When Colin asked me if I wanted to do a top ten of Menzingers songs my first thoughts were ‘Yes, of course. I love The Menzingers!’ shortly followed by ‘How do I pick only ten songs?!’. I’d never really considered just how difficult it is to compile a top ten of your favourite band’s songs (Colin did it for Less Than Jake recently) but I’ve given it a go…
The top ten is ordered not necessarily in a chart-style run down 10–1 (ie. 1 being my absolute favourite) order but more how I’d like to listen to the tracks as a playlist – said playlist is at the bottom of this post.
Gates (On The Impossible Past)
On The Impossible Past is an incredible album. I might be a tad bias but I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one that thinks so. Gates is definitely one of the big ‘hits’ from OTIP and it is one I really love singing along to. Someone new to The Menzingers once described them as ‘a bit emo’ to me (and I was, understandably, a bit offended). But with the lyrics ‘So I'm marching up to your gates today, To throw my lonely soul away, ’Cause I don't need it, You can take it back.’ I can kind of see why.
Cold Weather Gear (A Lesson In The Abuse Of Information Technology)
When you think of The Menzingers, and their debut album in particular, you probably don’t think of the slow, acoustic track with lyrics from the point of view of a soldier in World War II. Starting with the famous speech from The Great Dictator and some simple acoustic guitar followed by Greg’s heart-wrenching and raw vocals, Cold Weather Gear is (to my knowledge) the shortest Menzingers song to date and it always has been one of my favourites. ‘I lost my best friend to Bastogne today, I wonder who’ll tell his family and who’ll tell his wife.’
Who’s Your Partner (Chamberlain Waits)
Unlike the first two songs on my list, Who’s Your Partner sees Tom rather than Greg take over lyrical and main vocal duties. The opening lyrics ‘I was born on a light-skinned road, I was born with an engineer’s gold, I did better than most. Now I live on a dark-skinned road, The collectors call they try to take my gold, I’m happier than most.’ are brilliant. It’s a fast paced, catchy song with a drum beat and palm muted guitar that always make me want to get moving.
I Don’t Wanna Be An Asshole Anymore (Rented World)
I Don’t Wanna Be An Asshole Anymore is the opening track on The Menzingers’s fourth album, Rented World. It’s also the first track on my punk rock-themed gym playlist, purely because it really is a great song to get you pumped. From the awesome guitar riff in the intro to the screaming of the chorus – ‘Baby, baby I'll be good to you, I don’t wanna be an asshole anymore.’ – and those classic punk rock woah-ohs, this is definitely a top tune.
The Obituaries (On The Impossible Past)
And after a song about not being an asshole, we come to the song about ‘fucking up’. Apologies for the swearing but this is another song where the chorus just makes it… and the chorus is ‘I will fuck this up, I fucking know it.’ – repeated. If you’ve ever seen The Menzingers live – and I have quite a few times – then you’ll know that this is the one set of lyrics that is sung louder by the audience, and with more passion, than any other song. Not bad for a song that has a pretty slow tempo compared to some others.
Sir Yes Sir (A Lesson In The Abuse Of Information Technology)
The second song on The Menzingers’s first album, A Lesson In The Abuse Of Information Technology, is Sir Yes Sir. ALITAOIT is an album that features a lot of dual vocals from Tom and Greg – something that they’ve strayed away from in more recent releases, but is still apparent in their live show. This is how Sir Yes Sir begins, accompanied by pounding drums, before Tom takes over. The last line of the song is one best shouted along to – ‘Get up, get off your horse boy you’re nothing special.’
Transient Love (Rented World)
Transient Love is a song that sounds absolutely nothing like anything else that The Menzingers have ever done, but it’s also a song that is special to me and I adore it. I mentioned that Cold Weather Gear is the shortest ever Menzingers song, well Transient Love is the longest at just over 5 minutes long. It’s a slow builder with first drums, then bass, then guitars, before the vocals eventually begin at the 1 and a half minute mark. Rented World was the soundtrack to my 2 weeks of travelling alone in Japan and the lyric ‘But now I'm five thousand miles from a head on my shoulder’ really hit home with me.
Time Tables (Chamberlain Waits)
Probably one of the better known tracks from second album, Chamberlain Waits, Time Tables is a song that more often than not appears on a Menzingers set list – and it’s not surprising really as it’s such a great song. The song tells the story of a short-lived romance and feels kind of nostalgic. I love the mention of Bad Religion too – ‘We argued over which Bad Religion album was better, I thought ‘No Control’ or ‘Suffer’.’
A Lesson In The Abuse Of Information Technology (A Lesson In The Abuse Of Information Technology)
Title track from probably one of the most mouthful-of-a-titled albums in punk rock, A Lesson In The Abuse Of Information Technology is loud, angry and fast. For a long time, well until I read the lyric sheets really, I had absolutely no idea what half of the lyrics were. But, even so, that didn’t stop me from loving the song because of the pace and energy within it. Of course the last lyrics of the song are some that I could decipher and yell along to – ‘We'll burn this city to the, Scream, our throats are bleeding, Wear our scars with pride.’
Good Things (On The Impossible Past)
I said at the beginning of this post that the last song on this list isn’t necessarily my number one Menzingers song, however if I was to pick one song to play to someone who hadn’t heard the band before it would probably be Good Things. With the opening line ‘I’ve been having a horrible time…’ and the simple yet effective guitar riff, Good Things kicks off On The Impossible Past in style. It’s one that the crowd at a live show – and myself most definitely included – goes particularly crazy for screaming ‘So all good things should fall apart’ over and over again. (There’s also an awesome 8-bit style version of the song that will make you long for a Menzos NES game.)