Sometimes, you hear a song and something moves in you. Something emerges from the pit of your very being, and you begin to do something rather absurd: you begin to sing-along at the top of your lungs. This week in our Closer To The Edge feature, our writers look at some of the songs that they just can’t help but sing along to.
‘Best of You’ by the Foo Fighters
Given how nearly all of this song is filled with lyrics, it’s hard not to pick up the words and to want to sing along, especially how it’s structured. Dave Grohl shouts out the first few words – “I’VE GOT ANOTHER CONFESSION TO MAKE” – and proceeds for a few more lines before crying out those famous words – “IS SOMEONE GETTING THE BEST, THE BEST, THE BEST, THE BEST OF YOU?!?!” – the song has become near iconic now for Grohl’s growling of the song’s powerful lyrics. Add in the fact that the Foo’s front man urges his crowds to sing along as loud as they can to ‘Best of You’, it’s easy to see why it’s such a great sing-along song. It’s just one of the many reasons as to why and how this song has become one of the band’s biggest hits. The inherently anthemic nature of the track is undeniable and irresistible, I defy you to not want to sing along to this track whenever you hear it. Pretty much everyone will know at least one line of this song by now, and if not, then what have you been doing with your life?!
Words by David Mitchell-Baker
‘Defying Gravity’ – From Wicked The Musical
There is something about songs from musicals which just make you want to sing along. From loud emphatic group numbers, to individual ballads bemoaning lost love, musical songs tell a story in a way that not many other mediums manage to. Originally sung by Idina Menzel, with small sections including Kristen Chenoweth, ‘Defying Gravity’ is a fantastic song to sing along to, even if no one can really do it justice! With a message about being yourself and trusting your instincts, and some fantastic lyrics including “Too long I’ve been afraid of/ Losing love I guess I’ve lost/ Well, if that’s love/ It comes at much too high a cost!”, it is a song to make you believe in yourself, perfect for when self doubt starts to creep in. Add to this the swelling music behind the lyrics, and I always find myself searching for that elusive high note at the end of the song.
Words by Rebecca James
‘Sugar, We’re Goin’ Down’ – Fall Out Boy
If I could write about every Fall Out Boy song ever, I would – every one of their songs, to me, are sing-along anthems. But in terms of a more universal outlook – and within the limit of only choosing one song – ‘Sugar, We’re Goin Down’ stands out as one of the best. ‘Sugar’, not only brandishing a brilliant chorus, has some of the best zingers of any song. “I’m just a notch in your bedpost, but you’re just a line in a song” and “Oh don’t mind me I’m watching you two from the closet, wishing to be the friction in your jeans” are, to be frank, as close to a written representation of the fire emoji as you can get. It’s impossible not to chant the ever-known, ever-loved first line ‘Am I more than you bargained for yet?’ at the top of your lungs once that drum beat kicks in. And for me, it’s impossible not to sing the entirety of the song, relinquishing whatever I’m supposed to be doing to the power of one of the hallmarks of music’s greatest emo era.
words by Sophie Trenear
‘With Arms Wide Open’ – Creed
Me and my Brother have a tendency to perform a variety of musical impressions, spanning from Bob Dylan to Jim Morrison to Eddie Vedder. But there is a certain vocalist, who could easily be a distant cousin of Vedder, that we manage to implement into any situation; that certain vocalist being Scott Stapp, the lead singer of the ‘post-grunge’ band Creed. Dubbed the worst band of the 1990s by readers of Rolling Stone (Nickelback following closely behind), Creed are known to be overly-dramatic in both their songs and music videos, alongside their Christian-infused lyrics. Me and my brother are by no means fans, but it’s so hard not to belt out our best Stapp impressions whenever we hear an inkling of a Creed song, or just to narrate our daily lives. Whatever you’re doing in life, it can be made 10x times better narrating it to the vocal stylings of Stapp in ‘With Arms Wide Open’.
words by Sophie McEvoy
‘Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It)’ – Beyoncé
Of all the songs that make us dance and sing on the dance floor, this has to be the most iconic and anyone that can’t help but sing along to this iconic chorus needs to re-evaluate their obviously rather sad lives. Beyoncé’s massive hit has become one of the most memorable songs of all time as she tells every man that “if you like it, then you should have put a ring on it!” The chorus is a frequent dance-floor filler and this is one of those pop songs where we know the lyrics to the song in its entirety (because we love it that much and don’t just know the chorus like for everything else). Even better it’s a great song for all your friends to sing and dance to together, normally drunk I grant, and everyone gets to have a good time! It also has some of the most well-known dance moves to match the song which makes it a personal favourite, as you can put so much sass in to your performance, which in my case is obviously as good as Queen B! You can jive, slut drop or in my housemate’s case do some very weird arm flapping all while hoping the song is loud enough to drown out your aspiring vocal. While lots of modern-pop songs are like this, ‘Single Ladies’ simply encapsulates it all and I think it will be very hard for it to ever be beaten. Now, all the single ladies, “go put your hands up!”
words by Bruno Russell
‘Chop Suey!’ by System of a Down
“WAKE UP – asdfghjkl – MAKE UP – asdfghjkl – SHAKE UP – asdfghjkl – TABLE – asdfghjkl – FABLE, YOU WANTED TO TO!!!”
It’s become common place for this to be most people’s rendition of the classic track from System of a Down, given the speed at which Serj Tankian spits out the vocals and accentuates the last couple of words to each line. So when it comes to the chorus, most people can bellow it out word for word because these are the only words they can make out from such an incredible and popular song. The best songs are the songs that you want to sing along to and this is undoubtedly the case with ‘Chop Suey!’ But it’s so fun to sing along to because of the unique nature of both the song and the band, who else creates alternative-nu-polka metal? No one but System.
The lyrics actually tell a powerful story about suicide and abuse, evident from the chorus but even more so when you get down to the nitty-gritty of the verses and not just “asdfghjkl”; “Hide the scars to fade away the shake up”/”Why’d you leave the keys upon the table/Here you go create another fable”.
I know all the words, verses AND chorus… just sayin’…
Words by David Mitchell-Baker
‘You Belong With Me’- Taylor Swift
Although so much of Tay Tay’s repertoire could make it onto this list for me, her 2008 album Fearless has often been where I’ve turned to when in need of belting a tune out. Track 6 on the album, yes I remember that, ‘You Belong With Me’ is most certainly one of my favourites to yell at the top of my voice. Admittedly, now I can see that the culture it perpetuates regarding the ‘friendzone’ is one that I innately disagree with, but 11 year old me felt the pain deeply of knowing that I wasn’t cool enough to get the attention of the cool, attractive guy. *sigh*. However, even now, if I put aside the problems with the song, it’s great fun, and also has an excellent video to boot. Taylor Swift at her finest; as I wear my t-shirts and sneakers and sit on the bleachers, “dreaming ’bout the day when you wake up and find that what you’re looking for/ has been here the whole time”, I’ll enjoy the song fully and without a care in the world.
words by Rehana Nurmahi
‘What’s My Age Again? by Blink-182
Whilst it may not be as famous as ‘All the Small Things’ or as emotive as ‘I Miss You’, ‘What’s My Age Again?’ is one of Blink-182’s finest and most sing-alongable (is that a word?) songs. The lyrics are packed with Blink’s signature wit and humour; “We started making out and she took off my pants/But then I turned on the TV/And that’s about the time she walked away from me”, “And I’m still more amused by TV shows/What the hell is A.D.D.?” and “I never want to act my age/What’s my age again?”. It’s brilliantly clever and hilarious, and the influence on the lyrics of newer bands such as Modern Baseball is evident. The tune is infectious and the understated nature of Mark Hoppus’ vocals is so easy to sing along to. But above all it’s just such a darn fun song to sing. Blink-182 were (and probably still are) the band of a generation and this is easily one of the most endearing and enduring songs in their repertoire, and long may it continue to be.
Words by David Mitchell-Baker
‘Welcome to the Black Parade’ – My Chemical Romance
Most people grew out of their MCR phase a long time ago, leaving the days of coarse eyeliner, layers of black clothing and traces of the ‘Emo Trinity’ (MCR, FOB, P!ATD) behind… but not me!
My Chemical Romance were pretty much all I listened to between the ages of 13 and 16. They were the symbol and representation of every adolescent’s teenage angst. And there’s just so much of that in ‘Welcome To The Black Parade’ which somehow sums up the pain and struggles and determination of every teenager, whilst still being a representation of grief in adulthood. Its lyrics are poetic, the raw vocals of Gerard Way are at their biting peak, and the chorus is impossible not to sing along to. “We’ll carry on, we’ll carry onnn”, he wails, and of course we will Gerard, because you’re so clearly adamant that we should! And still, at age nineteen, I still find myself welling up, or staring nostalgically off into the distance when those first solemn piano notes pierce the air. I really doubt I’ll ever stop.
words by Sophie Trenear
‘Five Colours in Her Hair’- McFly
McFly’s debut single all the way back in 2003 was an absolute gem, and still is, and therefore deserves a place on this list. Not just worthy of singing along to the lyrics, but also what has become an iconic guitar riff to my generation, as soon as this song comes on I’m ready to sing. Be that on a night out at Popworld, or at a McFly concert, or just in my car. Especially since getting older and learning the actual lyrics compared to the clean ones… (in hindsight boning her makes more sense than phoning her to get into the mood). This song will forever make me want to dance along and sing the tale of woe about the intriguing girl with five colours in her hair. We will never know who she is, but we will sing of her legacy forever.
words by Rehana Nurmahi