Top 20 Most Underrated Girl Group Songs
Most casual pop fans can rattle off a few of the biggest girl group hits of all time -- the classic cuts by the Supremes, TLC, Destiny's Child and more -- with little hesitation, and those smash singles deserve to be celebrated. In fact, we created a master list of the 100 best girl group songs ever to commemorate the greats, from Wilson Phillips' "Impulsive" to Spice Girls' "Wannabe."
But those classics should not be the be-all and end-all of girl group songs. Within all of the jam-filled discographies exists a whole other world of deep cuts, forgotten hits and not-quite-smashes worth discovering and revisiting, from some of the biggest girl groups ever and several that engineered one marvelous single before stepping out of the spotlight.
After checking out our chart list of the 40 biggest girl group songs ever, read our editorial countdown of the 20 most underrated girl group songs of all time that couldn't quite make our master list of the best. These tracks might not have smashed the charts, but they hold a special place in our hearts.
20. B*Witched, "Never Giving Up"
While B*Witched made it clear that they how to craft a feel good, danceable track (with odes to their Irish roots, of course) with “C’est La Vie,” this song takes things one step further into the upbeat persona they initially portrayed with their breakout hit. It has everything you could want in a girl group track, including a playful beat and a key change, while simply making you feel good inside with its positive lyrics. -- Taylor Weatherby
19. The Chiffons, "Nobody Knows What's Going On In My Mind (But Me)"
A paranoid, proto-psychedelic and practically schizophrenic rave-up that somehow snuck into the top 50 of the Hot 100 -- and for The Chiffons, best known for syrupy love songs like "Sweet Talking Guy" and "One Fine Day," of all groups. The song's psychodrama is undeniably captivating, though, as is its lush production, and if Lana Del Rey hasn't covered it by decade's end somebody needs to get fired. -- Andrew Unterberger
18. Destiny's Child, "Through With Love"
Quintessential Destiny's Child, this song (buried deep on their 2004 Destiny Fulfilled farewell album) encapsulates the feeling of being over a situation with the one you love and vowing to walk away… at least until he calls again. -- Kathy Iandoli
17. Xscape, "My Little Secret"
Gloriously dated -- the first 45 seconds include a Jermaine Dupri spoken-word intro and talk of getting "your message on my beeper" -- but undeniably sensual, Xscape's "My Little Secret" was not the long-gone R&B quartet's biggest hit but endures at the group's most unified statement (about how everybody cheats, but still). -- Jason Lipshutz
16. Little Mix, "Nothing Feels Like You"
Produced by red-hot beatmaker MNEK, "Nothing Feels Like You" sounds like a girl group smash from the distant future, when all percussion is composed of tongue clicks and beatboxing. Little Mix's Salute album includes some polished dance cuts, but the racing "Nothing Feels Like You" operates at an entirely different level. -- J.L.
15. Boy Krazy, "That's What Love Can Do"
Pop songwriting trio Stock Aitken Waterman (Kylie Minogue, Donna Summer) attempted to apply their magic touch to a girl group with Boy Krazy. The band didn't stick, but this song is a forgotten gem. -- Andrew Hampp
14. Fifth Harmony, "Who Are You"
For being one of the X-Factor-created girl group’s first songs since placing third on the talent competition show in 2012, this was a pretty impressive vocal display from all five harmonizers. Plus, it showed some vulnerability from the otherwise sass and confidence-oozing quintet, proving that they can sing a heartbreak ballad just as powerfully as a full-on girl power jam. -- T.W.
13. The Surpremes, "Any Girl in Love (Knows What I'm Going Through)"
This deep cut off The Supremes' 1966 I Hear a Symphony album is one of the group's buried gems, swinging mid-tempo melancholy with a typically clever Holland-Dozier-Holland lyric ("As soon as love walked in/ You walked right out"), a title that could serve as a subhead for the entire girl group era, and one of the most jarring (and effective) mid-verse chord changes you'll ever hear. The fact that it was never released as a single just shows what an impossible hot streak the Supremes were on in '66. -- A.U.
12. The Cinderellas, "Please Don't Wake Me"
Backup singers Dorothy Jones, Margaret Ross and Earl-Jean McCrea, who also recorded as the Cookies, switched their identity with Ross singing lead on this Cynthia Weil-Russ Titelman composition. Fun fact: the group would later become the Raelettes, backing Ray Charles. -- Phil Gallo
11. The Like, "Release Me"
After one rock-tinged album, the Like worked with producer Mark Ronson (he was dating drummer Tennessee Thomas) who pointed them in a glossy, Phil Spector direction for their second album. This catchy number was the big standout from their 2010 album Release Me, and now sounds like a lost gem from the Supremes or the Crystals. -- Chris Payne
10. TLC, "I'm Good at Being Bad"
Like a lot of people in my age group, Fanmail was my introduction to girl groups, and "I'm Good At Being Bad" happened to be my introduction to the bad girl side of TLC. Its slow beginning takes quite a turn as the beat drops, delivering a hard-hitting chorus that quotes Donna Summer's "Love To Love You Baby." -- William Gruger
9. Play, "Girl's Mind"
The Swedish quartet dished a handful of songs that declare they don’t need a man (if you’re not familiar, take a listen to “Cinderella” and “I Must Not Chase the Boys”), but this track lays out exactly why men just don’t quite meet women’s needs. Between the harmonies in the chorus and saucy lyrics, “Girl’s Mind" sounds like something Little Mix or Fifth Harmony would whip up for their next album. And frankly, if they did, it’d probably be a hit — that power note in the bridge is one for the girl group hall of fame. -- T.W.
8. The Donnas, "Take It Off"
"Take It Off," from the Donnas' 2002 major-label debut Spend The Night, so wonderfully highlights the all-female quartet's strengths that it's no wonder that the rock group could never quite follow it up. From Brett Anderson's whiskey-stained vocal delivery to Allison Robertson's snarling guitar work to the group's fist-pump harmonizing, "Take It Off" was a minor hit that has major staying power. -- J.L.
7. Spice Girls, "Love Thing"
Backed by a classic 90's groove punctuated with staccato strings, "Love Thing" is an excellent cut from the Spice Girls' debut album Spice, and one that should have gotten more radio shine. By addressing many a woe between lovers, the Spice Girls make the simple statement that relationships in general would be much better off if it weren't for those petty arguments. -- W.G.
6. The Shangri-Las, "Past, Present & Future"
The biggest hits of '60s girl group the Shangri-Las tended to hinge on subjects like motorcycle crashes, familial alienation and breakup letters sent from another continent. But even for them, "Past, Present & Future" is shocking. A largely spoken-word number based musically around the somber melody of Beethoven's "Moonlight Sonata," the song chills with every intonation of the titular three phases, as lead singer Mary Weiss tells of a romantic life ruined by by an off-screen occurrence never detailed, absolutely horrifying in its looming vagueness. It's girl group pop with absolutely unimaginable stakes, and you'll need to wash your ears out with about a hundred "Be My Baby"s to properly recover. -- A.U.
5. Total, "Kissin' You"
A modest hit that peaked at No. 12 on the Hot 100, "Kissin You" was a delectable slice of 90's R&B that tugged at the boundaries of pop and neo-soul. With production handled by Raphael Saddiq, a song this sweet never sounded so cutting-edge. -- Reggie Ugwu
4. The Pipettes, "Your Kisses Are Wasted On Me"
The choreography, matching polka dot outfits and throwback arrangements made U.K. trio the Pipettes an intriguingly retro collective when they first touched down in the mid-2000s, and sadly, their stunning 2006 LP We Are The Pipettes became their only full-length with their classic lineup. The single "Pull Shapes" first turned heads, but "Your Kisses Are Wasted On Me" was the album's two-minute stunner, with a sassy refrain seamlessly heading toward a soaring, sobering recognition of vulnerability, that turns into another quick rejection. -- J.L.
3. SWV, "Use Your Heart"
SWV's biggest singles came from their debut album in 1992, but their 1996 sophomore effort New Beginning had a gem or two as well, including "Use Your Heart." The slow-winding cut about pure love was produced by a then up-and-coming duo called The Neptunes (Chad Hugo and Pharrell Williams), who made the single as dreamy as it is passionate. -- Brad Wete
2. The Ronettes, "Paradise"
Initially recorded by the Shangri-La's, the Ronettes version of "Paradise" produced by Phil Spector was shelved when it was recorded in 1966 and only released in the mid-'70s on a Spector compilation. Harry Nilsson co-wrote the song. -- P.G.
1. Girls Aloud, "Call The Shots"
A highly underrated song from the most underrated girl group ever (in the United States, at least), "Call The Shots" was Girls Aloud's last incredible single before the group effectively disbanded. "Call The Shots" makes me feel like I'm in the middle of an 80's movie chasing a boy all around the prom until he tells me he loves me. That's not a bad feeling. -- K.I.