Even though there’s been a lot of great music added to my iTunes library in the past few weeks, I still like to take a break from the newer stuff and go back to some of my favorite songs from years past. These three songs (and their respective albums) have earned a few plays alongside the albums I’ve been reviewing lately, and they deserve their due. There’s a bit of variety between the tracks, but they’ve all got strong vocals and songwriting, and that is what makes me return to them time and again, even though they’re no longer new and shiny.
1. “Lust A Prima Vista” – The Spill Canvas
This is one of my favorite opening tracks, and it just so happens to appear on one of my favorite albums. The way that the quieter guitar and drum parts build up to the danceable opening riff is perfect. As Nick Thomas sings his series of damning one-liners, the track is nearly non-stop aggression without being heavy and manages to be somewhat uplifting as he sings, “there’s nothing wrong with being lonely.” The song has more than its fair share of interesting guitar, bass, and drum fills and the addition of hand claps at the end of the bridge is one of my favorite moments in any song by The Spill Canvas. Though the band’s status is somewhat hazy at this point in time, their music still holds its own among others on my list of favorites, and this song is a strong reason why.
2. “I So Hate Consequences” – Relient K
I’m not the biggest Relient K fan, but I am a huge fan of Mmhmm. The album strikes the perfect balance between upbeat pop-punk and beautiful piano-based balladry, and the band manages to capture that formula entirely within the scope of this song. Opening with driving drumbeat and vocal parts, the track hits a verse that trades vocals between Matt Thiessen and Dave Douglas, to great effect. The chorus is huge, but the true genius of the song begins at the bridge, when the two trade vocals again for a short moment, until everything but piano cuts out and Thiessen takes sole duties with an incredibly heartfelt performance. Though I’m not religious, I still find the beauty in the words and melodies he sings, which speaks volumes to how well this song is written. I wish I could pick some lyrics out to highlight, but I’d find myself quoting the entire song, since they’re all so great. I’m really hoping to hear this at the Pittsburgh stop of Warped Tour this week.
3. “Children Of Divorce” – Jonny Craig
Yeah, he’s a huge asshole. We’re past that by now. I can’t say enough good things about his music, and one of my biggest concert regrets is not seeing him perform when he was on his solo tour or with Emarosa. There’s some sort of magic in his voice that is undeniable and keeps drawing me back in for more. This track is much less layered than the rest of his album, but he doesn’t really need anything aside from what’s here. The chords are simple, but his voice really shines and the lyrics are more personal than anything else he’s released, be it solo or in one of his bands. A Dream is A Question Your Heart Doesn’t Know How To Answer was my favorite album of 2009, and it still holds up two years later. The melodies and emotion in this song are a large part of that. Here’s hoping he can complete a follow-up sometime soon. Until then, I’ll settle for seeing him with Dance Gavin Dance and keep spinning this record on a regular basis.