Songs You Didn’t Know You Needed to Hear, by Heather Rolfert
YouTube shorts and TikTok videos are an instant hit. They’re short, straight to the point and easy to absorb. You can watch cats stubbornly fitting in boxes, people singing covers of their favorite songs and popular movie characters acting to their fullest. But, what if I told you that you’re missing out on incredible songs when you watch a 30 second video, swiping and scrolling to the next one faster than someone can blink. Would you believe me?
It’s true these incredible songs have gone through phases of ever-shifting popularity. They’re used in acting videos, edits and trailers. They’re acted out by many TikTok stars. But without digging beyond the short clips, listeners hear the popular songs but never truly discover them.
Sabrina Carpenter’s Thumbs
“Don’t just march to the beat of that drum / Don’t be one of them people just twiddlin’ them thumbs.” Those words aren’t heard until “Thumbs” is more than halfway over. However, you are likely to hear “Skiddly-dee-da-dum-dum” in CrazyCae’s YouTube short, “#POV breaking the generational cycle of Royal corruption,” as the young princess makes a funny face at the queen in an attempt to hide her confusion of what her future holds.
The video gives a good impression of Carpenter’s song, showing viewers how it only takes one person and one new decision for years of deception to end faster than it began. But it’s the ending words of the song that tell the best secret to life: be yourself. You shouldn’t follow others blindly just because it’s what you were told to do. If you see a fault in your life’s path, fix it instead of letting it fracture longer. It’s really worth it to devour the whole song instead of just a couple of appetizers.
Jorge Rivera-Herrans’ Warrior of the Mind
You may not be a fan of musicals. You might not be able to picture yourself sitting in the audience, straining to see the main character twirl around the stage. You might, however, see yourself watching Brianna Mizura’s video, “POV: Meg reveals herself to Hercules.” You’ll soon be rooting for famous Greek mythological figures while witnessing them hide from prying eyes.
After watching the video, you might be able to picture yourself listening to this song snippet on repeat, headphones on as you walk down the street and check for danger at every corner. You have to make sure your disguise isn’t ruined.
Of course, the short snippets of this song do you a disservice by taking away from your overall listening experience. You don’t get to read the entire epic, but are instead left with a novella, a summary of the most important parts of the song. You need the whole song. Otherwise, how are you going to feel like the main character of a fantastical story?
Melanie Martinez’s Pacify Her
Are you ready to explore a song that has been right in front of you but out of reach for years? Be ready to hear contrasting sounds merging together. In CrazyCae’s portrayal of the popular song, “POV Nyx hears about Zeus’ crimes and unleashes her fury,” only a small snippet of the song is used as Nyx rages against Zeus after learning he didn’t think twice about hurting other women. As she begins to let all her anger out, Zeus continues to push back, but Nyx doesn’t want to hear any of that.
The video gets the point across that Nyx’s anger is logical since Zeus betrayed many women she knew. However, the video does not include the setup of the song: “Tired, blue boy walks my way / Holding a girl’s hand … / Now I can take her man.” Of course, the video of Nyx and Zeus battling it out is the closest representation to this song in snippet form, but you still need to hear the entirety of this song. You won’t regret it as the music box melodies fill your mind and take on a sharp contrast to the words that accompany them.
Nathan Evans’ Wellerman (Sea Shanty)
If you want a song that will be stuck in your head for days, then this is the song you need to hear. You’ll find yourself drumming your fingers, bobbing your head and tapping to the beat.
Many of the videos, like Noah Jay Wood’s video, “#POV: A guy in class discovers he’s a descendant of dangerous pirates… ,” follow the roots of Evan’s song by creating stories where the song is known only by descendants of pirates, mythological beings or gods and goddesses. The videos make the actors feel special, showing they have knowledge that no one else does.
As the listener, we not only dance to the beat but feel as if we are on the deck of a ship singing this song while staring at the gray, merciless clouds heading our way. We feel the wind whipping against us and occasionally taste salt on our tongue after a few unlucky times of having our mouth open while a wave crashed against the ship.
It doesn’t have to be this setting, though. “Wellerman” could transport you to any realm of your choosing. All you have to do is listen to more than a few seconds of the song and let the music take your hand and guide your steps.
The Oh Hellos’ Soldier, Poet, King
Are you in need of a pick-me-up song that sounds as good as an iced coffee tastes before the start of a long work shift? If so, you’re in luck. “Soldier, Poet, King” is the kind of refresher that makes the listener feel as if they’re twirling around in a field of daisies under the gentle rays of the sun. It’s like sitting in front of a warm fire while reading a comfort book, even though reality is rain and strong winds.
In CrazyCae’s collaboration with HeyitsStuart, “#POV Belle reintroduces Prince Adam to society,” the comfort of this song becomes tangible as an introverted prince learns that it's okay to interact with people instead of staying distanced. The smile on Belle’s face, the continuous upbeat music and the change in the prince’s demeanor make for a heartwarming video, but the shortened nature of the video ruins the full effect. Listeners can barely reach the realm where the song aims to transport them. They’ll still feel happy, but they won’t reach true happiness until hearing the entire song. It is then that they will feel like they’re being comforted by the heather, lilies and sunflowers blowing in the breeze.
Have you heard of dark academia? Imagine eerie schools sitting in the moonlight as leaves scatter in the breeze and whispers come from dark forests behind the school. This song is the embodiment of that style. The song just happens to be a compact version in which you can go anywhere and experience it, instead of having to search for old, haunted buildings with iron gates closing them off from reality.
In Hollynn Ragland’s video, “#pov a witch made a spell to turn into queen but will her people notice?,” it’s clear how the song represents warring sides that are often kept hidden within someone. The witch is pushed past her limits when she can’t be accepted as queen. In that moment, she makes the decision to let her other side take over and control her anger.
The video allows viewers to sample a good amount of the song, but it doesn’t compare to the three-minute-long experience gained from typing in “Darkside” and hitting play. Don’t be afraid to enter the “Darkside.”
The Strumbellas’ Spirits
Prepare yourself for the tears you will shed. You might want to make sure you have tissues ready for the waterfall bound to start flowing. Maybe you should make sure you have an extra box on hand. You never know how many tissues you’ll go through as the YouTube shorts and TikToks paired with emotional images like HellGen Edit’s “Spiderman Edit” hit you again and again.
“Spirits” is a song that you say you’re okay to listen to, but feel the tears inching down your face as you sing, “I’ve been lookin’ at the stars tonight / And I think, oh, how I miss that bright sun / I’ll be a dreamer ‘til the day I die.” You say everything is okay. Of course, everything was fine until you saw each version of Spiderman in emotional distress over Gwen Stacy, Iron Man and Uncle Ben as the word “spirits” crashed into you.
The song is beautiful. It makes a listener reflect on everything around them and everyone they’ve lost. The short video edits add a heavier emotional impact to the song, but they don’t come close to representing the torrent of emotions the three-and-a-half-minute song provides. You might want to double check that you still have those tissues ready.
Melina KB’s I’ve Had Enough
Hopefully you haven’t had enough of this playlist because this last song is worth the wait. The feelings in this song are unlike the emotions radiating from the songs before, but it’s a welcomed change. A change you didn’t even know you might have needed.
In Mr.SpicyGremlin’s video, “#pov One of them committed the crime but refuses to take the blame,” one person attempts to fix mistakes they didn’t make, but they can’t find the right words to get around the manipulative nature of the one staring them down. In their attempts, the manipulator throws their words right back at them: “Admit you did it / We all know you did it.” At that moment, they’re at a loss for words and can’t think of a way out.
The song is angsty, and the video doesn’t do that feeling any justice. You need to hear the whole song to discover how years of wrongdoing have pushed one person far past their breaking point. The song itself is a journey with no way back, but it’s a journey that won’t be regretted. That’s why it’s suggested you plug in your headphones for this song. Sit back and let every word surround you and fill you to the brim with angst.
Keep these songs in mind the next time you hear an interesting snippet in a YouTube short or TikTok. Don’t hold yourself back from typing a string of lyrics into your computer while crossing your fingers. You might end up finding your next favorite song. You may even realize the song is so much more than the interesting part of it being used in videos.
Even if these songs aren’t to your liking, take this as your chance to create your own playlist. Go out and find songs that spark your interest in a little under 30 seconds. Just like the pirates, witches, princesses, gods and goddesses, you never know what you’ll find if you don’t take the leap into all the action.