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 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.

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!

Album Review: Rise Against – Wolves

Rise Against have never gone three years without releasing an album before, and once again they have come through with this year’s new effort, Wolves. With the world spiralling deeper and deeper into a dark, political mess, this felt like exactly the time we needed a new album. But is it really the album we need? And can it really make a change? Here’s my verdict:

The album, rather fittingly begins with the line ‘Light up the torches’. The opening title track is a call to arms for everyone who feels like a victim of the world, and an effective on at that. The thundering guitars and furious vocals make it a stunning first track. This is followed by second single ‘House On Fire’, showing the exact opposite of what the first track was, an introspective look at vocalist Tim McIlrath’s experience of parenting. It is absolutely anthemic, with a great breakdown, catchy vocals and heavy but melodic guitars. This, in my opinion is definitely the best song on the album. ‘The Violence’ is next, a song I am already familiar with. It is an anthem with a soaring chorus, and meaningful lyrics; what Rise Against do best. The fantastic opening tracks don’t stop there though, with ‘Welcome To The Breakdown’ being a criticism of President of the U.S., Donald Trump. McIlrath was recently quoted as saying it was difficult to not write all 12 tracks about him, but all the anger was condensed and fit into this small but furious package. But the first few tracks aren’t the only great ones on the album. ‘Far From Perfect’ spreads an important message of acceptance and love, whereas ‘Bullshit’ stands for a more angry message, criticising the media’s lies. ‘Politics Of Love’ is a mournful love song, throwing an unexpected message amongst the politics, but never lacking that signature Rise Against sound. I could literally list all of the songs on the album in this fashion, but that wouldn’t make for a great review. However, I couldn’t possibly stop without mentioning ‘Mourning In Amerika’ though – what a song. It is songs like this that personify Rise Against, an angry protest, that doesn’t lack in melody.

This album was exactly what the rock scene needed at this point in time, a breath of fresh air. Rise Against always come up with the goods when needed, and as the world looks darker and darker, it’s nice to know that there are bands like them standing up against everything that threatens people like you and me. This album could inspire a new generation of music fans, interested in politics, the environment and generally making the world a better place. And that’s exactly what this world needs right now.

Best Song: House On Fire

Score: 9/10

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!