1.) “Time” (#1) by Pink Floyd – The guitar solo in this song made me want to play guitar. The first note is so loud and long. It is, in my opinion, the best song on one of, if not, the greatest concept albums of all time, “Dark Side of the Moon.” The album takes a man through his trip of how he is running away from life (On the run), running out time to do what he loves (Time), whether he should just end it (Great Gig in the Sky), depression (Us and Them), lack of decision making skills (Any Colour You Like), greed (Money) and ending with him ending up in an insane asylum (Brain Damage). This song offers everything from the album. The famous Floydian sound effects, genius lyrics from Roger Waters that give a great point but yet are soft and mellow, which is then crushed by a guitar solo that will literally rip your face off. You can really get a feeling that Waters had a deep message to let out with his words.
2.) “Here Comes the Sun” (#2) by The Beatles – You can never be in a bad mood while listening to this song. One of George’s best contributions to the band. It really has a great outlook that sometimes things have to get worse before they get better. You can really hear that in this. Also, the combination of chord progression and strumming on George’s acoustic is very complicated. Many a time I have found myself raging and upon hearing the opening note of this song I mellow out and just enjoy.
3.) “Basket Case” (#3) by Green Day – I remember being about 4 or 5 when this song came out and will never forget it. Late night on MTV they would play music videos. Green Day is playing in the center of a mental health care clinic and are just rockin’ out. I guess what makes this song awesome is that it is the moment I liked a true rock song and really got into music.
4.) “Dazed and Confused” (#4) by Led Zeppelin – The greatest hard rock band ever! Four members that changed music and performing forever. All talented in their own way. It was the perfect storm and this song shows it. Those thundering notes by Jimmy Page are amazing. Oh so simple but oh so powerful. Robert Plant has to have one of the most unique and great voices ever. John Bonham smashing the drums and John Paul Jones bringing it all together on the bass. Plus, anyone who has been in a relationship with a girl and it went sour should love this song. Plant’s lyrics tell a bitch what’s up.
5.) “L.A. Women” (#5) by the Doors – I love the line “Mr. Mojo rising.” Jim Morrison is the original American bad ass. I think he was just too creative and intelligent for his own good. That deep voice just gets me every time. Also, his “not give a fuck attitude” makes every guy wish they could act like him. The Doors are a bad that I don’t go out of my way to listen to a lot but when I hear a song by them I always love it.
6.) “Gimme Shelter” (Unranked) by the Rolling Stones – Yes, this made it here and it never appeared last year. When looking at my list from last year I realized I had a lot of songs that I liked “at the moment” but they may not be my favorite in the long-term (which I looked at more for this list). Thinking more about it, this is my favorite Stones song of all time. Back in high school when I first got into classic rock this is one of the first songs I loved. I don’t think I can think of another outright Vietnam protest song ever. And it’s the STONES! Not much needs to be said there.
7.) “Evil Woman” (#9) by Electric Light Orchestra – This song just makes me love music. I love singing and hearing this song. ELO is not mentioned but they had 12 radio singles in the 70′s and early 80′s. That puts them with some great bands but are never recognized. I feel a lot of people can relate to this song as well.
8.) “All You Need is Love” (Unranked) by the Beatles – This has always been a Beatle favorite of mine. I can say that I more of a Lennon fan. I love the cello and mellotron (yeah, who even knows what that instrument is) in the background. It was such a revolutionary song that shows Lennon’s “give love and peace” side.
9.) “Bohemian Rhapsody” (#10) by Queen – If you ever got drunk with me than you know why this is here. I love Freddy Mercury. What he did for the music industry was great. He brought “show business”/Broadway to rock and roll. He created imprint that will never be forgotten. He also had one of the greatest voices in history. He could sing all notes in four octave ranges. If you do not know what that means it’s just amazing most good singers can only sing thoroughly in two (I read that on the internetical).
10.) “Since I’ve Been Loving You”(#12) by Led Zeppelin – Led Zeppelin playing the blues!!!! Didn’t know the blues could be so loud. The whole song is a chance for Jimmy Page to show what he is capable of. After listening to this you can understand why he is considered one of the greatest guitarists of all time. It is even better live when we can hear the band really improvise and go in many different directions with this song. Every time it was played live it was played a different way. This is what made Led Zeppelin not only the greatest rock band period but the most dynamic rock band.
11.) “Red House” (#8) by Jimi Hendrix – The greatest guitarist ever playing the blues = Awesome. He played so fast but yet with such elegance. He changed the way the electric guitar was played. Before him not too many people distorted their guitars. He did this while controlling feedback, diving-bombing notes, adding phasing effects, and was able to play with his teeth. All the guitars today would not sound like they do without him. He revolutionized the way rock and roll was played.
12.) “Pinball Wizard” (#10) by the Who – A deaf, dumb, and blind kid playing pinball. Kind of stupid but they made it work. It is also brings the “other” greatest concept album of all time full circle, “Tommy.” It is about making life work with what you have been given. Pete Townsend’s thundering guitar chords can always wake you up. Roger Daltry was another great front man. Known for running around stage and throwing his mic around. It is also cool that they destroyed their set after every concert. Townsend would than throw his smashed/mangled guitar into the audience. That is rock ‘n’ roll.
13.) “Spirits in the Night” (Unranked) by Bruce Springsteen – I cannot really tell you why I love this song so much. I have always been a Boss fan! This song just delivers such a cool story. You can tell Bruce pours out his youth in this song. Maybe that is why I like it so much. It makes me think of all the good times I have had with friends. And who is the “Mission Man”.
14.) “Already Gone” (Unranked) by the Eagles – This song I have just got into recently but I think it will be here to stay. I have always been an Eagles fan but never thought much about this one. The Eagles were such a extremely talented band. All 5 members would sing and all great musicians. This is the first time they moved into harder rock. Always considered a country rock band, they really changed their style with this song. There is a deep message in this songs as a lot of the lyrics are symbolic with hidden meanings. Only can guess the story behind this one.
15.) “Brown Sugar” (Unranked) by the Rolling Stones – Another recent song I got in to. The Stones were always known as “the bad boys of rock ‘n’ roll” and they show it here. All about the party life and sexual innuendos. My friends and I think we live this lifestyle but not even close.
16.) “Night Moves” (Unranked) by Bob Seger – A lot of people may be surprised that this song is on here. I can’t say I am the biggest Bob Seger fan but I can say that I absolutely love this song. Since the first time I heard it and couldn’t stop listening to it. It is one of those songs that just sticks with you. I always get excited when this song comes on and I love singing along with it.
17.) “Jungle Love” (Unranked) by the Steve Miller Band – This song was the anthem to my freshman year of college. I will never be able to say that I don’t like this song and it is not one of my favorites of all time. It has a rocking guitar and just gives you the “time to have fun” feeling.
18.) “Benny and the Jets” (Unranked) by Elton John – I don’t think anybody who likes rock can dislike this song. This song is one of those anthems of the 1970s. Every one of our parents likes this one. Elton John is a terrific musician and song writer. A great performer as well. Say what you want I love the crazy costumes and weird glasses he would wear. There are always parts in this song that people sing the wrong lyrics to. I can also proudly say that I know every word to this song.
19.) Suite Judy Blue Eyes” (Unranked) by the Crosby, Stills, and Nash – This song one song that can say would not make many people’s top 25 lists. CSN were very similar to the Eagles. They all had a great ability to harmonize and were terrific performers. Three highly creative minds. This name of this song is such a cool play on words.
20.) “Bad Moon Rising” (Unranked) by Creedence Clearwater Revival – I have always been a CCR fan. They are one band that when I listen to their greatest hits and I like every single song. They were a short lived band, only being popular for 3 years, but built an everlasting mark on rock and roll.
21.) “Suffragette City” (Unranked) by the David Bowie – I have recently got into Bowie and really love him. He was such an innovator and one of the most important faces of the 70s. He changed is style so many times but, to me, nothing beats the hard rock Ziggy Stardust days. From one the greatest concept albums of all time. Bowie definelty broke onto the seen like no else. His elaborate outfits and behavior changed the way we look at rock artist. He actually thought he Ziggy Stardust.
22.) “Hey, Hey, My, My (Out of the Blue)” (Unranked) by Neil Young – This is such a deep deep song. Such a good message. I have to admit I can’t listen to this song often because it always get to me. Some of my friends will understand that part…..and laugh. “It’s better to burn out than slip away.”
23.) “For Those About to Rock (We Salute You)” (Unranked) by AC/DC – I had “Shoot to Thrill” by this band on my list last year but this one is better. Just gets me pumped and ready to pound shots. True, fast-paced rock and roll song. Angus Young will go down in history for his school-boy outfit. His guitar riffs though are so up-beat and “good-to-go.” Guitarist are just not like that anymore. Easily, my favorite AC/DC song.
24.) “Echoes” (#6) by Pink Floyd – This song drove me to Pink Floyd. The creepiness and mystery of the sound of this song is just addicting. The sound effects and guitar rhythms are haunting. Roger Waters lyrics are genius. Plus it’s 25 minutes long. Also, the fact that the band performed this song live in front of NO audience in the ancient Amphitheater of Pompeii is crazy. Creepy setting for a creepy song. This song really just takes you to another planet. A masterpiece from the most influential band of all time. Music would not be the same without them.
25.) “Roxanne” (#14) by the Police – Love when Sting yells Roxanne. It’s about a prostitute and can be a drinking game. The Police are a very underrated band but hear they shine. I think this a great song but yet is very catchy and you can really just jam out to it.
So no offense to Anthony, but he’s kind of typecasted in our friend group as the friend who insists on listening to anything before 1990. Not that’s a bad thing but I have to give him credit when it comes to one thing. Well two things, because a lot of my music tastes (currently) have been somewhat based off of his to a slight degree but two, while the songs are older; the memories are nearly brand new. Anthony’s list is almost completely different minus the top songs on his countdown. It’s also cool because I was pretty much there when Brown Sugar started entering our main playlist and I remember the first time we really started playing Suffragette City a lot.
Our friendship can best be described through Rolling Stones songs. At first, we exclusively listened to Paint it Black. Then Start Me Up. Then Tumbling Dice. Now Brown Sugar. Sympathy For The Devil has to be next, right?
Last year our friend Josh released his favorite song list. This year he decided to not take part in it. So BOOOOOOO.
But Jack, who last year was seen not providing any explanations whatsoever to his list decided to add his two cents. Let’s take a look shall we?
- “Alive” by Pearl Jam (#1)- I know it may be the most known and most played song by Pearl Jam and it’s the same for me. This song was the song that got me into Pearl Jam when I was in 8th grade and since then they have easily become my favorite band. The song has Mike McCready give one of the best guitar solos of all time and Eddie Vedder’s voice will never get old to me.
- “Corduroy” (#3) by Pearl Jam- Not as known of a Pearl Jam song but still a great one. This song was off Pearl Jam’s 3rd album, Vitalogy, and basically describes how Eddie Vedder was dealing with the bands success at the time. It has some of the deepest lyrics of any Pearl Jam song and one that you just have to sit and listen to it to really appreciate it.
- “Lightning Crashes” (#4) by Live- My favorite non-Pearl Jam Song. This is one of those song that when it comes on I will just automatically just rock out to it. The song has everything that you could expect to hear from a great rock song and I will stop whatever I am doing to listen to it.
- “Tell Me Baby” (#5) by the Red Hot Chili Peppers- This is the song that got me listening to the Red Hot Chili Peppers and since then I’ve never looked back. The way Flea plays the bass in that is perfect and Anthony Kiedis’ voice goes perfect with the song.
- “(White Man) In Hammersmith Palais” (#9) by The Clash- The Clash are my dad’s favorite band and that sort of rubbed off on me. Joe Strummer is one of my favorite lead singers of all time and the song is just all around great.
- “Longview” (#6) by Green Day- Green Day was the first band that I ever really liked. I remember seeing them when I was in 6th grade and since then I’ve only liked them more. This CD was giving to me by my dad and that song instantly grew on me. I remember in 6th grade getting in trouble in class for singing the line “When masturbation’s lost it’s fun
You’re fuckin’ lonely.” Not a good one to have to go explain to your mom.
- “Otherside” (#7) by the Red Hot Chili Peppers- The song just has tons of energy in it from front to back and is easily one of the Red Hot Chili Peppers best songs. The song just rocks and that’s really all I can say about it.
- “Breakout” (#8) by the Foo Fighters- This was the song that got me into the Foo Fighters. I knew of them but I never really got the chance to sit down and listen to them until I heard this song come on the radio.
- “Gotta Get Away” (#10) by The Offspring- The Offspring are another band that can do no wrong to me. All their songs have something about them that makes me want to rock but this song just stuck with me more than any other songs made by them.
- “Brain of J.” (Unranked) by Pearl Jam- The first song off their 5th album “Yield” was by far my favorite song off that album. Right from the beginning this song gets in your face and just rocks until the end.
- “Breed” (#2) by Nirvana- Like most people, the first Nirvana song I heard was “Smells Like Teen Spirit”. Not that I didn’t like the song, I think it’s a great song, but it just didn’t stick with it me. However I did listen to the whole “Nevermind” album afterword’s and found this song. There was just something about it that just made me want to rock out to it
- “The Clampdown” (Unranked) by The Clash- Such a great song. The song was written by Joe Strummer describing the failures of capitalist’s societies. With Joe Strummer being socialist he described working for “the Man” to be “Working for the Clampdown”. As someone who sees Joe Strummer as a personal hero the song definitely has a deeper meaning to me.
- “Orange Crush” (#12) by R.E.M.- Another band that both my parents listen to that got passed on to me. R.E.M. has so many great songs but this was the first one that I ever heard. There was a time in 8th grade that I was really big into R.E.M. They also were a band that heavily influenced the Grunge Rock movement of the early 90’s and especially Nirvana and for that I am grateful for them.
- “Poprocks and Coke” (#15) by Green Day- This was the first Green Day song I heard when I was a kid and for a while they were my favorite band so this song brings back memories for me.
- “DOA” (Unranked) by the Foo Fighters- After I got more into the Foo Fighters this was one song that really stuck with me. The entire song just feels like an extended jam session that just flat out rocks.
- “Icky Thump” (#16) by The White Stripes- Some people are just not Jack White fans but I don’t know how. I personally love his guitar playing and this song is some of his best. Meg White is fantastic on drums and the guitar solo and lyrics are in your face the whole song.
- “So What Cha Want” (#17) by the Beastie Boys- Who can’t love the Beastie Boys. Their songs are just fun and you can tell they love what they do. This was the first song from the Beastie Boys that I ever heard so it’s my personal favorite but they just have so many good songs.
- “Gone Away” (Unranked) by The Offspring- This is probably The Offspring’s saddest song but the way it comes together is so perfect for me. As I said before they really can do no wrong for me.
- “Selling The Drama” (Unranked) by Live- This is on the same album as “Lightning Crashes” and really makes the album a whole to me. The lyrics and guitar beat come together perfectly to make a great song.
- “Feel Good, Inc.” (#19) by the Gorillaz- Another band that my parents introduced me to and I’m so glad they did. It’s just a fantastic cartoon band making great music.
- “Once In A Lifetime” (Honorable Mention) by the Talking Heads- The only word I can use to describe this song is awesome. The lyrics, the drums, the guitar, and the bass all come together so well. David Byrne has become one of my favorite vocalist and they really are an awesome band.
- “Little Black Submarines” (#14) by The Black Keys- This is a band that has really grown on me in the last couple of years. This song starts out slow but builds up do such a great finish that really brings the song together.
- “Better Man” (Honorable Mention) by Pearl Jam- Another great song with a fantastic build up that comes together perfectly. Not much to say about it other than how great it is.
- “Ball And Chain” (Honorable Mention) by Social Distortion- This was a band that I was big into in high school. This song has always been my favorite of theirs and well deserves to be on my lists.
- “Sea Of Sorrow” (Honorable Mention) by Alice In Chains- This is a band that I got more into while in college thanks to a roommate who was a big Alice In Chains fan. There is just something about this song that I really like.
“Jeremy” – Pearl Jam, “Pinball Wizard” – the Who, “Under the Bridge” – RHCP, “About A Girl” – Nirvana, “Burden In My Hand” – Soundgarden
It was pretty cool seeing Jack’s explanation for some of his songs. It does seem that he admits that his family and friends are pretty big impacts on his musical taste (just like all of us, but it was cool to see it in writing) but it’s quite clear he’s a child of the 90s. I do like how consistent he was from last year to this year but also, there is some shocking ones. I didn’t expect Gone Away to resonate with Jack that much and getting to live with the guy this year, I’m shocked Clampdown didn’t make his list last year.
Now onto Andrew, who was Jack’s roommate last year.
- Narcolepsy (#3) – Third Eye Blind – It is my favorite song of all time. It is just so awesomely written. It’s a good song to just listen to on repeat. It epitomizes who I think Third eye blind really are as a collective band.
- Stairway to Heaven (#1) – Led Zeppelin – Led Zeppelin I believe is the best rock band ever, other than the Beatles, has a certain thing about them. Whenever I listen to them, I become submersed in the music and just kick back and rock on. Stairway is I think their best lyrical song along with being my favorite by them.
- Baba O’ Riley (#2) – The Who – The Who is another one of my favorite rock bands ever. This song is just so awesome in so many ways. From the pipe organ to the guitar and Keith Moon on drums. This song is so badass that it is unreal.
- Under the Bridge (#5) – Red Hot Chili Peppers – The Chili Peppers are brand name funk rock music. Under the Bridge, I know is their most popular song, but it is one of my favorites because it just so deep that it almost tells a story through the song. This is their best song, I think, they have ever created.
- Mr. Brightside (#8)- The Killers – The Killers are one of my favorite post 90’s bands and this song is just so cool to listen to. It makes me sing along anywhere I am. It just has that quality that makes me want to listen to it over and over again.
- Eleanor Rigby (Unranked)- The Beatles – The Beatles I think had the biggest impact on music in the 20th century, other than maybe the likes of Elvis. Eleanor Rigby is such a great song by them and I really like it. Just a really good tune.
- Sympathy for the Devil (Unranked) – The Rolling Stones – This song is such a kick ass song its great. Mick Jagger is such an iconic lead singer to the band, and just ties the whole thing together. This song lyrically as well is written superbly.
- Come a Little Closer (unranked)- Cage the Elephant – Cage the Elephant is a relatively new band. They produce great music; that is written well and performed well also. They now have three records and I think their last record was fairly good with this being the best from it.
- Thirty Three (unranked)- Smashing Pumpkin – I REALLY like the Smashing Pumpkins but I wish front man Billy Korgan wasn’t such an asshole. Their first few records where awesome my favorites being Siamese Dream and Melloncollie and the Infinite Sadness. Thirty-three is a softer song that really relaxes me at times.
- Basket Case (#12)- Green Day – Basket case is my favorite Green Day song. I think it has grown to be like a battle cry almost out of our friends group, but other than that it is also a well-constructed song that rocks hard.
- Surf Wax America (Unranked)- Weezer – As of this moment, this is my favorite Weezer song. Its really catchy and is nice to listen to when im long boarding or on a run. It’s a good song from a good band. I can’t wait for their new album; supposedly it should be much like their first.
- Lazy Eye (Unranked) – Silver Sun Pickups – This is one of my favorite songs that are relatively new. I have just recently started in depth listening to this band and this song is well written and has a special something about it. It is a very good song.
- Mr. Jones (Unranked)- The Counting Crows – Mr. Jones is one of those songs that I have liked for such a long time, and I thought it needed o be included in my top 20.
- Badfish (Unranked)- Sublime – Sublime is one of those bands that I have listened to for a while now. I really like their music they have put out, I do not like sublime with Rome, Badfish is a very good song that is mellow and keeps me relaxed and just ready to kick back and chill.
- The Mother We Share (Unranked)- CHRVCHES – CHRVCHES is a new band that aren’t really known by a lot of people. I think they have a decent potential. There is just something about this song that makes me want to listen to it. It’s catchy and I find myself re-listening to it after it’s played through.
- Seven Nation Army (Unranked)- The White Stripes – I’ve said before, but just to reiterate the point, Jack White is a magician on the guitar. What he can do with a guitar is amazing. Flat out.
- Watching the Wheels (Unranked)- John Lennon – Great song, and great musician.
- You Can’t Always Get What You Want (Unranked)- The Rolling Stones – It’s a simple fact of life that I have tried to disprove for years, but somehow it always wins.
- Killer Queen (Unranked) – Queen – Great song with a kick ass guitar solo that gets me every damn time.
- One Week (Unranked)- The Bare Naked Ladies – Any band that constructively works in fried chicken into a song needs some recognition.
- Pinball Wizard – The Who
- Bohemian Rhapsody (#14) – Queen
- Gypsy (Unranked) – Lady Gaga
- Buddy Holly (#6) – Weezer
- Interstate Love Song (Unranked) – Stone Temple Pilots
Honorable Mentions: New Slang- The Shins
Andrew was last to submit a list, in case you were wondering and much like last year; his list does shock me. There’s a mixture of a lot of different influences with him but he does seem to find a new song and really embraces the current. I can relate to that, though I am shocked that he didn’t have any Sublime songs on his list last year though this year he has it! Lots of changes from last year, but the same core.
Followed by Andrew, we come to the last of my former housemates into Jake who has been my friend the longest so I always think I know what’s coming but always great to see how he makes his list!
1. Red Hot Chili Peppers – “Under the Bridge” (#1)
“Under the Bridge” remains at the top of my list to this day. The song- which was originally intended to be a private poem by Anthony Keides until it was discovered by legendary producer, Rick Rubin- is a beautiful meditation on loneliness, regret, and uncertainty. It provides such a unique take on those kinds of awful feelings: the point where you feel so alone, so miserable, and so hopeless that you force yourself to confide in your hometown as if it were a living entity. Yet, the song ends up resonating an uplifting and optimistic tone with listeners (mainly because of its angelic full-chorus climax).
When I hear this song, I see it as Anthony Keides using his own mistakes to say: “Hey, listen, times are tough right now, but we will get through this. We won’t feel this way again.” “Under the Bridge” consistently moves me and makes me feel better when I’m down, and it will always be my favorite song for those reasons alone.
2. Red Hot Chili Peppers- “By the Way” (#2)
This was THE song that got me hooked on the good old Chili Peppers. The cool thing about this song is that it features held-back, melodic opening and closing parts that are reflective of much of the other songs on the “By the Way” album. However, nearly every other part is essentially an eruption of intense guitar scratches and upstrokes and an abstract rap section from Anthony Keides that is- at times- reminiscent of the down-and-dirty “Blood Sugar Sex Magik” sessions. The Chilis closed their first set with this song when I saw them live back in 2012. I will never forget that moment.
3. Stone Temple Pilots- “Interstate Love Song” (#4)
This is easily one of the best songs of the 1990s. As I said in my previous list, this song is very effective to me because of its sensory impact. I really got into it over one particularly beautiful summer in early high school. I think the combination was a perfect storm; every single time I hear it, I get a surge of summer-esque excitement. I can’t get over the vocal hooks in this song- they show off a hidden pretty/melodic side of Scott Weiland. As far as alternative rock songs go, this is a prime example of perfection.
4. Foo Fighters- “Let it Die” (#3)
Much like “Blow up the Outside World,” “Let it Die” left a huge mark on me the first time I heard it, mainly because of its raw emotional power. This song is absolutely astounding in its composition; it builds in tension for two full verses before exploding-seemingly out of nowhere-into a release of frustration and anger that simply cannot be held down any longer. I always pictured someone smiling through their teeth and finally just losing it. This too has been a go-to song for me in face of some recent frustrations and hindrances of my own. Every time I hear it the whole way through- from its pretty, arpeggioed intro to its concluding wail of “WHY’D YOU HAVE TO GO AND LET IT DIIIIEEE-” I end up feeling a lot better.
5. Soundgarden- “Blow up the Outside World” (#5)
I usually struggle with picking my favorite song from each of my favorite bands. However, with Soundgarden it has always been easy for me. “Blow up the Outside World” is a song that is so good and so emotionally-cathartic that I literally feel drained after sitting down and giving it a good listen. We’ve all been in a position where we’ve “given everything that we need and/or own” to a person or to a cause, just to have the rug pulled from beneath our feet anyway; we’ve all been in a “fuck the entire world” kind of mood as a result of such treatment. I always saw this song as an outburst in reaction to such feelings. It’s been one of my go-to songs as of late, but even before that, it was already one of my all-time favorites.
6. Rush- “Spirit of Radio” (#6)
I love this song to death. I can’t say too much about it honestly; just three of the greatest musicians in rock history coming together for one hell of a track. Alex Lifeson’s frolicking main opening riff is really cool.
7. Foo Fighters- “Learn to Fly” (Unranked)
I smile- or at least get happy butterflies- every time I hear the opening of this song. I mean, how can you not? It rings with the kinds of upbeat diminished chords that have made Dave Grohl’s guitar style a household name in rock. There isn’t much that can be said about it, other than that it is just a textbook example of a fun, exhilarating rock song. If you haven’t seen its music video, you need to do yourself a favor and YouTube it right now.
8. Alice in Chains- “Them Bones” (Unranked)
Opening tracks don’t get much better than this one. “Them Bones” grabs you by the face and demands your attention the second you press play on “Dirt.” Content-wise, the song is the quintessential Alice in Chains experience: metal-inspired grunge riffs and a sludgy Layne Staley vocal performance that periodically breaks for a cool, yet brief melodic chorus bit. Jerry Cantrell’s guitar solo on this song may very well be one of the main reasons I decided to begin playing guitar myself.
9. Black Sabbath- “War Pigs” (Unranked)
The best heavy metal song of all time. I said it. I love how it starts by building off a drudging riff from Tony Iommi and then just snaps into a fast tempo with an awesome call-and response vocal/instrumental arrangement: DUN-DUN “generals gathered in their mass-essss…” DUN-DUN. It’s so intoxicating. Ozzy’s lyrical imagery is haunting and disturbing in that simplistic, yet psychologically-effective Sabbath way.
10. Red Hot Chili Peppers- “Otherside” (#12)
The Chilis really let out their darker writing side on this song. I love the moody guitar riff from John Frusciante. The song is best enjoyed with its incredible music video (which I can’t even really talk about and give it justice- you just have to see it). I always would hear this song on the radio growing up, but I never knew it was by RHCP until after I had gotten into them years later. I was overjoyed when the song came on after I bought “Californication” as a middle school student. It was one of those “oh, that song is by THIS band” moments.
11. Temple of the Dog- “Call me a Dog” (Unranked)
I wish that Temple of the Dog could have produced more than just one album (though their self-titled effort is a great collection of songs). “Hunger Strike” and “Say Hello to Heaven” are wonderful in their own regard, but in my opinion, “Call me a Dog” is the centerpiece of the entire album. It’s a grunge song that lyrically looks like a passionate blues song on paper. Featuring a powerful vocal performance from Chris Cornell and a masterly-crafted guitar solo courtesy of Mike McCready, this song is an underrated gem from the grunge era.
12. Boston- “Peace of Mind” (Unranked)
Boston released a lot of quality songs in their heyday, but this is the one that has always stood out to me like a beautifully-constructed sore thumb. The song is mostly centered on a ridiculously-catchy guitar riff and a simple, yet uplifting set of power chords. Together, these parts blend to create a sound that seems to have been crafted for the sole purpose of getting someone excited and pumped. I have a thing for dual-harmonized guitars (I get wildly captivated by everything from The Eagles’ “Hotel California” to Avenged Sevenfold’s “Bat Country”), but “Peace of Mind” contains my favorite dual-guitar sections of all time.
“All I want is to have my peace of mind.” The line is eerie, considering the fate of late Boston lead singer, Brad Delp, but his legacy and his signature vocals live on every time this song is spun on a radio station, accessed on Youtube, or blasted off of an ipod at-say- the Graveyard House in Kutztown.
13. Soundgarden- “Jesus Christ Pose” (Unranked)
Holy shit! This song is brutally heavy, but in a way that is also impressively artistic. It’s the kind of song that make you want to mosh and lose your mind (and who doesn’t love to do that every now and then?) I think it perfectly captures the fury of the darker corners of early, underground grunge rock. Chris Cornell ends the song by hitting a note so high that it makes my throat hurt just thinking about it. It’s just an insanely awesome song from an equally awesome album.
14. Alice in Chains- “Voices” (Unranked)
This is the newest song on my updated “top songs” list. “Voices” comes off of Alice in Chains’ “The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here,” an album that sat in the CD player of my car during the entire summer of 2013. I must have listened to that album front-to-back at least fifty times. Though I absolutely adore the entire album, I would always find myself looking forward to “Voices” when I’d start things from track 1 (“Voices” is track 4). Jerry Cantrell’s guitar tone is a thing of beauty; it rings with a melancholy acoustic/electric mesh that could only be found on an AiC song.
15. Dinosaur Jr.- “Watch the Corners” (Unranked)
This was my favorite rock single of 2012. “Watch the Corners” holds true to the typical winning formula of Dinosaur Jr.: loud, fuzzy, heavy metal-inspired guitars and the voice of J. Mascis, that wonderful voice that sounds like a laid-back hybrid of Neil Young and Curt Kirkwood. The guitar solo that closes out this song is just fucking awesome.
16. The Wallflowers- “6th Avenue Heartache” (#10)
The Wallflowers were the first band I ever saw live (a free show at Virginia Beach). A few weeks prior, I downloaded a bunch of their popular songs so that I at least had an inkling of their discography going into the show. This song immediately stood out as my favorite. I found myself essentially crossing my fingers hoping for them to play it. They eventually did and it was incredible. Ever since then, I have had a deep sentimental connection to this song. It is probably the greatest single to come out of the mid-late 90s roots rock trend.
17. Incubus- “Dig” (#9)
This is one of those songs that always seems to hit me right in the heart. There is something about that echoing guitar riff and Brandon Boyd’s emotionally-charged voice that gets me. Lyrically, I love it because sort of revolves around the idea of humbling yourself in times of hardship, and asking for the understanding and consideration of a loved one. Everyone needs a voice of reason every now and then, so I guess I love this song’s composition because of how genuinely it captures and expresses that idea.
18. Foo Fighters- “My Hero” (Unranked)
I always liked this song a lot, but I never loved it until I heard it live. The drums kicked in and Dave Grohl introduced the song: “if you know this song, I want to hear you- all the way in the top- it’s called ‘My Hero’ AAAAYYY LET’S GO!” The entire Wells Fargo Center went completely apeshit ballistic. Ever since that show, I have had to fight the urge completely rock out of my mind every time I hear this song. What a fun track.
19. Rush- “2112” (Unranked)
I love Rush because they aren’t afraid to dive into a song and use it to tell a big, obscure story. “2112-” a seven-part prog rock suite centered on a sci-fi theme- is one of the most impressive and all-around epic rock songs in history. Its length seems daunting at first, but each chapter is captivating in its own regard. The first two sections (“Overture” and “The Temples of Syrinx”) are the ones that most people are familiar with, but the song is best enjoyed in its entirety- all the way up to the “Grand Finale.” “2112” is a crowning musical achievement.
20. Pearl Jam- “Yellow Ledbetter” (#13)
Though no one truly knows all of the official lyrics of “Yellow Ledbetter,” the song’s unbelievable guitar parts define it. This is one of those songs that gives off a huge emotional aura from its instrumentation alone. Mike McCready’s solo compliments the song perfectly, and is a truly inventive and emotional monolith comprised of simple pentatonic scale patterns. It is one of my favorite guitar solos of all time.
21. Dio- “Holy Diver” (Unranked)
I’m a huge Ronnie James Dio fan, and have been one ever since I first heard this song on the radio. With “Holy Diver” you’re getting a classic, powerful vocal performance from Dio himself, along with a set of lyrics that are a testament to the band’s fun obsession with fantasy, magic, and alternate dimensions. Vivian Cambell’s guitar parts are just monstrous. I love the huge build up to that chugging main riff. Long live Ronnie James! May he rest in peace.
22. Alice in Chains- “Brother (Unplugged)” (Unranked)
Every now and then, a live rendition of a song ends up outshining its original studio-recorded version. For Alice in Chains, this is very much the case with the unplugged version of their song, “Brother.” The original track is noteworthy, but the unplugged version gives it a whole new emotional value thanks to its slowed tempo, entirely acoustic arrangement, and its dual-harmonized vocal section from Layne Staley and Jerry Cantrell (one that sends shivers down my spine in its perfection). Alice in Chains’ unplugged session was-in my opinion- the best one ever filmed by MTV. “Brother” is a huge contributing factor to the show’s unparalleled greatness.
23. Chris Cornell- “Sunshower” (Unranked)
This may be one of the most beautiful songs I’ve ever heard. Cornell’s guitar parts are dreary, yet shimmery and slick. The chorus shoots chills all over my body just about every time I hear it; he just sings it in a way that inspires hope and empowerment amidst depression and hopelessness.
24. Black Keys- “Next Girl” (Unranked)
Dan Auerbach really knows how to sing the blues. This song is so sincere in its expression of relationship grief. “I’m paying for her beautiful face…every day.” Who hasn’t felt that way after a rough break-up? This is a great, occasionally-overlooked song from one of the Black Keys’ greatest albums.
25. “Slim Pickens Does the Right Thing and Rides the Bomb to Hell” – the Offspring (Unranked)
This is one of the most badass Offspring songs of all time, and a great concluding track.
I always enjoy Jake’s lists because I get so much information from him and I really can appreciate how he dissects and explains what and why he likes songs. It’s a really cool thing to see because that dedication spills into other parts of his life as well. I have seen some evolution to Jake though, just like every other person on this list. I remember never really hearing the name Ronnie James Dio on our iPods until this past semester. I also really have seen him progress more and more into a Rush fan (he always was but maybe I was just an idiot and didn’t FULLY notice until now).
Then of course, here is mine.
- Mr. Brightside (#1) – The Killers
Still my favorite song of all-time and I even added more memories to it this year. This might be my favorite song for the past decade at this point, and from the moment that opening riff comes to the strong chorus; I can’t resist it. Plus, it’s a guaranteed floor filler as literally everyone knows this song. Pretty amazing when an “indie” song can do that.
- 12:51 (#2) – the Strokes
The gap is closing between first and second by a tad as I can’t help but grow more and more attached to the Strokes first single off their second album, Room on Fire. There’s new memories to this song and this is actually my most played song on my iTunes by quite a bit.
- The Modern Age (#5)– the Strokes
I said it last year that this song would move up my rankings once it aged a bit, and I wasn’t wrong. It’s my vote for the most “definitive” Strokes song and my review still stays the same.
- Rebel Rebel (Unranked) – David Bowie
I “liked” David Bowie (aka I liked Changes & Modern Love) when I was younger, but it was just after last year’s postings that I really started to get into him. Rebel Rebel was unranked last year and I must say, I think I played this song at least twice every weekend (and that’s not counting what I did during the week) during the school year as everyone has to know. Impossible to not go “doo doo doo-doo-duh-do-doo” when it comes on.
- Forever (#3) – Chris Brown
Even though it’s technically moved up a spot, I have slowly started to not listen to this song as frequently. But again, this brings back way too many great memories and it would be wrong to not include this. Yes, he’s still a major douche.
- Someday (Unranked) – the Strokes
Another unranked song last year, though I admit I must’ve omitted it accidentally, but this song takes me back man. There’s something about this song that’s extremely nostalgic and I would recommend this song only for someone who may not be into the Strokes. Impossible to not bob your head to.
- Sweet Jane (Honorable Mention) – Velvet Underground
Like Bowie, I didn’t firmly get into VU until right after, or right before, last year’s rankings; though it did crack my honorable mentions. But I played Sweet Jane enough, and enjoyed listening to it enough, to believe that as of this posting; it’s in my top-10. I love Velvet trying to be “pop” and though this may not be the one Lou Reed preferred; I do love the album version. How was this not a major hit?
- 99 Problems (#4) – Jay-Z
Still my favorite rap song. I find it hard not to still quote the “pulled over” section that Hov has with the crooked cop. Hits you hard with an intro and still sounds current.
- Hard to Explain (#8) – the Strokes
Yes, another Strokes song. Oh well, they are my favorite band. Anyway, I can’t believe Hard to Explain actually “fell” a spot but I think it’s a testament to how much I loved Rebel Rebel and Sweet Jane. Still a big favorite of mine.
- Walk on the Wild Side (#19) – Lou Reed
I have always loved this song but after Lou Reed’s passing, it became one of my most spun songs. I love Lou Reed’s takes on the Warhol Superstars and love his lyricism.
- Modern Love (Unranked) – David Bowie
I’m equally fascinated by Ziggy Stardust as I am with Bowie’s transformation into pop royalty. Modern Love is the apex of Bowie’s pop career and I find it to be irresistible and proof that he still had it. Impossible to not dance to as well.
- Billie Jean (#17) – Michael Jackson
Every time this comes on my shuffle, I can’t change it. Every song gets skipped now and then, but for some reason I’m always in the mood for this song. Still the greatest pop song ever.
- Read My Mind (Unranked) – the Killers
This was last year’s most glaring omission. I don’t know how I forgot about this song last year, but it has been another consistent favorite of mine. The best song Brandon Flowers has crafted with the best line “the stars are blazing like rebel diamonds cut out of the sun” he has written.
- Taken for a Fool (Honorable Mention) – the Strokes
Post Room on Fire, this is the best song the Strokes have had in my humblest of all opinions as a biased fan. An infectious rhythm, a ridiculously catchy chorus and how did this not go over well on the toxic radio? The album, Angles, might have been recorded in animosity but damn it; they crafted a gem here.
- 11th Dimension (#10) – Julian Casablancas
This song still gets played regularly but its more of a testament to how much my music interest has expanded that it’s actually “fallen” despite the fact I play it often.
- Heroin (Unranked) – Velvet Underground
When I first seriously listened to this song, it was almost like an epiphany. I kept waiting for more, I got entranced by the electric viola of John Cale, I loved Mo Tucker’s drumming and Lou Reed sounded like he was slipping into a high. This might’ve been my favorite song this past winter and while I’ve not played it as frequently; I can’t help but always be captivated by it when it comes on.
- Diane Young (Unranked) – Vampire Weekend
I used to be one of those people that kind of blew off Vampire Weekend as some hipster band, and even if it’s true, I’ve become a big fan of them. I love front man Ezra Koenig’s auto-tuned “baby’s” and while Modern Vampires of the City is a bit more “darker” of an album by them…I love jamming out to this song.
- Here Comes The Sun (Unranked) – The Beatles
You are right Anthony. This does just make you feel happy and optimistic. If a song can do that to you, then it’s pretty damn special.
- New Slaves (Unranked) – Kanye West
I love angry Kanye. I love when he goes straight at your neck and when he samples some real avant garde stuff mixed with a random cameo by Frank Ocean at the end. The second verse of New Slaves is already iconic and this is the newest song on the list but one that still reverberates strongly with me.
- Change Your Mind (Honorable Mention) – The Killers
This song is always there to me and while I never play it frequently, I always still play it. It isn’t one of the instant classics of Hot Fuss (that belongs to Brightside, Jenny Was A Friend Of Mine, Somebody Told Me, All These Things That I’ve Done) but it’s one that just resonates with me.
- Dammit (#3) – blink-182
This song was one of my favorites but I have kinda felt myself aging a bit from blink over the past year or so. This is still my favorite song by them at the least, but I’m not really able to connect with it as well.
- Touch Me (Unranked) – The Doors
I’ve always “liked” the Doors but never to the point of obsessive fandom. Even though they are one of my favorite bands, they are more of a group that I enjoy when someone else plays them. Over the past year that has gradually changed (as in the time before the rankings last year) and Touch Me has become one of my all-time favorites. I guess this shows that who knows what I’ll love a year from now.
- Razorblade (Unranked) – The Strokes
I find it funny that Julian Casablancas’s pretty much ripped off Barry Mannilow’s “Mandy” with the chorus of this song. First Impressions of Earth gets a lot of flak from the mainstream press but there are some legitimate gems on there. It’s an anti-love song and I can picture Julian Casablancas half-heartedly mumbling this during the recording sessions.
- St. Justice (Unranked) – Albert Hammond Jr.
I never was really into any of the side projects from the Strokes, but I have slowly really come to appreciate Albert Hammond Jr’s songwriting. St. Justice was one of the more underrated and underplayed songs of 2013 and was a BIG part of my Fall semester just listening to this on repeat.
- The Show Goes On (Unranked) – Lupe Fiasco
Very good memories from the past surround this song.
Honorable Mention: “Suffragette City” – David Bowie, “What’s My Age Again?” – blink-182, “Gypsy” – Lady Gaga, “Bad Romance” – Lady Gaga, “Black Skinhead – Kanye West”, “There She Goes Again – Velvet Underground”, “Love Will Tear Us Apart” – Joy Division, “Penny Lane” – The Beatles