Thrice has the most songs on this list, and rightfully so. Since I first heard them back in 2001 I’ve been calling Thrice my favorite band. Whereas others from back in that era have come and gone, Thrice continues to crank out top notch album after album.
A big key to their longevity is their incredible ability to change their sound while retaining fans. I got into them when they were fast, California hardcore. Since then they went from mainstream alternative to post-hardcore to experimental to folk to…I don’t even know what you could call them now. But when other bands lose their fan-bases with such drastic changes, Thrice maintains and adds.
The Whaler comes from my favorite Thrice album, The Alchemy Index. In what would become known as the record that killed their major label chances, I found the most interesting, diverse and appealing collection of songs from any band I’d ever heard. It was broken up into for EPs, each based on an element: fire, water, earth and wind. The songs on the fire EP were hard, fierce and heavy. On earth you had subtle, acoustic and stripped down tunes. Wind songs sounded like they came from an orchestra.
The Whaler came from the water EP. Like the others on it, it was electric, smooth and hypnotic. One listen and you had to hear it again, and again and again. Earlier this summer I was driving some friends home, none of whom had ever heard of Thrice before. In my changer was a disk of my favorite Thrice tunes and days later I got texts asking me about this specific song. It’s just one of those that I think is impossible to dislike.
Just a really beautiful, memorable tune.
#80 – The Outfield – Your Love
Does a song deserve to be on here if I’ve listened to the covers more than the original?
Look, I love the original. It’s one of those 80s classics that no one dislikes. Fire it up at a party right now and you’re going to see people singing along. That’s pretty damn impressive, considering we’re talking about a band that no one else can identify a song from. The Outfield came and went, and twenty years later everyone decided to cover their hit.
My indoctrination came with Midtown’s version. Then I heard the Less than Jake version. Then the Wycleff slow-down. A couple years later it was Katy Perry. Most recently it’s been Bon Iver.
I’ve listened to this song hundreds of times, from various artists and bands. It’s a fantastic tune that holds up, regardless of the version. I could have made a case for it being forty spots higher. But here’s the original, enjoy.
#81 – Senses Fail – Can’t Be Saved (2006)
Can’t be Saved came out five years ago, but it’s honestly only recently became a bit of an obsession in the last year. I probably heard it years ago, but 99% of the listens I’ve given it have come in 2011.
Senses Fail, like a few other bands on this list, showed up in my iTunes back in college and I have no idea how. They were a virtual unknown when I was a junior. I listened to their EP, it was amazingly underproduced, but hell if I didn’t love it. If this list had been made in 2004, Free Fall Without a Parachute would have been on it.
Fast forward about seven years. I hadn’t listened to Senses Fail in years. I knew they got a major label deal but didn’t bother checking it out until I heard Can’t Be Saved.
You know how during certain periods of your life you have anthems? No? That’s just me? A song by Oleander seemed to define me in high school. Later a song by No Use for a Name became my go-to in college. Both are on this list, and yet to come.
Can’t Be Saved, for reasons I can’t really describe, just seems to fit me right now. I’m 30 years old, and this song is my goddamn anthem.
#82 – Sugarcult – Pretty Girl (2001)
One of those songs that for whatever reason I remember where I was when I first heard it. I was sitting in the living room of my first college apartment, next to the window. Much Music, or Fuse or whatever the hell it was called back then was on the TV when Pretty Girl came on. Loved the song, loved the music video. I’ve listened to it hundreds of times ever since.
Sugarcult became a bit of a staple of my college memory bank. I used to listen to Start Static and songs like Hate Every Beautiful Day, Lost in You and How Does it Feel while I smoked and walked home from my one night a week spanish class. Memory, the acoustic version, was always on my playlists until I found out that not only was there a regular version but an entire album to go along with it. Palm Trees and Power Lines brings me back to my senior year. I gave a cute girl rides home after Fundamentals of Design class and more often than not it was in my CD player.
I think Sugarcult, maybe more than any other, was my true college band. Check out the music video. It’s good.
#83 – Smile Empty Soul – Bottom of a Bottle (2003)
This song reminds me of my senior year of college. When it came out I had to raise an eyebrow because of the lyrics:
I do it for the drugs
I do it just to feel alive
I do it for the love
That I get from the bottom of a bottle
Probably isn’t much doubt as to why I really gravitated to this tune.
Smile Empty Soul wasn’t anything particularly special, and musically they remind me of a TV show you don’t love, but you’ll watch if nothing else is on.
But I have to give them credit; I still find myself listening eight years later. I don’t listen to a lot of Chevelle or Trust Company anymore, two similar bands from the same era, but one day I’ll probably have to check out the rest of Smile Empty Soul’s stuff.
#84 – Taproot – Poem
Rap-rock, Nu Metal, whatever you want to call it, it was huge in the early 90s and my roommates and I weren’t immune. Taproot’s first album Gift was a big part of the rotation my roommate and I had during my sophomore year in college. That’s also probably the last time I listened to anything off of Gift.
To be honest, almost nothing of Taproot’s music has stuck around for me. I mostly only remember them for being “not Puddle of Mudd.” Fred Durst was looking to sign a bad to his label. He could have signed Taproot, passed, went with PoM instead.
All that being said, Poem is a pretty awesome rock tune. Like a handful of others on this list, it’s a song I’ve played consistently over the years. When it shows up randomly in iTunes I don’t pass. When I’m looking for good pissed-off music it’s always on my playlists. The music video is outstanding.
Taproot is pretty boring music from an era that I think we’re all glad is dead and gone. But they gave us Poem, so thanks guys!
#85 – Blink 182 – M&Ms
I got into Blink 182 when the rest of the world did, back in 1999 when they released Enema of the State. I had a punk loving pal who used to give me shit for wearing their gear; he listened to their tunes before they went mainstream. To my credit, at least I went back and gave their early stuff a chance. Turns out it was really pretty awesome.
M&M’s was my favorite. I don’t associate it with any one particular memory. It doesn’t remind me of a girl or a time in my life. I don’t even put it on many playlists anymore. But when I started picking out songs that could make this list and compared them against each other, M&Ms beat a lot of classics.
It’s just a really standout, really remarkable tune.
#86 – The Wreckers – Tennessee
I liked Michelle Branch’s music from about the second I heard her first single, back when I was living in the dorms as a sophomore in college. That fact has made me a source of amusement and target of ridicule from many a friend.
I don’t remember where I was when I first heard The Wreckers, Branch’s country side project with her friend Jessica Harp. Like most music I listened to back in 2006, I’m guessing it was on Sirius. I don’t even remember loving it. But because it was Michelle Branch and I’d seen them in concert, I gave Stand Still, Look Pretty a listen. Then I listened a lot more. It ended up being a constant play for months.
When I think about The Wreckers and Stand Still, Look Pretty it seems I give them too much credit. In my head it’s one of my favorite albums; in reality I only consistently listened to four songs. The rest of it was forgettable.
But the thing is I really love those four songs. I’d put Cigarettes, Lay Me Down and The Good Kind up against a lot of songs on this list. Tennessee gets the spot here, though. No big story as to why. I just really love it and my guess is if you could check the play-count of every song I’ve listened to over the last five years, it would probably be in the top ten.
One thing of note, it was written by and prominently features Jessica Harp. The girl is wicked talented and it shows on SS,LP.