Counting down in reverse order…
5. Ben Lee – “Ripe”
“Ripe” is a Ben Lee song if there ever was one. It has the whimsical delivery, the timid intro, the gradual build that you don’t even notice until the song is over. It’s not arrogant but instead, self assured. Which is exactly what this album is about. Ben Lee continues writing his trademark clap-happy-stomp anthems but the shy confidence is apparent.
4. Jimmy Eat World – “Bleed American
Even in the opening guitar riff, there’s an almost deadly intensity that comes over you when you hear this song. The chorus is a call to arms, an anthem in classic JEW style. It seems to threaten the listener: either you love it or you hate it… there’s no gray area. JEW refuses to play on that middle ground. As the opening track, the song is a warning for the rest of the album, daring the listener to continue.
3. Incubus – “A Crow Left of the Murder”
When A Crow Left of the Murder was released, I was almost worried. I wondered if Incubus was going to be able to combine the ethereal quality that they produced on Morning View with the erratic energy that they showed on Make Yourself and S.C.I.E.N.C.E. This song, along with the entire album, is proof of that success. The song itself is sporadic at times and its shifting guitar lines, layered under Brandon Boyd’s escalating vocals aren’t messy or disorganized. There is a method to their madness and it shows on “A Crow Left of the Murder”.
2. The Strokes – “Is This It?”
The first time I heard the Strokes, it was like listening to pure cool ooze out of my headphones. It’s ridiculous how well they’re able to capture the entire New-York-hipster vibe without coming off pretentious or obvious. “Is This It?” plays off the complete lack of emotion that Julian Casablancas embodies. They’re just too cool to care.
1. Stars – “In Our Bedroom After The War”
It’s difficult to put into words the epic victory that this song represents. It begins with a gradual wake up call that slowly and gradually builds itself into an orchestral explosion. Stars is great with a number of things, but I would argue that creating atmosphere is their strongest skill. And with this song, it definitely paints an image of the “bedroom after the war”. This song is the closing track to the album and I couldn’t think of a more fitting curtain call than this.