Let’s get things back on track after that Taylor Swift detour yesterday. Just mellow out for a few tracks and take it all in.
9. Pet Symmetry – “You & Me & Mt. Hood”
This is a song about camping, and getting away from it all, and just spending some time enjoying your surroundings. One of my favorite pastimes, so no wonder I clicked with this song. I clicked with this entire album, though. Evan Weiss, of Pet Symmetry and Into It. Over It. has been one of the frontrunners of the emo resurgence, and Pet Symmetry’s most recent release, Vision, does a good job showcasing why. It’s one of my favorite albums of this year. From the mellow low end of this song to windows-down rockers like “LTCTLYB” or “Hall Monitor,” there were a several songs on Vision that almost made this list instead. I just love the bass-led vibe of this song, coupled with some minor synth accents. It perfectly invokes the feeling of just relaxing by a campfire.
10. Four Year Strong – “Heroes Get Remembered, Legends Never Die (acoustic)”
The original version of this was the song that hooked me on Four Year Strong in 2007. In its original form, it’s a scream-your-lungs-out metalcore-tinged pop-punk barn-burner. You want to sing it in the pit with all your new best friends around you singing along too. However, strip it down to this much more intimate, acoustic version and you can see it as a song about a relationship, and the benefits of being with someone else instead of being alone. The words “Sad enough to say that alone, I can barely light a match, but together we can burn this place down,” say so much more in this version of the song. Don’t get me wrong, I want to scream the original back at the band in a poorly lit concert venue, but I really appreciate this version of the song too.
11. Jimmy Eat World – “Sure and Certain (acoustic)”
This was my eleventh-hour addition to this playlist, as it just came out on December 8th, the day after I saw Jimmy Eat World in concert (they opened with the normal version of this). I was just going to relegate Jimmy Eat World to an honorable mention at the end of the list because I didn’t really listen to 2016’s Integrity Blues until earlier this year. After a string of middling albums, Integrity Blues was a return to form for the band, in an album that feels like it fell out of the Bleed American era. This track in particular is easily a top ten Jimmy Eat World song for me, so I’m glad that the Integrity Blues Acoustic EP came out and allowed me to justify it on my list.
12. The Wonder Years – “Cardinals (Acoustic)”
(Note: The real version of this song does not exist on YouTube, but it’s available on most streaming music services. This version will do for now.)
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: “Cardinals” by The Wonder Years is easily one of the best songs of the past decade. It’s beautiful and powerful while not being over-dramatic or played out. It’s moving and relatable in ways that only music can be. This acoustic version, off of this year’s Burst & Decay EP is even more impressive and almost haunting. It’s a song about loss, and wanting to overcome that loss. Wanting to make a connection that’s not there anymore. We’ve all been there, and The Wonder Years know it. They just put it to words better than we ever could.