Everyone loves a bonus. Something extra, the whipped cream with a cherry on top, the little surprise at the end of something great. As a music lover, I always get a little excited when bands announce that there will be bonus tracks on upcoming releases. Though sometimes b-sides are b-sides for good reasons, others make it hard to believe that they weren’t included on the actual album. For me, the following three songs live up to those kinds of expectations. They are the reason I’ll always spring for the deluxe edition of new releases. It’s a bit of a toned-down week for recommendations, but worth every extra minute spent checking these songs out.
1. “‘Til Kingdom Come” – Coldplay
Originally written for vocalist Chris Martin to sing with Johnny Cash, this song is one of my favorites Coldplay has ever recorded. There’s just something about the way that the low notes on the piano and simple guitar work with Martin’s nearly spoken vocal parts that draws me in and makes me want to hear more. There’s a sincerity behind the lyrics that I really appreciate, and the recording leaves room for minor imperfections, giving the track a personal, live feeling, as if Martin and the rest of the band are there playing it for you. This is easily my favorite song released with X&Y.
2. “Papercut” – The Summer Set
The Summer Set has quickly become one of my favorite pop bands, and this song is a perfect example why. Though this is a more reserved track than most of what can be found on Love Like This, I’m a big fan of how Brian Dales’ voice sounds over acoustic guitars. His lyrics manage to be personal and universal at the same time, with some really great lines throughout the song (“what’s the fun in never fucking up?”). The song isn’t as sugary-sweet as “Chelsea” or “The Boys You Do (Get Back At You)” or quite as mature as Everything’s Fine, but acts as a sort of stepping stone between the two, mixing catchy hooks with somewhat more refined melodies. The guitar parts, while simple, are perfect for the track. I think it’d be interesting to hear an entire album of the band doing acoustic tracks, if only because this one turned out so well.
3. “Make Believe” – City & Colour
Though a well-crafted album, City & Colour’s Little Hell seemed to suffer from the growing pains resulting from the expansion of the band’s sound. While songs like “Northern Wind” and “Silver And Gold” held true to the roots of what made initial fans fall in love with the band, others (“Fragile Bird,” “Natural Disasters”) explored new territory, impressing some and turning others away. “Make Believe” is the sort of song that should appeal to fans of the older material. Based around a well-crafted acoustic riff and a rolling melody from Dallas Green’s flawless voice, the track expresses doubt in religion. Lacking any sort of chorus, beautifully harmonized “oohs” and a great clean guitar part fill the space between verses and close out the song, allowing the listener time for consideration of the lyrical content. Now that Alexisonfire is gone, I’m interested in hearing where City & Colour goes. As long as they still write songs of this quality, I’ll keep coming back for more.