Thursday, 15 September 2016

Top Tens: Colin's Top Ten Less Than Jake Songs

When people of my age first start getting into punk music the majority of the time the way in is through bands like The Offspring, Green Day and Blink 182. For me however is was through Gainesville's ska-punk legends Less Than Jake. Next month not only will I get to see them yet again in London but I will be travelling to their home town to see them at The Fest. Because of this I decided to do a top ten list of my favourite Less Than Jake songs.

Before I start, a special mention goes to the song I'm A Dude which featured in the film Good Burger. It's a bit of a novelty song but I've always found it very uplifting and always puts the biggest smile on my face. I've seen Less Than Jake play this live as well which was awesome.

10. My Money Is On The Long Shot (See The Light)
When See The Light was released in 2013 it was my favourite Less Than Jake album since Anthem was released in 2003. My Money Is On The Long Shot was the stand out track from the album and was an example of Less Than Jake reverting to their third wave ska roots. The band made one of my all time favourite music videos for the song as well, where they got a massive collection of their friends to mime the song. Watch that here.

9. Liquor Store (Pezcore)
Liquor Store is proper old school Less Than Jake, released on their debut album, Pezcore, all the way back in 1995. This early song is where it all began for the band and is still a firm favourite twenty one years later.

8. My Very Own Flag (Pezcore)
I first heard My Very Own Flag on a Moon Ska Records compilation when I was first really getting into ska punk. I only had heard Less Than Jake's newer albums, Border and Boundaries and Anthem at the time so this was my first exposure to real old school Less Than Jake. It's a song about not liking the rules and regulations laid down by the older generations and wanting to make your own rules. There is a fantastic whoa-oh section to close out the song that really gets a crowd singing loudly.

7. The Science Of Selling Yourself Short (Anthem)
If ever a song was going to be a radio friendly hit for Less Than Jake The Science Of Selling Yourself Short is that song. First Appearing on Anthem, the song sees the band slow things down (something they rarely do) and play a sing-a-long reggae style. Interestingly the song was a last minute idea for Anthem and has turned out to be the band's most well known song.

6. Look What Happened (Borders and Boundaries)
One of my favourite things about Less Than Jake is the dual Vocals of Chris and Roger. On Look What Happened (which was also released on Anthem) they really make the song shine. With Chris taking the verse and Roger the chorus it gives the song a much bigger feel. Live this song is an absolute banger, massive sing-a-longs, plenty of dancing and a break down and build towards an ending that will blow the roof of anywhere that it's being played.

5. Al's War (Hello Rockview)
Al's War is the final song on arguably Less Than Jake's most popular album Hello Rockview. To my knowledge this is one of the first times they really went away from the ska punk sound that has made them so popular. This is an anthemic punk rock song that proves that Less Than Jake aren't one trick ponies.

4. Pete Jackson Is Getting Married (Borders and Boundaries)
Pete Jackson Is Getting Married is one of Less Than Jake's most underrated songs in my humble opinion. Bass player, Roger, has for a long time had my favourite vocal in the world of punk music and it's at its very best on Pete Jackson. It's a fast paced punk song that has energy flooding out of it. This is everything I love about punk music condensed down into just under two minutes. It's fast, it's fun, it's a bit silly and it makes me smile.

3. Johnny Quest Thinks We're Sellouts (Pezcore/Losing Streak)
I don't think my top three will actually surprise anyone and it is probably the same for many other Less Than Jake fans. Johnny Quest Thinks We're Sellouts appears on Pezcore and Losing Streak and has long been a fan favourite. With its building intro and its big chorus, the song can get a Less Than Jake crowd brilliantly rowdy. Sometimes I feel like Less Than Jake's brass section doesn't quite get the credit it deserves, on Johnny Quest they are at their best, adding so much to the sound of the song.

2. All My Best Friends Are Metalheads (Hello Rockview)
On another day this song could have easily been number one on this list. It's a classic, not just for Less Than Jake but for the genre of ska punk as a whole. I love this song so much that I based my first email address on it. It's an instant sing-a-long and circle pit starter. As soon as you hear the audio clip of a Victor Lundberg speech titled An Open Letter To My Teenage Son you know things are about to get exciting. The song itself is about not judging people for the things that they believe and not being afraid of being judged for your beliefs.

1. Gainesville Rock City (Borders and Boundaries)
Whilst my friends and I were in college, during the summer holidays we would make a point of going to the beach every Monday. This tradition became known as Beach Monday. For the journey I made a mix CD which had Gainesville Rock City as track number one. As soon as that key turns, the engine starts and the one two punch of horns and guitar riffs come in you know you're in for a high energy party. Chris and Roger's dual vocals are at their very best on this track which is an ode to their hometown of Gainesville.

I actually surprised myself a little bit with this list. I figured I'd have a lot more tracks from Losing Streak and Hello Rockview. I consider them my favourite Less Than Jake albums and are generally considered classics. I guess I like them best as a whole with many of my other favourite LTJ song popping up throughout their discography.