Welcome back to the Top 100 Songs Since 1999. I’ve already presented the description and criteria as well as #100-71, and it was a wingdang doozy. As the list develops, I promise to you that unknown will decrease, the known will increase, and you may just be a little less frustrated with the results.
Now, without further ado, I present to you #70-41 of the Top 100 Songs Since 1999…
Snow Patrol is a light alternative band that doesn’t try a whole lot of fancy tricks, but still gets through to you nonetheless. “It’s Beginning To Get To Me” is one of the high points on their album Eyes Open. Snow Patrol here sings about the pointlessness of fighting between a couple over the most trivial of things, leading to a broken relationship. The song plays into the album as a whole, while still being very successful on its own.
And it's beginning to get to me
That I know more of the stars and sea
Than I do of what's in your head
Barely touching in our cold bed
Wanna see Slash? Yes you do. Click the link. Slash’s most recent band is as strong as ever with the 2007 release of their newest album, Libertad. While it drew strong reviews, I didn’t personally care for it. A few songs, however, stuck out for me, “The Last Fight” in particular. This is no “Sweet Child O’ Mine”, but it provides a catchy sound mixed with some good old rock n’ blues. The song itself portrays the struggle of busting out into life on your own with nothing to lose. The soldier-like drum and guitar intro sets just the right mood for the song. Great stuff from a talented band.
Left home with a pack of clothes without a family tree
This fight could be the last fight
Guilty pleasure much? Oh, yes, quite. I now present to you one of the most juiced songs in modern rock, “BIow Me Away”. This song, the theme to Halo 2, has quickly become the rallying cry of the massive and ever-growing Halo fanbase. Now, while I’ll admit that neither Halo 2 nor Breaking Benjamin is my forte, “BIow me Away” gets you pumped up like none other. Perhaps that has helped it catch on with half of the American teenage population.
Only the strongest will survive
Albert Hammond, Jr. is the lead guitarist for The Strokes, who are also featured in this series. I’m not sure exactly what to say about “Back To The 101”, so…I think I’ll just feed you some crap filler. I don’t quite understand why Hammond, Jr. is so great, but he’s often critically acclaimed by many higher sources than me (including your friendly neighborhood Dr. Cool), so for now I will accept his apparent greatness. I have not heard much of Hammond, Jr.’s solo work, but “Back To The 101” is clever enough to crack the top 70. Yes, I’d say that’s about enough filler…
This is one of a number of bands on this list that I don’t really care for. The vocals seem annoying to me, and the electric guitars they use do absolutely nothing for me except enhance my negative opinion of The Subways. In “No Goodbyes”, though, The Subs bust out the acoustic guitar and softer vocals. The result? A much, much better outcome than their other stuff. Nothing blows you away, but the subtle bouncing rhythm of the track makes you appreciate it so much more. As far as lyrics, the song is about capturing the present and making the most of every moment.
Wolf Parade is a band that I’d consider a love ‘em/hate ‘em type. A likely reaction will likely be a hate ‘em for a first time listener. Once you embrace ‘em, though, you can come to like their music quite a lot. “Shine A Light” can be translated as an image of the modern workforce. As office workers waste time away pushing pencils in cubicles, they essentially lose their lives. Many hope for improvement, waiting for that raise, that promotion, that opportunity that will never come. I guess the lesson is to blaze your own path in life and avoid the doldrums of the office.
In a bus on a bus back home to you and
That's fine I'm barely alive
It's just a matter of time
No one gets out alive
64. Muse - Starlight
Ohhhhh, man. I love “Starlight”. I love everything about it. I love the guitar, the bass, the drum work, the lyrics and the vocals. There’s no downside to this. A pioneer of new prog rock, Muse has quickly become one of my favorite bands around. Mixing haunting vocals with driving instrumentals, Muse is absolutely captivating. “Starlight” captures much of the essence of what they stand for. However, while much of Muse’s music focuses on conspiracy, corruption and revolution, “Starlight” takes you in a different direction. Lead singer Matthew Bellamy sings about the story of someone who, in the course of fame, has been taken far from the ones he loves. In the song, he longs to reignite his relationship with his lover/friend/family/etc. The eerie repeated line “Black holes and revelations” echo the title of the album, and it still gives me chills every time I hear the song. With obvious influence from The Strokes, Muse belts out an epic in “Starlight”.
Our hopes and expectations
Black holes and revelations
Our hopes and expectations
Black holes and revelations
Assuming you haven’t been living under a big, big rock these past few years, you’ve heard this famous piano intro more times than you can count. To some it’s horrendously annoying, to some it’s relaxing, and to every girl in America it’s the most beautiful creation in mankind’s history. No matter which one you chose (assuming it wasn’t the first one), “Boston” is well deserving of the #63 spot on the list. Besides, it’s about Boston. How can it be a bad song?
When flowers gaze at you
They're not the only ones
Who cry when they see you
That isn’t a typo. Finnish power metal band Sonata Arctica’s “Full Moon” is spelled with one word, not two. Now, with that oddity out of the way, I’ll continue. Sonata Arctica is by far the most entertaining metal band I’ve seen. From what I’ve heard, most metal bands sound horrific at once, until you get used to them; the ultimate acquired taste. From what I’ve experienced, I would verify that. Sonata Arctica, however, is a band I fell in love with from the moment the first notes hit my ears. Nothing like metal-caliber speed mixed with rock-caliber melody and Springsteen-like storytelling to nail the ultimate trifecta in the greatest genre of all time (Rock, people. Duh.). “FullMoon” tells an epic story of a werewolf. On the surface, it seems to tell about a man’s horrible transformations that he cannot escape in which he causes great destruction. Underneath, it can be interpreted as a tragic evolution of an abusive husband’s repeated spirals into drunken rages that result in thrashings of his wife, who can only hope to herself that things will eventually get better. I can’t help but to stand in awe of the lead singer’s powerful voice that sounds just as good live as it does recorded.
In the mist of the morning he cannot fight anymore
Hundred moons or more, he's been howling
Knock on the door, and scream that is soon ending
Mess on the floor again...
This 1999 smash hit from the Semisonic trio was, well…their only hit. I find this surprising, as I’ve found them to be one of the top tier bands out there. Since their breakup in ’02, their lead singer has continued on, doing a solo album that I believe was recently (and rather conspicuously) released in stores. Anyway, “Closing Time” I’ve found is a must-have on any guy’s iPod. Why? Girls, that’s why. “Closing Time” is certainly one of teenage girls’ biggest heartthrobs, and you never know when it might come in handy. The lyrics in themselves are fairly refreshing, too. Semisonic had an uncanny ability to create emotions in their music, an aspect that in modern music has been much coveted and rarely achieved.
Closing time - every new beginning comes from some other beginnings end...
I really don’t think Seether is bad at all. I suppose their image gives them a bad rap, but I like it. I can’t necessarily back that up, as I’ve never listened to an entire Seether album, but I can say I’ve liked what I’ve heard. “The Gift” is a great, slow song that blends hard rock with a still calming sound. Little bit of a story behind this one, too: Some years ago there was a series of huge tornados tearing through our town, and one was heading straight for our house. The power was out, and my brother (I believe he was 5 at the time) was scared out of his mind. The thing I remember most clearly from that night was sitting in silence in the candle-lit basement, listening to “The Gift”. The song itself is about facing shame and owning up to your own failures in life.
I'm so afraid of the gift you give me
I don't belong here and I'm not well
I'm so ashamed of the path I'm living on
I'm right on the wrong side of it all
The Strokes are a really good band that comes highly acclaimed by critics. Singer and band leader Julian Casablancas reminds me somewhat of a certain Jim Morrison. His disheveled, pot-smoking look, dead vocals, and musical ingenuity draw clear comparisons. “12:51” is a terribly addictive song that, if I’m correct, will be in your head for a while. The totally awesome video for the track showcases The Strokes doing what they do best: play great music.
We could go and get forties
F**k going to that party
My Modest Mouse fanaticism has been a rollercoaster. When “Float On” came out a million years ago, I remember being the only one within 30 miles of me who liked it (or that’s what it felt like). Four years later, I went out and bought the CD Good News For People Who Love Bad News. My opinion? I thought it was awful. With the exception of the first 3 tracks, I thought the whole thing was terrible. Now, more recently, I have begun to second guess my opinion on Modest Mouse. You really have to look closer at Modest Mouse to see its genius in creating an image of the human experience. “Missed The Boat” is a clever, catchy song about good times that just aren’t so good anymore. The lyrics are, as usual, brilliant. I’d give this song a listen.
Oh, and we carried it all so well
As if we got a new position
Oh, and I'll laugh all the way to hell
57. Opeth - Harvest
Upset with the way this list is turning out so far? Drown your anger with some of this decade’s best metal (in my uninformed opinion). Fortunately for most of you out there, this song in particular does not feature any of the “cookie monster” vocals that scare most people away from metal (like me for example). Metal in which the lead “singer” actually sings I find excellent (like “Harvest” for example). “Harvest” does have some dark lyrics, but then again, I’ve not yet come across a metal band that sings about daisy fields.
Halo of death, all I see is departure
Mourner's lament but it's me who's the martyr
Prone to seizures and dizziness? Say no to the video. Love the oddities and endities of The White Stripes? Say yes to the video. The White Stripes, made up of Jack White and his sister (?) are one of the most innovative bands in modern rock. White, for instance, was ranked #17 on the Rolling Stone’s Top Guitarists Of All Time and is considered one of the most eccentric people running around today. Hell, TWS played a one note concert in Canada one time. “Seven Nation Army’s” lyrics are a little out there for me, and I can’t really guess as to what they mean. Oh well, that barely takes away from the greatness of the song.
Foo Fighters has to be one of the greatest bands of our generation. Unfortunately, their massive commercial and media success has turned me off to them, and I haven’t garnered any motivation for listening to them. “Learn To Fly”, one of their many smash hits, is a great song. While I’m not going out of my way to hear songs like this, I certainly can respect it.
And I'm looking to the sky to save me
Looking for a sign of life
Looking for something to help me burn out bright
Now how about that? One legendary band followed by another and another? Radiohead makes its first appearance on the list at #54 with “House Of Cards”. I for one find it absolutely mind-bottling how such simple music can be so elegant and complex at the same time. I mean, you watch the video and it looks like their just tuning their guitars. “House Of Cards” speaks on the aptness of people to rush into relationships, often for sexual benefit, while ignoring obvious consequences and compatibility flaws. They then “deny” the issues and continue on with a crappy relationship.
Forget about your house of cards
And I'll do mine
The Shout Out Louds chose a terrible location for their video (a cold, dark and colorless ship) considering the music they play (dreamy, peppy and uplifting). The band incorporates a violin as well as what sounds like either bells or a xylophone, which helps give them their unique sound. This is one of the few true indie bands that I think have a strong chance of making it big in the coming years.
I’m not usually a big fan of female singers (not sexist, just a taste issue), but Amy Lee has one of the most powerful voices in music. You can just feel the desperate emotion flowing through your veins, even when listening to a song you’ve heard 1,000 times before. The continuously gradual crescendos and decrescendos are so perfectly subtle, you hardly notice it. The 2:43 crescendo captures the song’s essence better than any other part in the song. The lyrics are pretty easy to decipher; it’s about a love that ended not so smoothly, leaving Lee crushed long after its end. I really can’t find anything bad to say about this song, other than it was overplayed on the radio.
I tried so hard to tell myself that your gone,
But though you're still with me,
I've been all alone all along
Hey, an instrumental! This is, in fact, the only instrumental you will find on this list anywhere, so enjoy it. pg.lost is by far the most underground band here, albeit a very good one. As far as I know, the Swedish band is purely instrumental, although I could be wrong about that. “Yes I Am” is awesome to behold. The initial booming crescendo at 0:30 gives you a good impression of what’s to come. The song is filled with sudden volume explosions and near (or actual) silences. The crescendo at 3:32 is epic. Absolutely epic. As in brand-new-experience-for-me epic. (Note: Link takes you to pg.lost’s Myspace page, where they have their song not only playable, but available for download. Enjoy.)
HALFWAY THERE, PEOPLE! To hell with intermission, though. True heroes press on!
50. U2 - Vertigo
Oh, come on. No U2 yet? That has to change. Anyway, there are 2 things I remember from this song. One is that it was on the first iPod silhouette commercial that I remember (yes, even before Stewie’s dance). Two was that Bono counts “One, two, three, fourteen” in Spanish in the spoken intro. I guess they needed a 3 syllable word, but…damn. That doesn’t justify counting like a 5 year old. U2’s “Vertigo” is about (what else?) God. What about God? His loving guidance during times of distress, of course. Whether you’re Catholic, Muslim, or Pastafarian, “Vertigo” is a hit to the ears.
I'm at a place called Vertigo
It's everything I wish I didn't know
Except you give me something I can feel, feel
49. Rush - Far Cry
“Far Cry”, while not as high in my favor as 70s and 80s Rush, is still huge. The intro is a common beginning to a Rush song, showing a sporadic display of staccato notes from all three instruments. After that, it’s even more typical Rush. Geddy Lee comes in with his signature girlish vocals that make you double take for a second. Neil Peart slams around with one of the most impressive array of percussion instruments in the world. Alex Lifeson’s guitars play as almost a background effect to guide the song along. “Far Cry” brings human life into a bigger perspective, showing how people’s high expectations of the world are crushed as they grow older, and yet we still hope for better days to come.
Whirlwind life of faith and betrayal
Rise in anger, fall back and repeat
Cassino is probably the last band on here that can truly be listed as “underground indie.” Formed in 2005, this band has the potential to pick up speed and become a household name. They have a uniquely calming and meditative sound to them, as shown especially in “Tin Man’s Throne”. The song oft mentions “father time” and “mother earth” which I think is representative of a man and a woman. No matter the interpretation, the song relaxes you just as good as any great band like Pink Floyd or Radiohead.
For all the horror, for all the stains
All over the walls
All over my brains
Death Cab For Cutie is one of the best bands of our generation. I suppose you could compare their effect to that of Cassino’s, only this band brings so much more to the table than slow tempos. With lyrics that flow like none that I’ve ever seen, Death Cab’s gorgeous use of soft guitars and softer vocals creates some of the best music out there today. No exception to this, “Marching Bands Of Manhattan” is a bit sappy, but great nonetheless.
Sorrow drips into your heart through a pinhole
Just like a faucet that leaks and there is comfort in the sound
But while you debate half empty or half full
It slowly rises, your love is gonna drown
This is probably one of my favorite songs of the 21st century by one of my favorite bands from the 21st century. Wolfmother has been compared to the likes of Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath, and I think they deserve it. Andrew Stockdale’s vocals/guitar sounds like a certain Robert Plant/Jimmy Page, which is probably where most of the comparison comes from. “Mind’s Eye” has an epic feel to it, and features some damn fine vocals from Stockdale. And hey, Chris Ross has a keyboard
solo. Who doesn’t love a keyboard solo?
It was hard to put “The Pretender” way down at 45 since it’s such a great song, but its massive play on the radio all over the country has driven it down significantly for me. I’m sure we’re all at the point where we roll our eyes when we hear this song come on. Objectively speaking, though, this song has so much emotion in it – especially in the verses – that it’s hard to not get pumped up by this it. I’m planning on getting my hands on their new CD and exploring a little more of the phenomenon that is Foo Fighters. (NOTE: The video for this is great. The slow buildup of the track prepares the impending battle between rock and authority. Long live rock and roll!)
What if I say I'm not like the others?
What if I say I'm not just another one of your plays?
You're the pretender
What if I say that I'll never surrender?
Yes, it’s that guy with his own symphony. Sufjan Stevens, the God fearing Illinois graduate whose music is sweeping the country, brings out his best in “Chicago”. For those who like to rock, press skip track now. “Chicago” is uber-meditative music at its best. Stevens’ and the background singers’ soft voices mix gorgeously with the string section and bells, and the brass solo is orgasmic. “Chicago” gives a new meaning to the word “rock orchestra.” Actually, it gives it the only one.
If I was crying
In the van, with my friend
It was for freedom
From myself and from the land
The Kings Of Leon lead singer is fascinating. “Charmer” (as well as KoL’s other music) sounds like the singer beat his throat with a hammer and swallowed a strip of double sided sandpaper before going onstage, but still managed to hit every note. Somehow, this is a good thing, and it provides a sense of uniqueness to a band that would otherwise be average. This track’s lyrics are basically the same two lines repeated over and over; “She's such a charmer oh no.
She's always looking at me.” A neat little bass solo rounds this song into completeness.
Classic rock fans, rejoice. Your saviour is here. Bruce Springsteen’s voice is back and deeper than ever with his new single “Radio Nowhere”. This, in my opinion, rivals for one of the top 10 or so Springsteen songs ever produced. The raw emotion that The Boss puts into his music is incredible. This song in particular is a cry for a return to playing music for the sake of playing music, not for the commercial treasure box. Basically, I take this song as a critique of the modern influx of crapass music that floods the iTunes Top 100 charts.
I was spinnin' 'round a dead dial
Just another lost number in a file
Dancin' down a dark hole
Just searchin' for a world with some soul
This is truly Coldplay at its best. As said on my “Amsterdam” description, “Coldplay to me is overrated. Their songs are very simple and their lyrics are nothing more than average. Often times their songs drag on for minutes longer than they should, leaving to you have to check the time remaining on the song every 10 seconds. However, A Rush Of Blood To The Head was put together nicely by a collection of sub-average songs to make an incredibly depressing concept album (in my mind).” “The Scientist” breaks this simple rule, as it is easily one of the best and most distinguishable of Coldplay’s music. It doesn’t get old, it doesn’t sound bland, and best of all the song goes 4:30 without sounding like a skipping record.
And there you have it. The Top 100 Songs Since 1999, numbers 70-41. The next issue (#s 40-11) will be coming on Monday. Here’s an instant recap of #s 70-41 for the many of you who did not read the above:
70. Snow Patrol – It’s Beginning To Get To Me
69. Velvet Revolver – The Last Fight
68. Breaking Benjamin – BIow Me Away
67. Albert Hammond, Jr. – Back To The 101
66. The Subways – No Goodbyes
65. Wolf Parade – Shine A Light
64. Muse - Starlight
63. Augustana - Boston
62. Sonata Arctica - FullMoon
61. Semisonic – Closing Time
60. Seether – The Gift
59. The Strokes – 12:51
58. Modest Mouse – Missed The Boat
57. Opeth - Harvest
56. The White Stripes – Seven Nation Army
55. Foo Fighters – Learn To Fly
54. Radiohead – House Of Cards
53. Shout Out Louds – Tonight I Have To Leave It
52. Evanescence – My Immortal
51. pg.lost – Yes I Am
50. U2 - Vertigo
49. Rush – Far Cry
48. Cassino – Tin Man’s Throne
47. Death Cab For Cutie – Marching Bands Of Manhattan
46. Wolfmother – Mind’s Eye
45. Foo Fighters – The Pretender
44. Sufjan Stevens - Chicago
43. Kings Of Leon - Charmer
42. Bruce Springsteen – Radio Nowhere
41. Coldplay – The Scientist
See you in another couple days.