Song titles are funny. They’re usually hardly unique, and tons of bands from all across the music spectrum have songs with the exact same title. Spotify’s search is an absolutely useless landfill for this stuff; the song you want will invariably be so unpopular that 200 other identically-titled songs (and in some cases, artists and albums) will come before the one you want. Lovely.
The inspiration for this one came about when I realized I actually know three different songs with the title “Undone”: the Failure song, the Weezer song, and the Josh Joplin song. When I checked through Spotify search, it turned out to be a very popular song name indeed:
So in short, I got curious enough to add the 50 most popular ones to a playlist, listen through, and rank them. I originally wanted to do every single song on the platform named “Undone”, but that’s just not feasible. Even the top 50 was a solid three hours worth of music, and has been hell to put together.
Alas, the Joplin track didn’t make the top 50; if it did, it would’ve probably ranked at #2. Nonetheless, we’ve got a lovely mix of yeehaw music, white girl piano pop, boppy electronica, acoustic torment, Backstreet Boys, and even a few artists who might not even exist. We’re starting at the bottom here, so apologies for the rampant negativity at first. It does get better. Here we go…
50. Dean Brody
We start out the list in bro country land (no worries, there is good country towards the end), and yeah, this one’s just gross. The first line is quite literally “sitting in the bed of my truck”. Beyond parody. I couldn’t finish it.
49. Joe Nichols
This is the other bro country entry on the list, and I’ll give it credit for at least finding a few different uses for the word “undone” throughout the chorus lyrics. Props to the ghostwriters this guy almost certainly uses. Otherwise, yeah, would fit right in at your local country station. Not good.
Contemporary Christian music is better than contemporary country, but only slightly. I misheard “all want otter” at some point, according to my notes. That would’ve made for a much better, not to mention more accurate, lyric.
It’s a pretty bland acapella, but what I find more amusing is the cover art of this girl standing stupefied with her mouth open and her dreads covering her face. It’s a genuinely unflattering cover. Who OKed this?
This is without a doubt the funniest entry on the list. From the absurd cover art of a cartoon girl smoking a cigarette to the mixture of cursive singing and this horrendous screeching autotuned vocal foil–this entire thing is a match made in a stress dream. How angsty music has fallen.
Oh, this one inspires revulsion. That kind of overly polished, anthemic rock that goes down about as well as a Drano slushie–sugar does not offset the poison, lads. Smell the Pro Tools, smell the nastiness.
This is a song of a certain breed that I can only describe as “highly-agreeable epic piano pop with a female singer”. Rolls off the tongue, I know, but I had to sit through a lot of these towards the bottom of the list. All I gotta say is, if you’re into this kind of music, I’ve found your happy place.
43. Jane XØ x Dannic
Glossy, dark, empty, and the chorus is just a chipmunk getting a swirlie. Can I just say–fuck EDM song structure. Literally just the same song repeated twice to make it twice as long. Write twice as much song, you lazy fuck.
Here’s where the obnoxiously “epic” piano pop music really starts to flood the rankings. These tracks range from totally forgettable to genuinely cloying, and they’re all pretty interchangeable. At least this one wakes up halfway through?
This is basically interchangeable with the Dannic track, just without the drop. The autotune is a lot funnier on second listen.
Stupid names aside, this is apparently music inspired in some official capacity by Game of Thrones. At least this one’s a nice respite from the piano pop. It’s just unfortunate that it’s instead a boring beat-orchestra fusion. Trailer houses, step right up and claim your theme song!
I guess I can give this one credit–it’s an epic, spacey girl singer thing with a spastic beat. Still doesn’t mean I like it.
There is almost certainly a YouTuber out there using this as his end screen music. And that is a channel that I pray I never stumble upon.
If I never have to hear another “epic” piano song with a female singer, I’ll still have heard too many.
36. Angus MacRae
Man, this sounds like really depressing Christmas music. We’re getting there, aren’t we? Getting cold as of late, soon it’ll be all white and dark outside. Vibey. At least there’s no singing to this one. I’ll wait for actual, happy Christmas.
35. Alex Dunaway (no YouTube link, oddly)
She’s done away with my ability to stay awake, HEYOOOOOOOOOOOOO (Yep, more epic moany piano pop stuff.)
34. Kim Walker-Smith
I feel like I’m listening to a commercial about cleaning up the ocean. There’s a market somewhere for that stuff, I guess, given all the views it got on YouTube.
I know that exaggerated compression and a “blown-out” sound is a thing in a lot of electronica, but I do draw the line at the kick literally causing momentary dropouts in the rest of the mix. The only other thing of note is the girl in the background of that YouTube video. Are dangerhairs a fan of this music?
32. Son Lux
Stop moaning, goddamn. The one thing I can give this track is that the drums are hype. Whoever that drummer is, let him solo for ten minutes. I’d listen to it.
Man, not a curveball in sight for a while now! At least this one has guitar rather than piano for its instrumental. I sure hope you like skittering hi-hats and vague, “soulful” lyrics otherwise.
I’ll give this girl (and it does seem to be a proper indie deal) all the credit in the world for at least making this highly-agreeable epic piano pop song at least vaguely catchy. I promise we’re about out of the wasteland.
I have no clue how to describe this one other than as “thelazylazymecore”. If you’re not aware, thelazylazyme is a totally 100% organically-built channel that just happens to consist entirely of rising star “bedroom pop” music that music promoters and “influencers” fawn over. This sounds like it came from that channel, and it should’ve stayed on that channel.
I still don’t understand the appeal of vaporwave. The drum machines and synths are boring and anemic, and the “vocals” sound like they’re being moaned through a pedestal fan. Was there not enough bad synth music done in the 80s for you people?
27. eaup & ENRA
Did I put on Chillhop or something? I was promised raccoons.
26. Backstreet Boys
Oh yeah! This one’s from like ten years past the group’s heyday, but it still has that highly agreeable boy band gloss on it, just with a bit more an R&B thing (because 2009). I’m sure this style’s been done better though.
25. Katelyn Nacon
Okay, the nondescript electronica has finally left us with this “Undone”. Katie here actually almost manages to latch onto a vibe, so I have to give her props for that. I’m still falling asleep to it though.
Pop punk is not dead, but that’s because it hasn’t aged a bit in 15 fucking years. 2019? This should be blasting out of someone’s MySpace page! Then I remember my desire to listen to pop punk begins and ends at blink and it falls to the middle of the list.
Summery, acoustic pop with kind of a weird voice singing it. I really like the chorus lyrics for this one (“‘Cause all that you’ve done is undone/And now I’m just the shirt that you sleep in”), but everything else is a little forgettable.
I’m having a hard time coming up with anything that sticks out about this. At least it sounds like a live band? That drum sound is kinda cool. I guess because it’s not bonecrushingly sleepy, it goes here.
I’ll definitely give this “Undone” credit for being so unique and dusty among all the synthy junk in the pile. I just want them to break out into a flamenco, really. Whether or not this “Undone” works with me, I’m not gonna go so far as to say it does, but points for originality.
20. All That Remains
I hate All That Remains. I have since I was six and heard “Six” on Guitar Hero, and my feelings have yet to change. I just don’t find clean, chunky lead guitars, blasts, and Cookie Monster vocals particularly appealing. So why’d this “Undone” rank so high then? Because the chorus is actually fairly good, somehow. “We are not undone” like a battle cry, hell yeah. If only it was in a better song.
19. Message to Bears
I penciled this one down as being “not woody enough to be vibey, not structured enough to be a good song”, but I think that’s a bit unfair on a second listen. (I got fatigued quite a bit making this, as you might expect…) It’s really skeletal guitar noodling and some harmonies. As a song, yeah, bit basic, but as a mood piece, it does well enough. Pleasant.
18. Haley Reinhart
Yes, it’s white girl piano pop, but this one’s of the more classic “girl sings her heart out” stripe, instead of the “moaning like she’s dead inside” stripe. Automatically better. I like the hook on it too.
Help, it’s fucking dubstep. Yeah, this is just relentless; I’d have to be in the mood for this sorta thing. I really like some of the melody work, though. It’s like the theme song to a bad day spent in a black hole. Definitely one of the better electronic messes I’ve had to sit through.
Man, I would’ve expected better out of Bush. It’s just too subtle, too meandering, and doesn’t build up to much at all to really work, especially at its length. As far as Bush’s pseudo-trademark solo guitar and voice deals go, I’ll stick to “Straight No Chaser”, thanks. Still, bad Bush is better than no Bush.
15. Danny Towers
It seriously took me like 40 tracks to get to any rap? Surprising. Anyway, it’s a little repetitive, with the hook appearing like five times in two minutes, and I swear I heard “Digimon…Digimon…Digimon…” at some point, but cool flow, cool voice. I’m sure there’s an alternate universe Cammy who’d vibe to this.
I frankly don’t know how to describe this one. Imagine a mauling played in reverse set to bitcrushed bass drones, or maybe a strange collage involving 11 from Minecraft. You kinda just need to listen to it for yourself, I guess.
13. Kate Willis
This is a weird one, on all levels. Sonically, it’s another strange collage of wobbly, bouncing electronic sounds–but the more bizarre thing is that Kate Willis doesn’t actually exist. At least, not that I know of. If you recall, Spotify often loads its instrumental playlists with completely fake artists and commissioned tracks to avoid paying labels royalties. While I can’t confirm that’s what’s going on with Katie right here, she has hundreds of thousands of streams without so much as a Twitter account, or a presence on any other streaming service (read: no distributor). Tricky, tricky.
Despite my penchant for 90s one-hit wonders, this one actually comes from 2005, and it’s kind of a lesser 90s band at that anyway. Nasally “fuck, this bullet wound bites” kinda vocals and pop rock. It’s fine enough, even a little catchy–but for UPNcore, there’s definitely better out there.
11. Call of Duty: Black Ops – Zombies soundtrack (Treyarch Sound)
Dour and desolate, as you’d expect, but kind of almost too pleasant. Even as hard as that solo guitar tries, it’s missing that bit of extra needed flavor I’d want out of a good ambient rock soundtrack. It makes me wanna listen to the Black Mesa soundtrack again, I swear there’s a song on there that sounds a whole lot like this.
10. Robert Earl Keen (but technically Chris Knight and Cody Canada)
Just like the two garbage country tracks at the bottom of the list, this is one of two at the top of the list. How polarized. This “Undone” comes from a Robert Earl Keen tribute record (alas, the original isn’t even on Spotify), and while I don’t know anything of the man’s music, if it’s anything like this, I’ll happily take more. Very solemn acoustic picking, good, gravelly voice, and no histrionics or emotional put-ons. How God intended country, I’d say.
9. Greta Isaac
Now in Technicolor! Definitely a fun listen, especially that little flute(?) hook, even if the character in the song sounds utterly evil. I do wish they went with percussion that’s a bit less generically stompy (I call them “movie trailer drums”), I think it doesn’t do the more quirky instrumentation any justice, but definitely not bad at all.
This is just about the last electronic song on the list (be thankful). I should hate this one, with the squeaky vocals and very artificial atmosphere, but it drones nastily and the vocal line is just good enough to make up for it. Lots of bleepy-bloopies and samples popping up all around too–definitely not a snoozer.
7. Pearl Jam
Pearl Jam on a road trip is about how I’d sum this one up. Rollicking, plenty catchy, but content to stay in its lane. Eddie Vedder is content to not sing here. It’s definitely of their newer ilk (this was a Riot Act b-side, so 2002 or so), but you could do a whole lot worse than that.
This is another one of Spotify’s made-up artists, unfortunately, and more blatantly because this one’s featured on the “Peaceful Piano” playlist that’s kind of infamous for Spotify’s trickery. I actually quite liked this one, sounded like a major key “Colorblind” by Counting Crows (remember that album?). Alas, that’s why there’s no YouTube link to this one or anything. Still, like the song! Hope the guy behind it got paid alright.
Lordy, this was a real surprise in the bunch. Honest to God boppy modern yeehaw music! It’s poppy without the chemical aftertaste, hype without being overprocessed pop country garbage, and the solo is great. Frankly, if you didn’t tell me, I wouldn’t have guessed this is from 2015.
Fuzzy, big, and shoegazey–Cammy is not complaining. I think it’s a little too monochromatic in the verses, but the chorus absolutely makes up for it. I’m not surprised these guys have toured with the like of Silversun Pickups and Mewithoutyou and cite the Smashing Pumpkins and Ken Andrews as inspirations–it’s all very much of that make.
Man, this is an absolute bop. I’m reminded a lot of OK Go–the vocals have that thing Damian Kulash does where he hits his falsetto a lot in the middle of phrases. I can seriously hear this as like a weird Of the Blue Colour of the Sky outtake. A few of the “Undones” have this very dominant, grabby girl perspective lyrically, but this is the best of the lot.
Certainly the most popular “Undone”, and I can’t complain. It’s eerie, warped, surprisingly epic and experimental for 90s power pop, but catchy enough that you won’t notice. That transition into the first chorus is so hype. Listen with headphones for best results.
Come on, didn’t you expect this? I’m still fairly sure there aren’t many other contenders for my favorite song of all time–the entire rhythm section, the lyrical matter (sex doesn’t make you happy, kids), the dissonant guitar hook, all of it sticks. This is peak “Undone” to me. You could kill time in someone’s house, if you wanted–or you could just listen to Magnified again.
Right, so why all that? Why would I bother listening to all these random songs, especially ones I very clearly didn’t like? I can think of a few reasons, really, in order of their relevance…
- I wanted to see what kinds of songs people would write to a title like “Undone”. It’s a rather curious word to me, conjuring these images of abandon, breakdown, and unravel on first blush. Yet, surprisingly, a lot of songs in the pack were actually fairly upbeat, some even about partying! Of course, plenty more were of the syrupy “sounding bored and numb is how you show emotion” type, but hey, can’t win ’em all.
- I wanted to find some way to truly navigate Spotify’s landfill. Spotify absolutely blows for finding music. Like any service that isn’t Pandora, Spotify only has the most rudimentary methods for exposing you to new music, mostly using data gathered from other listeners of what you’re listening to. It’s easy to get caught in a filter bubble when a dumb algorithm is writing the rules of your experience, and picking something totally out of the realm of the algorithm let me truly find things I wouldn’t be exposed to otherwise.
- I wanted to find new music, perhaps. I mean, granted, 50 random artists means there were ever only gonna be a handful who truly appealed to me, and I’m sure plenty I hated. Boy, did that turn out to be true, but hey! I do have a scent on a few more to look into now, especially that Paerish track. I’m sure a few more could grow on me, even, given how much re-ranking I did on my second listen.
- Because I’m a fucking masochist. Three hours is a lot of music, and it’s not like I haven’t been ridiculously slow at producing new work in the past two weeks or anything…
In any event, I sure hope you found this as interesting as I did. I’m not sure I’d recommend doing this yourself, seeing as it’s a pretty easy way to get brain damage, but…all in the name of finding new music. Gotta beat the landfill somehow, yeah?