My Top 100 Songs: 30-21

30. Royal – Waterparks

This is my favourite song off one of my new favourite albums, and from the moment I heard it I knew I’d love it. Waterparks are probably the best new band in pop-punk at the moment, and this just proves that.

Find it on: Double Dare (2016)

29. Jenny Was A Friend Of Mine – The Killers

I’ve recently talked about this song on the blog, so I’ll keep it short. This song is a pure masterpiece, and the fact that Brandon Flowers wrote it at so young an age is just a testament to what an incredible songwriter he is.

Find it on: Hot Fuss (2004)

28. Kitchen Sink – Twenty One Pilots

Just a bonus track on Vessel, I didn’t hear this song for a while. But when I did, it really hit me hard. In it, Tyler talks about trying to create things and leave a legacy behind. If you’re a creative or artistic person, this’ll hit you hard.

Find it on: Vessel (2013)/Regional At Best (2011)

27. Kids In The Dark – All Time Low

Future Hearts wasn’t everyone’s favourite stage of All Time Low’s career, but I think it was one of their best ever albums, and this is one of their best ever songs. Not only is it incredibly catchy, but it also has a bit of a message, which is rare for All Time Low.

Find it on: Future Hearts (2015)

26. Soap – As It Is

As It Is’ second album marked them branching out from their regular pop-punk and experimenting a little with some new sounds. This is almost (but not quite) the best thing that came out of that, a dark, Brand New-esque track that I absolutely love.

Find it on: okay. (2017)

25. Sorry You’re Not A Winner – Enter Shikari

Enter Shikari are one of the bands I’ve got into more recently, and this song stands out as by far one of their best. From the incredible riff, to the electronic elements, to Rou Reynolds’ versatile vocals, this song is a modern masterpiece.

Find it on: Take To The Skies (2007)

24. Goodbye Angels – Red Hot Chili Peppers

I feel like the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ latest album is massively underappreciated. They tried something new, and while it didn’t always come off, it worked well a lot of the time, including creating this masterpiece of a song.

Find it on: The Getaway (2016)

23. Just Like Heaven – The Cure

This is an absolute classic. I don’t really know what to say other than everything about this song is near perfect; the vocals, the rhythm, the bass, the guitar, and all the other little things tying them together.

Find it on: Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me (1987)

22. Monkey Wrench – Foo Fighters

I remember first hearing this song on a Guitar Hero game when I was 12 and being blown away by Dave Grohl’s vocals. Now, at 20 years old, I feel exactly the same when listening to it

Find it on: The Colour And The Shape (1997)

21. Make It Stop (September’s Children)

Rise Against have written a lot of meaningful, powerful songs, but this must be the most powerful of all of them. Written after a long string of teenage suicides caused by homophobic bullying, this song was written as a message to everyone out there that things will get better. This is truly Rise Against at their best.

Find it on: Endgame (2011)

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My Top 100 Songs: 40 – 31

40. That Green Gentleman – Panic! At The Disco

Oddly enough, my favourite song by Panic! At The Disco is from my least favourite album by them. Don’t count Pretty. Odd. out completely though – there are some gems on there, and this is one of them.

Find it on: Pretty. Odd. (2008)

39. Kiwi – Harry Styles

If you’ve never heard Harry Styles’ music, don’t write this off as yet another boyband member’s solo project, because this is so much more than that. The whole album is an incredible listen, but this really stands out.

Find it on: Harry Styles (2017)

38. Tear – Red Hot Chili Peppers

Until I recently listened to By The Way on vinyl, I never really appreciated this songs, but after hearing all of it, I feel like it’s a true masterpiece. From the guitar solo, to the trumpet solo, to that incredible chorus, this song just couldn’t get any better.

Find it on: By The Way (2017)

37. Fall Away – Twenty One Pilots

This is the highlight of Twenty One Pilots’ first album, containing some of Tyler Joseph’s best early lyrics, and some of his best rapping too.

Find it on: Twenty One Pilots (2009)

36. Backseat Serenade – All Time Low

All Time Low specialise in writing catchy pop-punk, but this song goes above and beyond all of that. Not only is it incredibly catchy, it features some of the best composition on one of their songs, with a really cool chord progression in the verse.

Find it on: Don’t Panic (2012)

35. Injection – Rise Against

One of the best songs on my favourite albums, this song was my favourite by Rise Against for so long, and has only just been overtaken. Still an incredible song though.

Find it on: The Sufferer and the Witness (2006)

34. Trees – Twenty One Pilots

I never really appreciated this song until I heard it live, but when I did, it was one of the best experiences of my life. The emotion and sheer energy of this song make it one of the most special Twenty One Pilots songs ever written.

Find it on: Vessel (2013)

33. Everlong – Foo Fighters

Another song I never appreciated at first, I hated this song when I first heard it, but over time, it slowly grew on me. Dave Grohl’s voice is at its most powerful and emotional here.

Find it on: The Colour and the Shape (1997)

32. Planetary (GO!) – My Chemical Romance

From a song I never liked at first, to one I loved, this is one of the best songs on one of my favourite albums of all time. A lot of people may not like this, because it shows My Chemical Romance leaving their emo roots behind, but I feel like it was the best evolution for the band.

Find it on: Danger Days (2010)

31. Holiday – Green Day

Another song I loved immediately, this is my highlight of American Idiot. How could I not love a song that is both catchy and political?

Find it on: American Idiot (2004)

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!

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!

Classic Album Review: Red Hot Chili Peppers – By The Way

The Red Hot Chili Peppers released what many people considered to be their best ever album in 1999. Californication was a hit that propelled the band into the forefront of the rock world with a great set of catchy songs, defined by the energy of frontman Anthony Kiedis and bassist Flea. But how would they follow up this album’s success? They could, of course, release an album of similarly-styled songs to capitalise on the previous album’s popularity. Or maybe make an album of even more easily-accessible songs to push themselves even further into the mainstream. What they ended doing was a change of style, but it was neither of those things. By The Way was a rock revolution.

This album opted for a more melodic sound than the previous album, being led by the beautiful guitar melodies of John Frusciante rather than the energetic bass of Flea. With the exception of a few songs, the songs were a lot slower and focused more on creating a fuller, more beautiful sound. But this wasn’t giving up on their old sound; it was more an evolution of sorts. Each song was masterfully crafted and showed some of vocalist Anthony Kiedis’ best ever lyrics, particularly in ‘Dosed’, a sombre but beautiful ode to Hillel Slovak, the original guitarist of the band, who sadly passed away in 1988 due to drug problems. But not only are the lyrics extremely heartfelt, the guitar in this song is a lesson to anyone who wants to layer several guitar tracks.

While ‘Dosed’ was an evolution for the band, they definitely had callbacks to their older songs, in the form of bass-driven ‘Throw Away Your Television’, and the anthemic ‘Can’t Stop’. Flea leads both of these songs perfectly, using his bass to drive the songs along. He is ever-present in the album, but these represent some of his best work. Songs like these are rare however, giving way to slow ballads and more experimental work. Of this experimental work, ‘On Mercury’ deserves a lot of praise for the inclusion of new instruments, such as the trumpet. It is wonderfully catchy too. Of the slower songs, particularly ‘The Zephyr Song’ and ‘Don’t Forget Me’ stand out. The former experiments with electronic drum sounds to great effect, whereas the latter has the prefect blend of guitar and bass to make it stand out hugely.

To conclude, this blend of material perfectly typified the album. This album was a diverse but perfect departure from Californication that showed the bands ability to make more than just their original brand of funk rock. They pushed themselves even further than they ever had before, and came out with one of the best albums of their long and illustrious career. Whatever type of music you’re into, this album is something you have to listen to.

Best song: Dosed

Score: 10/10

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 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!