The best of the rest

To start my series of favorite songs by favorite bands, I’ll throw in some mini-lists of the best songs by the bands that nearly made my top 10 list.

Evanescence

1. Bring Me To Life – “Save me from the nothing I’ve become…” – This is the song that got me into Evanescence, just like most everyone else who eventually became a fan. It was included on the Daredevil soundtrack in early 2003 and propelled the album sales of Fallen thereafter. It’s basically a straightforward hard rock song, but with unique and creative vocals and rhythms.

2. My Immortal – “When you cried, I’d wipe away all of your tears…” – For many fans, this is their favorite Ev song. Officially, it was one of the first that former songwriting duo Amy Lee and Ben Moody collaborated on, though it was really written by Moody alone. The lyrics and melody are superb, and I thought the rock twist they added for radio was perfect.

3. Going Under – “I’ve got to break through, I’m going under…” – Many Ev fans didn’t like this as the choice for the second single from Fallen, and it really didn’t have quite the mainstream sound that BMTL had. I like the soaring vocals and the short guitar solo, and I’m afraid there will be fewer songs like this one without Ben around for the second album.

Alien Ant Farm

1. These Days – “These days are great, and so are you…” – This lead single from truANT is great: melodic, hard, with a dynamic beat. The video is better: staged at the top of a nearby building during the red carpet show before the 2003 BET awards. There’s not a lot of creativity to be found in hard rock these days, but these guys and this song are fantastic.

2. 1000 Days – “Stayed away a thousand days, and things have changed like a decade…” – The opener to truANT wasn’t released to radio, but in my mind, it was one of the stronger songs on a great CD, really AAF’s only great CD to date. There are more great melodies and rhythms to be found here.

3. S.S. Recognize – “Don’t you recognize I’ll rock the boat again…” – Perhaps the craziest of their songs, and one of the most creative. The vocal and rhythmic changes here, along with some interesting lyrics and an apt title, were probably what convinced me to buy truANT. Both this song and “These Days” were featured in EA Sports games that season, and I probably wouldn’t have heard them without the help of Madden and NHL ’04.

Fuel

1. Hemorrhage (In My Hands) – “Don’t fall away and leave me to myself…” – This was absolutely my favorite song for the better part of a year after Something Like Human came out. There’s really no match for the hooks and emotions of this song, and the guitar’s pretty good, too.

2. Shimmer – “She says that love is for fools that fall behind…” – One of the defining songs of the late 1990s, and the defining song for most fans of Fuel. Their sound was really like no other band’s at the time.

3. Down – “All you ever do is bring me down…” – This is probably Fuel’s hardest song, but to me it’s quite underrated among Fuel fans. Not many hard rock bands have the type of prowess demonstrated in the rhythms and guitars for this song, and its emotive power is out of this world.

Relient K

1. Be My Escape – “But the beauty of grace is that it makes life not fair…” – This is kind of a cliche favorite for Relient K, since their recent album, MMHMM, took them into the mainstream, and this was the lead single. Still, I think it shows them at their best: lyrically creative, impossibly catchy, and rhythmically interesting. That’s what separates them from other “punk” bands.
2. Pressing On – “All my distress is going, going, gone…” – More of a typical punk song, but like most of their work, it’s catcher, shows a little more musical prowess, and it has a message.

3. Maintain Consciousness – “We’re losing interest…” – It’s a cultural commentary that pretty much anyone can understand, and it’s a pretty good song on top of that. It was actually hard to come up with three songs for this, but this one’s the choice. MMHMM just works so well as an album that I lose track of the individual songs.
Chevelle

1. Closure – “You will never belong to me…” – Just a powerful hard rock song, “Closure” puts all those so-called emo songs to shame. Even though there’s not a lot to Chevelle’s songs musically, I really like the direction they take with the guitars and lyrics, and it seems to work best in slower songs like this one.

2. The Clincher – “This body’s left the soul…” – With that said about Chevelle’s slower songs, “The Clincher” has a moderate pace and a hard beat, with a devastating guitar part, and I mean that in a good way. Lyrically, this is one of their best, and it was probably the song that convinced me to buy This Type of Thinking, which eventually led to me buying Wonder What’s Next.

3. Send The Pain Below – “But long before having hurt, I’d send the pain below…” – This is probably the most radio-friendly of Chevelle’s songs, with a decent hook and some power chords, but it’s still a solid song. I like the layered sound this one has going at the end, which probably made me pick it over a few others at #3.

Weezer

1. Buddy Holly – “I don’t care about that…” – Looking back, this was probably one of the best songs of the 1990s. It’s hard not to fall for the hook, and it actually shows off Rivers’ guitar work a bit. Throw in an interesting subject (and a fantastic video for support), and we have a winner.

2. Say It Ain’t So – “Your drug is a heartbreaker…” – I really never liked this song until I started listening to the Blue Album over and over again and thought about what it meant. Assuming it’s serious, it’s a pretty powerful song, and craftily written, too.

3. Surf Wax America – “You take your car to work, I’ll take my board…” – I tried to resist taking three songs from the Blue Album since I like a lot of their other songs, but this one was too hard to pass up. I hear it’s great live, too.

U2

1. Vertigo – “One, two, three, fourteen…” – It’s hard to believe that a band with so much history could have released their best song on their latest album, but I think U2 may have done that with “Vertigo.” I honestly have no idea what it means, and I don’t care. It’s catchy.

2. Beautiful Day – “Don’t let it get away…” – This song sparked their 2000s comeback into the fold of popular music, and it was well-deserved. This is a great song, even if it’s not a beautiful day.

3. One – “One life…” – Lyrically, this is probably their very best song. I like the songs where the rest of the band is more involved, but it’s really hard to pass up a song like this. Now Mary J. Blige is riding it to the top of the charts, too.

Next up is a look at my favorite songs from Death Cab for Cutie and The Postal Service.

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