I’ve been listening to a lot of acoustic tracks lately. Maybe it’s to de-stress from college, maybe it’s just because they’re relaxing and help me nod off to sleep or maybe they’re just a nice break from all the metal and punk I usually listen to. But whatever it is, I just can’t get enough of them. Here’s a little slice of the music that’s been filling my ears for the past month or two, hopefully it helps some of you get through the Monday tedium!
Paolo Nutini – ‘These Streets’
This song always has a feeling of nostalgia for me, since Paolo Nutini is from my hometown of Paisley and ‘These Streets’ name-drops specific parts of the town, which works fantastically since the song is explicitly about the lost innocence of youth, and now that I’m no longer living there (which I actually am thankful for to be honest) those feelings of childhood reminiscence ring even more strongly listening to this song nowadays.
James Bay – ‘Hold Back The River’
A lot of you probably know this one, but it’s one of my current favourites so it’s going on here anyway. From Bay’s understated vocals, to the gospel backing and the catchy-as-all-hell chorus it’s no wonder that this song was as big a hit as it was upon its release. It’s guaranteed to have you humming along and tapping your feet at your desk or on the bus.
Rise Against – ‘Swing Life Away’
Rise Against are primarily known as a political punk band, but I’ve always felt that they’re at their best penning songs with seriously emotional, affecting lyrics and this track proves it once and for all. Stripping out all the electric guitars and furious energy, ‘Swing Life Away’ is a simple acoustic track that still manages to remain one of the best songs the band has ever put out.
State Champs – ‘Hard To Please (Acoustic)’
One of the world’s fastest-rising pop-punk bands and certainly my favourite of the new entries in the genre, State Champs turned one of their best songs into this acoustic gem. They manage to be an incredible band even without the energy of a punk performance, and it’s astonishing how well their songs translate to acoustic versions. It maintains the catchiness of the full version, with a killer chorus and vocal hooks throughout, and it’s easily one of my favourite acoustic punk songs ever.
Charlie Simpson – ‘Haunted’
I’ve been a fan of Charlie Simpson for over a decade now, and his solo work showcases a side to his voice and musicianship that he doesn’t get to explore when he’s screaming his face off in Fightstar. ‘Haunted’ is an excellent track that carries some great emotional depth and shows off even more of Simpson’s massive abilities as a musician. Well worth a look whether you’re already a fan of his other work or you’ve never heard his name before now.
I Fight Dragons – ‘With You’
I Fight Dragons normally produce cheerful pop-rock using Game Boys and other consoles and peripherals to infuse their music with a chiptune sound, but they’ve also produced some seriously beautiful songs. The gorgeous ‘Disaster Hearts‘ could have gone here instead but ‘With You’ is even more stripped-back, and the guest vocals from Kina Grannis add so much to the song, turning it into a touching, heartfelt duet. I never thought I’d say that one of the most beautiful songs I’d ever heard would use a Game Boy as an instrument, but there’s a first time for everything!
Elizabeth Grace – ‘Drown’
There are plenty of acoustic versions of Bring Me The Horizon’s ‘Drown’ out there, from VoKill Covers’ great rendition to the band’s own take on it live for Radio 1 in the UK, but Elizabeth Grace’s version is my favourite by far. She manages to balance delicate vocals with the desperate pleading inherent in the song’s message, and creates a version almost as emotional as the original, which is a huge feat when you consider how much work and production went into the studio version to reach that emotional peak, and yet this girl can nearly match it just with her voice and an acoustic.