My Top 100 Songs: 60-51

60. Prayer Of The Refugee – Rise Against

One of the most catchy and easily recognisable tracks Rise Against have ever written in their career, this song is an absolute gem. It shows them at their furious, political best.

Find it on: The Sufferer And The Witness (2006)

59. Holding On To You – Twenty One Pilots

I love an intense song, and this is definitely one of those. It mixes all the best aspects of Twenty One Pilots’ work, mixing soaring melodies, intense rapping and great electronic influences to create a song that once you hear, you won’t get it out of your head.

Find it on: Vessel (2013)

58. Ocean Avenue – Yellowcard

This song is yet another example of early 2000’s pop-punk. Great vocals and guitar are combined with one of the most easily recognisable choruses of all time to make an incredible song.

Find it on: Ocean Avenue (2003)

57. Smile Like You Mean It – The Killers

This is one of the songs I’ve liked for the longest on this list. I always had it in my head when it first came out, but I only found out what it was called after discovering The Killers later on in my life. An amazing song.

Find it on: Hot Fuss (2004)

56. Team – Lorde

2013’s Pure Heroine was an incredible album, but I feel like this is the best song from it. Not only does it bear all of Lorde’s trademark incredible writing and production, its chorus can get in my head like no other song.

Find it on: Pure Heroine (2013)

55. Stacy’s Mom – Fountains Of Wayne

I may lose my credibility to a lot of people by saying this, but I love this song. It’s as catchy as anything I’ve heard, but not only that, it’s possibly one of the funniest songs ever written.

Find it on: Welcome Interstate Managers (2003)

54. I’m Made Of Wax Larry, What Are You Made Of? – A Day To Remember

I mentioned loving intense songs earlier, but this is something else. It feature incredible screamed vocals and an incredible chorus, the best of both worlds between hardcore and pop-punk.

Find it on: Homesick (2009)

53. Lost In Stereo – All Time Low

From one catchy chorus to another, this is one of the best songs in All Time Low’s discography. It contains one of the best vocal performances too!

Find it on: Nothing Personal (2009)

52. I Could Have Lied – Red Hot Chili Peppers

There is a beautiful acoustic track nestled in amongst all of the smash hits in Blood Sugar Sex Magik, and it’s this song. It’s serene, beautiful, and features some of John Frusciante’s best guitar work.

Find it on: Blood Sugar Sex Magik (1991)

51. This Is Letting Go – Rise Against

This part of the countdown is started and finished by Rise Against, but the songs couldn’t be any more different. While ‘Prayer Of The Refugee’ is filled with anger, this is much more reflective and thoughtful. The lyrics are some of Tim McIlrath’s best work as well.

Find it on: Endgame (2011)

Come back in a fortnight for more of my favourite songs!

An Interview About Sexism And Sexual Harassment At Concerts

If you have been following rock music news recently, you’ll have found it impossible to miss punk band The Dickies’ abusive rant at a women in the audience of one of their shows on the Warped Tour. If you haven’t, I’d advise you not to look for it, unless you have the desire to get really angry, really quickly. Many people have come out to defend the band, but let me make this clear to you. What the band did was unacceptable, and anyone defending them or what they did should frankly be ashamed of themselves. The band were immediately banned from performing at the Warped Tour, and rightly so. No one should have to endure this level of sexism at a show, but sadly, it happens more than you’d think. This chain of events got me thinking about the problem of sexism and sexual harassment at concerts though, and I got to writing a post about it, but it quickly struck me that I was completely unqualified to talk about this, having never been a woman at a concert. However, I know many people who have, and have reached out to someone who has been to many concerts over the course of her life to get her perspective on the matter:

After watching the video of The Dickies’ abusive rant at a woman in the crowd, what are your reactions?

‘Firstly, I think it’s completely unacceptable. I believe that they were reacting to a sign that read ‘Punk Shouldn’t Be Predatory’. The thing is, nowhere should be predatory! I don’t know why anyone would be bothered by that. A lot of fans have defended them, going on about people being ‘triggered PC lefties’ who need ‘safe spaces’. The fact is, if you’re the one who has to go on an abusive disgusting rant like this over one sign, maybe you’re the one that needs the ‘safe space’. People have also been calling this ‘real punk’, but I’ve always seen punk as fairly progressive. It’s certainly never claimed to be misogynistic. I think it’s awful that men there are laughing along; it’s never acceptable to say things like that to a woman, or anyone in general. You don’t need to be a feminist to see this man has no respect for women, and I think the reason he got so defensive is that he saw a bit of truth in the sign.’

How big a problem do you think sexual harassment is at concerts?

‘I think it’s much more of a problem than people think. A lot of people have brushed it under the rug since it wasn’t really their main focus that night – they were there to see a band after all. The reality of the situation is that most women either have been or know someone who’s been harassed at concert. It seems almost too normal since the possibility is always there for a woman to be harassed, and with concerts being such a crowded environment, it’s easy to do. I think the targets are mostly teenage girls that are there on their own. They’re seen as an easy and vulnerable target.’

Do you have any personal experiences or stories of sexual harassment at concerts?

‘You’d expect these harassers to be older men, but they actually seem to be the most respectful. In my experience, it seems to be people closer to my age [20] that have been a problem. I’ve had a couple of experiences of sexual harassment, but not as much as some people that I know. I’ve been groped before, and some people have pushed their bodies inappropriately into me. Some people would blame this on being in a crowded space, but you can feel the difference, trust me. Two girls I know have been fully harassed, and not left alone by the offender, and I’m pretty sure most people I know have had some sort of similar experience. Some men think that this sort of behaviour is okay, and it is just flirting, but that is no excuse. It is unacceptable no matter the consequences. For me it also varies with the type of concert I’m at; I’ve had more bad experiences at pop-punk concerts than solely pop or solely punk concerts. A pop audience is usually made up of mostly women and young fans, and punk fans seem very respectful. There’s a strange divide in pop-punk though, as most of the bands seem fairly progressive, but the fanbase can sometimes be the opposite.’

Why do you think sexual harassment happens at concerts?

‘Well firstly, it’s such a crowded environment, with so many people there. This makes it really easy to do when there’s not a lot of security around. It’s basically a perfect environment for predators, which is quite terrifying when you think about it. And I’m talking about people who know they’re doing something wrong here. They’ll see young girls on their own, often with no parents around. It’ll be dark, and if no one notices, which most of the time they won’t, there’ll be no consequences. Not only this, but some girls aren’t educated enough about sexual harassment, leading to many people thinking that this is normal behaviour, and can even be seen as a complement. Not that I’m blaming the girls; you can’t blame someone for not knowing, but it should definitely be taught to them.’

What measures can be put in place to protect people from sexual harassment at concerts?

‘As I previously mentioned, education to all genders on what sexual harassment is is vital. I think it’s important for people to learn both what it is, and what to do if they feel threatened. People can also be discouraged from unacceptable behaviour, and learn not to do it from a younger age. There should be more security at the sides of concerts, as not only is it easier for them to see what’s happening, they’re easier to go to if you need help. It should also be encouraged to go and talk to security after something like this happens, as there seems to be a stigma about this. It’s important to note that there are several sexual harassment and abuse charities around the UK, and if you have any concerns or want any more information, then you should definitely go to them.’

So there you have it, an important insight into the world of sexual harassment and sexism at concerts. I feel that it’s important for the music world to really take a deeper look at this issue, and do a lot more than is being done at the moment to really combat the problem. Concerts should be a safe space for music fans, and anything that threatens that should never have a place in the music world. If you have been or know a victim of sexual harassment at concerts, or just want to learn more or donate, I have included some important links from various charities below.

(N.B. While I have based this article on sexual harassment to women, it is important to note that this can happen to men as well. If you are a man and have been a victim of this it is important to speak out and seek help)

https://www.rainn.org/articles/sexual-harassment

https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/guides-to-support-and-services/abuse/sexual-abuse/#.WW_jbojyvIU

https://www.victimsupport.org.uk/crime-info/types-crime/rape-sexual-assault-and-sexual-harassment

 

 

My Top 100 Songs: 70-61

70. Dead! – My Chemical Romance

In my opinion the best song from The Black Parade, this is an infectiously catchy song featuring some incredible guitar work and an amazing guitar solo. That’s really all there is to it.

Find it on: The Black Parade (2006)

69. If It Means A Lot To You – A Day To Remember

This was a massive change of style for A Day To Remember, and it suited them perfectly. In an album full of heavy guitars and screams, they changed things up for one, amazing acoustic duet, full of emotion. The change in style would be jarring, if the song wasn’t so perfect.

Find it on: Homesick (2009)

68. You’re Gonna Go Far Kid – The Offspring

The Offspring are kings of making catchy, energetic pop-punk, but this song goes a long way above their usual high standards. With a catchy rhythm and melody, you’d struggle to find a better song in their whole discography.

Find it on: Rise And Fall, Rage And Grace (2008)

67. Omen – The Prodigy

I never really got into The Prodigy, but one song that I think they got extremely right was this one. The sheer volume of the song, coupled with some great synthesiser work means this is a song that never fails to fill me with energy.

Find it on: Invaders Must Die (2009)

66. Doubt – Twenty One Pilots

I hated this song originally, feeling like the rapping was lacklustre and the electronic elements grated on me, but after a few listens I began to think the exact opposite. This is another song that fills me with energy, and I feel like the lyrics are some of the best on Blurryface.

Find it on: Blurryface (2015)

65. Everchanging – Rise Against

There are both an acoustic version and a regular version of this song, but I’m counting both versions here. The acoustic version has more of a sombre, regretful mood whereas the original is filled with anger, I feel like both work just as well. This is the first ever song that Tim McIlrath wrote, and I think that to write something this good at such a young age is incredible.

Find it on: The Unraveling (2001)/Long Forgotten Songs (2013)

64. Kung-Fu Lovin’ – Royal Republic

This song showcases exactly what Royal Republic do best – sheer energy mixed with great guitar and catchy hooks. I guarantee, this one’ll get inside your head for weeks to come.

Find it on: Weekend Man (2016)

63. Dammit – Blink-182

This comes from the earlier, punkier era of Blink-182. Complete with a fantastic riff and incredible drumming, early Blink doesn’t get much better than this.

Find it on: Dude Ranch (1997)

62. Supersonic – Oasis

Unlike everyone else in the world, I don’t think Wonderwall is Oasis’ best song. In fact, I don’t think it’s that great at all, but we’ll get to that another time. This song shows the Gallagher brothers at their best, creating great rock music with an incredible chorus. This is what they do best.

Find it on: Definitely Maybe (1994)

61. Knights Of Cydonia – Muse

This six-minute epic shows of everything that Muse do well. Insanely good vocals, awesome electronic influences, fantastic guitar work and even more. In my opinion, Muse will never write a song as technically good as this.

Find it on: Black Holes And Revelations (2006)

Come back in another two weeks for the continuation of this list!

My Top 100 Songs: 80-71

80. 1985 – Bowling For Soup

Bowling For Soup have always been an insanely catchy band, but this catches them at their very best. It is important to note that this is not exactly their song, as it was originally written by a band called SR-71, but in this version, the loud guitars were toned down a little, and a great guitar riff was added. It’s an example of how to cover a song perfectly.

Find it on: A Hangover You Don’t Deserve (2004)

79. Pretty Little Distance – As It Is

From one piece of pop-punk perfection to another, this perfectly encapsulates what As It Is are all about. Excellent vocals and a catchy chorus mix together to make a song that I’ve been singing ever since I first heard it.

Find it on: okay. (2017)

78. Hoodwinker – Enter Shikari

Rou Reynolds’ voice is powerful, and this song is a perfect demonstration of it. He both screams and sings on this song, and sounds just as good while doing both. Coupled with the incredible guitar work, this song really packs a punch.

Find it on: N/A (This was released as a single on its own)

77. Reckless – You Me At Six

There is really nothing more to this than the fact that it’s a really fun, well made pop-punk song. The chorus is catchy, the guitar riff is great, and the song as a whole is pretty flawless. It’s just a lot of good fun.

Find it on: Sinners Never Sleep (2011)

76. State Of The Union – Rise Against

If ‘Hoodwinker’ turns things up to a ten, then this song turns then all the way up to an eleven. This is probably the most intense song Rise Against have ever written, and is a scathing critique of America under George Bush. I’d like to say that things have got better since then, but all you need to do is look at the news to realise it’s not.

Find it on: Siren Song Of The Counter Culture (2004)

75. Dosed – Red Hot Chili Peppers

This song is a true masterpiece; the Kiedis vocals and Frusciante’s guitar work blend together to create a truly beautiful song. But not only is it beautiful, it is truly heartfelt, with some of the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ best ever vocals.

Find it on: By The Way (2002)

74. Diamond Eyes [Boom-Lay Boom-Lay Boom] – Shinedown

Shinedown have written some great hard rock songs in their time as a band, but for me this rises above all of them. The mix of soft guitar in the intro going into a great guitar riff and shouted vocals works perfectly, and the chorus sound as epic as anything they have ever written.

Find it on: The Sound Of Madness (2008)

73. All You Are Is History – State Champs

State Champs are yet another one of the fantastic up-and-coming pop-punk bands at the moment, and this song is great proof. Often overlooked because of other hit single, ‘Secrets’, I feel that this song is a gem. It has everything a pop-punk song needs and more.

Find it on: Around The World And Back (2015)

72. Witchcraft – Pendulum

This may seem like a bit of a strange choice considering all of the other music I’m into, but that doesn’t mean I love it any less. The mix of guitar, a catchy hook, and intense electronic elements makes this a perfect song for me.

Find it on: Immersion (2010)

71. In My Mind – The Amazons

I fell in love when I saw this song live. I’d already heard it, but never fully taken it in before then. The power of the guitar and the great vocals of the chorus really hit me then, and I’ve never stopped listening to it since.

Find it on: The Amazons (2017)

Tune in in a couple of weeks for songs 70 – 61!

4 Musicians Who Have Influenced Or Inspired Me

When you like music as much as I do, many of your role models and inspirations will be musicians. And whether it’s through their music or not, they will have some sort of impact on your life. This could be an effect on the way you play music, the way you appreciate music, or it could be completely non-music related. I have found that this is definitely the case for me, and although I have loads of role models across the music world, I have found that four of them have influenced me the most.

1. John Frusciante – Red Hot Chili Peppers

I first properly got into the Red Hot Chili Peppers when I was around 14, although I had been listening to them for much longer than that. This was around the time I started playing the guitar. At that time I would be obsessed with getting a song right, and I’d always have my guitar with me, whether I was watching TV, on my laptop, or just about anything else really. I would go over the same tracks over and over, trying to play them as perfectly as I could. But even when I had every note in the perfect place, there was still something missing. This was when I started to look at Frusciante’s playing. He was an incredible guitarist, but technically, he wasn’t among the best of the best. The thing that made him stand out was the sheer emotion he put into how he played. And it made me realise – some music is nothing without emotion. When I started to factor this into my playing, I improved more than I ever had before.

2. Ludovico Einaudi

Around when I was 15-16, I pretty much exclusively listened to rock music. I was convinced that every other genre was inferior for some reason or another, and wouldn’t listen to anyone trying to convince me otherwise. But one day, my piano teacher handed me a piece to learn, entitled I Giorni by Italian pianist and composer Ludovico Einaudi. I begrudgingly went home to try and learn it, working day after day to try and perfect it. But when I was done I noticed something – I loved the piece! There was something about it that relaxed me, and made me happy. Through that, I discovered so many more pianists that I still love to this day. And through that I slowly began to let myself listen to more and more genres, slowly branching out from rock music into the tastes I have today. Rock music still remains my favourite genre, but to claim that it is the only decent genre is just ignorant.

3. Tim McIlrath – Rise Against

College was when I first discovered alcohol. I was initially not keen on it, and after a bit of peer pressure and several terrible attempts at drinking to fit in, that sense of unease never left me. I have absolutely nothing against alcohol or anyone who drinks it, and I actually had a lot of fun and good memories with my friends at the parties when I was surrounded by it, but personally it was never for me. The thing was, I actually felt a little guilty and weird for not drinking and fitting in. This was when I found out a little more about Tim McIlrath, from my favourite band – Rise Against. Tim is straight edge, which means that he doesn’t drink alcohol, smoke, or take any drugs – which I completely identified with. Through him, I found other musicians that followed the same beliefs, including but not limited to Hayley Williams, Patty Walters and Andy Hurley. The fact that so many of my idols and influences followed this set of beliefs helped showed me that I wasn’t weird, or wrong for not wanting to drink, and this made university a much easier experience.

4. Rou Reynolds – Enter Shikari

Finally, I have Rou Reynolds from Enter Shikari, a band that I only got into a couple of years ago, but quickly became one of my favourite bands. Enter Shikari have never been a band that’s been afraid to show their political views, just look at their twitter feed to see that. But before recently I had never really had an interest in politics, despite the fact that it should have been incredibly important to me as a student. But after hearing Rou speak out about the injustices of UK politics through his music and social media, I began to take an interest, so much so that I am now part of a student radio news show that talks about politics quite a bit. Through this, I can stand up for my views and other people’s, and I am not afraid to speak my mind and make a difference.

My Top 100 Songs: 90-81

90. Nightmare – Avenged Sevenfold

Turn this song on, put your headphones in, and listen to the intro of this song. If that doesn’t leave you with goosebumps, then I have no idea what will. From the beautifully creepy opening right to the end, this song is a loud, but haunting masterpiece.

Find it on: Nightmare (2010)

89. Bleed American – Jimmy Eat World

This song is Jimmy Eat World at their loudest and angriest, and I love it. On an album with songs like ‘Sweetness’ and ‘The Middle’, this stands out as being one of the most aggressive songs the band have written.

Find it on: Bleed American (2001)

88. My Oceans Were Lakes – As It Is

As singer Patty Walters put, this is ‘the only happy song’ on Never Happy, Ever After, which makes it stand out even more as being one of the best songs on that album. The beginning is beautifully soft and slow, and the song slowly builds up all the way until the end, where it explodes into life in the final chorus. A great song from a wonderful band.

Find it on: Never Happy, Ever After (2015)

87. Too Shy To Scream – AFI

This song is often overlooked as it is from 2009’s slightly disappointing Crash Love, but it is amongst the best songs that they’ve ever written. The thundering guitars and drums are catchy enough on their own, but Davey Havok’s lyrics give this song life, driving the verses along, and adding beautiful melody to the chorus.

Find it on: Crash Love (2009)

86. Stupid For You – Waterparks

Waterparks are a clever pop-punk band, taking all of the great elements of classic pop-punk and adding modern electronic elements to create an incredibly catchy blend of music. Stupid For You is almost the best example of this, as one of the most catchy songs I’ve ever heard.

Find it on: Double Dare (2016)

85. Time Is Running Out – Muse

This song features some of Matt Bellamy’s vocal work of all time. His voice along with the driving bass during the verse showcases some of the best Muse have ever sounded. Not to mention that the chorus is incredible too.

Find it on: Absolution (2003)

84. Heavydirtysoul – Twenty One Pilots

I hated this song at first, judging it for it’s genre over the actual content of the song. But after I’d got used to singer Tyler Joseph’s voice, I began to love it. The lyrical content is excellent, not to mention the incredible rapping and drumming featured on the song.

Find it on: Blurryface (2015)

83. December – Neck Deep

This is such a sad song, but it is also packed full of meaning and incredible lyrics. The chorus will never get out of your head either. Definitely one to sing along to on a cold, miserable day.

Find it on: Life’s Not Out To Get You (2015)

82. Fire – PVRIS

This is the best song from one of my favourite albums ever. Lynn Gunn’s great vocals pull the listener in before they are treated to an incredibly intense chorus with electronic influences. Basically everything PVRIS are good at.

Find it on: White Noise (2014)

81. Jerk It Out – The Caesars

There is a lot of sentimental value I have associated with this song, as I have loved it ever since I heard it on a FIFA soundtrack when I was younger. But unlike the other songs, I have never stopped loving it. It is basically the perfect pop song.

Find it on: 39 Minutes of Bliss (In an Otherwise Meaningless World) (2003)

Come back in a couple of weeks for songs 80-71!

My Top 10 Songs Of The Year So Far

We are about halfway through the year now, and loads of great music has already been released. In this post I’ll count down my favourite songs of the year so far, to show you some of what the music world has to offer at the moment.

10. Sharp Edges – Linkin Park

When I saw Linkin Park’s first new single this year, I never guessed one of their songs would make this list. But after approaching their album with a more open mind I began to love it, this song especially. It really showed the talents of the band, adapting their sound even more to make an almost country sounding song. A joy to listen to.

9. Black Magic – The Amazons

This song comes from my second favourite album of the year so far, only just beaten by Lorde’s Melodrama. It also features some of the best guitar work on this list, and promises to be an anthem for The Amazons for years to come.

8. With Or Without Me – SAINTE

When Tay Jardine of We Are The In Crowd announced that she’s be pursuing a poppier, more colourful sound in her new project, I was immediately excited – I thought it’d really suit her. And I wasn’t wrong either, as both songs she’s released have been excellent, and incredibly catchy. This is the pick of the two.

7. House On Fire – Rise Against

Rise Against produced yet another politically-charged masterpiece this year, but oddly enough it wasn’t one of the political songs that made this list. House On Fire, a more introspective look at the struggles of parenting not only had a lot of emotion and meaning, but sounded great.

6. No Way Out – As It Is

Here’s a song from the first ever album I reviewed on this blog – okay. by As It Is. It was undoubtedly the best song on the album too, with an incredibly emotional monologue from frontman Patty Walters halfway through. And trust me, it’s even better live.

5. Bottom Of The Ocean – Blink-182

The first song on this list from Blink-182’s incredible deluxe version of California, this showed a completely different side to the band, adding more electronic elements and a darker side to their sound. It worked perfectly.

4. Kiwi – Harry Styles

Yeah, I’m as shocked as you that Harry Styles appears on this list, but the truth is, he created a great album earlier in the year, with a range of rock and pop songs. Kiwi was the best of these, showing that rock music suits him a lot more than anyone would think.

3. 6/8 – Blink-182

If Bottom Of The Ocean showed Blink-182 straying from their roots, 6/8 shows themselves experimenting even more. Written in a 6/8 time signature (hence the name), and featuring shouted lyrics and heavy guitars, this is the most experimental song Blink-182 have ever created. And I love it for that!

2. Hard Times – Paramore

Well this is definitely the catchiest song of the year so far. The fantastic vocals, great bassline, and catchy guitar all blend together to make a great song. There’s not much else to say really.

1. Liability – Lorde

What a song this is! It is slow, haunting, and completely different from the usual electronic elements Lorde uses. It was completely unexpected, but that’s fine, because it is executed perfectly, and is the best song of the best album of the year so far.