If you’ve ever wondered what your favorite singer’s voice sounds like in its purest form, the musical sub-genre of isolated vocal tracks can offer a clue. Here are 12 videos of popular songs stripped of everything but the vocals—some of them strange, others eerily beautiful.
1. “HELLO” // ADELE
Adele’s vocals for her new hit single “Hello” are even more powerful without the background music.
2. “SMELLS LIKE TEEN SPIRIT” // NIRVANA
Nirvana kicked off a new era in rock music in the 1990s, but can “Smells Like Teen Spirit” be as powerful without the driving guitars? The song feels more eerie than hard-hitting with only Kurt Cobain’s haunting vocals.
3. “BEAT IT” // MICHAEL JACKSON
One of Michael Jackson’s most iconic songs seems less urgent without the music behind his amazing vocals. Something is lost without Eddie Van Halen’s killer guitar solo, too.
4. “FELL IN LOVE WITH A GIRL” // THE WHITE STRIPES
Even without the heavy guitars and feverish drum beats, “Fell in Love with a Girl” is still a catchy tune.
5. “BEAUTIFUL” // CHRISTINA AGUILERA
Christina Aguilera’s isolated microphone feed vocals of her live performance of “Beautiful” prove that her voice is just as impressive without the music.
6. “BLACK HOLE SUN” // SOUNDGARDEN
Soundgarden’s “Black Hole Sun” is a haunting song. Even without the benefit of music, Chris Cornell’s vocals are just as stirring.
7. “WONDERWALL” // OASIS
Noel Gallagher’s lyrics and his brother Liam’s vocals for Oasis’ “Wonderwall” seem even more sad without the backing music.
8. “LOSE YOURSELF” // EMINEM
“Lose Yourself” won Eminem an Academy Award in 2003 for “Best Original Song” for 8 Mile. He probably still would’ve won the Oscar even without the music behind his intense rhymes.
9. “NO ONE” // ALICIA KEYS
Alicia Keys’ performance of her hit song “No One” with her microphone feed isolated proves that she’s a genuine talent.
10. “GOD ONLY KNOWS” // THE BEACH BOYS
The acapella and isolated vocals of The Beach Boys’ “God Only Knows” work just as well as the studio version with musical accompaniment.
11. “BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY” // QUEEN
Freddie Mercury’s vocals and harmonies for “Bohemian Rhapsody” are awe-inspiring. The video also highlights Brian May’s amazing guitar work.
12. “WE ARE THE CHAMPIONS” // QUEEN
This stripped-down version of “We Are the Champions” proves, yet again, what made Freddie Mercury one of rock’s most iconic vocalists.