90. This Gigantic Robot Kills – MC Lars
“This Gigantic Robot Kills” is Nerdcore rapper MC Lars’s attempt at making a ska song. Pulling MC Bat Commander from the Aquabats and the horn line from Suburban Legends, Lars succeeds in infusing his personal style into a ska song. With creative use of construction sound effects and Lars’s clever rapping overtop the clean, catchy backgrounds, “This Gigantic Robot Kills” succeeds in every way.
89. Good Enough – Westbound Train
A song about a boy who is too earnest for his own good, there’s really not much complexity to the lyrics of this song. Westbound Train doesn’t need deep lyrics to make a great song. The vocalist of Westbound Train has incredible vocal tone, and the accompanying organ, background vocals, and horns add flavor.
88.Hey DJ – Suburban Legends
The Dance Like Nobody’s Watching EP, which “Hey DJ” appeared on began a new era for Suburban Legends and is, in my opinion, the best album they’ve put out. More disco than ska, “Hey DJ” is the highest energy track on the EP. Highlights of the song include the vocal break at the climax of the song, the bass (especially during the chorus), and the guitar solo, which is the best guitar solo in any Suburban Legends song. The live version of this song is even better, as it includes the trademark Suburban Legends choreography.
87. Every Little Step – Maroon Town
Every Little Step succeeds largely in the same way “Good Enough” does. It’s simple, repetitive, catchy, and clean. The background guitar and drums give this song a distinct flow that remains constant throughout the song that feels much shorter than 5 minutes. I love the vocals in Every Little Step, they sound like they’re rolling off the tongue of the lead singer, and they help add to the song’s already prominent flow of the song.
86. Can’t Stop It – Suburban Legends Ft. Lyrics Born
After Dance Like Nobody’s Watching, the quality of Suburban Legends’ music went significantly downhill. Their most recent LP, Day Job, however, was a step in the right direction. “Can’t Stop it,” the best song on that album, has a feel that’s novel for a Suburban Legends song. It feels a bit like a Sublime song. “Can’t Stop It” expresses the singer’s dissatisfied, though optimistic look on life. The trumpet parts, the sparse harmonica and electric guitar that layer the background, and Lyrics Born’s vocals are my favorite parts of this song.
85. Anarchy in the Pre-K – The A-OKs
“Anarchy in the Pre-K” is the first song on this list by a new favorite of mine, the A-OKs. While the charm of this band is lost on some people, their distinct style of satirical lyrics and unpredictable tempos gives them high marks in my book. “Anarchy in the Pre-K” showcases these strengths. The A-OKs provide a surprisingly accurate caricature of the teenage mindset. The song culminates with a catchy horn break before finishing off with a catchy, insightful ending: “believe it or not, the world still turns the same without you.”
84. Bad Habit – Chase Long Beach
The layering of guitar and horns gives “Bad Habit” a unique feel, setting this song above most other Chase Long Beach songs. But what stands out even more in this song is the terrific, high-energy horn break at the end. I also love the desperation and insecurity in the lyrics.
83. Bats in the Belfry – Dispatch
I first heard “Bats in the Belfry” about five years ago on a Reel Big Fish (or maybe Suburban Legends) Pandora station. The song was immediately stuck in my head. “Bats in the Belfry” offers a complex cymbal-based drum part that backs the great vocal and bass lines. The horn parts are simple but sufficient. This is a track you won’t mind having stuck in your head for weeks.
82. Dreaming of You – The Coral
“Dreaming of You” is the first song on this list that I have performed live. I played it for a talent show audition. We passed the audition, so “Dreaming of You” has a special place in my heart. The persistent bass line really stands out, as does the guitar — especially the evocative solo that concludes the track. It’s also hard not to love a song that features glockenspiel — keep your ear open for it. The song climaxes with emotional group vocals which sending the song off on a somber, moving note.
81. What I Got – Sublime
Sublime is one of the most popular third wave ska bands, and with good reason: The mellow flow exemplefies ska’s easygoing roots, but also feels distinctly 1990’s. “What I Got” was one of their most popular songs. Lead singer Bradley Nowell sends a loving, don’t-sweat-the-small-stuff message that evokes War’s “Why Can’t We Be Friends.” With a catchy guitar line, plenty of Nowell personality, and a great chorus, “What I Got” shows why Sublime made it big.