Hunting High and Low: Newly-Discovered Songs (not the a-ha album)

I’ve been combing the internet, iTunes, and getting lots of recommendations from friends lately; as a result, I’ve found a ton of hot songs you should definitely know about. Here’s a list of my favorites with commentary:

  1. “Boston,” by Augustana
    This comes as a recommendation from Brian, creator and writer of The Doppler Effect. The first part of the song is a bit slow and honestly, not my favorite. But the song has a wonderful crescendo in terms of intensity as time progresses. The peak, so to speak, (“I think I’ll go to Boston”) will get you every time. With a driving piano, washing crash cymbals, and brightly singing strings, the main chorus sets a glorious tone by which you will remember the song. If you mix The Goo Goo Dolls and Jack’s Mannequin, this is what you get. And speaking of Jack’s Mannequin…
  2. “The Lights And Buzz,” by Jack’s Mannequin
    To fully understand the lyrics of this song, you have to know the rough experience through which lead singer Andrew McMahon has fortunately lived. This song (as well as another, “Katie”) is all about his 2005 battle with leukemia. Thankfully, he made a full recovery, and wrote this song around Christmas, 2005 to commemorate this recovery. The song is pure JM, and fans of the band will know this. The use of different vocal effects throughout the song and the high pitch of the piano give this song a light and airy feel, while the chorus brings it back down to earth. It’s only available on iTunes.
  3. “Treading Water,” by Tokyo Rose
    A dark punk ballad, “Treading Water” is a slow, relaxing tune that will definitely calm you. The lyrics are some of the best I’ve heard from the punk genre; the swimming metaphor is both surprisingly deep (pun intended) and easy to understand. This song was originally featured in one of the first Facebook+iTunes lists, and certainly deserves to be featured again.
  4. “Time Bomb,” by The Format
    If any modern song reminded me of Queen, it would be “Time Bomb.” But this imitation is indeed a sincere form of flattery. Almost everything about the song, from the lyrics to the piano, are reminiscent of Freddie Mercury and his amazing band. The only difference is the percussion section, which produces a decidedly modern beat. This song was also featured in a Facebook+iTunes list.
  5. This spot will be shared by four songs all by the band m-flo: “Astrosexy,” “Reeewind!,” “A.D.D.P.,” and “How You Like Me Now?” And if you were already wondering why these titles seem to indicate pop music, it is because they do! But we are not talking about American pop, oh no. The band m-flo is strictly J-Pop. But these four songs are not the annoying ballads you might hear in your local Asian grocer, rather, they are quite danceable and have great rhythm. Overall, they are very enjoyable songs, even if you cannot understand some of the lyrics (some are in Japanese, after all). All songs are available on the American iTunes store, but additional music may be found in the Japanese store.
  6. “Konstantine,” by Something Corporate
    Boy, I just love those Andrew McMahon songs. Before the pianist played for Jack’s Mannequin, he was with Something corporate. “Konstantine” is the bonus track on the album Ready…Break. It’s very, very long (at over 9 and a half minutes), but is definitely a trip worth taking. This song is one of the most mature songs I’ve heard from McMahon during his time with SC. You’ll be able to find it on the internet with a bit of searching (not that I condone that sort of thing).
  7. This spot will be shared by three songs by the band The Early November, “Long Talks,” “A Little More Time,” and “Scared To Lose.”
    The Early November is a little-known alternative/scene band who released a monumental three-disc album, entitled The Mother, The Mechanic, and the Path, last year. As the album is so huge, many of the songs are similar and, quite honestly, not that noteworthy (with the exception of the 3rd disc, The Path, which needs to be listened to in its entirety in sequence). But these songs are my favorites of the first two discs; they have the style of the Foo Fighters, but with less intensity. It’s rock, but it’s very easy to listen to.
  8. “You Only Live Once,” by The Strokes.
    This is one of the most upbeat, yet one of the most original, songs I’ve heard. It’s a perfect way to close out this list. The syncopated rhythm (provided by hi-hats and tambourine) of the verse mixes well with the entire song, and indeed gives it a unique twist. The guitars’ melodies and licks remind me of those of classic rock, perhaps from the ’70s, but as a whole, the song is distinctly modern. It, like all of the other songs on the list, is a great find.
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