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!

Album Review: In This Moment – Ritual

In This Moment seem to have changed a lot as a band since their last album. Gone are the promiscuous lyrics, replaced with what seems like a whole new vocal style by vocalist Maria Brink. The metal riffs are still there, but not turned up nearly as much as in previous albums. Not just this, but electronic elements seem to be used a lot more liberally, and the  The band have completely shed their skin, and thrown themselves into this new album, but is that for the best?

The album is a bit longer than average at 50 minutes long, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the band have chosen quantity over quality. The biggest example of this is a creepy cover of Phil Collins’ ‘In The Air Tonight’. Sounds weird doesn’t it? Well I won’t disagree that it’s a strange song choice for a metal band, but it is pulled off incredibly. The creepy edge shows the song in a whole different light, and I, for one, love it. But can the rest of the album live up to this?

Well, not exactly. The problem with having such a great track early on is that it sets the bar a little too high for the rest of the album to follow up. Having said that, the album has a lot of good stuff to offer up. For example, ‘Oh Lord’ shows Maria Brink’s voice working absolute wonders, showing a gritty aspect to her voice that has always been there, but never as obviously as here. This belongs to the same style as ‘In The Air Tonight’, a creepy ballad led by Brink’s voice. To contrast this, songs like ‘River Of Fire’ show a lot more metal tendencies. These are not completely in the style of their older hits, showing a bit more of a ‘horror’ themed touch, but definitely hark back to them. Finally, ‘Black Wedding’ is another highlight, not only acting as a nod to a similarly named Billy Idol song, but utilising the talents of Judas Priest singer Rob Halford.

In conclusion, this album is a brave step for In This Moment. The decision to move on and try a different style of music was one that really worked. And while the album doesn’t completely work in some places, it deserves a lot more credit than if they had created a carbon copy of a previous album. It pays to experiment, and this experiment has worked.

Best song: In The Air Tonight

Score: 7/10

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!

Album Review: Stone Sour – Hydrograd

Stone Sour were originally formed in 1992, but five years later, after a few demo tapes were released, the band went on hiatus after current lead singer Corey Taylor and former guitarist Jim Root started work with notorious metal band Slipknot. However they reformed in 2000, released a stunning debut album and have been proving people wrong ever since. Their time as a band has not been without difficulties and setbacks though. Taylor’s work with his ‘main’ band, Slipknot, has often come first, leading to big breaks in between the bands album releases and touring schedules.

Things eventually came to a breaking point in 2013, with guitarist Jim Root leaving due to creative differences with the band, saying the band were preoccupied with making money and getting ‘radio play’. This is their first full album after that incident, and although it does initially sound a little more radio friendly at points, it rocks just as much. Taylor’s voice has definitely improved on this album too, as shown by the brilliant ‘Song #3’. But this song doesn’t only show how far he’s come as a vocalist, but also as a writer. The chorus on this song is one of the catchiest things I’ve heard in quite a while. His songwriting prowess is shown yet again in ‘Rose Red Violent Blue (This Song Is Dumb & So Am I)’, with a perfectly melodic verse that turns into a great chorus.

In fact, the whole album is a really great example of the whole band’s writing and playing skills. In a recent interview, Chad Kroeger recently claimed that the band was only ‘Nickelback-lite’, which begs the question, is he really listening? And if he is, does he even believe himself or is he trying to create controversy out of nothing, to draw attention to himself? Either way, this album is leagues ahead of anything I’ve heard from Nickelback, showing the creativity and intensity I’ve come to expect from a Corey Taylor-led band. That isn’t to discount any of the other band members’ work though, this album is definitely a group effort.

Despite all of the ‘radio rock’ accusations, there are still loads of moments of brutality, particularly in ‘Whiplash Pants’, four minutes of pure fury. Lead single ‘Fabuless’ also has several moments of anger, helping to throw these allegations out the window. On the other hand, ‘St. Marie’, a soft-sounding country song helps to show the bands versatility; there really are a fantastic range of songs on this album. Stone Sour have been a band for 25 years now, but this album sounds as fresh as ever.

Best Song: Song #3

Score: 8/10

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 100 Songs: 100-91

After counting down my favourite artists, and my favourite albums, I felt like the natural progression would be to go on to a list of my favourite songs of all time. So after careful deliberation, and a lot of time, I whittled down a massive list of my favourite songs to a final 100. I will be counting them down every other week until we reach number one, so without further ado, here are songs 100-91:

100. Fall Out Boy – Novocaine

A strong start to my top 100, this song never fails to fill me with energy. The loud, noisy verse switches beautifully into a melodic chorus, and Patrick Stump’s voice suits both styles just as well. It is energetic, fast, loud, and exactly what I want from a Fall Out Boy song.

Find it on: American Beauty/American Psycho (2015)

99. Flobots – White Flag Warrior

I originally found this song when it was recommended to me on Spotify, and given that it featured Rise Against lead singer Tim McIlrath, I was immediately impressed with the blend of rap and rock music, all tied together with some incredible bass guitar. The political edge to the song is also great.

Find it on: Survival Story (2010)

98. Rise Against – Rumors Of My Demise Have Been Greatly Exaggerated

From one excellent performance by Tim McIlrath to another, this little-known Rise Against song showcases his voice at it best and most powerful. Mix this with one of the best guitar riffs the band have ever created, and a great chorus, and you have an incredible song.

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

97. Good Charlotte – The River

This is definitely a song from my younger years, but it truly still stands up to this day, unlike other favourites of mine as a child. The guests from Avenged Sevenfold add a rough edge to a melodic song and bring some great guitar work. Metal and punk combine together wonderfully on this song.

Find it on: Good Morning Revival (2007)

96. Roam – Deadweight

The guitar riff at the start of this song is infectious enough on it’s own, without the excellent drumming and the catchy chorus. I have nothing other to say than this is an energetic, catchy song from one of the best names in modern pop-punk.

Find it on: Backbone (2016)

95. Deaf Havana – The Past Six Years

From a fast song to a slow on, this was the first ever song I heard from UK rock band Deaf Havana, and to this day I consider it the best. It showcases their range of talents, breaking away from the alternative rock they are known for, and creating a great acoustic track with beautifully intricate guitar work. The alternate version is incredible too!

Find it on: Fools And Worthless Liars (2011)

94. Against The Current – Paralysed

I really enjoyed Against The Current’s first album, but to find my favourite song, you’d have to look even before that, to their Gravity EP. This showed a little more of their heavier side, and one song that did that perfectly was ‘Paralysed’. The guitar in this song hits a little harder, and as always, Chrissy Costanza’s vocals are incredible, especially in the extremely catchy chorus.

Find it on: Gravity (2015)

93. Panic! At The Disco – Time To Dance

Panic! At The Disco’s debut album isn’t my favourite by them, but I believe it’s a masterpiece nonetheless. This track sums that up perfectly. Thundering guitars, melodic synths and perfect vocals all blend together to make something truly special.

Find it on: A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out (2005)

92. Fall Out Boy – Nobody Puts Baby In The Corner

This song has one of the best choruses of all time. It showcases Patrick Stump’s vocal ability really well, that he can sing that many words in such a short space in time, and still have it come out sounding clean and melodic. A dream to listen to.

Find it on: From Under The Cork Tree (2005)

91. Alice Cooper – Poison

This is definitely the oldest song on this post, if not the whole 100, but it was way ahead of its time in how it sounded. The song has it all really, catchy vocals, great guitar riffs, and complex but effective chord sequences. The essential classic rock song.

Find it on: Trash (1989)

Come back in a couple of weeks for songs 90-81!

My Top 20 Albums: 10-1

Continuing on from my first post on this topic, here are my top 10 albums of all time. These all come as massive recommendations from me, and I think you should listen to all of them:

10. The Killers – Sam’s Town

The Killers were one of the first bands I ever got into after finding ‘When You Were Young’ on a Guitar Hero game. The song was great, and I spent ages listening to it as I played video games as a kid. From this I went on to listen to the full album, and what a treat it was. Not a single song was out of place, and even though Hot Fuss is the fan favourite album, I still prefer this one.

9. Sum 41 – Does This Look Infected

I first got into Sum 41 with All Killer, No Filler. After a while of listening to it though, I desired something new, which lead to me buying this album. It contained a whole new catalogue of songs, even angrier and better than the last album. After this I bought many more Sum 41 albums, and while they were all great, none could live up to this.

8. Brand New – Deja Entendu

What an album this is! I love that it takes the concept of a rock album, and all the usual topics talked about, and turns them on their heads. Each song is a masterpiece in its own right, and this album defines emo as a genre.

7. Muse – Black Holes And Revelations

Muse have many great albums, but this will always have a special place in my heart. I feel like it encompasses some of their best work, and is one of the very few albums that I enjoy every song on. Matt Bellamy is truly in his prime on this one.

6. My Chemical Romance – Danger Days

To most MCR fans, this will come as a massive surprise. The Black Parade is widely considered their best work, closely followed by Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge, but I prefer their final effort. Why? I feel like it just works. Don’t get me wrong, I love their other work, but there is something about this album that just clicks with me. It is catchy, upbeat, infectious, and I love it.

5. Panic! At The Disco – Vices And Virtues

Again, this is one of the few albums I love all of the songs from. Every song is just everything I expect from a Panic! song. There are fast songs, slow songs, catchy songs, emotional songs, just about everything on this album. And I feel like everything really does work.

4. Royal Republic – Weekend Man

This is probably the most recent release on this list, but as the years go by I know I won’t love this album any less. It is undoubtedly the catchiest album I have ever heard, and I’m shocked that this band aren’t more popular than they are. I recommend this album to anyone and everyone, as it showcases rock music at its best.

3. Twenty One Pilots – Vessel

This should be less surprising, as I’m sure most Twenty One Pilots fans would list this as one of their favourite albums. But there is reason behind that. This album is one of the most diverse but coherent albums I have ever listened to, and it cover a range of meaningful topics cleverly and insightfully. An essential listen for anyone.

2. Red Hot Chili Peppers – Stadium Arcadium

If you want my extended thoughts on this album, you can check out my classic album review on it, but in short, this album is almost perfect. It combines so many styles and different sounds into 28 songs that are all wonderful in their own right. You’d struggle to find a better album anywhere.

1. Rise Against – The Sufferer And The Witness

Is it any surprise that a Rise Against album takes the top spot. I’ve never really kept my love for this group a secret, and I feel like this album is the best of their work. It is the perfect middle ground between their newer, more melodic work and their angry punk roots. Every song is incredible, and just listening to it makes me want to start my own revolution. Because not only is this album great musically, it is meaningful too, standing up against many wrongdoings in the word. It is the perfect package, and I love it!