20) Voodoo Six – “Sink Or Swim”
These guys recently opened for (and are getting a big “follow this band” push from) Iron Maiden, which should tell you where we’re starting in terms of sound. They’re less European power metal and more American blues metal to be a true comp, but if heavy riffs and gruff vocals are your thing, this is a great listen. I could totally see this song being used as a wrestling PPV theme song, as it has that “fight or flight” lyrical theme over a bed of muscular guitar. Great work-out song.
19) Paramore – “Still Into You”
Easily my favorite video of the year, as I can’t imagine anybody having more fun in filming something as they did during this. Plus the song is catchy as hell and just has this infectious joy about it. I couldn’t listen to this kind of sugar-sweet pop all the time, but when done well, I can totally get behind it.
18) Filter – “It’s My Time”
Filter had always been a one-hit wonder to me, with their mid-90’s industrial anthem “Hey Man (Nice Shot)” being used for just about every sporting event video imaginable. I was a little surprised when they released The Sun Comes Out Tonight earlier this year to hear they had turned their sound much more radio friendly. Even more surprising was to find this haunting piano ballad tacked on near the end of the album. A beautifully dark song sung to perfection by Richard Patrick. Just gorgeous.
17) Ghost B.C. – “If You Have Ghosts”
The story of just who is Ghost B.C. is best left for my Top Albums column, but suffice to say it’s an intriguing one. Meanwhile, in addition to a fantastic full length album put out early in the year (which I loved, but can’t really pick a singular track from) they released a mostly-covers EP titled after this Roky Erickson cover. I’m at a loss to explain why this version jumps out at me so much, but man, once I hear it I want to keep playing it on repeat. Very Blue Oyster cult sounding for those who need a point of reference before clicking the link. Produced by Dave Grohl of Foo Fighters fame, which adds another twist to the band’s unique backstory. But again, that’s for another time.
16) Grand Design – “Baby It’s You”
Another cover, this is a completely epic and pompous updating of a 70’s Canadian pop song that was already overblown and pompous to begin with (check it out here if you dare: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-pJVdIKHO8o). The Grand Design version probably isn’t for everybody, but I love this kind of melodic cheese when it’s done with conviction.
15) Daft Punk – “Get Lucky”
Look, there’s a reason this was considered the song of the summer. The melody is infectious, the groove is unmistakable (talk about finding the pocket), and the lyrics are fun to sing along too. Plus Pharrell Williams nails that R&B vocal. Front-to-back this song was just brilliantly put together and as much as I hate disco, sometimes you just gotta give it up to something that is this ridiculously catchy. Now where are my metal records?
14) Alpha Rev – “Lexington”
Entry number two from the brilliant Bloom album, this song is the one that made me keep going back to the album in the beginning. The thunderous drums are really what do it for me here, laying a bed upon which the bass and mandolin then use to lift the lyrics to another plain. I seriously can’t say enough good things about this song.
13) Waltham – “You’re Everything That I Want”
My second favorite music video of the year just for the sheer genius of its simplicity. The song is something Rick Springfield might have recorded in 1982 if not for the fact that it’s 2013 and the band is a local one, based out of and named after the town I live in. Come to think of it, these guys probably listened to a lot of The Cars growing up. Love the “epic guitar solo filled with passion” (and the screen shots from GN’R’s “November Rain” video that go with it). Pure power pop gold.
12) Katy Perry – “Roar”
Yeah, I like Katy Perry. I’m assuming after my Lady Gaga admission earlier this won’t come as some huge surprise. Besides, this song is an incredible anthem that I would totally rock out to on a treadmill like that guy in that add if I ever bothered to get on one in the first place.
11) Blue October – “Bleed Out”
Got into this song and band thanks to one of those “if you like that you’ll like this” links from the website I stream on. Took me awhile to warm up to it, but when I did I found I really like the husky Peter Gabriel quality of the guy’s voice. He really soars on the chorus which is a great way to hook me in. This song was originally somewhere up in the 20’s when I first did this chart but has rocketed up to #11 in recent weeks as I just can’t get that chorus out of my head.