“Ten Years Older” by Jarrod Gorbel. Leading man of The Honorary Title, Jarrod Gorbel, released a solo EP (also titled “Ten Years Older“). I have always appreciated The Honorary Title, and Gorbel’s emotion filled vocals. His lyrics are deceptively deep, and his voice is more than a vehicle for words, it is an instrument that highlights the important ups and downs of his music and lyrics. This song, in particular, manages to grab hold of me, and has me singing along, “I know, I know life’s so unfair, will you still escape under the brilliant glare, it’s the high that conquered you, stole the soul from the friend that we knew”.
“Hippy Jam Fest (The Likes of Which Has Never Been Seen)” by This Town Needs Guns. I found this song on iTunes available as a single download (I cannot give a link for it because they do no have it on Amazon.com). The opening is rife with guitar, drums, and bass; a persistent sound that is both chaotic and formulaic. As the opening settles, both female and male vocalists sing “so hold me close and so tight, the morning comes, light reflects in your eyes,” and goes on to express how they will both sacrifice their lives, theirs families, their peers, for only each other. As they sing, the music builds and blends into the voices until it is again the opening chaos. The song’s sound is unrefined, but it enhances the beauty of the words. It is an emotional song, and the music reflects it without question.
“At the Bottom” by Brand New. One of my all time favorite bands. Brand New provides to its listeners lyrics that are poetic, deep, and honestly, damn frightening. Jesse Lacey brings an intensity to the words that no other front man has, at least in my opinion (well, I might have to say Morrissey does that, too, as front man of The Smiths). The music for this song heightens the emotion, bringing an almost dream, nay nightmare, quality to the song. There are overlapping sounds of drums, guitar, bass and what sounds like a keyboard set to a reverberating tone. There are so many levels to this song that it is impossible to say that one stands out from the rest, however, it does not create a negative effect, as one would assume, it all comes together as a complete experience. The pinnacle is when Jesse Lacey sings: “I’ll carry this box to its proper place, and when I lower it down, I’ll let you fade away. I hope that you would do this for me. I’ll serve you drugs on a silver plate, if I thought it would help you get away. I hope that you would do this for me.”
“Tightrope” by Yeasayer. I found this song on the Dark Was the Night compilation. I am not sure what drew my attention to it over the others, all I know is that it has a pull for me. It is rhythmic with a perpetuating drum beat and percussion section. The primary sounds are a tribal drum, a tambourine, a keyboard, and the vocals. What really is memorable about this song is the vocals. The lyrics are simple, and repetitious, but not in a bad way, rather in a way that emphasizes his voice as another instrument. He sings: “So I think I can solve all my problems by myself, well nevermind, nevermind, nevermind, nevermind, nevermind, well you think you can solve all your problems by yourself, well nevermind, nevermind, nevermind, nevermind, nevermind, well give me, give me, give me, until you can’t just give no more, get it, get it, get it, until you just can’t get no more.”
“Stay With Me” by Finch. An oldie, but a goodie. When I was in high school I began listening to more alternative music. I delved into the world of Drive-Thru Records and their post-hardcore emo eclectic. Enter: Finch. The band impressed me with the way that they could have romantic songs with such raw sound. Remember, this was in the days right after the pop explosion where boy bands and pop princess ruled the airwaves (and I owned every single N’Sync album, mind you, and quite a few Britney ones), and there was not as open a market for experimenting with sound. This song, in particular, was my favorite from their What It Is To Burn album. I loved the lyrics, as Nate sings, “Once again your eyes make it hard to say goodbye, so I’ll just keep driving. Where you want to go, it doesn’t really matter, as long as you are here with me, with me, with me. Whoa, there’s something in the air tonight, something that makes me feel alive, and I say, Whoa, what were the words that you said to me that made me feel so special now.” The instrumentation is relatively basic, with common beats and overlapping guitar, bass and vocals that common of this genre. With that said, it doesn’t take away from the song, especially if you like those bands.