Monday, 25 July 2011

10 Great Against Me! Songs

This is the first blog of it's kind here at Voiddrops. I'm all about trail blazing, much like the band featured in this list. Against Me! is a quartet from Gainesville, Florida, specializing in an unique brand of punk music, yet never limiting themselves to just that label. I discovered Against Me! in 2004 and they've quickly become one of my favourite groups. Here's a selection of 10 of their great songs!

1. "Bamboo Bones"

The last track on 2010's White Crosses is a never-give up, do or die anthem. It's chorus latched on to my brain and I found myself singing it out loud throughout my work days. "Bamboo Bones" is a great song to scream out loud during Against Me!'s live shows, which, with such relentless energy and fury, is how they gained such a loyal following in the first place.

2. "We Laugh At Danger & Break All The Rules"

Against Me! were one of the first bands I knew to have long song titles that weren't incorporated somewhere in the lyrics. This song is a favourite at live shows and begs to feature the audience on backing vocals. Front man Tom Gabel notoriously seldomly reveals what his songs are about. The general consensus about this one is his love for music and is a love song for his guitar...some of the lyrics make me question that.

3. "Up The Cuts"

2007's New Wave is a remarkable album, it was dubbed their breakthrough and was their first release on a major record label, which makes the 2nd track "Up The Cuts" kind of purposefully ironic. It's a dig at the stagnant music industry and the diminishing uniqueness and talent in modern recording artists in favour of style and image.

4. "You Look Like I Need A Drink"

This one started my love affair with the band. My friend in Vancouver who had just seen them live suggested I check them out, figuring they'd be something I would dig. This was the first song I absorbed and I immediately jizzed all over myself. I picked up the record As The Eternal Cowboy and I still believe it to be their best. Now as a standing order I buy every Against Me! album, without needing to hear a song from it first. I can trust it to be great.

5. "Searching For A Former Clarity"

From the album of the same name, this is one of those Against Me! songs that truly showcase's Gabel's exquisite song crafting abilities. A slow, sombre and at times silent introspective  about a young man at the end of his life, and the terms he comes to grip with.

6. "Borne On The FM Waves Of The Heart"

Featuring Canada's Tegan Quinn of Tegan & Sara, this one is a relationship tale sung by both parties involved. I love the build up in this one, much like a real relationship discussion. Starts out innocent enough, but without grip it can explode into something else entirely

7. "T.S.R"

Standing for This Shit Rules, the kick off track on ..Cowboy is a quick, to the point, punk jam. It features one of my all time favourite song lyrics "If these are my friends and this is my home and this is how I spend my nights. How I communicate and demonstrate a love of life..."

8. "Walking Is Still Honest"

A classic. Not much needs to be said about this one. Just Against Me! at their best.

9. "How Low"

Before it's release in 2005 several of it's track were leaked on the internet, since whoever leaked them didn't know their intended names they used the stand out words in the lyrics as such, "How Low" was one of those tracks. It's a moody song about Gabel's attempt to give up drugs. Clarity had some great confessional lyrics on it and they are exemplified superbly here.

10. "Because Of The Shame"

End on one my favourite AM tunes. Kind of a sobering story behind it as well. One of Tom's old friends was murdered after moving away several years ago. At the funeral her mom told Tom that she was upset because she thought his song "Thrash Unreal" was a jab at her and that Tom owed her a song. This was that song. The similarity to Springsteen's "No Surrender" was deliberate as he was one of his friend's favourite artists.

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Saturday, 9 July 2011

10 Great Break-Up Songs

It happens. It's something everybody goes through, the break up. Like death and taxes it's almost inevitable, when 2 people decide they no longer feel something for each other they walk away. Free and clean. Sure, when has it ever been that simple? Here are 10 songs for the all the different emotions equated with the demise of a once cherished relationship.

1. Greg Kihn Band - "The Break Up Song"

Had to do it, it was unavoidable. Greg Kihn will always be best known for his anti-Valentine's Day anthem "The Break Up Song" . Telling the tale of a relationship on the rocks and finally wrecking all over the shore. He beats it into your ears with the constant "unh unh unh" almost as if to say "You know what happened and you know it will happen to you too." They sure don't write 'em like that anymore.

2. Damien Rice - "Rootless Tree"

I've always said on Damien's first album O he is falling in love and on his sophomore release 9 he's had his heart ripped out of his arse. "Rootless Tree" is a surprising offering from the usually romantic Rice. It's obviously about a relationship that was based on lies and when those lies came to light...well let's just say the song's chorus speaks for itself...

3. Brand New - "Seventy Times Seven"

Ahh the soap operatic world of Brand New and Taking Back Sunday, I won't get into all the gossip and details here, but i'll say sometimes a great break-up song isn't always solely aimed at someone in the relationship. Some, like "Seventy Times Seven" are aimed at the other-man as well. Great lines in this song include "I've seen more spine in jellyfish; I've seen more guts in 11 year old kids" and "you're as subtle as a brick in the small of my back"

4. The Streets - "Dry Your Eyes Mate"

Hey, let's admit it guys...we aren't always cool as ice and hard as stone when the girl of our dreams walks away. This is a woeful offering from the Streets, the man is in full desperation mode, trying anything for his girl to stay with him. It's simple. It's heartbreaking. After it's all said and done, it's therapy.

5. The Supremes - "Keep Me Hanging On"

Ever been kept on someone's hook? Lead on for months or years? Only to have it go no where and be completely one-sided? That's where The Supremes come in with "Keep Me Hanging On", even for it's time it's a very strong and relatable song. Diana Ross has a perfect voice for it, behind the powerful and honest words is a hint of heartache. Do not keep someone else's heart on your hook. It's just not fair.

6. Five Finger Death Punch - "The Bleeding"

One of my favourite ways to numb the pain of a break up is by simply blasting the heavy metal. It's good to know someone else was as angry or depressed as you were, but through the intensity of the music, survived. Five Finger Death Punch are one of the shining stars of the current metal scene and "The Bleeding" is a perfect psychiatrist for someone left alone. The video gets a little bleek, let's hope it never really came to that.

7. T.O.E - "Choke"

"Choke" is a straight forward, tell it like it is, no holds-barred break up track. There's no begging to stay. There's no remembering the good times. Just "Fuck off oh and by the way...take this with you" Nice.

8. Crowded House - "Don't Dream (It's Over)"

OK there are times when all you want to hear is sad music, a song that could make you cry. Maybe somewhere she is also listening to sad music and crying about you as well. It's a welcome break from all the thoughts of her being anywhere else and having the time of her life while you're drinking beer in your basement by yourself. "Don't Dream (It's Over)" is timeless, teenagers of the future will be singing along to the mournful lyrics of Crowded House for decades to come.

9. Alkaline Trio - "Jaked On Green Beers"

Hey buck up! Sometimes you're the windshield, sometimes you're the bug. Here's a song for the windshields. Alkaline Trio crafted a great song about dumping someone for being an all around terrible mate and friend. In true Trio fashion it's got some dark lyrics juxtaposed against an upbeat punk rhythm. "I hope this is goodbye".

10. Against Me! - "Cavalier Eternel"

Gonna end with some hope. I've spoke of Tom Gabel's knack for lyric writing before and this song exemplifies that beautifully. At the end of the day, when all tears are dried up, when all curses have been swallowed, perhaps the break up was for everyone's best interest. You will love again and someone will love you again. Other Against Me! break up songs include "Borne On The FM Waves of The Heart", "We Laugh At Danger And Break All The Rules" and of course "We're Breaking Up"

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