Inexplicable Infatuation

Shortly after I taught myself how to play guitar in sixth grade, I decided I wanted to start a band. After countless attempts, some embarrassing failures and others moderately successful, I became a part of something I’m proud of. Through this entire adventure of musical discovery, the list of songs I’ve played has only grown, exponentially, I might add. However, there have always been those songs that I particularly enjoyed playing.

“Dammit” by blink-182 was one of the first songs I learned on guitar and subsequently one of the first songs most of my bands had covered. It’s simple to learn and popular enough to catch someone’s ear (an audience member unacquainted with your band will respond more positively if they hear a song they recognize) and blink has always been one of my favorite bands. “Dammit” is a break-up song and it’s catchy – but not in a happy go-lucky kind of way. What makes it catchy is the immediate feeling of understanding you get from the lyrics and even the tone of the song. When I hear it I always feel as if they’re saying “hey, don’t worry. We know how you feel.”

Another personal favorite to cover is “The Quiet Things That No One Ever Knows” by Brand New. Brand New is also one of my favorite bands so it comes as no surprise when I like to cover their songs. Lead singer/songwriter Jesse Lacey’s macabre and honest lyrics are so personally relevant to him but he portrays them in a way that you can apply to a situation of your own. Trying to capture this while covering is a challenge but it’s definitely worth the undertaking.

The next song I chose is an original work by yours truly. My song “Headache” is not only one of my favorite songs to play but one of my favorite songs I’ve written. The lyrics, the chords, all of it. It’s one of the few times that I’ve felt like I actually said what I meant. The heavy-hitting chorus contrasts with the mellow verses in a way that simply resonates with me and the energy that comes out when I’m playing it in front of people is empowering.

Another song from my band now is guitarist/vocalist Nick Jones’ song. “Running With Scissors” is a catchy tune that is not only easy to move to but also easy to sing to. Again, the energy from this song always livens up our shows and it’s one of the highlights of our setlists. All of this mixed with the prime opportunities for toilet humor put it on my list of favorite songs to play.

Finally, the last song I chose was “Your Love” by The Outfield. My band played it at the Walk-a-thon back in September. While I told the band that I wanted to play it as to win over the older folks in the crowd, I actually just really like this song (along with everything else from the 80s). It’s a classic and a cliche (what’s the difference?) and I think that’s where my love for this song comes from. Although our rendition was a bit choppy and pretty much awful, I had a lot of fun playing it.

So there you have it; my favorite songs to play in front of a crowd. Have any questions? Want to make fun of my inexplicable infatuation for the 80s? Email me at [email protected] and follow me on the Twitter @ryanthesilver