20 Songs You Forgot These People Sang

Photo: Courtesy of Columbia.
Change is a good thing. It keeps life fresh and, as an artist, keeps your audience on its toes. Hell, Madonna owes half her career to her refusal to stick to one genre/persona.
But, Madge's discography is still very much Madge's. There aren't uncharacteristic themes popping up in her tracks. Some artists, however, have grown in such a way that makes their first bits of success seem like the work of another artist (RIP Hannah Montana.) It's not that these songs are bad, they're just so not who the recording artist is anymore. And, hey, that's all fine and grand! Embrace the maturity, right? But, lest we forget these 20 artist's beginnings. The past is, after all, the best education we can get.
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Photo: Courtesy of Warner Bros.
Prince, "Bat Dance"
This exists. Just know that.
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Photo: Courtesy of Jive.
Britney Spears, "Email My Heart”
Crazy story: People used to call one another if they wanted to, you know, connect. Then they’d leave voicemails. And, then, if all else failed, they’d e-mail. Britney Spears’ debut album concluded with this ode to the digital love. Honestly, the lyrical content is pretty relevant to today’s texting standards, but this is song is so #whatarewe desperate. Plus, hope for a live rendition of this is lost. No shade, but let’s be real.
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Photo: Courtesy of Capitol.
Katy Perry, "Ur So Gay"
Okay, okay. Irony is cool. It’s hip, trendy, and all the kids are doing it today. However, Perry’s lil’ ballad to the metrosexual takes the irony so far that it’s offensive. Yes, Perry’s a wizard with double entendres, but this is just too much. Plus, aside from the vocals, “Ur So Gay” doesn’t even sound like Katy Perry anymore when you consider how motivating her “Firework” and “Roar” singles are. Just read the lyrics. You’ll know.
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Photo: Courtesy of Beluga Heights.
Justin Bieber, "Eenie Meenie ft. Sean Kingston”
Do you hear that? That’s the sound of sweet innocence being lost to the tune of a children’s rhyme gone explicit. Bieber was never the same after this track.
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Photo: Courtesy of Warner Bros.
Linkin Park & Jay Z, "Numb/Encore"
In theory, 2004’s Collision Course album should have opened the door for more cross-genre mashups. In reality, it was a six-track cluster-you-know-what that didn’t do anything for either parties. There’s a reason this EP is hardly remembered.
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Photo: Courtesy of Columbia.
Destiny's Child, "Cater 2 U"
This one is actually pretty catchy. But, it's not the music itself that makes us do a double take. Think of the empowering "who run the world?" words behind Beyoncé's contemporary hits, and compare them to that of "Cater 2 U." Where the 2004 version of Bey wants to spend her days pleasing her man, modern-day B would have none of this.
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Photo: Courtesy of LaFace.
Usher, "Slow Jam"
Now that Usher's generating club anthems left and right, you'd be surprised to hear him bust out a slow jam. And, if he did bust out a ballad of some sort, it'd probably get the David Guetta remix treatment, right? Negative. "Slow Jam" from his 1997 album My Way is exactly what it sounds like. We invite you to feel some type of way about his goggles.
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Photo: Courtesy of Polydor.
David Hasselhoff, " Hooked On A Feeling"
Say what you will about Baywatch actor-turned-singer David Hasselhoff, but he's produced 18 albums. What have you done today?
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Photo: Courtesy of Interscope.
Mark Wahlberg, "Good Vibrations"
Before he was kickin' ass and takin' names on film, he was Marky Mark. He also has a workout video.
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Photo: Courtesy of Hollywood.
Hillary Duff, "Our Lips Are Sealed"
Perhaps H. Duff’s recent single should be on this list considering its “comeback” hype didn’t really bring her back. But, we’re still rooting for our girl, so this track made the cut. The sister-sister act was cute for a while, but Hilary Duff shines brighter when she’s solo.
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Photo: Courtesy of Columbia.
Eddie Murphy, "Party All The Time"
For a song that's about getting the party going, and theoretically NEVER stopping, this is actually kind of a slow beat. Also, Eddie Murphy?
12 of 20
Photo: Courtesy of Atlantic.
R. Kelly, "I Believe I Can Fly"
The R. Kelly canon includes such hits as "Remix to Ignition" and "I'm a Flirt." You know, songs about sex and arrogance. Oh, and this other gem circa 1997. It's the musical version of every motivational poster you see hanging in an office.
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Photo: Courtesy of Columbia.
J.Lo, "Let's Get Loud"
Is that Gloria Estefan? No. It's J.Lo.
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Photo: Courtesy of Universal Republic.
Leighton Meester, "Somebody To Love”
Leighton Meester’s musical career has had its ups and downs, but never was there a darker, more confused moment than her pop phase. It was misguided and tried to ride the post-Gossip Girl wave that also never really happened, either. Thankfully, she found a place in the land of folk. But, no amount of guitar strumming will make up for Robin Thicke’s cameo.
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Photo: Courtesy of Suretone.
From First To Last (Skrillex), "Emily"
The artist currently known as Skrillex was once known as Sonny Moore, lead singer for MySpace-gen emo kings From First To Last. He prefers to not talk about this time in his life and therefore would rather not perform the songs. #sadface
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Photo: Courtesy of Cash Money.
Lil Wayne, "Let It Rock"
Lil’ Wayne should have learned from Jay Z and Linkin Park’s attempt at making rock-rap happen that it just doesn’t work. Aerosmith and Run-DMC made it work, but that was a different time and a different place.
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Photo: Courtesy of Overbrook.
Will Smith, "Wild Wild West"
Now that we think about it, Will Smith is a very geographic singer. "Fresh Prince of Bel-Air." "Miami." And, of course, the wild, wild west.
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Photo: Courtesy of RCA.
Avril Lavigne, "Girlfriend feat. Missy Elliott"
Let’s be real here: It’s high time we put an end to the Toni Basil sampling.
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Photo: Courtesy of Interscope.
Gwen Stefani, "Harajuku Girls"
Aside from being the hot topic in liberal arts media classes, Stefani’s use of Harajuku girls went largely unquestioned by popular media in 2004. Had she paraded around with her entourage of Harajuku girls today, she would have faced a slew of backlash for trivializing Japanese culture. Sure, this track is paying homage to them, but it’s still problematic and offensive.
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Photo: Courtesy of Hollywood Records.
Miley Cyrus, "See You Again"
As the artist formerly known as Hannah Montana, Miley Cyrus put out some very Disney-channel songs. "See You Again" is not only one of 'em, and it's so far removed from the Miley we now know, that it kind of blows our mind to think about her singing it now. Though, this tune did give Cyrus the ultimate excuse to do anything, ever: "She's just bein' Miley."