Random song post, Volume 9

March 27, 2010

Songs I’d forgotten about, or overlooked, but now can’t stop listening to:

Augustana – “Boston” (All the Stars and Boulevards, Epic, 2005): At a time when so many bands are following whatever trend is current at the time (such as Owl City-esque electronica or Brokencyde-style crunkcore), it’s extremely refreshing to hear a band like Augustana, one that owes as much to pop/rock kings like Counting Crows and Goo Goo Dolls as they do to the trendy emo/indie genre.  “Boston, “ has made its way onto the soundtrack of many a primetime soap opera, and serves as background music to any TV advertisement featuring an emotional scene, all for good reason-it’s a well-written, piano-centered, pop/rock gem that never allows the musicianship to get too out of control, yet you know it has that potential.  The slow crescendo starts at the beginning, with just piano and vocals, eventually layering drums, guitars and bass on top as time goes by.  Before long, a string section joins the party, and the song has now hit a stellar high, instantly bringing to mind a group of talented musicians rocking out as hard as possible.  That simple beginning of piano and voice returns at the end, perfectly wrapping everything up, reminding the listener what’s it like to play music with more than just dollar signs in your eyes.  This is precisely what it’s all about.

The Get Up Kids – “The One You Want” (Guilt Show, Vagrant, 2004): In 2004, The Get Up Kids successfully rebounded from 2002’s oft-derided On A Wire with Guilt Show, which showcased a progression from On A Wire while bringing back many of the elements that made the band so special in the first place.  Lead single, “The One You Want, “ features a welcome piano part from keyboardist James Dewees, almost as if to remind the band he’s still a member.  Ryan Pope’s drums are big and wonderful, the guitars are loud but never dominating, and Matt Pryor’s voice sounds just as good as it did on 1997’s Four Minute Mile.  It’s another great representation of their classic rock abilities, while still showing the emo/indie world why these five guys from Eudora, Kansas, are true pioneers of the scene.

A Day to Remember – “Right Where You Want Me to Be” (2009): Released around the end of 2009, “Right Where You Want Me to Be, “ might be A Day to Remember’s best song yet, full of the punk-grooves-into-heavy-breakdowns the band is known for.  And yes, the gang screams that we’re all familiar with consistently show up throughout, perfectly rounding out a near-perfect song.

Hit the Lights – “Drop the Girl” (Skip School, Start Fights, Triple Crown, 2008): After losing frontman Colin Ross in 2007, Ohio pop/punkers Hit the Lights moved guitarist/backing vocalist Nick Thompson into the now-vacant slot and released a second full-length entitled Skip School, Start Fights in 2008.  The album’s second single, “Drop the Girl, “ perfectly represented a band that had not only underwent a massive change, but also taken two giant steps forward musically-kicking off with a simple techno beat and Thompson’s voice, along with a low-fi guitar riff, the song soon launches into a unrelenting series of verses and choruses that continually pummel the listener with sheer energy and entertainment.  Drummer Nate VanDame gives it his all, and the, “Whoa, “ chants in the choruses give it a Jerry Maguire sense of completion.  Yes, a typical emo breakdown is the basis for the bridge, but by that point the song can do no wrong.  Well done.

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