Normally on Monday’s, I’ll post one of my favorite light rock songs from the 70’s or early 80’s. Today, I go with something a little different. Since I’m turning 40 this week, I’m spending the week talking about the last decade and for this week’s Light Rock Monday, I feature my favorite sorta-kinda light rock songs of the last ten years.
While these probably don’t fit the traditional mold of what is normally considered light rock, they are all very singable and are favorites of mine.
10. The Broken West – Abigail
This is almost more like 60’s light rock than 70’s with its quirky hook, background vocals and jangly guitars, but it’s a good pop song and that’s really all that matters.
9. The Damnwells – Heartbreaklist
Sometimes, light rock can be a ballad. In this case, it is. The Damnwells slow and sparse “Heartbreaklist” is a good, sad song for a cold day.
8. Finn Brothers – Anything Can Happen
I first heard this I think on an ad for HBO or TNT or something like that. The prolific nature of the Brothers Finn and their pop music sensibilities over the years makes them good candidates for this list and “Anything Can Happen” is a fantastic, sing-songy acoustic rocker in 3/4.
7. Jonatha Brooke – Eye in the Sky
This song could probably make it on my regular Light Rock Monday by its original artist, the Alan Parsons Project. In fact, “Don’t Answer Me” was already featured. The singer-songwriter Brooke has never received much recognition even with a Lilith Fair stint and it’s a shame because she has an amazing voice. This sweet, acoustic version of “Eye in the Sky” is showcase for it.
6. k.d. lang – Extraordinary Thing
k.d. lang may be the best singer on the planet. What’s more, she’s freaking cool! This song is from her Summerfling album that was co-written and produced by Abraham Laboriel, Jr., who is, among other things, the drummer for Sir Paul McCartney. This is just a great pop song in the vein of Tears for Fears. Check the odd syncopation of the guitar in the middle break.
5. Wilco – What Light
This may be one of the smartest songs in the last 20 years. Leave it to Jeff Tweedy.
When the whole world’s singing your song,
And all your paintings have been hung,
Just remember what was yours,
Is everyone’s from now on.
4. Duncan Sheik – Magazine
There are quite a few songs from Sheik I could pick. He fits the category quite nicely and his new album Whisper House is really amazing. But, I love this song for its interesting lyrical content and shape shifting melody.
3. Fountains of Wayne – Michael and Heather at the Baggage Claim
Fountains of Wayne have a way with melody. They can deliver some pretty rockin’ stuff or they can sing a sweet, heartfelt ballad like this one.
Michael and Heather on the shuttle bus,
Staring alongside the rest of us.
Michael says, “Heather, have you had enough?”
Heather says, “Michael, you know that it’s you I love.”
2. Guster – Satellite
Now, THIS is a song that would fit perfectly in the late 70’s. It almost feels like Fleetwood Mac, but with those signature soft, clear Guster vocals. This is one of my favorite songs in the last ten years, light rock or otherwise.
1. Ben Folds – Still Fighting It
This song reminds me of my dad and that makes me happy and sad. I rarely can get past the words, “You’re so much like me. I’m sorry.” without crying. Ben Folds is the epitome of great songwriting that doesn’t have to take itself too seriously.
The video below is from Austin City Limits, but do yourself a favor and watch the video Folds made for the song with his son. I can’t embed it, but it is tremendous.