I’ve always loved Christmas music, although as an adult my tastes have tended to lean away from the standards and more toward rock covers or original songs by rock bands. I know, I’m predictable. Anyway, this year I wanted to compile a list of my favorite Alternative Christmas songs to share with everyone. Some of these may be on the obscure side, not because I have hipster music tastes but because a lot of them came off of compilation CDs that are likely out of print (99X used to release some great Christmas albums, and I don’t know how many of those songs are now available on iTunes.) A few quick notes:

  • I use Christmas as a catch-all for holiday music, as there are also some New Years songs & one Hanukkah song in here as well.
  • When I say Rock, I don’t mean every song is heavy with drum solos & guitar riffs. Basically, I just mean that these aren’t your typical standards or pop songs. There’s everything here from piano rock to pop rock to metal.
  • There are a number of songs that have several covers I like, so in those cases I just picked my favorite version of that particular song.
  • Yeah, I know, a lot of these songs tend toward being emo or depressing. We all have our own holiday associations.

Without further adieu, here is my Alternative Christmas Top 40!

  1. The Fray – “Happy Xmas (War Is Over)”: I love John Lennon’s original, but there’s something about The Fray’s version that I like a little better. There’s also a version by TrancesArc that I really like.
  2. Paul Young – “What Christmas Means To Me”: This straddles the line between rock and pop, but I grew up on this one, so I like it.
  3. Billy Idol – “Yelling at the Christmas Tree”: It’s Billy Idol singing an original Christmas song, and it sounds exactly like you’d expect a Billy Idol Christmas song to sound.
  4. Shawn Mullins – “Lonely Ole Christmas”: This is a fun original song with a bluegrass feel to it. — Girl since you been gone there’s been some drinkin’ goin’ on, but I ain’t had an ounce of Christmas cheer this year.
  5. Mary’s Eyes feat. Candi Pearson – “Little Drummer Boy”: This is the rock cover that “Little Drummer Boy” deserves. I mean come on, it’s right there in the title. This song needs a great drum part & wailing rock vocals, and Mary’s Eyes delivers.
  6. Matthew West – “The Heart of Christmas”: The world’s in a hurry this December, city streets and shopping malls. I wish we could slow down and remember the meaning of it all
  7. Film – “Merry Christmas Everybody”: Keeps the poppiness of the original song by Slade, but bumps up the rock quotient for added fun.
  8. Rob Thomas – “A New York Christmas”: So call on your angels, your beaten and broken / It’s time that we mended so they don’t fade with the season
  9. Waking Jane – “Do You Hear What I Hear?”: Just a solid rock cover of this song with great guitar work. Not typically one of my favorite Christmas songs, but this version makes it work.
  10. Bowling For Soup – “I Miss You Most On Christmas”: Bowling For Soup is one of my favorite bands, and this original song brings their unique sound & lyrical quality into a Christmas song — I miss you when the sun starts to set / Every day on the day that we met / But I miss you most on Christmas
  11. Angie Aparo – “Silent Night”: The best version of this song out there, period. Angie Aparo has an amazing voice, and it feels raw, powerful, & beautiful here.
  12. As Tall As Lions – “It’s Only Christmas”: Well it’s Christmas time and all the lights are bright / I want to hold you close and burn them in your eyes
  13. Christina Perri – “Something About December”: Christina Perri has a voice that’s made for singing this sort of ballad. — We’re hanging mistletoe and hoping that it snows / I close my eyes and then I can still remember how to get back home.
  14. Neon Trees – “Wish List”: There’s no mistaking that this is a Neon Trees song. — I’ve been an animal since you left me / I need you wrapped under my tree / My Christmas cheer is here and ready / But where are you to set it free
  15. Thomas Howard – “Silent Hill”: Yes, this is a song from Dance Dance Revolution. Yes, I know that seems silly to have on a list of favorite Christmas songs. No, I will not apologize for its inclusion.
  16. Linkin Park – “My December”: Another song I won’t apologize for. High school emo Brian really liked “My December”, and adult slightly-less-emo Brian still thinks it’s a good song.
  17. Thriving Ivory – “Our December”: Not overtly Christmas themed, as it sounds similar to Thriving Ivory’s other songs (which means it sounds very pretty) — I remember streets covered white, and I remember a long tonight / Said our December will be littered with lights, and I see her walking to me
  18. Emily Saliers – “River”: A beautiful cover of Joanie Mitchell’s “River” by Emily Saliers of the Indigo Girls. The version I have is a live recording off 99X’s 2001 Christmas album, so I don’t know if there’s a studio recording out there anywhere.
  19. Butch Walker – “Santa’Self (F*ck Your Christmas Party)”: Butch Walker’s newest Christmas song about a narcissistic ex, that he just released for free last week! It should come as no surprise that I’ve got some Butch on this list, & this song comes complete with an old school sax solo.
  20. Left Front Tire – “Merry Christmas (I Don’t Want To Fight Tonight)”: The original Ramones version is good, but I like Left Front Tire’s cover better. Bowling For Soup also has a version I really like.
  21. OneRepublic – “Christmas Without You”: I missed Thanksgiving, I missed a birthday or two. I didn’t make St. Valentines, but I was thinking of you. Only one thing in the world, that I couldn’t do. There’s only one thing that kills me, Christmas without you.
  22. Relient K – “12 Days of Christmas”: Okay, so “12 Days of Christmas” is one of those songs that people usually tolerate more than anything. That’s probably why I enjoy this version so much. Rather than making it a slog to get through to the end, it’s actually a fun, rocked out version. If you’re familiar with Eddie Izzard’s standup bit about this song, it seems like Relient K took a page from his book on the “Five golden rings” line. Plus, they do a fun little bit of adlibbing: What’s a partridge? And what’s a pear tree? I don’t know so please don’t ask me. But I can bet those are terrible gifts to get.
  23. Hip Heavy Lip – “You’re A Mean One Mr. Grinch”: How is this not the version of this song that everyone listens to? Hip Heavy Lip rocks it out with the perfect voice for this song, while keeping all of the charm of the original.
  24. All Time Low – “Merry Christmas, Kiss My Ass”: When I gave you my heart, you ripped it apart like wrapping paper trash. So I wrote you a song, hope that you sing along. And it goes, “Merry Christmas, kiss my ass!”
  25. SR-71 – “Christmas Is The Time To Say I Love You”: Ups the punk rock ante of Billy Squier’s original, and does it with flair.
  26. The Maine feat. Eisley – “Ho Ho Hopefully”: The first of The Maine’s original Christmas songs on this list. — Ho ho hopefully this holiday will make us believe that we’re exactly where we’re supposed to be
  27. Another Man Down – “The Dreydl Song”: How do you make “The Dreydl Song” badass? You put it in Another Man Down’s hands, and let them throw in a little Bryan Adams for good measure.
  28. Down to Earth Approach – “Stay”: Sweet, sad, hopeful, and I love it — It’s true, if we’ve been drinking wine all night and we watch the snow fall down, and I can’t hold out another night, then this Christmas, I’ll be asking her to stay
  29. Lithp – “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town”: Another badass rock version of a traditional Christmas song, which includes a few extra versus thrown in where they create a backstory for a young Santa Claus as he discovered his powers as “my favorite fat superhero.” Really, this one’s more of an original song than a cover (for a good cover of the original, check out Sugarcult’s version.) Also, sidenote: I’ve had this track for 15 years, and I just now got the pun in the band’s name.
  30. Goo Goo Dolls – “Better Days”: This is the kind of song that cries out to be featured in a Christmas movie, probably because it stands on its own as a good song even without the Christmas angle. — I need someplace simple where we could live, and something only you can give. And that’s faith and trust and peace while we’re alive.
  31. Graham Colton – “New Years Resolution”: Probably not intended as a holiday song, but it fits thematically & I’ve been listening to it a lot lately, so I’m going to include it. — I’ve got a new years resolution. I think I know what I’ve gotta do. I’ve got a new years resolution: gettin’ over you. / So here’s to the love, the love that we had. Here’s to the time, the good and the bad. Here’s to the ones you never forget. Here’s to the year that we had.
  32. Butch Walker – “Merry Christmas”: This may be downbeat and a little depressing, but I love the emotion in it, which is why it’s been a favorite since the Marvelous 3 version in 2000 (I list the Butch Walker version because I like his solo arrangement slightly better than the original.) — All of the times the kids are screaming the lines that say “Jingle bells, shotgun shells, daddy’s got a new 44.” Wish I could say that everything was okay, but I’d be lying like a rug on the floor.
  33. The Maine – “Santa Stole My Girlfriend”: It IS possible to be emo and still have a sense of humor about it. — Santa, you bitch. Didn’t get a damn thing from my Christmas list. All I got was this broken heart and that’s it. Santa, you bitch. Oh there’s only one thing that I truly wish. I wish my old girl would’ve never kissed Saint Nick.
  34. Anberlin – “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)”: Plenty of versions of this out there, but Anberlin’s is my favorite. The arrangement is great and Stephen Christian’s voice fits perfectly. If you’re looking for one with a little more rock to it, try Injected’s cover.
  35. Relient K – “I Hate Christmas Parties”: Another sad & beautiful song from one of my favorite bands. — I hope it snows this week. A snowflake on your cheek would make this Christmas so beautiful. But that would just bring the pain, ’cause things can’t stay the same. These holidays won’t be wonderful. I look under the tree, but there’s nothing to see, ’cause it’s a broken heart that you’re giving me.
  36. Jon Bon Jovi – “Please Come Home For Christmas”: Nobody does Bon Jovi better than Bon Jovi. This one’s considered a classic now, with plenty of covers out there, but as far as I’m concerned the original is still the best. The reason is simple, & it weirdly enough comes down to a musical theatre thing. More than any other version of this song, I believe him when he sings about how the only thing that will make him happy is for her to come home for Christmas.
  37. Acres – “I Gotta Rock For Christmas”: Now this is how you rock out for Christmas! My favorite hard rock Christmas song, and one that deserves to be on every self-respecting rock fan’s December playlists. — On his list of naughty little kids, my name is there for all the things I did. I try to be good but I just can’t make it stick. That’s one less stop to make for jolly old Saint Nick. / I gotta rock for Christmas. / Yeah, that’s okay. It’s all I ever wanted for Christmas anyway.
  38. Dexter Freebish – “Last Christmas”: I have so many covers of “Last Christmas” because it’s one of my absolute favorite songs out there. It’s the original emo Christmas song, and although Wham’s version is good, there have been so many great covers done over the years. Dexter Freebish’s version is my favorite, but I also love the covers by Jimmy Eat World, The Maine, and Yuji Oda (feat. Butch Walker.)
  39. Dave Mellilo – “All I Want For Christmas Is You”: Mariah Carey’s original is an awesome song, and Dave Mellilo’s cover flawlessly takes it into rock territory, beating out the My Chemical Romance version for my favorite cover of this song. I hate to go back to theatre terms again, but what makes this version so great is that Mellilo fully commits to it, which makes the vocals so raw and believable.
  40. Royal 7 – “It Looks Like Christmas”: This is my favorite Christmas song, and I hate how no relevant results turn up on a Google search for it (in fact, I alone account for 1/3 of its plays on Last.fm.) It’s an original song from 99X’s 2002 Christmas album, and it’s a beautiful piece of music. This is a song that belongs in a movie, and if I ever make a Christmas movie (and I’m considering it), I’ll be scouring the internet for Royal 7’s contact info to see if I can use the song. Again, I love it, and only wish it was more readily available so everyone could hear it. — I’m only looking at your picture, of this time last year. It’s just another silent night. How I wish you were here. / Days go by and I wonder why the memory brings a tear to my eye. I don’t know how but I’ve got to stay strong. Looks like Christmas after all.

So there you have it! My favorite alternative Christmas songs. Let me know if you have any favorites that I didn’t mention here, or if there are any here that you listened to and now also love.

Last year I compiled a list of my favorite songs from 2010, because I love lists. I did the same thing this year, only I’ve been so busy over the last few weeks that I haven’t had time to actually type it up and post it. But today I needed a break from editing photos & working on the movie, so I decided to get this done (and if you look at the time stamp, you’ll see I stayed up all night to finish.) Hope you read and enjoy, and if there are songs on here you don’t know, I highly recommend checking them out!

  1. Amos Lee – “Windows Are Rolled Down”: This song just makes me want to go for a long drive.
  2. Sixx:A.M. – “This Is Gonna Hurt”: The first of several adrenaline pumping songs on here that are on my playlist for the novel I’m writing.
  3. Stone Sour – “Hesitate”: You were my fire, so I burned til’ there was nothing left of me
  4. Daughtry – “Renegade”: Another song on the playlist for my Phoenix novel. — I’m breakin’ out of this town like a renegade, so baby get ready to run
  5. Danko Jones – “I Think Bad Thoughts”: I admit it, I’ve done a few things that I shouldn’t be proud of. I got no remorse, no regrets, never happy endings on these dark sets.
  6. Hinder – “What Ya Gonna Do”: What ya gonna do when the whiskey ain’t workin’ no more? Life don’t feel like before…
  7. Hot Chelle Rae – “Tonight Tonight”: Sometimes you just want a fun song that makes you want to dance.
  8. Red Line Chemistry – “Ultragigantor”: I used to be somebody who could control myself, but I can’t anymore. I used to have a grip on reality but I keep on slipping down.
  9. Butch Walker – “Summer of ’89”: Can I go back to when I was a winner, way before the rain came and washed away the sinners? Everyone was something and I could never do any wrong.
  10. AWOLNATION – “Sail”: Just simply a good rock song.
  11. Mayday Parade – “Bruised and Scarred”: Call my name if you’re afraid. I’m just a kiss away.
  12. The Script – “For the First Time”: Great song about getting through the hard times and finding what it was that made you fall in love in the first place.
  13. Alter Bridge – “Ghost of Days Gone By”: Yesterday is gone, we can’t go back again. Do you ever cry for the ghost of days gone by?
  14. Rise Against – “Make It Stop (September’s Children)”: A great song that speaks to the bullying issue that’s been so prevalent in the last year. — It’s always darkest just before the dawn. So stay awake with me, let’s prove them wrong.
  15. Lifehouse – “All In”: I’ve fallen harder than a landslide; I spent a week away from you last night.
  16. Runner Runner – “Hey Alli”: Says she wants to move to New York City and dance on the stage. On the crowded street you look so pretty, or in the pouring rain
  17. Christian Kane – “Different Kind of Knight”: This was an acoustic track at the end of Christian Kane’s last album. — See I’m a different kind of knight. You’re gonna find your fairy tales are lies. I don’t have a white horse, but you can come along for the ride.
  18. Neon Trees – “Sins of My Youth”: I’ve got these habits that I cannot break, and as I’m older there is more at stake. Go ahead and call me fake, but these are the sins of my youth
  19. State of Shock – “Have a Nice Day”: All you do is take ‘n break ‘n say it’s my mistake. Ready, set, go, here comes the heartache. I hope you have a nice day, ’cause you’re never gonna get another me.
  20. Stone Sour – “Say You’ll Haunt Me”: Say you want to stay, you want me too. Say you’ll never die, you’ll always haunt me. I want to know I belong to you.
  21. Coldplay – “Every Teardrop is a Waterfall”: When I’m walking down the streets of Chicago at night, I love it when this song pops up on my iPod.
  22. Adele – “Rolling in the Deep”: The scars of your love remind me of us. They keep me thinking that we almost had it all.
  23. The Script – “You Won’t Feel a Thing”: ‘Cause everything the world could throw, I’ll stand in front, I’ll take the blow for you.
  24. Every Avenue – “Fall Apart”: I want you to fall apart like I did, you to hurt for all of this. All the pain you put me through… I wanna hear you say I don’t deserve you.
  25. Never Shout Never – “Trampoline”: Heh, and sandwiched between two breakup songs is a sweet ditty about helping someone move beyond her past relationships and see what’s right in front of her — You’re all shook up from a terrible relationship. He broke your heart, he tore you into pieces. But I promise you, dear, I’ll never touch you like he did.
  26. Bowling For Soup – “Here’s Your Freakin’ Song”: And because it’s BFS, here’s a breakup song that’s just plain fun!
  27. Incubus – “Promises, Promises”: When I first heard this, I had no clue that it was Incubus. It’s a new sound for them, but I love it. — I’m on the road of least resistance. I’d rather give up than give in to this. So promise me only one thing, won’t you? Just don’t ever make me promises..
  28. Deftones – “Sextape”: I’m usually not a Deftones fan, but this song is sexy as hell. — Take me one more time. Take me one more wave. Take me for one last ride. I’m out of my head.
  29. TV on the Radio – “Will Do”: If “Sextape” is sexy, then “Will Do” is two people actually humping in your ears. — I’d love to collapse with you and ease you against this song. I think we’re compatible, I see that you think I’m wrong.
  30. State of Shock – “Runaway”: I love State of Shock’s music, but sometimes I feel like the lead singer just needs a hug. — I heard that you found somebody new, and I heard what he’s been doing to you. How’s it feel to deal with someone like you?
  31. Adele – “Someone Like You”: I don’t care what type of music you make, I’d imagine that every musician wishes they’d written this song. — I hate to turn up out of the blue uninvited, but I couldn’t stay away, I couldn’t fight it. I had hoped you’d see my face and that you’d be reminded that for me it isn’t over.
  32. Brett Dennen – “Comeback Kid (That’s My Dog)”: Fun, upbeat, & optimistic. Great song.
  33. The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus – “Dive Too Deep”: If I dive too deep you’ll pull me out. If I try to speak you’ll hear me out. If I get too weak you’ll hold me close and tell me I’m fine.
  34. Christian Kane – “Thinking of You”: When a new moon shines through your window or you hear a sad song on the radio, and you don’t know why but you just start to cry. Or you’re driving ’round on a sunny day and outta nowhere comes the pouring rain. Then a memory hits you right out of the blue… That’s just me thinking of you.
  35. Jonas Sees In Color – “Sky Keeps Falling”: I absolutely love this line: Like a shell found by the ocean that still sounds like the sea, you’re nothing but an echo of something that was deep.
  36. The Maine – “Listen to Your Heart”: Don’t listen to the world, they say we’re never gonna make it. Don’t listen to your friends, they would have never let us start. And don’t listen to the voices in your head. Listen to your heart.
  37. The Cab – “Bad”: You love me just the way that you should. It’s nothing that you do, no it’s nothing you say. I know that you’re good, but I don’t want a good girl, no not today.
  38. I Can Make A Mess Like Nobody’s Business – “Lame Duck”: Ace Enders by any name is still good. —Give me a reason, a sign that our time’s not up. ‘Cause baby we’re worth so much more than to just give up. I’d like to say we gave it all. It’s so hard to let this go.
  39. Jack’s Mannequin – “My Racing Thoughts”: Most relationship songs are about the beginning or the end. “My Racing Thoughts” is about that place in between, when you know each other so well you already know how the argument’s going to end the moment it begins.
  40. Zac Brown Band – “Colder Weather”: And when I close my eyes I see you, no matter where I am. I can smell your perfume through these whispering pines
  41. Childish Gambino – “Heartbeat”: I’m a huge fan of Donald Glover (DERRICK Comedy has had a big influence on me and the type of comedy I want to put out there), and his album Camp made me an instant fan of his music.
  42. Every Avenue – “Tell Me I’m a Wreck”: One of the best breakup songs since SR-71’s “Mosquito.” —You tell me I’m a wreck, you say that I’m a mess. How could you expect anything less?
  43. The Spill Canvas – “As Long As It Takes”: Another song about helping a girl move beyond her past to see what’s in front of her. Coincidence? — If you let me catch a ride on your road to recovery, you can fall apart on me.
  44. Ordinary Days – “Hundred Story City” (performed by Hunter Foster): This is the odd track out on the countdown, because it’s from a musical. But after seeing Ordinary Days, I fell in love with it and it quickly became my favorite musical. — What am I doing in this hundred story city, where you’re always moving fast but going nowhere? I don’t care if there’s a hundred million people, I just want to be with one.
  45. Mayday Parade – “Terrible Things”: Speaking of beautiful music, “Terrible Things” is one of the most heartwrenching songs I’ve heard in a long time. — So don’t fall in love, there’s just too much to lose. If given the choice, then I’m begging you choose to walk away, walk away, don’t let it get you. I can’t bear to see the same happen to you.
  46. Thriving Ivory – “On Your Side”: Another great song about putting the past behind you and moving on. —See I don’t mind falling in love again, my heart on the line again. No I don’t mind when I’m on your side.
  47. Parachute – “What I Know”: I really like the message behind this song. When a relationship ends, it does you no good to dwell on all of the what ifs. You know what you know, and it’s so much healthier to just make peace with that. — I stop the car and close my eyes. I can see her face, but It takes a while. It fades in like the morning light, slow and unfocused.
  48. Butch Walker – “Closest Thing to You I’m Gonna Find”: No music list of mine would be complete without Butch Walker in a prime spot. His latest album The Spade is excellent, and this is the song that instantly grabbed me the first time I heard it. — California girls they have a way of moving their mouths just a certain way, saying things that always seem so right. But when the shine wears off at the end of the day I’m left with the tab and not a word to say, ’cause I see your face when they turn out my light.
  49. Alpha Rev – “Phoenix Burn”: I took an immediate liking to this song because of the phoenix imagery (I’m getting a tattoo of a phoenix soon, and the main character in my novel is named Phoenix.) I fell in love with this song because it’s uplifting, beautiful, and about the power of love. — I need to push through the undiscovered, find my answers, leave them uncovered. I wanna speak out what I believe in, that love will heal us, give us our freedom.
  50. Jonas Sees In Color – “Avalanche”: JSiC came in at #3 last year with “Luck and Love,” but this year they took the #1 spot! These guys are awesome; I donated to their Kickstarter to help fund their next album because they need to be heard by more people (also I want them to come do a show in Chicago.) —Everyone writes songs about California. They’re singing for the summer and staying young. But I’m singing about Carolina, because I write songs for you.

And we have reached the end! If you read through this, I thank you, because I love music and love sharing my favorites with friends (or strangers, if anyone wandered by.) Most everything on here can be listened to for free on Spotify, so please check them out.

Apparently the Rapture is tomorrow. You know, according to Harold Camping, one single crazy person who has never been wrong (except when he predicted the world would end in 1994.) So why are we giving this whole thing media attention? Because every now and then, validating the nutjobs makes the rest of us feel better about ourselves.

Now, let’s just say the Rapture DOES happen tomorrow, to be followed by the world coming to an end in October. “But Brian,” you ask, “You’ve always been a sane and reasonable person. What makes you think there’s any remote chance of that happening?” Well, I’ve got three great reasons right here!

1.) The CDC posted a blog article last week about how to prepare for a zombie apocalypse. Most people saw that as a funny joke, but I see it for what it really is: A warning. Now, I’m no Bible scholar, but the Bible clearly states that after the Rapture, the living dead shall roam the earth until the prophets Valentine & Redfield arrive to put them in the ground, with the aid of a one-armed man named Ash. You may question the validity of this statement, but since all the Bible scholars will be gone after tomorrow, who’s to say otherwise?

Zombies good

Zombies: The new Buddy Christ

2.) One word: Twilight. Don’t act like you didn’t see this coming. God put up with one movie. He even put up with the first two sequels. But a two part finale? Sorry, folks, but God only has room for one movie series with a two part finale, and that’s Harry Potter. Granted, the final Potter film will be released between the Rapture and the end of the world, but there’s gotta be a private screening room in Heaven, and I’m sure the zombies will recede long enough to see if Harry dies so they can chow down on some wizards.

Maybe if the vampires were less shiny & had self-respect, we’d be allowed to live

3.) The Mayans were getting just a bit too cocky about the whole 2012 thing. For years, it’s all anyone’s been able to talk about, and it’s bred its own brand of crazy. For a dead civilization, they sure do have a great press guy. I mean, they got John freakin’ Cusack to be in their movie. Who was the best they could get for the Rapture? The kid from “Growing Pains.”

Those suspenders only make you WISH for the end times

Come on. If you’re going to get an 80s star, at least get one who’s still relevant.

So, will the Rapture really be happening tomorrow? Doubtful. However, I will be spending it playing paintball and pregaming on communion wine. I figure that covers most of my bases in case anything goes down. And I really hope it doesn’t. Not because of the whole end of the world thing, but because then the crazies will NEVER let us hear the end of it.

When I was younger, I listened to the Rick Dees Weekly Top 40 religiously. When I say religiously, I don’t mean I just tuned in. I mean I sat there every week with pencil & paper and wrote down the positions of every song on the chart, as well as how it changed from the previous week & how long it stayed on the chart.

In honor of this, I decided to put together my own countdown of my favorite songs from 2010. Because narrowing it down to 40 (from over 200 candidates) was so hard, I decided to make a Top 50 instead. I’m also including a quick note or lyric next to each, just because. And now (for both people who are actually going to read this), The Into the Black Top 50 of 2010!

  1. Breathe Caroline – “Hello Fascination”: You build me up just to break me down. You’re being loud without a sound. You paste me in just to cut me out. Hello fascination.
  2. Every Avenue – “For Always, Forever”: We were young and we lived it up, but those nights never lasted long enough. Looking back we were so naive. What happened to the days when we shared our dreams?
  3. Mika – “Kick Ass”: Heard this during the closing credits of the movie Kick Ass and immediately picked up the soundtrack.
  4. The Friday Night Boys – “Stuttering”: What can I say, I like good powerpop, and this song sounds like it belongs in the trailer for one of the screenplays I’m writing.
  5. Michael Bublé – “Haven’t Met You Yet”: For the romantic optimist in all of us.
  6. Sick Puppies – “Maybe”: So why does it feel so wrong to reach for something more, to wanna live a better life? What am I waiting for?
  7. Boys Like Girls – “Love Drunk”: I used to be love drunk, but now I’m hungover.
  8. Meat Loaf – “Los Angeloser”: The first album I ever bought was Bat Out of Hell II. All these years later, he’s still got it.
  9. OneRepublic – “Good Life”: It may not be hardcore to sing about how good things are, but damned if it’s not healthier.
  10. Placebo – “For What It’s Worth”: Battle for the Sun was a great album, and this song’s catchy as hell.
  11. Mike Posner – “Cooler Than Me”: Saw him perform on Carson Daly & was an instant fan.
  12. Needtobreathe – “Something Beautiful”: Hey now, this is my desire: Consume me like a fire, ‘Cause I just want something beautiful to touch me
  13. Flobots – “White Flag Warrior” (feat. Tim McIlrath of Rise Against): I’m always down for a good protest song, and this is one of the better ones to come out in the last several years.
  14. Taking Back Sunday – “Where My Mouth Is”: I’ve got a strong will, just weak hands, and I don’t know what to do with either one of them
  15. Shout Out Louds – “Fall Hard”: And If you fall hard, I fall harder (falling backward) / If you’re gonna break, just let it break / I’ll pick up the pieces and mistakes
  16. Motion City Soundtrack – “Her Words Destroyed My Planet”: The things that used to mean so much to me have gone the way of dinosaurs, hopes and dreams, and everything.
  17. The Classic Crime – “Salt in the Snow”: I have heard that winter’s cold will give way to summer’s warmth. Oh no! Like salt in the snow, I’m melted and left all alone on the side of the road.
  18. The Crüxshadows – “Quicksilver”: I always try to catch them when they play at Dragon*Con, and “Quicksilver” is my favorite song of theirs, period. — I’m taking back my love, taking back my pride, taking back my dreams and my life / This is the ground I will defend / A rage of angels bears the end
  19. Locksley – “Darling, It’s True”: Saw these guys open for Butch Walker, and they were pretty awesome. Great sound, & great live performers.
  20. Bowling for Soup – “If Only”: Leave it to Bowling for Soup to write a funny song about longing. This song is just a chorus and a bridge, with all the “verses” being voicemail messages. And yet, it really works. There’s nobody else quite like BFS, and that’s why they’re one of my favorite bands.
  21. A Rocket to the Moon – “Like We Used To”: Because who hasn’t felt this way after a breakup? A little emo, but I’m not above that. — Does he watch your favorite movies? Does he hold you when you cry? Does he let you tell him all your favorite parts when you’ve seen it a million times. Does he do all these things like I used to?
  22. The Rocket Summer – “Roses”: If you want a great album, check out The Rocket Summer’s Of Men and Angels. Every track on it is quality. I’m a sucker for good piano rock.
  23. Parachute – “The Mess I Made”: Parachute’s Losing Sleep is another album that’s practically a straight line of five stars in my iTunes. Highly recommend.
  24. Rise Against – “Savior”: Rise Against kicks ass. This is undisputed fact.
  25. The Script – “I’m Yours”: There are so many great tracks on The Script’s self-titled album, but I’m including this one because it’s just such a beautiful song. — I may not have the softest touch; I may not say the words as such, and though I may not look like much, I’m yours.
  26. Scouting for Girls – “This Ain’t a Love Song”: I’m going down, I’ll be coming back fighting. I may be scared and a little bit frightened, but I’ll be back, I’ll be coming back to life
  27. American Bang – “Wild and Young”: Great track, but whoever made it the theme song for WWE NXT probably just saw the title & didn’t have a clue what the song was actually about. — I fell in love with a Southern girl / I gave her wings / but she don’t wanna fly no more.
  28. Danko Jones – “Full of Regret”: This, my friends, is how you rock in 2010. — Regrets, I’ve had mine / Lonely nights and a whole lot of wasted time / If you see her won’t you tell her for me / It’s better this way to avoid our misery
  29. Anberlin – “Impossible”: Anberlin can do no wrong in my book.
  30. Butch Walker – “Trash Day”: Butch always has some fun songs on his albums, and this is no exception. For another fun song off of I Liked It Better When You Had No Heart, check out “Days/Months/Years.”
  31. Cody Copeland – “Banjo & A Harp”: Cody’s a friend from Seaside, & an extremely talented musician currently residing in Chicago. This is my favorite track off his album, Luster. It’s so evocative, and makes me want to want to write a movie just so I can shoot a scene featuring this song. — If only I could give you more / although I’m not fully sure / what exactly I was lacking from the start.
  32. Mat Kearney – “Fire & Rain”: City of Black & White is a great album that got a lot of plays from me last year. This was my favorite track off the album.
  33. Ace Enders and a Million Different People – “Over This”: Just don’t give up, cause we’re not done / see the world has taken hold and it’s trying to pull you from me.
  34. Aranda – “Whyyawannabringmedown”: Fun song that just begs to be blared from your speakers. Kelly Clarkson covered it to prove that she’s got some rock in her.
  35. Daughtry – “No Surprise”: One of the best songs about moving on to come out in the last few years. —It’s no surprise I won’t be here tomorrow. I can’t believe that I stayed till today. Yeah, you and I will be a tough act to follow, but I know in time we’ll find this was no surprise.
  36. After Midnight Project – “Take Me Home”: My most played song of 2010. — Slow down my heart / I wanna go / I’m breaking apart / And I’m sorry I can’t love you / I’m sorry I can’t make you see who I am.
  37. Christian Kane – “Making Circles”: Very raw, very real song about struggling to make a relationship work when there’s just no way. — And you would think that we’d get enough / You know we’re goin’ to fuck it up / We’re holdin’ on and sinking down / Here we go round and round / Making circles
  38. Weezer – “(If You’re Wondering If I Want You To) I Want You To)”: When I heard that Butch Walker was producing an album for Weezer, I got excited. When I heard this song, I knew Raditude was going to be my favorite Weezer album yet. I was right.
  39. American Hi-Fi – “Where Love Is A Lie”: I love American Hi-Fi, and this song contains one of my favorite similes in recent memory. — But way down deep, you never sleep / you’ll always remember / her high wire grace, her smiling face / and a kiss like December.
  40. Cee-Lo Green – “Fuck You”: The most fun anyone’s had saying “fuck you” in years.
  41. Lady Antebellum – “Need You Now”: Between Lady Antebellum & Christian Kane, 2010 was the year I realized that deep down, maybe I am a little bit country after all.
  42. Neon Trees – “Animal”: It’s impossible to listen to this song and not dance along. It’s just so damned catchy!
  43. The Script – “Breakeven”: The Script’s self-titled album was on regular rotation for me in 2010, & the new album, Science & Faith (coming out January 18), is just as good. — I’m still alive but I’m barely breathing / Just prayed to a god that I don’t believe in / Cause I got time while she got freedom / Cause when a heart breaks no it don’t break even
  44. Ace Enders and a Million Different People – “When I Hit the Ground”: Ace Enders is one of my favorite artists I discovered this year. Great sound, great lyrics, great vibe. — Cut me deep so you can see everything’s not what it seems / On my knees, I’m breaking down / Just know I loved you when I hit the ground.
  45. Butch Walker – “Pretty Melody”: Butch’s latest album has got some amazing ballads between this & “Don’t You Think Someone Should Take You Home.” I love Butch’s ballads because instead of being all syrup, they feel real, fleshed out with sex and life. — Do you remember when we met? / Liquor drinks and cigarettes / All the boys were taking bets, credit cards so in debt / Bought drinks from you at the bar / Poured them out behind my car so I could come back to where you are / And order from you again and again.
  46. All Time Low – “Weightless”: This was my anthem for 2010. — Maybe it’s not my weekend / but it’s gonna be my year.
  47. The Spill Canvas – “Our Song”: A great song about how every romance doesn’t need to be straight out of a movie & the difficulties in reaching those expectations. — We’ll never be strangers kissing in the pouring rain, chasing after your leaving train / but we know that’s not how our song goes.
  48. Jonas Sees In Color – “Luck and Love”: Awesome song about optimism, hope, and love. — I wasn’t looking for love; she wasn’t looking for trouble. But we found what we found, so now I keep my fingers crossed and my eyes wide open. I don’t know about love, but at least I believe in luck again.
  49. Christian Kane – “Let Me Go”: You may not know Christian Kane’s music, but you may recognize him as Lindsay from Angel & Eliot from Leverage. I’m not usually a fan of country music, but his album, The House Rules, is easily one of my favorites of the year. — So let me go, you don’t need me baby / Stop holding on the way you are / Don’t you know I’m no good for you and it’ll only break your heart / If you don’t let me go.
  50. The Rocket Summer – “Hills and Valleys”: My favorite song of 2010. It’s beautiful, it’s uplifting, and it makes me smile every time I hear it. — I wouldn’t know just how sweet this tastes now / No, if at first I did not go through bitter times, through bitter places / I’ll stay alert for new battles / But for now, we’re here.

So there you have it, my favorite songs of 2010. Hopefully there’s some new music in there you haven’t heard before, because it all comes with my seal of approval (seriously, I bought a seal. But I have to keep feeding it fish, so I suspect that I bought the wrong kind.)

Leave a comment with your favorite songs of 2010, and let me know if you want me to hook you up with a CD of these to expose you to some great music (you know, if I know you & you didn’t just stumble here through Google).