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!

Classic Album Review: Bowling For Soup – Drunk Enough To Dance

Bowling For Soup have been creating the catchiest pop-punk for well over 25 years now. While some people may say that their music has lessened in quality recently, no one can deny that they still have a talent for writing some incredibly catchy hooks. And that ability catapulted them into fame in the early 2000’s, so much that their name is still mentioned amongst the greatest pop-punk bands of that era. There was one album that started all of this success though, and that was 2002’s Drunk Enough To Dance. This album would change their fortunes forever.

Without listening closely enough, this may sound like just your average 21st century pop-punk album. But what’s unique about it is vocalist Jaret Reddick’s ability to create a catchy hook. From the chorus of ‘Emily’ alone, I knew that this would be a memorable album. Every song has something catchy about it, from the first track to the last, and even on incredible bonus track ‘Punk Rock 101’. Are all of the songs perfect? Of course not, but all of them are good enough to stay in your head for the next week or so. And let’s be honest, what more can you ask for? The lyrical side of the album isn’t bad either. Most of the songs have that trademark Reddick humour that Bowling For Soup songs are known for. Occasionally this can come across as childish, but never enough to be a real problem.

Even if the name Drunk Enough To Dance might not be remembered much by pop-punk fans in ten years or so, the songs will definitely stick to people’s memories. The songs are catchy, energetic, and humorous, which is exactly what any pop punk album needs. This album has had a lot more influence, and is a lot better than people give it credit for. I hope it will be listened to for years to come.

Best song: Emily

Score: 8/10

EP Review: Best Ex – Ice Cream Anti Social

Best Ex are a band who have evolved. Originally named Candy Hearts, they released a couple of albums as a punk band before making a massive transformation. Lead singer Mariel Loveland recently stated in an interview that ‘Candy Hearts turned into an extension of my anxiety … Best Ex takes everything that Candy Hearts was but without my no-good anxiety’. Obviously this is great news, and it is clear that this EP has been made with much more freedom.

There is a clear difference between this and Candy Hearts music though. Gone are any aspects of the punk from the previous album, replaced by a collection of warm synth sounds and soft, melodic vocals. There is a clear difference in the lyrics too – a new sort of confidence seems evident in Loveland’s voice, contrasted by a more vulnerable edge. Her vocal ability seems to have improved too. All of this has added together to make a lovely little EP, full of songs to sing along to in your bedroom. The warm, happy sound mixed with the vulnerable lyrics are a great combination.

All 6 tracks of the EP show how far this band has come, and even though a couple of songs slightly miss the mark, it shows promising signs from a talented band. I can’t wait to see what they come up with next.

Best song: See You Again

Score: 6/10

Album Review: Goldfinger – The Knife

John Feldmann is a busy man. Not only fronting Goldfinger, he has produced some of the best rock albums of the last few years. Blink-182’s California, Panic! At The Disco’s Vices And Virtues, and Good Charlotte’s The Young And The Hopeless are just a few of the albums he has worked on in his illustrious career as a producer. If that doesn’t speak for itself, then I honestly don’t know what does. But in his time as a producer, he has had less time to spend working with his band; before this the last Goldfinger album came out in 2008 – nine years ago. But recently he has taken a short break from his busy producing schedule to work on his own band’s album.

Having said that, the band is barely recognisable from what it was back in 2008. In fact, Feldmann is the only member who has remained. Instead of the old members, Story Of The Year’s Philip Sneed, MxPx’s Mike Herrera, and Blink-182’s Travis Barker have joined Feldmann in creating this new album. Some famous names for sure – but is it all for show?

The answer to that is a resounding no. The album bursts into life with 90’s pop-punk styled ‘A Million Miles’, complete with incredible drumming by Travis Barker and a fantastically catchy hook; a Feldmann speciality. It’s clear that even though most of the band has changed, the music still has all the heart and quality you’d want and more. ‘Orthodontist Girl’ has not only the odd charm and humour of a Blink-182 song, but a sterling performance from guest star Josh Dun, whereas ‘Tijuana Sunrise’ takes on a slower but no less energetic ska sound.

In the nine years he’s been away from his band, John Feldmann has not lost the ability to make some great songs. I shouldn’t be surprised, given the albums he’s produced, but the quality of this album really shines through. I will definitely listen to this one again.

Best song: Put The Knife Away

Score: 7/10

Classic Album Review: Mayday Parade – A Lesson In Romantics

For a decade now, Mayday Parade have been creating incredibly catchy pop-punk. When people thought that it might be getting stale, they surprised everyone with 2015’s incredible Black Lines, a complete change in style. In fact, their music has been quality all the way across their career, putting their name up amongst some of the most famous pop-punk bands of the 2000’s. One album started this entire legacy though, and that was 2007’s A Lesson In Romantics, ten years old this month. And little did they know, this would be the catalyst for many years of great pop-punk.

From the start of the album, it is clear that this album will be full of catchy hooks, thundering guitars and soaring choruses; the key ingredients for any pop-punk album. But something that sets this album apart is then vocalist Jason Lancaster’s voice. As soon as it came in at the start of ‘Jamie All Over’, I knew I was in for a treat. His voice is very rough and raw, but this is why it shines – this works perfectly for showing emotion, and this is definitely an emotional record. Sure there are occasional imperfections in the singing, but these are endearing rather than detracting from the album at all. In every line, you can hear that he is pouring his heart out.

The emotional side of the album adds a lot, but what about the musical side? Well that doesn’t disappoint either. As I mentioned earlier, the choruses are all incredibly catchy, but some of he guitar work is what stands out most in this aspect to me. They found a way to use both distorted and clean guitars in perfect balance, the former providing rhythm and the latter providing melody. The vocal hooks are incredibly memorable too; I mean what pop-punk fan doesn’t know the ‘I could live without you/but without you I’d be miserable at best’ refrain from what is undeniably the most popular song on the record, ‘Miserable At Best’. ‘Jersey’ is almost instantly recognisable too.

In conclusion, A Lesson In Romantics is a pop-punk classic, and will be remembered for years to come among the pop-punk community. Many people consider it to be Mayday Parade’s best album, and while I can’t decide, I know that it is definitely up there amongst the best work they have ever produced. Any song on the album could have been a successful single, the songs are all that good. And while many pop-punk records will fade into obscurity over time, I feel like this one will stay in memory a little longer.

Best song: Jersey

Score: 9/10

Album Review: Broadside – Paradise

Broadside have been performing quality pop-punk since their first album in 2015. And it was a strong first album, full of energy, and everything a pop-punk album really needs. Since then, they have gained a lot more fans, through their energetic brand of music, and all of them have been eagerly awaiting this new album. But will they use it and define themselves as a band even further, or will they continue to fit carefully in that typical pop-punk bracket?

Well some of these songs show definite growth. ‘Laps Around A Picture Frame’ is a great song, showing some excellent use of electronic elements, mixed with some guitars that thunder in during the chorus and some excellent drumming. On the other hand, some show very little. The title track is typical pop-punk, and that’s great, but this band have proven that they can make quality pop-punk time and time again. It should be time to branch out – by all means not leaving the genre behind, but adding new elements in, like New Found Glory did excellently with their new album by adding electronic elements.

Unfortunately, this seems the case with most of the album, with songs like ‘Disconnect’, ‘Who Cares?’ and ‘Miss Imperius’ blurring together into a pop-punk haze. If you played all three to me, I’d have difficulty distinguishing between the three. But when they stay from this, it’s great! While sounding like the same pop-punk blur at first, ‘Puzzle Pieces’ is an absolute anthem of a song, with a soaring chorus, and shouted and spoken sections that help to define itself as a great song. ‘Tunnel Vision’ has a great rhythm, and the final track ‘I Love You, I Love You. It’s Disgusting’ uses a ukulele backing incredibly. It’s just a shame that this sort of innovation doesn’t happen frequently enough.

Overall, I wouldn’t say this album shows enough departure from the last but it’s not all bad. Sure there are too many similar-sounding pop-punk songs on the album, but in between those some great songs can be found. There’s a great acoustic song, some fantastic use of a ukulele, and some great electronic influences, it’s just a shame these things are so few and far between. Broadside have proved that they can make some quality songs, so going forward they need to take these innovations, and use them more frequently. This is a band with a lot of promise, believe me.

Best song: Laps Around A Picture Frame

Score: 5/10

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!