Continuing from where I left off last week, the next three songs on my list include the first track released from an unlikely reunion, a new recording of one of the first songs from an infamous split, and one of the best songs from a phenomenal album that came out of nowhere.
1. “Best Places To Be A Mom” – Taking Back Sunday
When frontman Adam Lazarra posted a demo of this song on SoundCloud around a year ago, the buzz was huge. The return of John Nolan and Shaun Cooper had fans excited, but this was the first tangible piece of music to make their presence known. The track comes out of the gate with an unlimited amount of energy, some nice harmonies, and a massive chorus. More than fulfilling the promise that the announcement of this lineup offered, the song tops everything from New Again, as well as a good deal of the material from Louder Now and even Where You Want To Be, combining an element of maturity with the band’s familiar sound. While some would have preferred to hear more from Nolan and might consider tracks like “This Is All Now” or “El Paso” to be stronger, this is the one that took the cake for me from this album and earned its spot on my year-end list.
2. “Why I’m Home” – Go Radio
Though this is one of the oldest Go Radio songs, I’d actually never heard it until the release of Lucky Street last March. In the time since then, it’s quickly become one of my favorites the band has ever written. I’m a sucker for piano and Jason Lancaster’s voice, and when they’re both together and at their best, it’s difficult to think of something I’d rather listen to. The chord structure is phenomenal, and the string section makes this song irresistible. While I usually love everything Jason writes, the lyrics and melodies in this track are particularly well-constructed. The song is dynamic, moving, and something that is constantly in my head. Certainly deserving of a spot on my personal list, I can’t recommend this song, album, or band enough.
3. “Motions” – This Love
If there’s a band that exceeded expectations in 2011, it’s This Love. While the phenomenal At War cannot be overlooked, this song is the perfect example of the album as a whole. Balancing between the epically huge and the reserved, this is simply a well-crafted piece of music, managing to be more than just a simple song. The guitarists play creative riffs, set the tone of the track with ambient parts, and even include a well-writen solo, while the drums draw my attention, something that is a rare occurrence. At times, the guitar parts and some of the “oh”s are a bit reminiscent of Anberlin, but it’s difficult to complain about a similarity in style when it’s done so masterfully. On not only this song, but the whole album, the lyrics and vocal parts are some of my favorite from the year. Overall, the dynamic changes and careful construction of this song make it one of the best of 2011.