featured photo by Nikki
“Hold On Pain Ends” by The Color Morale
This song is dedicated to every single person who has suffered or still suffers from self harm. “And for the record I refuse to be ashamed of all my scars. You and I are both the same.” Vocalist Garret Rapp spent a year working their merch table, meeting tons of of people, most of which had scars. From their legs, to their thighs, arms and some; their faces. What makes this song so compelling is how much they care for their fans. They take the time to talk with their fans and listen to their stories.
The Color Morale held a contest last year and the winners all came together and helped record the last few lines. “You and I have already started to die. And now that I understand, why I’ve never felt quite so alive. And I feel like I’ve sang about scars a hundred times, but for the record I’ve found the reason for mine.” This shows that even Garret has scars of his past and understands how it feels to not know why we have scars. He knows what it is like to not feel alive.
This song isn’t just The Color Morale’s, it is ours as well. We’re one and the same.
“Pittsburgh” by The Amity Affliction
The first single released from The Amity Affliction’s latest album Let the Ocean Take Me, “Pittsburgh,” is one of the best songs of 2014. Many songs have been released this year, but not many are as great as this one. From relatable lyrics referring to a person with suicidal thoughts, to a children’s choir singing on the track (adding a darker aspect), and a perfect balance between clean vocalist Ahren Stringer and heavy vocalist Joel Birch. “I can’t take another step/ l cannot live inside my mind/I can’t face another day/I am so [flipping] tired.” This song is very personal for Joel Birch. It’s about feeling like you’re trapped by depression and trying to fight against it. Some speculate this song was inspired by a near death experience he had a year ago or so. He wrote this song to fight off the monsters within. “This one’s for me, because I need to exorcise these demons,” sings Birch.
Making this a wonderful anthem of trying to hold on and keeping life together.
“Cover You Up” by Real Friends
Keeping with their classic pop-punk image while also creating fresh and original music is a feat that not many bands have been able to accomplish, but Real Friends’ song “Cover You Up” does both. It deserves a spot in the top eight songs of 2014. Lyrically it stays with the theme of the band, pushing images of loss yet triumph, the feeling of moving forward and gaining the strength to be independent. Lines like, “I only miss you late at night when I can’t sleep,” or “I find comfort in weakness because it’s always there for me” provide a strong connection between the band and its listeners by bringing common feelings to light. Musically, it is taking major steps forward also, which can be seen through the new instrumental patterns and overall maturity, both of which could be attributed to their signing with Fearless Records. The lyrics, mood and overall aesthetics of this song can make almost anyone feel a personal connection with this five piece Chicago band, and “Cover You Up” is one of their absolute bests.
“Your Graduation” by Modern Baseball
Coming from a band comprised of a few college kids that are used to playing in people’s basements in Philadelphia, Modern Baseball’s new album You’re Gonna Miss It All was a big step forward for them. The song “Your Graduation” is arguably the most popular song on the album, and for good reason. Apart from simply being a catchy and upbeat song about life as a twenty-something-year-old, the song represents some great aspects of the band. Through their lyrics Modern Baseball shares a rare connection with ordinary listeners, making them feel as if they are all connected in some way. The band does not portray themselves on a pedestal, and lines like, “I swear this has got to be the hundredth time I’ve thought of you tonight” really push the idea that they are just like everyone else; they experience hardships, sad times, and self pity. “Your Graduation” is a song that brings many of these thoughts to life, shows positivity through adversity and is a sure winner for the top songs of 2014.
“History” by This Wild Life
This Wild Life, an acoustic duo, released their debut full-length album in May of this year. The disc’s highlight is a track titled “History.” Covering a very relatable subject, “History” tells the thoughts of a man contemplating leaving his current relationship from a troubled perspective, focusing on the decisions to be made despite an extensive past. Kevin Jordan emotionally sings, “We’ve got a lot of history but there’s too much space between you and me. You have plans and I have dreams, but do I have the guts in me to leave?” The lyrics put the listener in his shoes, causing contemplation of current or previous relationships. “History” makes a connection so real that you’ll feel as though This Wild Life is always right there beside you, understanding you. The deep thoughts paired with an infectious acoustic sound keep “History” forever in your head. That’s good because unlike the man in the song, you will never question for a second that you might want this song to leave. Trust me, you won’t want it to.
“Stingray Affliction” by Issues
One of 2014’s best comes from a new band fronted by both Michael Bohn and Tyler Carter, named Issues. “Stingray Affliction,” from the band’s eponymously titled debut album, proves to be one of the year’s most interesting and exciting songs. Each member in this six piece comes from a different musical background and with “Stingray Affliction” it shows in the best possible way. It opens with heavy guitars, DJ scratches, and catchy drum beats as it moves into Bohn’s screaming verses, seemingly trying to be a solid hardcore song. It quickly appears Issues has an agenda of their own when the track transitions into a chorus of hard rocking electro-punk where Carter belts out his gripping vocals. As if you already couldn’t be thrown for another heavenly loop, the bridge takes you to Carter’s true showcase where it all slows down into a smooth R/B feel that will leave you breathless. By the end of this musical thrill ride, your brain will try to wrap itself around how it all flows together so effortlessly but the only cure is to put this catchy masterpiece on repeat and be blown away.
“Escape Route” [Deluxe Version] by Paramore
Running away and starting a new life is very appetizing to many who are trying to get out of their hometown to a big city and start their dream life. Writing a song on this popular topic could be seen as redundant. Almost a year after the debut of Paramore’s self-titled album, the band has released the deluxe version of this chart-topper. “Escape Route” is arguably the most prominent, being a new deluxe release-only track. This is not just any ordinary song about escaping to your new life. The singer, Hayley Williams, touches on the fact that many do have this dream, and she is not the only person in the world that is “miserable” with their current life. “Where I’m going is everyone’s story. We want, you left, we left to start over. It’s not a question of who are we really. It’s who we want to be”. Williams makes it known that many have this dream, and she is not the only one. It shuts down the impression that someone who wants that life is “special.” It eliminates the feeling of being an “outcast”. It gives an isolated dreamer a sense of community.
“Say Goodbye” by Krewella
“Say Goodbye” by the new and improved Krewella has hit the internet with the intention of making a statement. This song was the Yousaf sisters’ response to Rain Man’s legal action, and a new direction to the group. This new track runs away from the popish melody of their first album Get Wet and has a more rockish feeling to it, officially falling under the drum & bass genre. Wanting to prove that they are serious musicians, the Yousaf sisters released this song in response to their partner and producer suing the group for wrongfully banishing him from the musical act. Producer Kris, “Rain Man” Trindl, has stated some pretty serious accusations of his former band mates, sisters Yasmine and Jahan Yousaf: that they kicked him out so they only had to split the profits two ways rather than three. Bashing the sisters’ musical skills, Rain Man received many supporters, while the sisters were receiving hate messages from many former fans. Jahan and Yasmine briefly responded asking the fans to stick around for their rebuttal after consulting with their legal team. A few days later, all of Krewella’s social media profile pictures were changed to a completely black photo with faint writing that read “Say Goodbye.” Many took to the comment boards starting rumors that the group was disbanding due to the lawsuit. The next day, a song was released titled “Say Goodbye.” The lyrics state “It still kills me, that I can’t change things. But I’m still dreaming. I’ll rewrite the ending, so you’ll take back the lies, before we say our goodbyes.” These lyrics could arguably be interpreted as being directed towards Rain Man. Whether or not every fan likes the new direction, Krewella is showing that they are sticking around. This song is the beginning of the “new” Krewella.