The Rising – So Alive

So Alive came up a few days ago while I was working and it immediately made me look at what other music this little known #alternativerock band called The Rising had released since then. I didn’t know much about them and So Alive was their only song in my library. Sadly, my research revealed bad news only.

The Rising was formed by Australian singer Michael Johns, and if that name rings a bell to you is probably because he finished in eighth place on the seventh season of American Idol (2008). The Rising’s first and only album, Future Unknown, was released in 2003 and then again in 2008 after Johns’ appearance on the aforementioned TV show. It never really sold much but Michael was then able to release a solo album in 2009 that sold 20,000 copies. The really sad news was that Michael passed away in 2014, aged just 35, of dilated cardiomyopathy. Way too young.

So Alive might be a little known song but that doesn’t mean it’s not worthy of your attention. There are plenty of little gems out there that never received a fair chance. As a tribute to Michael Johns, I thought of sharing one of his best songs with you in this week’s #ThrowbackThursday entry in case you weren’t aware of it. I really hope you can enjoy it!

Featured on the following mixtapes:

SR-71 – Last Man On The Moon

If you have heard of SR-71 at all (the band, not the aircraft), it’s probably because of their 2000’s hit single Right Now, which got a lot of airplay back then. It was their only hit from their underrated debut album, Now You See Inside, but I consider it to be barely the fourth best song on that record. The band from Baltimore, Maryland, went on to release two additional studio albums before calling it quits in 2004 (they had a brief reunion playing some shows together around 2009) and SR-71‘s frontman, Mitch Allan, is still active today as a pretty successful music producer. While they never had another hit as big as Right Now, it could be argued that one track from their last studio album was even bigger because the version of 1985 played by Bowling For Soup became a huge hit without most people even being aware that it was a cover.

Anyway, going back to SR-71’s debut album, the song I tend to play again and again is usually Last Man On The Moon. I love those drums and the overall melody of the track, as well as the way the bridge transitions back into the chorus. The lyrics are enjoyable although not as good as the lyrics for another track in that album: Alive, but I will leave that for another post. Meanwhile, I hope you enjoy this week’s #ThrowbackThursday entry as much as I do.

Featured on the following mixtapes:

My Favorite Highway – Getaway Car

Earlier this week, I mentioned My Favorite Highway as an “obscure” reference. That’s because after one album and a couple of EPs as independent releases, they only released one full album, How To Call a Bluff –in 2008, and then re-released with a couple of extra songs in 2009 under a different label–, as signed artists before quickly disbanding in 2010. Some of their songs from that album appear on some popular shows around that time and they toured with artists such as Hellogoodbye and Kelly Clarkson; but, nevertheless, chances are that you have never heard of them. They never became that popular.

That is a shame, though. This band, originally formed in 2004 by two brothers from Fairfax, Virginia, was really good at writing infectious #poprock tunes that you simply could not get enough of. I think the best example of that was their single Getaway Car, which has a chorus to die for. I really mean it. No matter what mood you are in on any given day, as soon as that chorus starts, it is impossible to remain neutral to it. As this week’s #ThrowbackThursday entry, please let me introduce you to a #musicalcrush of mine from the late 2000s. Hope you like it!

Featured on the following mixtapes:

Wolf Alice – Bros

Two days ago, on my post about Moon Museum, I compared their single to Bros from Wolf Alice, so, naturally, it makes sense to feature that track as this week’s #ThrowbackThursday entry. Bros was released initially as a demo in 2013 but the British band included a reworked version in their debut album, My Love Is Cool, in 2015, and re-released Bros as its second single. A tribute to childhood friendships –as evidenced by its music video, which you can watch below–, it was the only song from that album to enter the main UK Singles chart. With its soft guitar riffs and lead singer’s Ellie Rowsell‘s sweet vocals, Bros is, without a doubt, a great indie track.

Formed originally as an acoustic duo in 2010, Wolf Alice quickly became a fully-fledged alternative rock band. They have released two studio albums since then and are about to drop their third one in June. Three of the new songs are available already and they sound really nice. While we wait for the rest of the new album to drop, let’s enjoy Bros again.

Sum 41 – With Me

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.

Featured on the following mixtapes:

The Wallflowers – Three Marlenas

You might have heard this week’s news on The Wallflowers releasing their first album in 9 years next month. They even released its lead single already, which is okay, I guess, but nothing to write home about. While I’m not a die-hard fan of Jakob Dylan‘s band (I wasn’t even aware they had made an album in the last decade), they do have some really great songs that were very popular during the The Wallflower‘s heyday. Their most famous –and probably best– song is One Headlight, which won two Grammys and became the first song to top all three of Billboard‘s rock charts: modern rock, mainstream and adult alternative.

All that being said, I do have a soft spot for a far more modest single from the same Bringing Down The Horse album: Three Marlenas. It peaked at number 51 on the Hot 100 chart and is not the song most people immediately think about when they hear this band’s name, but it is that song for me. Take a walk with me down memory lane with this week’s #ThrowbackThursday song.

Featured on the following mixtapes:

Twenty One Pilots – Trees

You can love them or hate them but you can’t deny Twenty One Pilots is one of the biggest musical acts out there. They hit it big in 2015 with their album Blurryface and basically every single song they have released since then has become a success. Until not that long ago, I thought that record was their debut album but, as probably know, I was very wrong: it was their third. In 2019, I decided to watch some of the performances from that year’s Reading Festival on video-on-demand, which included this musical duo from Columbus, Ohio. That was the first time I listened to Trees, a little gem from their second album, Vessel (2013), and that they used to close their show (which made me think it was a fan favorite). They put an amazing spectacle performing this track then (you can watch it below) and it blew me away. It immediately became a #musicalcrush.

Tyler Joseph and Josh Dunn are releasing a new album, Scaled And Icy, in May. While we wait for it, please enjoy this week’s #ThrowbackThursday entry: Trees.

Featured on the following mixtapes:

4 Non Blondes – What’s Up

I wasn’t planning to feature What’s Up as this week’s #ThrowbackThursday song when I mentioned it in the Marcelo Deiss‘ entry, but I’ve stumbled upon it quite a few times since then, I even listened to a nice cover I might feature in the near future. It is a great and extremely catchy song, don’t get me wrong, but chances are you know that already. After all, it’s a classic.

4 Non Blondes are considered one-hit-wonders but that’s basically because they didn’t give themselves another chance. The band broke up shortly after What’s Up became an international hit, and it was just the second single off their first and only album. However, lead singer/songwriter Linda Perry remained active within the music industry, founding record labels and writing and producing hits for other artists, including Beautiful by Christina Aguilera. By the way, Linda hated how What’s Up was produced for the commercial version we all know. She preferred her demo version but it hasn’t been released.

One final piece of trivia: the song’s title is never mentioned in the lyrics. What is mentioned, quite prominently, is “what’s going on“. However, there is a classic Marvin Gaye song with that name, which is why, in order to avoid any confusion, they went with What’s Up instead.

Featured on the following mixtapes:

Fireflight – Wrapped In Your Arms

Earlier this week I mentioned the Grammy-nominated band Fireflight and it is possible you hadn’t heard of them before (they do have a decent fanbase but they are not entirely household names either). Therefore, I think it would be pertinent to talk a bit about them in this week’s #ThrowbackThursday entry.

Fireflight are technically a Christian Rock band but not all their songs are about religious themes (I could be wrong but I think the track I’m recommending today is simply a love song). They are usually compared to bands like Evanescence and Paramore just because they are also female-fronted rock bands that often leaned towards the heavier side (Paramore not so much anymore). They were formed in 1999 and have released seven albums so far, including one last year. For Those Who Wait (2010) is their most successful record to date.

This band from Florida got quite a few nice tracks but my favorite one is this overlooked gem called Wrapped In Your Arms from their third studio album: Unbreakable (2008). It wasn’t even a single but it is a really outstanding song. The first half of it is very laid-back and features the beautiful voice of lead singer Dawn Michele’s prominently, but what I really love about this tune is how all of a sudden the whole band comes in after the second chorus taking everything up a notch. Hope you can enjoy this track as much as me.

Featured on the following mixtapes:

Vega4 – Life Is Beautiful

I will keep this week’s #ThrowbackThursday entry short and simple after discussing Vega4 on Monday’s post. In summary, Vega4 was a short-lived band fronted by Johnny McDaid from Snow Patrol. They released two albums but the first one is really hard to find. The follow-up, You And Others (2006), is the one featuring Life Is Beautiful, which had a lot of exposure back then. This song is certainly special but the whole album is really good. I highly recommend it.

It’s sad that Vega4 didn’t release more albums but the silver lining is that the band’s demise allowed Johnny to join Snow Patrol and also write songs for other artists such as Kodaline and Example. As a piece of trivia, Johnny has been dating Courteney Cox since 2013.

Featured on the following mixtapes: