30) Crashdiet – “Cocaine Cowboys”
A song I’m pretty sure Mötley Crüe wish they had written. At the very least they can rest knowing they most likely inspired it. Pure 80’s sleaze metal from the Sunset Strip, via Sweden in 2013 (a logical journey, to be sure), albeit with a weird southern rock riff embedded in it. Also, +1 for the lead singer’s ridiculously over-the-top mohawk.
29) AFI – “17 Crimes
Emo bands of the late 90’s/early 00’s seem to be like alterna-punk bands of the early 90’s in that the longer they last, the cleaner and poppier their sound gets. AFI is on their way to being the Goo Goo Dolls of emo if their latest album is any indication. This track keeps some of the attitude of their old stuff, but it’s a much more polished sound. If this list has proven anything it’s that I’m a sucker for a catchy chorus.
28) Jaded Sun – “Left In A Hurry”
Originally not in my top 60, it was in the 40’s after a few weeks and now sits here at number 28, so that should give you an idea of how much I love this song. Jaded Sun is a British blues rock band that was doing more of a Black Crowes retro thing (which I was totally fine with) until this year’s 4-song EP SJ1 where they updated their sound a bit or at least shifted from retro blues to more of a retro Merseybeat thing. As with most songs I love it’s the chorus that suckers me in, the urgency of the vocals the main culprit. This is the kind of song that when it comes on while I’m driving I tend to find myself suddenly going faster than I should.
27) Flyleaf – “Something Better”
I just discovered this band this year thanks to a mostly-live EP meant to showcase their new lead singer. The EP led off with this studio track, and while most of the band’s hardcore fans (if the internet is to be believed) don’t care for her much, I really liked it. It’s so ridiculously catchy I’m more than a little surprised it didn’t become a big hit. File away with bands like Paramore and No Doubt and enjoy it, because I sure as hell am.
26) Robert Persson’s Humbucker – “Haunt My Mind”
When I first posted this video a few months ago I described it as Tom Petty merged with Matthew Sweet and that still holds today. Another in a long line of Swedes playing American rock n’ roll from the 70’s and 80’s (is *everybody* in that country in a band?). An upbeat rocker that gallops along and doesn’t overstay it’s welcome.
25) Vertical Horizon – “Frost”
Song number two from Vertical Horizon and my favorite track on the album, this one’s much slower but not really what I’d call a “ballad”. More of a slow burner that builds in the second half with a little of The Edge-style guitar that really amps up the intensity. Such a wonderfully crafted song.
24) The New Shining – “Wake Up Your Dreams”
No Swedes this time, instead it’s a Dutch band that came out of nowhere (for me) and delivered one of my top 5 albums of the year. This title track is a galloping number that has a bit of a Dave Matthews feel to me. The link is actually for a live version that in a way I slightly prefer to the studio one thanks mostly to the trippy breakdown that comes at about 2:30. It’s kind of haunting and I love it. I got into this band so much over the last few months that their 2012 album gets retroactively rammed into my top 5 from last year as well.
23) Paramore – “Now”
I had no idea who Paramore was until I randomly clicked on a link to this video one day while checking out other stuff on YouTube. Once I got over the creepiness of the lead singer’s bleached eyebrows, I found myself completely drawn in by their sound, particularly her voice. I pretty much became obsessed with the band for the next few months, going back and visiting their back catalogue and wondering how I had missed out on them for all these years. Such a great sound.
22) Arctic Monkeys – “Do I Wanna Know?”
Had a friend try to get me into these guys about a year ago, but it didn’t take. Then I heard this single of their new album and for some reason I couldn’t get it out of my head. There’s just something about the slow march quality coupled with the insistent guitar refrain that makes it impossible to turn it off.
21) Alpha Rev – “Lonely Man”
The fact that this is what will be the first of three songs off of Bloom should tell you what my album of the year is going to be. This particular song is somewhat out of character for the band, finding this odd Chris Isaak-meets-Johnny Cash sound that matches nothing else in their catalogue. But that’s precisely what I love about it, the way it stands alone as a great song without succumbing to a “sound”. They used this for a recent episode of the TV show “The Mentalist” and I nearly came out of my chair when I saw the ad. Awesome.