Joe’s Pick: “The Reckless and the Brave” – All Time Low
Released last month from the band’s as-yet untitled album due to be released this fall, this track will appease many long-time fans who weren’t particularly thrilled with Dirty Work. With Alex Gaskarth’s vocals sounding stronger than ever, solid drumming from Rian Dawson and an absolutely soaring chorus, it’s a terrific song to blast in your car during the summer. A return to Hopeless Records along with a confirmed guest vocal from Jason Vena (Acceptance)? I smell a potentially great pop-punk album in the making.
Jacob’s Pick: “Love Actually” – Cady Groves
When I first came across this song about two weeks ago, I was hooked immediately. As I’ve gotten a little older, I’ve grown less ashamed of my affinity for powerful pop hooks, and this song has one of the biggest I’ve heard all year. There isn’t a day that goes by where a large portion of my time isn’t spend singing to myself, “CAUSE EVERY SINGLE DAY IS LIKE WOAHHHHH!” Though the song certainly isn’t heavy by any means, the lyrics are a little sad, but still manage to be hopeful. This might be my favorite pop song this year, which says a lot considering that fun. put out a whole album in February. If I believed in guilty pleasures, this would probably be one. Luckily, I don’t, and neither should you. Enjoy this. Enjoy it a lot.
Corey’s Pick: “Scarlet” – Periphery
Periphery’s Periphery II: This Time It’s Personal is one of the best metal albums of the year so far, and “Scarlet” is a testament to that. The song’s fantastic vocals and intricate guitars instantly make it a memorable song in the band’s discography. “Scarlet” is a huge indication that Periphery are capable of writing music that is both heavy and melodically soulful.
Jarrod’s Pick: “There’s No Leaving Now” – The Tallest Man On Earth
The not-so-tall Swedish folk songwriter inspires and pulls at your every string with the sixth track off his latest release. Kristian Matsson does a brilliant job working wonders with nothing more than a single instrument behind his beautifully elegant tone. Something so inspirationally simple should be a feat others should aspire toward. Simply put, this track resonates beyond what most albums are able to accomplish – brilliantly written, structured and performed, in all its elegant simplicity.
Kaitlin’s Pick: “Bad Religion” – Frank Ocean
This track off Frank Ocean’s debut album Channel Orange is really quite chilling. An introspective lament, “Bad Religion” beautifully showcases Ocean’s vocal talents, but the real star of this track is the songwriting. Knowing the details of his recent coming out, the honesty and emotion of the lyrics is simply moving: “I could never make him love me/Never make him love me…It’s a bad religion/To be in love with someone/Who could never love you.” To create a track with this much passion on a debut album is not a feat to scoff at.
Landon’s Pick: “Imitation of Life” – R.E.M.
With fluctuating gas prices and constant vehicular expenses that need to be tended to, this summer I had no choice but to return to my usual seasonal job to make a little extra cash. From stocking shelves to assisting disgruntled customers, there’s no shortage of labor to add to my boredom this summer. However, there is one thing that tends to be worse than the actual work that needs to be done: the music that’s played. Providing you with an “elaborate” selection of everything from Nickelback to Selena Gomez to Little River Band to…well, more Nickelback, it makes me long for the lives of workers who are allowed to listen to their iPods. However, there are occasional selections thrown into the mix that make my shifts somewhat tolerable, like this fantastic track from R.E.M.’s 2001 record Reveal entitled “Imitation of Life.” Working as the first single, this song shows what makes R.E.M. one of the greatest alternative acts of all-time: weirdly effective lyrics, melodic, passion-filled vocals from Michael Stipe and a hauntingly beautiful chorus. Though it only got to #83 on the Billboard 200, this song will always hold a special place in my heart as the song that helps me get through those dreaded 9-5’s.
Tim’s Pick: “Summer Fling, Don’t Mean a Thing” – New Found Glory
I can’t help but fall in love with the latest single off Radiosurgery. It’s catchy, it’s heavy, it’s fun, and it’s relatable. And isn’t that what New Found Glory has become known for? I couldn’t have been happier when they played this song at Warped Tour a couple days ago. What made it even better was catching a guitar pick from Chad Gilbert at the end of their set. I was so excited to see them that I bought a NFG shirt, and since then I’ve been blasting them through my car all around town. I think I may have found my newest addiction, and this song epitomizes everything I love about these guys.
Dylan’s Pick: “I Was Born” – The Menzingers
There was a lot of hype and positivity surrounding The Menzingers’ 2012 release On The Impossible Past (I gave it a 9 out of 10) but let’s not forget about the band’s incredibly stellar 2010 release Chamberlain Waits. I’ve been jamming this record a lot lately and the standout track for me is always the second song, “I Was Born.” It represents everything anyone could love out of an upbeat indie/rock/punk song. This upbeat jam triggers so many emotions with me, mostly due to Greg Barnett’s heavy yet clean vocals throughout the song. I feel everyone should just listen to this song and remember that pure in-your-face, untampered rock ‘n’ roll is still very much alive.
Nick’s Pick: “Cult of Personality” – Living Colour
This week I haven’t been able to get enough of Living Colour’s hit “Cult of Personality.” This is one of the best hard rock songs of all time. Every time it comes on with its powerful opening riff and poignant lyrics, you can’t help but get stoked. Not only is the song politically demanding but it also features the most unreal guitar solo of the ’90s. It is addicting, exciting and is pro wrestler CM Punk’s theme song. Blasting it on these hot summer days will set a tone for awesomeness.
Megan’s Pick: “Failing Is Not Just For Failures” – Listener
I can’t really explain what it is about this song that impresses me. I appreciate the coexistence of music and lyric, and the non-dominating factor of both. I really agree with this song’s defining message, and the truthfulness in it. Its personal touch helps as well. I guess what I’m most enthralled by is its overall convictions and strengths; its ability to analyze death and deny it, to remain hopeful and sincere, and to offer wisdom is a big deal. This song is its own inspiration, encouraging perseverance and offering variety to an otherwise negative environment. It gives a very uplifting meaning, and serves as a remedy to any bad day.