where he describes carving his initials into a tree and watching as the tree morphs itself to conform to their shape, likely a result of being under the influence of pot smoke. 

The Front Bottoms often combine slow spoken word sections with upbeat bridges and choruses to create a rapid flow of emotions, and “Cough it Out” is an example of this. 

The chorus is the main appeal of the song, in my opinion, as it is incredibly catchy and easy to interpret in various ways. That’s where the band thrives overall, in my opinion; they have a habit of writing songs about incredibly relatable and multilayered personal melodrama, which “Cough it Out” excels at. 


Marin – “Scott Street” by Phoebe Bridgers


Simian Design Group

My Spotify Wrapped tells me that the two words describing my music taste are “wistful and yearning,” so I can’t let this semester of collaborative opinion pieces end without professing my love for Phoebe Bridgers’s musicianship, especially on “Scott Street” from her 2017 album “Stranger in the Alps.” 

Bridgers admited in an interview that she owes much of her sound to Elliott Smith, and that strong influence really shows in this particular song. The lyrics resemble the wake of an all-consuming relationship, which is how Bridgers once explained it, but she changed her tune after playing the song while on tour. She says it’s a song that makes you sad, but doesn’t tell you why, and I couldn’t agree more. 

Out of everything in this song, the two-minute outro is what always gets me. After a series of beautifully layered melodies and strings, you hear the ringing of a bicycle bell, then a train whistle followed by the repeated line, “Anyway, don’t be a stranger” until the song fades out. It’s a sort of hauntingly empty wistfulness that can be applied to so many situations.


Michael Eskridge – “Love Yourz” By J.Cole



Cole is one of the few Hip Hop artists of this era to have lyrical meaning that hits you to the core. In my opinion his best album was , “ 2014 Forest Hills Drive”. Featuring hits like, “ No Role Modelz” and “Apparently”. Cole includes messages of self love and appreciation throughout the album.

 “Love Yourz”starts and maintains a calming but upbeat rhythm combined with powerful lyrics. One line that stands out is, ”No such thing as a life that’s better than yours,” which is repeated throughout the chorus. I think this is something most people can relate to because we tend to compare and contrast our lives to that of others, especially with social media nowadays. The messages are very reassuring and can remind people of how much they have to be thankful for, “Don’t be sleepin’ on your level cause it’s beauty in the struggle”, words have power and these words can save lives.

Cole uses his flow and smooth delivery to speak positivity into the existence of every listener. To me it resonates well with young people because it correlates with common struggles they face which can be self love. Both this song and album could heal any wounded soul regardless of taste in music. 


Jennah – “Instagratification” by Cherry Glazerr

Secretly Canadian

Cherry Glazerr’s 2017 garage rock album “Apocalipstick” is arguably the villain origin story to their much more polished, but equally furious album “Stuffed & Ready.” The album brings a modern take to the energy of the Runaway’s “Cherry Bomb,” with elements of noise pop, punk and tastes of stoner rock.

Vocalist and guitarist Clementine Creevy leads the album with her angelic and sometimes manic wailing, heavy guitar and all the feminist rage of what she calls an “over-confident teenager,” and no b-side encapsulates the sound like “Instagratification.” 

The song comments on society’s reliance on the instant gratification of social media, while also addressing Creevy’s disappointment in her own dependence on it. Interludes of synth pop bridges and guitar solos compliment the underlying gritty garage rock sound. “Till your eyes burn, saturation / Fucking lazy recreation / I am an offender myself / I’m a hypocrite at least I know it,” Creevy howls over heavy guitar which eventually runs seamlessly into the intense stoner rock closer “Apocalipstick.” 

“Instagratification,” as well as Cherry Glazerr’s entire discography, is full of all the manic fury, satire and heavy guitar necessary for a good road rage soundtrack. 


Michael Pacheco – “Life” by SHINee


S.M. Entertainment

One of the few groups that I legitimately enjoyed and followed during the 2010s  is the boy band SHINee, which debuted in 2009. With catchy tunes, a stylish aesthetic and high energy choreography in their dance style, they were one of the most popular acts during this time , with 12 studio album releases through 2017.

I’ve always been a fan of slower R&B style tracks, so one of the songs that stood out to me the most was “Life” which was on SHINee’s second studio album, “Lucifer.”

The song starts with a slow piano riff with string chords in the background, followed by soulful singing from each of the boys, with the lyrics following the tried and true “only one I need is you in my life” that is common in the genre. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!

What really made this song tick for me was how it highlighted the sheer vocal talent of each member of the band, showing the range of each individual as well as showcasing how well they harmonize during the chorus sections. This contrasts the contents of most of the other songs in the album let alone most of the group’s discography, which consists of a lot of pop and hip hop influenced tracks.

That is an element that I feel is getting rarer in today’s musical environment where you have a very strong harmonizing male vocal spotlight, which could be done more at least in the western market.