To me, there are two sides to Sum 41: a lighter, punk-rock embracing one and a darker, guitar-heavy, metal-flirting side. They used to oscillate from one side to another with each album but after switching to the darker side on the album that followed 2009’s excellent Underclass Hero, they seem to have decided to stay there. This coincides with the return of lead guitarist and founding member Dave Baksh to the band in 2013, after a 9-year break. They have released a handful of songs that I like during this time, but the above mentioned Underclass Hero was their last album I truly loved. What can I say? I don’t enjoy metal that much.
That record includes several standout tracks but I’ve decided to feature today one that I didn’t love right away. I don’t know why though, because With Me is truly a great song. As with a few other tracks from Underclass Hero, it’s likely based on frontman’s Deryck Whibley failing relationship with Avril Lavigne, his wife at the time. Besides Deryck’s ability to transmit his raw emotions, what sets this song apart is the great drum part from former band member Steve Jocz. It’s really hard to get those drums out of your head.
Anyway, here’s this week’s #ThrowbackThursday entry: With Me by Sum 41.
To say that I’m Sorry was a catchy song would be a massive understatement. It’s hard not to get hooked with it after just a couple of seconds in. Nashville-based chill-pop singer and producer Mokita wrote it after a conversation with his brother about past relationships and how regretful they felt about mistakes they made. Trying to make it sound even more nostalgic, he decided to make it a duet and managed to convince Bonnie from Stand Atlantic (remember them?) to join forces with him. I’m glad this happened because her voice gives the tune a really nice touch that makes it even more haunting.
To be honest, the first couple of times I heard Hellogoodbye‘s Here (In Your Arms), I didn’t like it. I couldn’t deny the extremely infectious chorus, but everything else about the tune seemed odd to me. It was a classic example of a song that grows on you the more times you listen to it. And listening to this song I did. A lot. Because my then girlfriend (now wife) loved it from the first time, to the point that it was her ringtone for a good while (back when that was still a thing). It’s hard to believe it’s been so long already.
Here (In Your Arms) was the lead single from Hellogoodbye‘s debut album, Zombies! Aliens! Vampires! Dinosaurs!, released in 2006. It peaked a number 14 on the Billboard Hot 100 and was certified platinum in the US. I don’t think the Californian band has been able to replicate that level of success since then, but they’re still around, with a few lineup changes but still led by lead singer Forrest Kline.
I hope you like this catchy song, because it is this week’s #ThrowbackThursday entry.
Speaking of iconic albums celebrating 25 years this month, Oasis‘ legendary album, (What’s The Story) Morning Glory? also fits the bill. It featured hit after hit and if you ask different people what their favorite song from this record is, you will likely get different answers each time. For example, Some Might Say that it is that song; or Wonderwall, which usually tops ‘Best of’ chats and lists; or Don’t Look Back In Anger, recently crowned as the greatest song of the 1990s by listeners of Absolute Radio. However, if you ask me, the best track is one that wasn’t even released as a single in the UK (it was a single in the US though), Champagne Supernova, which is why I chose it as this week’s #ThrowbackThursday entry.
At “just” 07:30 minutes, I love the way this song starts. People complain about the lyrics being psychedelic –i.e: making no sense–, but I think they are great. You give them the meaning you want . You can complain about the track being too long (up to you), but everything else is spot on. Oasis might not exist as a band anymore, but thankfully, we’ll always have this record and, in particular, Champagne Supernova.
“This writer, he was going on about the lyrics to “Champagne Supernova”, and he actually said to me, “You know, the one thing that’s stopping it being a classic is the ridiculous lyrics.” And I went, “What do you mean by that?” And he said, “Well, Slowly walking down the hall, faster than a cannonball — what’s that mean?” And I went, “I don’t know. But are you telling me, when you’ve got 60,000 people singing it, they don’t know what it means? It means something different to every one of them.“
This iconic album, No Doubt‘s Tragic Kingdom, is 25 years old this month, and, as a homage, I decided to feature one of its songs as this week’s #ThrowbackThursday entry. Usually, with bands or albums this popular, I try to highlight the lesser-known gems, but I can’t do that this time around. I got a soft spot for Don’t Speak and can’t pick another song (which would probably have been Just A Girl, which is pretty popular anyway) over it. I’m sorry.
Back in 2007, a little alternative rock band from Pennsylvania released Aurora, their debut album, which got overlooked despite being one of the best rock albums of that year, perhaps even of that decade. I’m talking, of course, of Desoto Jones and for this week’s #ThrowbackThursday entry, I thought we could reminisce about one of the gems in that record.
Three of the five members of Desoto Jones –they are still active– are brothers and while they were recording Aurora, their father passed away. Nonfiction is a an emotional song the brothers dedicated to him. Its acoustic overtones and the heartfelt lyrics intertwine into a beautiful track that doesn’t get old. Listen to this song and then play the whole album. You will see why it is a shame this record didn’t become more popular.
I got a request last week for this week’s #ThrowbackThursday entry: “If You Could Only See” from American alternative rock powerhouse, Tonic. So, naturally, I complied by featuring a different song from the same band (=. I got nothing against “If You Could Only See”. It’s a great song, possible Tonic’s best and undoubtedly their most iconic track to date (after all, it was 1997’s most-played song in rock radio), but that is precisely the reason I opted to talk about a different, lesser known gem included in their 2002 album, Head On Straight, Do You Know.
This song is a guitar-driven alternative rock song with a melodic chorus, but the reason why I’ve always liked it so much is that it got terrific lyrics, which shine the most during the great chorus. I don’t think this tune got much attention back then when it came out, but it’s not too late to give an overlooked outstanding song a second chance. Tonic and Do You Know certainly deserve it.
Punk-rock is still alive. Wishful Thinking is an example of a new generation of pop punk bands ready to take the baton from Blink-182, New Found Glory, and All Time Low (in fact, at times you might think Tom DeLonge is the one singing) . This New Jersey act is not trying to reinvent the wheel as much as simply injecting a breath of fresh air into the genre. They started out in 2016 but after releasing an EP then, the band members decided to take a break to get better at songwriting. They returned this year with new tracks ahead of their debut album, which was released on the 22nd. Preoccupied is one of its singles.
This is a classic pop-punk song with a fast tempo, loud guitars and a catchy chorus. It is a clear example of what Wishful Thinking can do now and the potential they have to keep improving. If you like this genre, you should definitely check them out. You will like it.
We mentioned Bush last week and they recently released a new album as well (unfortunately, it didn’t move the needle for me), and since I’ve been away until now, it makes sense to feature them as today’s #ThrowbackThursday entry. After all, this British band got several legendary rock songs plenty of people love.
I actually wanted to write about Swallowed, but it is impossible to find the album version of that song on Spotify/Apple Music. Anyway, Glycerine is not a bad substitute at all. Bush released this track as the fourth single from Sixteen Stones, their debut album, in November 1995. It reached number one on the modern rock charts and is, to date, the band’s biggest pop hit, peaking at number 28 on Billboard’s Hot 100. As with most of their songs, Glycerine‘s lyrics are cryptic but it is an accepted fact that Gavin Rossdale wrote this tune about his girlfriend at the time (no, it wasn’t Gwen Stefani yet). The track is basically just Gavin’s raspy voice with a guitar and some strings here and there, yet it gets stuck on your head pretty much for the rest of your life.
Without a doubt, this is one of the greatest rock tracks from the 90s. Enjoy it again, here.
For some reason, there aren’t that many rock bands with a female vocalist, let alone punk rock ones. Luckily, we got bands like Stand Atlantic kicking some serious ass while being led by the awesome Bonnie Fraser. This Australian pop-punk band was formed in 2012 and after a series of EPs, they released their debut album in 2018, which made them internationally known amongst punk rock fans. Last month, they returned with their sophomore effort, Pink Elephant, which demonstrates that the band means business.
Blurry is the sixth! single Stand Atlantic has released from this album and it is a great example of what the band does best: high-energy songs with catchy choruses and much darker lyrics. The track got some electronic/synth-based elements that give it a slight 80s aesthetic but it is still a pop punk song with a lot of attitude.