60. Status – Rx Bandits
The Rx Bandits started off as a mediocre ska band before becoming a much better alternative/hard rock band. Status, which is a song on their second album, is their strongest ska song, boasting a fantastic drum part, a strong bassline, and great vocals. Catchy and memorable, “Status” demonstrates that the Rx Bandits could, in fact, write great ska songs.
59. Start Again – Starpool
Short, sweet, and catchy, “Start Again” starts off with a strong horn riff, and doesn’t slow down from there. A solid trombone solo, catchy vocals, and some awesome modulation at the end of the song make for a heck of a ride for a song that is only two minutes long.
58. Misfortune Cookie – The A-OKs
Sometimes, a song portrays emotion in a complex, subtle way, where you often have to really focus on the lyrics and the subtext to grasp the meaning of the song. Misfortune Cookie is not one of those songs. Misfortune cookie very skillfully displays one emotion: annoyance. He’s annoyed at the system (“I still don’t understand why I can’t be happy”) and he’s annoyed with himself (“I can’t seem to find my way out of my own mess.”). Catchy rhythmic lyrics, well-woven horn lines, and the irritated sarcasm The A-OKs have perfected make “Misfortune Cookie” a brilliant portrayal of annoyance with the world around you.
57. Giving It Up – Big D and the Kids Table
The theme of “Giving It Up” is revitalizing the lead singer’s image. There isn’t much to say about the lyrical content aside from that. The real strength of “Giving It Up” is the stupendously catchy main horn theme. The song starts with a catchy horn riff and endlessly repeats it, to great success. The simple melody manages to etch itself into your brain and stay there as you endlessly hum it for the next months. The solo section and bridge are noteworthy as well, but the catchy main horn riff supersedes all as this song plays on repeat in your brain.
56. Water & Air – Something To Do
Something To Do proposes the interesting message that “all we are is water and air.” And I think that they are trying to say that you don’t really have to care about anything. “It’s kind of hard to get excited when I think of what we are.” The message of the song doesn’t really matter (partially because of how hard it is to understand the singing anyway). This song plays off of the same strengths found in “Giving it Up,” by latching on to the repetitive catchiness found in the chorus. The hectic, short and sweet, forte nature of the song succeeds on almost every level and leaves a lasting message that all we really are is water and air.
55. The Impression That I Get – The Mighty Mighty Bosstones
Here it is: The first ska song I ever heard, and in the unsuspecting context of Donkey Konga, possibly the silliest rhythm game of our generation. If I remember correctly, they had a crappy cover of this song instead of the real version. Nonetheless, this was my favorite song to play in the game, and with good reason. The Mighty Mighty Bosstones are held as the standard of what third wave ska should be with good reason. The clean guitar, catchy horns, and upbeat presentation of this song never fail to make me tap my feet and sing along.
54. Red Sweater – The Aquabats
I’ve always thought that Red Sweater is the perfect love song when you imagine it from the perspective of an elementary school kid. Sure, the lyrics, when examined from a more sophisticated mindset, seem silly. When you think about the sincerity of a child singing those lyrics, though, it adds a new layer to an already heartwarming song. Musically speaking, the horn riffs ooze love-song cliche, and the over-the-top bridge is just goofy enough to be charming. Overall, this song is a fast paced, happy break from the normally cynical, broken-hearted ska love songs.
53. Punisher_Downtown – Mu330
This is probably the most hardcore song on this list. The intro features heavy guitar and harsh horns, culminating in an orgy of sound that makes you question whether what you’re listening to is actually music(the “Punisher” part of the song). While many people may be turned off by this style of music, I actually enjoy it. It gives the music a genuine feel of anger. Disgruntled at having to pay fees to perform, Mu330 provides an intense breakdown of their stance on the issue. No song better conveys raw adrenaline quite like “Punisher_Downtown”.
52. Instead – Bumpin Uglies
Reminiscent of Stephen Still’s “Love the One you’re With,” The Bumpin Uglies preach that, “If [you] can’t have love,” you should, “love what [you] have instead”. In a broader sense, the song reminds us to stop worrying and just go with the flow. I honestly think that, philosophically, there are a few song I more agree with. My favorite line, “This life is just a game, but it is one I refuse to lose,” encapsulates my view on life quite well. All philosophy aside, “Instead” has a great acoustic feel, a driving backbeat, and catchy horns.
51. Intro/Tom Cruise Can not be Stopped – The Homecoming Queens
At 1:30, I could consider “Intro” to be a separate song from “Tom Cruise Can not be Stopped.” However, I am not, because the the end of “intro” runs directly into “Tom Cruise”.
“Intro” starts off with different quotes from the album spliced together before going into a cool little horn feature. It’s repetitive, it’s short, and it’s not all that remarkable; for an intro, though, it’s pretty solid. The real strength lies in the second track, absurdly titled “Tom Cruise Can not be Stopped.” This menacing sounding, hard rocking track has catchy horn parts and great vocal harmonies. The song culminates at about two and a half minutes, where most of the instrumentation drops out and it breaks into a vocal feature. From there it layers on more and more instruments and creates a very memorable moment before concluding with a restating of the chorus. Great song from a great, relatively unknown band.