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My Top 50 Songs

A fun little exercise I did. When I went through my library and chose contenders I picked around 160 and narrowed it down. It was interesting to see where I ranked songs that used to be my favorites when I was first getting into music with my favorites today. I think the National had the most nominations with around 10 and As Cities Burn close behind with like 8. I have 3200 songs in my iTunes library at this moment, which is probably not a huge number in comparison to many other Sputnik users, but here's my top 1.5%. Descriptions start at 20.
50Bon Iver
The Haunting
48Brand New
47The National
Fake Empire
46Blood and Water
45Third Eye Blind
44Brand New
Play Crack The Sky
43Arcade Fire
Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels)
Two Bit
The Beautiful Letdown
40Godspeed You! Black Emperor
Deathkamp Drone / [Antennas to Heaven...]
39The National
Mr. November
38Bon Iver
The Wolves (Act I And II)
37Arcade Fire
Rebellion (Lies)
35Bon Iver
34As Cities Burn
This Is It, This Is It
32The Gaslight Anthem
The Patient Ferris Wheel
31The Classic Crime
30Jon Foreman
Southbound Train
29The State Lottery
27Relient K
I Celebrate The Day
26Godspeed You! Black Emperor
Lift Yr. Skinny Fists, Like Antennas to Heaven...
25Death Cab For Cutie
A Lack Of Color
24Manchester Orchestra
Simple Math
23Future of Forestry
Slow Your Breath Down
22Paper Route
Cutthroat Collapse
20Titus Andronicus
The Battle of Hampton Roads

When I first made this list this was left off. I'm not as infatuated with the
Monitor as most are here, but then I realized that not including it was a crime. I
plopped it down in the 40's but then I realized that was a crime too. Bumped it
up a little, then a little more, and it found its way into the 20 spot. The word
"epic" is insufficient.
19Sigur Ros

Like running up a mountain and then jumping off a cliff and flying.
18Sanctus Real
We Need Each Other

Band is decent at best, but We Need Each Other is incredible. Positive energy
unleashed, We Need Each Other is a universal call to friendship and
17The Fold
Beside You Now

Another gem from an average band. They have one golden egg of a song that is
Beside You Now. Fast subtle rhythm, bittersweet, heartbroken lyricism, and the
sickest double vocals you'll ever hear, Beside You Now is a diamond in the
16Third Eye Blind
God of Wine

The final song in the closing trifecta, God of Wine is intense, moving, and an
ideal closer for a classic album. The part where Jenkins sings "The god of wine
comes crashing through the headlights of a car that took you farther than you
thought you'd ever want to go, we can't get back again" is chilling.
15The National
The Geese of Beverly Road

Likely the National's best lyrical song, which is certainly saying something.
Highlight lines include "Hey love, we'll get away with this, we'll run like we're
awesome, totally genius," "We're the heirs to the glimmering world," and
"Come be my waitress and serve me tonight, serve me the sky with a big slice
of lemon."
The Fisherman Song (We All Need Love)

The story of meeting a fisherman. Clever symbolism and a driving finish make
this so memorable. Also an incredible live song.
13The National
Apartment Story

Apartment Story groves, swells and builds subtly. Layer upon layer, it's the
crowning highlight on the near-perfect Boxer.
12Relient K

Deathbed is a song about a man dying. He reflects on his life and the choices he
made. Incredibly genuine and a sprawling eleven minutes long, Deathbed is
about as ambitious as a pop punk band can get.

My limited exploration into this band beyond this song has revealed this: they
are the definition of your average pop rock/rock band. So Everything is likely a
fluke, a rare mathematical oddity that an average band can release an
emotional epic of enormous magnitude. Forgotten both by their fans and much
of the time myself, Everything is a secret tour de force of lyricism and emotion.
The Unwinding Cable Car

For a long time I would have said The Unwinding Cable Car was my favorite
song, and though it has grown off of me slightly, it's still up there. It has the
most plays in my library with a staggering 149.
9As Cities Burn

The conceptual idea behind Clouds is quite imposing. The first few minutes are
merely different vocal samples of people's opinions regarding God with some
minimal instrumentation. When the full band comes in they rebuke all of them
remarking brilliantly "I think our god isn't God if he fits inside our heads."
Perhaps the best conceptual song I've ever heard, both in its general concept
and its execution.
8Third Eye Blind
The Background

The Background is the prime example of the personal nostalgia of Third Eye
Blind's self titled debut. The guitar effects are impossibly close to home and
those lines "the plans I made still have you in them" and "I only know because
I carry you around in the background" get me every time. A song you feel long
after it's through.
7As Cities Burn

Timothy is where As Cities Burn finally lets go. All of the pain throughout the
album is gently released and they are truly broken. The final words to close the
album are magnificently dark and comforting at the same time.

I think everyone wants to like the children's choir technique more than they
actually do because so many times it is used cheaply as a disingenuous way of
creating humility, but Anberlin sure don't do it that way. Even without them
though, (*fin) is the perfect album closer. Seeing this performed live and
hearing the audience sing the part of the children's choir while Stephen
Christian sang his part is likely my favorite concert experience.

In a certain sense I'm frustrated that Mae released this song because I'm not
sure that a 14 minute piano suite by just another alternative band will ever be
able to reach the acclaim it deserves. I don't listen to classical music or
instrumental piano music much at all, but I feel as if those people that do
caught on to Seasons and took it seriously it could be immensely successful.
4Third Eye Blind
Motorcycle Drive By

To be honest I don't know how to explain why Motorcycle Drive By is so good, or
much of the album it comes from. All I can really say is that few bands have
ever packed so much emotion into a single song. In a certain sense I pity
everyone who has yet to hear it, or anyone that fails to appreciate it, because
Motorcycle Drive By is about as personal as music gets.
3Sigur Ros
Untitled 1

Let's be serious, Untitled 1 is musical perfection embodied. A six and a half
minute emotional catharsis that doesn't even use real words. Chilling,
frightening, and riveting.
2Pedro the Lion
Secret of the Easy Yoke

On first listen Secret of the Easy Yoke is actually quite boring. David Bazan
mumbles through most of the song, as he does on much of the album, but
multiple listens reveal the song's power. A more deeply personal song may have
never been written, as Bazan comes clean on his faith and really his entire
outlook on life. An extremely influential song on me personally, in fact if any
song has ever been "life-changing" for me it is likely this one.
1As Cities Burn

Really it's an easy pick. From the shimmering synths at the start to the
climactic guitar frenzy, Contact is perfect in its lyrics, vocals, production,
instruments, structure, you name it. The complexity of the ideas running
through Contact are mind-boggling both within itself and in relation to the rest
of the album. The part where Bonnette sings "God, does grace reach to this side
of madness? Cause I know this can't be the great peace we all seek" and the
following instrumental section is easily my favorite moment in all of music.
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