Soft rock’s hidden gems

Thom Yorke of Radiohead is perfoming on stage

Angela N. from Flickr

Thom Yorke of Radiohead is perfoming on stage

There’s so much music being produced today at a rate that’s never been seen before; and yet the same 50 songs are constantly being played on the radio. Those songs are deserving of their moments in the limelight, but they overshadow other amazing songs that deserve to be just as widely known.
The world needs to open its eyes, or ears rather, and hear all of the gems that have been hidden beneath the riffraff. But since pop radio doesn’t want to take on this challenge, the burden has fallen on me to educate the masses.

Everybody has different musical taste, but if you don’t see the value in these five songs than your music taste is wrong, sorry. I consider myself a lover of all types of music with soft rock being my drug of choice, so I’ve decided it’s best to stick to what I really know. Without further ado, these are the five best soft rock songs that you might’ve missed.

The Freshman-The Verve Pipe

Released in 1997 and The Verve Pipe’s only hit, this song is one of the more popular on the list, but it’s still been lost to time. The story that the lyrics tell is tragic and one filled with emotion. The singer, Brian Vander Ark, spills out the story of how he got his high school girlfriend pregnant and how she got an abortion. She later went on to take her own life. Even though that happened years ago, he still feels guilty about the abortion, the suicide, and the decisions his younger self made. The song is a painful story told over top of a calm musical track and it’s a personal favorite of mine.

Karma Police- Radiohead

Radiohead’s third studio album, OK Computer, was the band’s first real taste of success and the song Karma Police is the album’s shining jewel. The lyrics are unclear as to what they are referring to exactly, but I think Radiohead is pointing out the hypocrisy of man. The song simultaneously complains about everybody else while asserting that he himself can’t possibly be to blame. This is one of the constant tragedies of humans. We are always able to see the flaws in others but often times we overlook the ones in ourselves. Anyhow, it’s a beautiful and innovative song that is well deserving of its spot on my prestigious list.

Jesus Christ-Brand New

Jesus Christ is almost certainly the least known song on my top 5 list and it’s also by far the most depressing. The main basis of the song is a man praying to Jesus or possibly just having a conversation with himself about how he’s going to be alone for eternity when he dies. He’s asking Jesus for advice on how he should busy himself for the rest of time once he dies and is forever alone. It’s the most soul crushing song I’ve ever had the privilege to hear and I always stop and appreciate the lyrics whenever I listen to it. But besides the deep lyrics, the slow picking guitar tune is nifty and entertaining all by itself. When paired with the lyrics, I can hardly contain myself.

Swing Life Away-Rise Against

I first heard Swing Life way back when I was but a wee freshman and the song still stays with me today as my go to happy song. The music is so peaceful and intricate; played on just one acoustic guitar. This song always makes me hopeful for what the future will bring and for all the great peaceful times I’ll experience. The lyrics are simply about the realities of life and how there’ll be great times and tough times, but in the end all you can do is see the best in all of it. It’s best to just swing life away.

New Slang-The Shins

New Slang is my all-time favorite song and that transcends all genres, not just soft rock. The music is just a simple combination of chords but the singers voice pairs so well with the acoustic guitar that it almost doesn’t even matter what the lyrics are about. That said, the lyrics are incredible. The singer is noticing how much he hates the small town he’s stuck in and how he’s leading a life of boredom. He wishes he could’ve kept the girl that he was once madly in love with, but she never felt the same way about him. Now he has to see how great her life has become, while he’s stuck alone and bored. The song just devolves into a general hatred for his surroundings and it really speaks to me because it’s how I feel sometimes, after 12 years of living in this same Atlanta Suburb. New Slang is a truly beautiful song and I don’t see any other way to describe it.

I can’t say with certainty that if you listened to all five of my recommendations you’d enjoy all of them, because taste in music is entirely objective. But I can say with certainty that these songs are more than just generic pop tunes with catchy beats and a few words that are repeated over and over. These songs are deep, innovative, and they come from the bottom of these singers’ hearts.