Album: One of the Boys (2007)
Writers: Katy Hudson
Katy Perry is one of the bigger offenders for some of the catchiest, but worst bubblegum pop songs out there. Take a listen to "Dark Horse," or "California Gurls" and it seems like there's not any depth to her artistry at all. But sometimes the pop star and commercial guru in her steps aside in the musical process, and Perry releases some songs that are really worth listening to for their lyrics. This song is a heartfelt ballad, and is one if her best.
Best lyric: “You said move on / where do I go? / I guess second best is all I will know.”
Other songs by this artist to check out: “Mannequin,” “Unconditionally"
Album: Avril Lavigne (2013)
Writers: Avril Lavigne
Avril Lavigne, also known as the princess of pop punk, is an artist many people wish stayed in the 2000’s, especially when they listen to songs like “What the Hell” and “Hello Kitty.” But despite many of the less than amazing songs she's put out recently, she's also released some quite beautiful songs on both her new album, and her 2011 release Goodbye Lullaby. This song is one of the last songs on her 2013 self titled album, and is one of the best written songs that Lavigne has ever released.
Best lyric: “Never knew I needed you / like a sad song needs a sea of lighters / what is it I'm feeling / cause I can't let it go.”
Other songs by this artist to check out: “Remember When,”“Not Enough”
Album: English Rain (2013)
Writers: Gabrielle Aplin & Nicholas Atkinson
Aplin is a folk pop singer and songwriter from the United Kingdom, and has quite a bit of success there, but hasn't quite crossed over he the US yet. This song hit #6 on the UK songs chart, and is written beautifully, in the perspective of a woman in a new relationship, not wanting to move too fast. Aplin at the core in a folk songwriter, and this song shows off her skills and her power as a possible country songwriter in the future.
Best lyric: “Just please don't say you love me / Cause I might not say it back / Doesn't mean my heart stops skipping when you look at me like that"
Other songs by this artist to check out: “Home,” “November”
Album: Tug of War (2008)
Writers: Carly Rae Jepsen,
This is a song pre-Call Me Maybe, before Jepsen went the bubblegum pop route. Before she went commercial, she released an album that not many people know about, titled Tug of War, full of acoustic folky pop songs. This album continues to be one of my favorite pop albums of the last decade. This song is a just over 2 minute acoustic affair, with Jepsen pleading with the one she loves to just simplify their relationship and tell her what's going on. Beautiful lyrics, beautiful song.
Best lyric: “Inside you there's a room / a room with a door / I've finally come knocking and I've even here before / oh I've got this love for you but what is it for?”
Other songs by this artist to check out: “Heavy Lifting,” “Money and the Ego”
Album: Breakout (2008)
Writers: Miley Cyrus, Anne Preven & Cheyenne Kimball
Miley Cyrus has done some questionable things over the course of her career, especially in the last few years. But there was a point when she was a young teenager, just beginning to make music and testing out her songwriting chops. Her debut album, Breakout, came with hits and misses, but it also proved that Cyrus was and still is an incredibly talented writer and musician. This song is a country song, even somewhat production wise, and is breathtaking.
Best lyric: “It didn't take long for the room to fill with dust / and these four walls came down around us”
Other songs by this artist to check out: “When I Look At You,” “Goodbye”
Album: 21 (2011)
Writers: Adele, Dan Wilson & Greg Wells
Adele is the queen of lyrics in the pop/soul world, and has even had some interactions with the country music world, mentioning her admiration for the genre, and even recording a Chris Stapleton song. This song was one of the more epic songs on her blockbuster sophomore record. The song in itself is adressed to the one she wants to fall in love with; and she's telling him that he just has to “forgive your past and simply be mine.” Killer track.
Best lyric: “I know it's ain't easy /giving up your heart / So I dare you to let me be you / your one and only”
Other songs by this artist to check out: “Don't You Remember,” “When We Were Young”
Album: 1989 (2014)
Writers: Taylor Swift & Imogen Heap
It makes sense that Swift is on this list, because she started out as a country songwriter. Even since she started incorporating heavy pop elements in here music, her writing has gotten worse and worse, from “We Are Never...” to “Shake it Off” and finally to the worst song she has ever written, “Bad Blood.” But during this transition, some of her incredible songwriting has remained. This song is a lyrical country masterpiece, covered up by electronic beats and pop production.
Best lyrics: “When I was drowning / that's when I could finally breathe”
Other songs by this artist to check out: “Dear John,” “All Too Well”
Album: Kaleidoscope Heart (2010)
Writers: Sara Barellies
Sara Barellies, as a pop artist, has always been superior to many other pop artists out there. She has released some absolutely incredible piano based pop songs, and had her fourth studio album, Blessed Unrest, which had little commercial success, came out of now here and was nominated for Album of the Year at the 2014 Grammys. This song is from Kaleidoscope Heart, and is a beautiful, and renewing ballad.
Best lyric: “Car is parked / bags are packed / bit what kind of heart doesn't look back / and the comfortable glow from the porch from when I was still called yours”
Other songs by this artist to check out: “Gravity,” “Uncharted”
Album: Arrow (EP) (2015)
Writers: Louisa Wendorff
Belmont alum Louisa Wendorff has had a dream-like life for the last year, ever since she caught the eye of Taylor Swift with her “Blank Space / Style” mashup with Devin Dawson. This song is from her EP that she released before she completely committed to pop music, and closed out the EP. An epic ballad, clocking out at 6 minutes exactly, this song is a country love song at the core. It has simple lyrics, but powerful ones.
Best lyric: “This is so beautiful / and we are so beautiful / I wanna spend the rest of my life by your side.”
Other songs by this artist to check out: “Unglued,” “DSIDLY”