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I have a certain respect for punk orientated bands that are able to mix emotion with the standard punk music. Rise Against are a perfect example of this; throughout their entire back catlogue you start to see a pattern. Their songs feature many different themes, however the one thing that is obvous in every one of their songs is that they are well written and intend to serve a purpose.

Like The Angel‘ focuses on a man, presumably lead singer Tim McIlrath, who seems to be torn between the career he has chosen as a musician and the woman he loves. It’s clear exactly how he feels about this woman, and the fact that he is away from her clearly kills him. The song is beautifully written to articulate that fact and the music works incredibly well to symbolise the brutality of the music he plays, mixed with the sorrow of his frayed relationship.

Close Competitors:

Hero Of War

There are amazingly beautiful songs in this world, and Hero Of War is one of them. Again, dealing with a subject matter that the band truly believes in (the futility of war), they are able to evoke such emotion in such a small amount of time. The song takes the form of the inner monologue of a young soldier and how good war sounds. But in a beautifully clever fashion, the song reaches the climaxes of being a huge middle finger to the principles of war and how futile it all is.

Swing Life Away

Rise Against are one of the bands that cannot make a bad song, and they also can’t make a song that doesn’t evoke some sort of emotion. ‘Swing Life Away‘ is a bittersweet song that deals with the underprivileged, and how, despite their situations, are still able to make the best of their situations. With lyrics mentioning; “I’ve got some friends, some that I hardly know, but we’ve had some times I wouldn’t change for the world.”, it had the ability to give an insight into the forgotten people of the world whilst still showing how admirable they are.
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For Australian hip-hop, this was the song that made things start to happen. Very little hip-hop from Australia had been popular before this (other than bands like 1200 Techniques and their 2002 hit ‘Karma‘). But this song not only cemented the mainstream popularity of Australian hip-hop, but also the mainstream popularity of bands such as The Hilltop Hoods.

This song, like the majority of Hilltop Hoods songs, is built around a sample. In this case, the song sampled is ‘The People In The Front Row’ by Melanie Safka. It was quite possibly the title of the sample that led to the name, lyrics and meaning of the song. The song focuses on the ideals of having a great time, whilst dedicating the song to “my people in the front, in the nosebleed section.

To me, it seems that the general appeal of this song lies in the groundbreaking factor that this song yielded whilst being able to deliver a fresh sound whilst mixing in older hooks. Mixed with the lyrics that the general punter in the nosebleed section could relate to, this song has every earmark of a successful song. And of course, all Aussies love homegrown music, so there was no chance this song was going to fail to be a success.

Close Competitors

The Hard Road

3 years after the Hilltop Hoods released ‘
The Nosebleed Section, they released their most successful song to date. This song, ‘The Hard Road‘ focused on the idea of how the band had “gone down the hard road to get where they are today. With sharp, insightful lyrics (although the lyrics at times border on distastefully funny; “I’ll finish with a bang like Kurt Cobain’s biography“), the song manages to make a strong point regarding the lives of the members  and their pasts, presents and futures.

Once again, this song is built around a sample (‘Out In the Woods‘ by Leon Russell), and again it is the ability to mix older styles with newer, fresher beats that heralds the song’s ability to be successful. But of course, Australian hip-hop is still fresh, so while the band is able to make catchy tunes that the average punter can relate to, their songs are bound to be successful.

63. Polka – Yves Klein Blue

So it happens like this; a small Australian band releases an EP in 2008 and one of the songs becomes massive, and I am talking f***ing huge! ‘Polka’ made it’s way onto national car advertisements and alternative radio, but no one knew anything about the band. But of course, that doesn’t matter, because the song holds it’s own and keeps up its popularity.

The song is a fun little ditty about drug use and the repercussions of such. But the references to famous musicians, the seemingly run of the mill experiences for drug users and the overall bouncy and enjoyable vibe to the song made the song so catchy. And in a style similar to Third Eye Blind’s ‘Semi-Charmed Life’, no one ever realised the drug references and the song became huge.

The song has an amazingly fun feel with jazzy, polka style chords that add to the bouncy rhythm of the song, and the singer’s voice has guts, real power that has great potential in terms of heavier songs. But the song itself is so raw and fun, that no one ever seemed to mind loving a song about drugs, they were too enthralled by how clever and amazing the song sounded.

64. St. Anger – Metallica

You want to know something? I disagree with the bandwagoning of this album. It wasn’t a terrible album. It wasn’t their best, but it was still a killer album. If you want proof, there are two songs you can listen to; “Frantic” and “St. Anger”. St. Anger is a monster of a song that contains every single little thing a rock song, let alone a Metallica song, should contain.

The song starts with the album’s trademarked low tuned riffs, before the ‘infamous’ drums comes in. These ‘infamous’ drums came from Lars Ulrich’s drum set having a far more ‘metallic’ and crass sound when compared to other albums. However, in my opinion, this adds greatly to the character of the album, but I digress. The song then moves into classic Metallica territory with Hetfield’s voice and slow guitar chords. But then the pre-chorus comes in which raises the tension in the song. But the defining point of this song is the chorus; “Fuck it all and no regrets, I hit the lights on these dark sets. I need a voice to help let myself, to let myself go free.” Now, every time I listen to this song, the strangest thing happens; I get chills the second time that Hetfield sings “Madly in anger with you.” Every time without fail, but only on the second time that he sings it.

The song itself is an aural assault that does not let up from the moment the song starts, until the moment it finishes. It’s a perfect timeless piece of thrash metal that still cements itself as the most important Metallica song of the new millennium, and in my opinion, it will always stay that way.
If ever a song could be classified as the epitome of indie, this would be it. It has been called the anthem for the indie generation by some (namely me), and it rightly deserves such a label.

This collaboration of Ben Gibbard from Death Cab For Cutie and Jimmy Tamborello from Dntel became popular after their first and so far only album Gave Up, in 2003. The most popular song from this album was Such Great Heights, a gentle indie pop song that managed to become an underground hit despite not even getting into the top 40 in many countries. The song managed to become one of the most popular songs of the year and even managed to appear on many critic’s ‘Top 10’ lists.

The song begins with an electronic rhythm that shifts into deeper electronics. A beat comes into the song before Ben Gibbard’s soulful voice comes in to balance the track. The lyrics are themselves soulful and beautiful and have a delightfully fragile charm to them. It’s such a beautiful song that has been inspirational to, and loved by thousands of people through it’s great charm.
This song has a very nice charm to it. I don’t know whether it’s the heartfelt honesty in the lyrics or whether it’s the fun rhythm that makes this song sound so nice, but whatever it is, it does a great job in making this song a classic.

The song starts with a simple guitar riff before a thumping beat comes into the song. The vocals start and then a lovely handclap beat starts coming into the song. The fun in this song is obvious it’s not funny. But the lyrics are beautiful, with one of the chorus lines being “Dead lovers salivate, broken hearts tessellate tonight”, the sense of love and loss is very apparent, and once this is added to the style of the singer’s voice, another emotional aspect is seen. The dedication is seen and its clear that you can almost feel what he is singing about. This song is beautiful. I want a sequel.
With this song, my faith in garage rock is renewed. This young band from Victoria made a significant impact in the world of alternative music in 2006, but it wasn’t until 2008 when they released their debut album, did they begin to receive great recognition.

Put simply, these guys sound like a rock band. No freaked out solos and inventive drum beats, but pure plain and simple rock and roll. Even their songs, well at least this one is, are about the rock and roll lifestyle. Vocally, their singer has a clean voice that suits any rock band out there. But it is the way the band manages to put their music together that makes this song work.

As I said before, the vocals are quite unique. By unique, I mean there is nothing unique about them. They are quite plain, but this works to the advantage of the song. The chorus shows an awesome ‘vocal riff’ that would get some rather loud attention at concerts, but the way that their singer expels the energy out as he sings it shows dedication as a musician and that is one very admirable thing.