Category Archives: Top 100

#10 – Glassjaw – When One Eight Becomes Two Zeros



This is Glassjaw’s second entry on the list, and it sounds absolutely nothing like the first.

Like I said in that post, this song was probably my first introduction to real hardcore music. It’s never been my favorite genre, but I appreciate much of it, especially if it sounds anything like this.

Daryl Palumbo’s got one of my favorite voices in rock, at least when he puts it to use instead of screaming incoherently. He does on this one. Unlike the majority of their tunes you can actually hear what he’s singing. And the lyrics on this song…man, some of my favorites.

I’ve bartered tact for wit
And I’ve already made up
A billion stories about you.

You’re not the other woman
You’re just another
Another hobby for a guy like me.

Yea, this is another one of my mood songs.

I really only love a few Glassjaw songs. Like I said, hardcore has never really been my thing and Glassjaw didn’t produce a lot of material. They’ve since broken up a while ago and Palumbo has gone on to front a kind of glam-pop band called Head Automatica that’s basically the opposite of Glassjaw. They’re actually pretty good. Check this song out.


#11 – The Airborne Toxic Event – Sometime Around Midnight


There’s a line in the Tom Cruise movie Vanilla Sky I’ve always loved. Jason Lee is riding in a car with Cruise and Lee says,

“You will never know the exquisite pain of the guy who goes home alone.”

This song is basically that. Ever gone to a bar and run into an ex or someone you’ve been hung up on? Watched them leave with someone not you? Sometime Around Midnight is for you.

I found out about this song because of the wonderful thing that is Twitter. I follow a writer named Chris Jones. For Esquire he made a list of the songs he writes to, and asked his readers what they listened to and to send them to him on Twitter. Someone eventually made a youtube playlist of over a hundred songs, and Sometime Around Midnight was at the top of the list.

I’d never heard of The Airborne Toxic Event before but it’s safe to say this song left a serious impression. This was less than two years ago but I’ve listened to it hundreds of times since. Even the music video is amazing. You absolutely have to check it out. You will love it.

#12 – AFI – The Last Kiss


Mentioned in the previous post, AFI was a big band for me when I was around 18-21. They were my first introduction to hardcore music and I loved it almost immediately. It was really like nothing I’d ever heard.

For many years this was a top five song for me. It’s been pushed down by others, partly because I’m just not into hardcore anymore and AFI has taken a turn for the worst. They’ve sounded terrible for years now and nothing like the band I loved when I was younger. They’ve gotten more airplay, sold more records and good for them. They deserve it. It’s just not my kind of music.

AFI used to be the band I’d circle on the calendar. They put on an amazing show. My favorite memory was during my second Warper Tour at Summerset. It was hot as shit all day, sunny, not a cloud in the sky. AFI took the stage and I swear to god the sky got dark and soon it started to pour. DAVEY HAVOK BROUGHT RAIN. When the set was up, the clouds moved on and the skies cleared. It was awesome.

#13 – Strung Out – Matchbook


Around the time of my senior year in high school and freshman year in college, I really had a BIG SIX

No Use for a Name
The Ataris
Good Riddance

and Strung Out. By my sophomore year Thrice would come around and blow them all out of the water, but for a couple years this style of music really dominated my life.

This is the song that got me into them. I’d heard others first, but it was Matchbook (like every other song at the top of this list) that made the biggest impression. It’s their most popular tune and the one they close their sets to. It’s an amazing song.

I’ve seen just about every band I’ve ever loved. The exceptions are Finch and these guys. That changes on August 12. I’m about a decade late, but I’m still hella excited.

#14 – The Offspring – Gone Away


Still remember where I was when I first heard this song. I was 16 or 17, sitting on a bus in our high school parking lot, getting ready to leave for a baseball game. This song came on and I had that reaction I usually get when I hear something and instantly love it: “Holy shit…”.

LOVED The Offspring. This song didn’t make me some super fan right away, but when I did become obsessed it was a big reason why. I don’t listen to them much anymore, but if I do this is definitely one of the songs I play.

#15 – Thrice – Red Sky


When I said that Thrice’s “Alchemy Index” was the most anticipated album for me in my lifetime, Red Sky is the reason. Prior to this song, Thrice was pure California hardcore. When I first heard this, the closing track to the amazing “Vheissu”, my reaction was pretty much “HOLY FUCKING SHIT THIS IS EPIC”. It let the world know that Thrice was capable of amazing things, that they weren’t afraid to play outside their comfort zone. It got you excited for what was to come next. When “The Alchemy Index” arrived, it didn’t disappoint. Instead, it blew away every expectation people had.

This is my favorite song of theirs. I’ve listened to others more, but this is the one that cemented their legacy in my opinion.

All that said, it was this image that made me hella sad yesterday:

That was taken two days ago. It’s the set list from Thrice’s final show. After it finished, the band officially broke up. Two of the members have families now and they’ve decided to go on an indefinite hiatus. I’d write more but it’s just too damn depressing. Fuck.

UPDATE: Here’s a recap from that show. Loved reading it. Hoping as much as they are that Thrice returns in a few years.

#16 – Straylight Run – Existentialism on prom night


So you know how I’ve said before that there’s a lot of stuff on this list I’d totally understand you not liking? This isn’t one of those songs. If you don’t love it (oh, hell. How about appreciate? Appreciate may be a better word but srsly you should probably love it) I’m going to believe there’s something fundamentally wrong with you. Even the music video above is beautiful.

I’ve always liked Straylight Run, never really loved them. I’ve only listened to their first album and while it’s really pretty great, I can only handle them in small doses. It’s mood music. Not in the SEXY TIMES style, just in the “I’m in a funk and need something kind of sad, kind of melodic to listen to” kind of mood music. I don’t get that way often, thankfully. But when I do I’ll flip to their debut album from back in 2004 and play it from top to bottom. Check it out.

This song specifically reminds me of my birthday in 2005. I’d been dating a girl I had almost nothing in common with except music (she was mentioned here, the other Warped Tour girl). After my friends took me to the bars to buy me drinks and do some shots, she came to pick me up. It was 2:00 in the morning and she didn’t drink, ever, so instead she took me for a drive. Straylight Run was in the CD player, this song was playing.

We drove to Spring Valley, a tiny town buried in a valley 15 minutes from Menomonie. The whole town was quiet and not a single light was on. We parked the car and hiked to a spot at the top of the Eau Galle Dam. It was this natural structure that if you looked to one side you had a view of the entire town, and on the other was a large lake. That night the moon was out and it was just cool enough so that a fog was forming over everything below us. We hung out, had a midnight picnic, listened to music and waited for the sun to come up. It was a pretty cool, pretty memorable birthday.

#17 – Thrice – Come All You Weary


I had a tough time coming up with my favorite Thrice song. This is the one I’ve listened to most, but there’s one more to come.

I’ve never looked forward to an album’s release as much as I did “The Alchemy Index”. I talked about it a bit here. The big thing about “The Alchemy Index was that it’s sound was to be directly influenced by the natural elements.

Come All You Weary was on “Volume IV: Earth”. It sounds nothing like Thrice had done in the past, but it didn’t surprise fans who had listened to and loved frontman Dustin Kensrue’s “Please Come Home“.

I’d encourage you to check out the links above, just to get a sense of how totally different they sound across the same album. It’s amazing.

#18 – Atmosphere – Always coming back home to you

Got into these guys during my super senior year. We partied at the track house and those guys were big Atmosphere fans. This song, and Trying to Find a Balance were part of the soundtrack to many nights of drinking games, dancing and drunk hookups.

I used to love Atmosphere. In 2005 and 2006 they were basically all I played when I commuted, first to college when I lived in Rice Lake, then to work when I lived in Marshfield. They had a stretch between 2002 and 2008 where they released four ridiculously good EPs. The first, “God Loves Ugly”, is without a doubt my favorite album of all time.

Things took a turn when they released When “Life Gives You Lemons You Paint That Shit Gold” and they’ve basically sucked since. But if you even remotely love hip hop, check out:

“God Loves Ugly”
“Seven’s Travels”
“You Can’t Imagine How Much Fun We’re Having”
“Strictly Leakage”


*No lie, I went through my collection of Atmosphere songs and picked out any I loved enough to possibly make it into the top ten. There were 27. 27! They’re so good.

#10 – Watch Out

#9 – A Song About A Friend

#8 – One of a Kind

#7 – Fuck You Lucy

#6 – Pour Me Another

#5 – Angelface

#4 – Lovelife

#3 – Trying To Find a Balance

#2 – Modern Man’s Hustle
#1 – See way above.

#19 – Yellowcard – Only One



Yellowcard’s “Ocean Avenue” will always hold a significant spot in my heart. For one, it’s an excellent album, one of my all time favorites. But I’ll always remember it for a different reason. I was on my way back to Stout and needed something to listen to on the drive. I picked this up in the mall and that was it: the final time I ever bought a CD at a store.

That was 2003.

I love Yellowcard, I have for well over a decade now. They make the kind of easy listening pop-punk I’ll probably always enjoy, and they do it with a violin, which is totally badass. Better still, they don’t change. I was talking about that with a friend lately. They sound the same now as they did back then. This is their latest, and it’s awesome.

This song in particular reminds me of one of my last really great college friends. After my senior year my roommate and I were the only members of our crew to stick around Menomonie for the summer instead of heading home or graduating. A third, Sara, I didn’t know all that well. She was a friend of a friend and in the same boat as my roommate and I. Everyone she knew was gone for the summer too. Eventually the three of us wound up hanging out every day and night. We worked during the day, drank at night, had OC and West Wing marathons sometimes in between. It was a stupid, worthless existence but we managed to stay not-bored.

Sara and I would end up having a lot in common, but before we really knew each other, music was the way we managed to connect. We loved many of the same bands and when the Warped Tour came around we went together despite not really being friends yet.

It was one of the hottest days I can remember. Instead of the typical Summerset location, Warped that year was in the Metrodome parking lot, and christ was it packed. The rest of the details from that day sketchy. I don’t remember much about the actual show because a year later I did virtually the same thing with my then girlfriend. The two memories just kind of blend. So whether I saw Avenged Sevenfold or Story of the Year or No Use for a Name or From Autumn to Ashes or Matchbook Romance that day with Sara or the next with Ginny isn’t totally clear to be honest.

Other than the heat, Sara and Yellowcard are really the only two things I remember about that day. We would go from stage to stage, and everywhere we went she’d take my hand while I navigated to the crowd. If things got chaotic while we watched a band she’d put her arms around me and hold on for dear life. When we got too hot we’d lay down inside the Metrodome and she’d put her head on my shoulder. It was sweet.

That summer she became about as good a friend as I would have in school. We always seemed to be dating other people during my final year at Stout, and for some reason she was always the one who’s approval I’d need. While my guy friends and I had your typical dude friendships, she was the one I could have meaningful conversations with.

On her last night at Stout we both got shitty and I may have drunkenly poured my heart out to her. I don’t remember exactly what was said, I just remember sitting with her at 2:00 am really wishing she wasn’t about to leave my life.

It would be five years before I’d see her again. She was married and living many hours away. She came back to Stout for homecoming one weekend and looked me up, knowing I was still in the area. We did the thing where we caught up and had drinks. As nice as it was, it was still a little bittersweet. For some reason she’s always seemed like one my biggest mistakes, if that makes any sense. I don’t know.

So yea, anyway, this song always makes me think of her.