Awhile ago on my old page i wrote a thing about good songs by bands i thought weren’t really that good. That can be applied to quite a few different groups and songs, so i decided to do another post in that vein. The difference on this, and for post with this title from now on is that it won’t be a top ten, but rather a list of songs. Anyway, Here’s Part 2 of Good Songs by bad bands
311, Beautiful Disaster
I was a fan of these guys long ago, but somewhere along the way they lost me. Either way, this might be their best all around song. Nick Hexum’s voice is really crisp on the track, and the rhythm section gives the fixed point and from there on the song flows in a really positive way. For real though, there’s not enough that can be said about the layers and effect used on Hexum’s voice. Not that he doesn’t have a good voice, but for some reason I just really dig the production value of this song. I feel like if they did more songs like this, i’d dig them. To be honest though, they may very well have songs like this, but i haven’t tuned in in over a decade, so i would have no clue.
30 Seconds to Mars, the Kill
Another act that I simply lost track of along the way, but they do have some solid tracks. “The Kill,” their best known song, is a powerhouse of a track, and it sees the band becoming bigger as the song progresses. The strength of Leto’s voice is hard to beat when compared to other songs, and the soaring qualities he employs absolutely go hand in hand with the style of drumming exhibited here. The band hasn’t really been taken seriously, or as seriously as they should have, but this quality track is a stand out among modern rock radio, and it’s still a very well known song. Among their catalog, “The Kill” is at the same time their most well known song and their best, most emotionally powerful song.
Bruno Mars, Locked Out of Heaven
I would have never touched I’d be saying this before it occurred, but his Super Bowl performance was one of the better one’s we’ve been treated to in the last decade. On “Locked Out of Heaven” you can see why. His voice has an old school soul vibe, and the backing band is tight in ways that most modern pop musicians aren’t. The whole song oozes fun and makes you want to dance the night away. Lyrically, the song goes back and forth between downright dirty and heartfelt, which is a thing not everyone can accomplish. A pure party song at it’s core, “Locked Out of Heaven” helped to bring Mars to a whole new level, and it’s well deserved.
Cheap Trick, Surrender
The opening of the song is drums! In the era they were in, this was a pretty powerful song, and thankfully it’s stood the test of time. While the drums are the most stand out trait of the song, don’t discount the rest of it. The guitars are perfectly written, and the melody is the stuff of legends. I read an interview once where people talked about the combo of the two good looking guys with the two off kilter fellows, and how it was weird enough to work. Well, they ended up being one of the biggest bands of the era, and “Surrender” is still a track that people love to sing along to.
There’s this video online called “The Greatest Hit of Disturbed” which is basically a joke about Draiman’s vocal style, and it’s one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen, but it got me thinking about what I consider to be their one authentically good song. “Prayer” is a anthem made only for the Ozzfest circa early 2000’s fanbase, but it is a good song. His voice especially on the chorus has this deep bellowing effect that makes the entire song worthwhile. Draiman’s voice has always been the best quality of the band, and when he’s actually singing and not doing that thing that he does, he is a good vocalist. They really should do more tracks with him singing more often, because they can be enjoyable.
Lady Gaga, Bad Romance
Apparently i just involuntarily put mostly pop songs on this list. For that I’m sorry. Anyway, I’m always written off Gaga as a musician trying to be as weird as she can because she thinks it makes her more interesting. In my opinion she essentially was an easier to get into version of the avant garde pop of “The Knife.” Either way, this is one of the best song’s under her umbrella. The beats work in a pure dancehall type of way, and her singing is impeccable. It’s really to bad that she seems more intent on being the “weirdest” person in pop music, as opposed to being a legitimate artist. That chance is likely long gone, as most fads fade, but if she could someway deliver more songs like this, there’s a chance.
Metronomy, A Thing for Me
The instant i heard this track, i was in love. Even about this spoke to me. The vocals are a perfect amount of high pitched perfection, and the indie keyboard adds a gloriously fun touch to the track. This is a song made the late night indie dance circuit, and even after years i still think it’s an excellent track. The issue is that the majority of their other material doesn’t bring out the fun that “A Thing for Me” manages to deliver in a very quick burst. It’s a shame too, because this song has remained a favorite of mine for years, even if the band isn’t that good overall.
Miley Cyrus, Wrecking Ball
One of the best song of the year it came out in, I think she really missed a great chance to became a truly iconic artist. The song is terrific, and I’m not ashamed to say i’ve listened to it multiple times. The sincerity and strength of her voice pulls you in and makes her pain your pain. The issue with me is the video. It could’ve been a cinematic achievement, but instead forever it'll be known as the video where she took off her clothes for a possible sexual predator(director Terry Richardson)?). Getting back to the strong points though, her voice had never been that strong, and it really drives home the fact that she is a legitimately good singer. The song works so well because we’ve all felt this way in various relationships. and it’s part of why the song was universally loved.
Rancid, Ruby Soho
Quite simply, i never liked Punk music as the whole. Except for Bad Religion, Pennywise,and a few others, it just isn’t my thing. For some reason though this song has always been a favorite of mine. The beats are quick and to the point, and while the vocals by Armstrong leave something to be desired, the chorus is where it kicks into full energy high gear. I remember it being quite popular at the time it was released, and for my money it’s still a pretty good track. I have no idea who “Ruby Soho” is, but the song remains fun even after the fact that it’s almost 20 years old.
Taylor Swift, Shake it Off
For some reason, the more song’s this girl write about her ex’es, the bigger she gets. I’ve been told she’s branched out a bit on her newest album, and on “Shake It Off” she seems to take all the ammunition against her and manages to turn it into a tongue in cheek song. The most shocking thing about her new found approach to pop music is that it actually works. The song is insanely catchy, and it’s hard not to get pulled in on the fun. Her voice is also really tight and works in ways it didn’t(at least for me) while she was a bona-fide country artists. This is Swift’s attempt to make a modern pop masterpiece, and if the reviews of the album and the sales are any indication, she succeeded admirably.
See you next week!
Landon Murray is a published writer and an avid lover of music, books and films. He's also a lover of the New Orleans Saints. He was born in 1982 and has a chainsaw tattoo on his arm.
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