5 Songs You Need To Hear Right Now (Feb 2016)

The “5 Songs You Need To Hear Right Now” countdowns has become a staple here at Ryan’s Countdowns, and is one of the most requested countdowns that readers want to see. And who am I to deny the public of what they want? Now that you have listened to the entire Justin Bieber album for 3 straight months, it is time you expand your horizons, and get to know the 5 songs that you should not go another day without hearing.

5. Pride, American Authors

American Authors scored a top 10 spot on last year’s “Top 100 Songs of 2015” with their hit “Go Big Or Go Home”, and the boys from Boston are on track to follow that up this year with “Pride.”

I’ve had a few moments of pride so far this year, but if I had to countdown my “Proudest Moments of 2016” as of right now, learning the ultra fast, tongue twisting chorus to the American Author’s single would be at the top of the list.

The first time I heard the song, I knew that I would not let myself sleep until I was able to sing along flawlessly with one of the catchiest songs of the year. To this day, weeks later, I still give a little fist pump each time I nail the vocals. It may have taken my entire commute to and from work, but I accomplished my goal, and nobody can never, ever, ever, never, ever, take away my pride.


4. I Refuse, Simple Plan

In the early 2000’s no band was better at singing about teen angst than Simple Plan. Now, 15 years later, despite the guys being in their mid-thirties, they are still second to none when it comes to the schizophrenic ups and downs of teenagers.

“I Refuse,” off the bands newest album Taking One For the Team, is the epitome of teen angst. In fact, as a mid-thirties guy myself, it almost made me wish that I was an awkward, angry, confused teenager, just so I could stick up for myself when it came to other kids judging me for who I am.

“I refuse to apologize for who I am… I refuse to ever let somebody say I can’t…. I refuse, I refuse, I refuse….. to let the words you say get to me…. and I refuse… to keep on suffering silently…. I refuse, I refuse, I refuse… So I refuse. 

Not only will this song pump you up, build your confidence, and push you to stand up for what you believe in as an adult but it will also be an anthem for teenagers that have had enough of their shitty lives, and help them make positive changes. Simple Plan have long been known for saving the lives of countless teenagers who felt lost and alone, and “I Refuse,” along with much of the Team album, will no doubt do the same. For a bunch of silly Canadian guys that love speedos and skateboards, that is quite an impressive accomplishment.

3. Nobody Wins, Brian Fallon

WARNING: If you do not feel like crying your eyes out, avoid the video. You’ve been warned.

If you are familiar with Gaslight Anthem, you are already familiar with Brian Fallon, the lead singer of the band (currently on an indefinite hiatus.) I was pretty distraught when I heard that Gaslight Anthem was parting ways, but had I heard then, what I have heard now, I would have thrown the band a heartfelt goodbye party, and escorted Fallon to the studio to begin recording.
Not only is this track, “Nobody Wins,” beautifully endearing and painfully honest, but it is as good as any Gaslight Anthem song to date (and I consider myself a solid Gaslight Anthem fan).

Additionally, as if I needed additional reason to not be able to sleep until March 11th (when Fallon’s debut solo album is released), his other released tracks, “A Wonderful Life”, and “Steve McQueen” are just as good and relatable as “Nobody Wins”.

This is as much of a “must hear track” as it gets, so be among the first of your friends to share the track that is bound to be a 2016 classic, and help make Brian Fallon a household name, as it so desperately needs to be.

(SIDE NOTE: After writing this post, I went to Fallon’s website to check out his tour dates, and sure enough, he is playing in Boston on 3/11, which just so happens to be the day his album comes out. And yes, of course I instantly bought ticket).

2. Spirits, The Strumbellas

I am fairly certain that I could just attach the video, and no words would be necessary for why this is a “must hear” song. If you have heard this track already, you know how catchy it is, if you have not heard it yet… you’re welcome for introducing you to one of your favorite songs of 2016.

The Strumbellas, formed in 2008, are from Ontario, Canada, and made up of a six piece band. After 8 years, they have struck radio gold with “Spirits.” The inspiring song that reminds you to live your life to the fullest, will have you in deep thought about whether or not your are enjoying life as much as you should be. Ladies and Gentlemen, the deepest rock lyrics of 2016 so far….

“….And I don’t want a never-ending life
I just want to be alive, while i’m here.

And I, don’t want to see another night
lost inside of our own life, while i’m here.”

Me. Thinking about those lyrics. (photo credit: strangezoo.com)

Me. Thinking about those lyrics. (photo credit: strangezoo.com)


1. I Need Never Get Old, Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats.

(True Story: Over an hour and a half passed from when I wrote about song 2)

Why you ask? Because I have watched the above video 17 times in a row. Literally 17 times in a row. I can only remember a televised musical performance bringing me to tears one time in my life, and it just so happened to be a late-night talk show appearance of The Killers performing “A Dustland Fairytale.” It is a story about lead singer, Brandon Flower’s parents meeting, their life together, and the untimely death of his mother, who lost her battle to cancer a few years back.
I cried because of the epic performance, but I’m sure it also had to do with the touching story. So, I have cried over a musical performance ONE time. Until I watched the above video.
Jimmy Fallon’s introduction alone set the stage for the television musical performance of the year (granted, Lady Gaga’s Nation Anthem at the Superbowl was legendary.)
These guys…. I’m telling you…… turn your TV sets up…. turn it loud. Clap. Have a party. THIS IS ROCK AND ROLL.”

The raw emotion that Rateliff exudes during the performance is so awe-inspiring that he could be singing about a razor blade getting old, and it would still make me teary-eyed.
One day, 65 years from now, when my scribe is writing down my final lists, as I lie dying, Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats’ performance of “I Need Never Get Old” will most definitely still be remembered as one of the greatest televised performance I have ever seen in my life.
Jimmy Fallon’s reaction after the performance is a sign of how epic it was. Even if you have heard the song, watch the video and the song will take on a much deepe
r meaning once you see what Nate and the Night Sweats put into it. WATCH THE VIDEO. Do it for me. Do it for Jimmy Fallon. Do it for Nathaniel Rateliff. Do it for the Night Sweats. But most importantly, do it for you.
And IF, for some reason you do not feel some sort of emotional response as to how epic it is, you next beer is on me when I see you out at a bar. Right after I slap you upside your head.

Leave a comment and tell me what you think of the songs. Love the? Hate them? Have a song that you want me to hear? Tell me all about it.

11 Perfect Pranks to Pull on Your Co-Workers (Part 2)

For Part 1 of the list, and a detailed explanation of the rules click here.

6. Disrupt the Peace. (NOVICE LEVEL PRANK)

This one is mainly for the teachers out there, but if you try hard enough, I am sure you could find a way to apply it to your non-teaching job as well. This is one of the meaner pranks on the countdown, but totally acceptable as long as it is done in moderation.

When walking in the hallway on your prep period, keep your eyes peeled for a classroom that is in complete silence. If you can find one in which the class is being yelled at, or in trouble, that is even better. Here are 3 perfect examples of ways to distract the classroom learning.

A) All you have to do is pop your head in the room and ask a simple question to get the students all riled up. Try real hard to come up with something that you know will get them excited. For example, you are not going to ask them “hey, did everyone study hard for the test this afternoon?” You need to ask them something like “Who saw the Deadpool movie this weekend? (or Kung Fu Panda 3.) Obviously use your best judgement based on their age level.

B) If you are blessed to live in an area where snow is a factor in the winter months, than you know how exciting a snow day or early dismissal can be. For this prank you do not even need to go into the classroom. Simply walk by the room, and loud enough for the students to hear, say “Did you hear that we are getting out two hours early today due to the snow?” Then hang out outside the room in the hallway and listen to the chaos ensue.

C) If a class is watching a film/documentary/movie I physically can not walk by the room without going into the room and casually saying “is this the part when they all die at the end?” This is hilarious no matter what the class is watching because if they are watching a film with actual humans, they get mad and yell “YOU RUINED IT FOR US!” And if they are watching a School House Rock video, or Bill Nye, the Science Guy film, they get all angry with you and scream “IT’S NOT EVEN A FILM THAT HAS CHARACTERS IN IT, MR. J. PLUS, YOU LIED TO US IN ENGLISH CLASS LAST WEEK WHEN YOU CAME IN AND TOLD US THAT HARRY POTTER AND ALL OF HIS FRIENDS WERE GOING TO DIE AT THE END OF THE MOVIE.”
5. Make Co-Workers Laugh at Inappropriate Times (EXPERT LEVEL PRANK)

If you are a teacher, the absolute most inappropriate time to laugh is at a parent/teacher conference. If you are on a middle school team, you likely meet with parents as a group. My favorite thing about teaching is trying to make my co-workers laugh when they are trying to be serious.

This is a very dangerous prank, because you, yourself must not laugh at your own behavior, and you must be so subtle so that the parents do not catch you acting like a fool. Inside jokes are key in this process. Get to know what makes your co-workers LOL and make sure you find a way to incorporate that into the discussion.

MOST IMPORTANT PIECE OF ADVICE: IF, for some reason, you are unable to control yourself, MAKE SURE you are the first person to excuse yourself from the room before you burst out laughing. Once one person leaves the room, everyone else is stranded there, and has no choice but to control themselves, or laugh in everyone’s face.

Some examples of funny things you can do: funny hand gestures, mouthing “that’s what she said” when appropriate, or pretend that you are taking notes on your computer and use iMessage to text your friends hysterical, inappropriate jokes. They are bound to check their phone at some point, and when they do, they will be unable to control themselves.

4. Lie When Asked What Someone Else’s Name Is. (NOVICE PRANK)
This could be done at any point that someone asks you someone else’s name. However, this works best when hazing new co-workers. The funniest thing to do is to lie to the new co-worker and tell them that one of your co-worker’s names is “Bob” when in fact it is “Mike.”
The more people that you get in on the prank the better. It is even best when you tell the person whose name you lied about. It is alwa

ys so fun to see how long the workplace can go before the newbie realizes that there is no “Bob” in the building, and the entire workplace has been in on the joke for months.

This may seem like a prank that can only be accomplished very infrequently. But, I have mastered this prank, and successfully, notoriously pulled it off many times. When done right people will remember it for years to come, and never let the newbie live it down.

3. The Chair Steal (Moderate Level Prank)

If you have a co-worker that always loses and misplaces things, the best thing to do is to steal their chair.

The catch is……. tell everyone in the office/building that you stole the chair, and ask them to wait for an email/post/memo about the missing chair.

If you can successfully get the target of the prank to actually write an email or post a memo about their missing chair, the entire workplace will praise your success and your prank will go down in infamy.

NOTE: This does not HAVE to be a chair, but a chair is just so funny because….

a) the person will not panic about losing a personal item, such as a purse, wallet, phone, keys, etc.

b) who the hell loses their chair?

THE BEST PART OF THIS PRANK: If the memo/email is sent by the pranked co-worker, be sure to send the entire staff/faculty/workplace a follow-up email or memo accusing another co-worker of stealing the chair…. much like my email below.

Actual email sent to the faculty responding to the pranked co-worker's email about her missing chair.

Actual email sent to the faculty responding to the pranked co-worker’s email about her missing chair.


2. Sending an Email or Writing a Memo with Multiple Spelling Errors. (Novice Prank)

If your place of work uses email to communicate with each other (like most school districts) you will need to be a bit more sneaky with this prank. If your workplace uses a memo board or something similar, this will be a piece of cake.

EMAIL PRANK – For this, you will need to sneak on to your co-worker’s email when they are away from their computer. Like I said before, this may be difficult, but if it is possible, send a quick email to all the co-workers. This works best around the holidays, so you can send a heartfelt email to everyone. The prank isn’t just sending the email, the prank is sending the email making sure it is filled with spelling and grammatical errors.

If you use a memo board, simply write a hand-written note about anything, and spell as many words incorrectly as possible, without making it obvious that the memo is not written by the person being pranked.

Simply sign the poorly worded, misspelled note/email with your co-workers name, and voila, your prank will take off like wildfire, and you will have the whole office/workplace whispering to each other that they never knew so-and-so was such an awful speller.

See example below if you need help crafting your letter.

Stupid Email PIc

1. Disgruntled Parent/Customer Phone Call (Expert Prank)

The grand daddy of all jokes, the prank phone call, has its own very special place in the work environment. It is crucial that this joke is used very sparingly, and only used to pretend to be a disgruntled parent (or an angry customer).

It is also important that you only call the prank victim directly. You do not actually want to get your co-worker in trouble, so be sure to call their direct line.

If you are calling a co-teacher, I suggest asking your friend “why does my child not learn anything in your class.” No matter what response he or she has, just keep on saying “but why does she not learn anything in your class?”

Listening to them stumbling over their words while trying to think of a constructive, meaningful response for why their child does not learn anything, will be epic. If you are wondering what to say when they ask who you are, just try mumbling a name. This is extraordinarily helpful if you use an accent. I personally like to pretend I am an angry woman with a Spanish accent, and use a common Spanish surname that would confuse even the most organized teacher.

EXPERT TIP: Complete prank with fellow co-workers in the room and make sure you have your victim on speakerphone.

11 Perfect Pranks to Pull on Your Co-Workers

Let’s face it. Everyone wants to have fun at work. Unfortunately, for many of us, the daily tasks and responsibilities limit the amount of fun and laughter we get to have. For teachers especially, many of us only get a few precious moments with adults throughout the day, which, granted, could be a good thing.

So what happens when you spend every day with the same people for years on end? What happens when you have had the same conversation with the same person day after day, year after year? What happens when your boring, mundane conversation inevitably turns into one of you apologizing for the smell of your lunch stinking up the room?

Pranks happen.

In order to stay sane at the workplace, there must be at least one jokester that isn’t afraid to crack an inappropriate joke or pull a prank that borderlines on harassment. For some reason, everywhere I work, that person seems to always be me.

So, what are my favorite pranks to pull on my unsuspecting co-workers? Continue reading for the 11 best pranks that even a novice practical jokester can pull off to liven up a boring workplace.

(NOTE: My place of work happens to be a school, however, many of the pranks can be tweaked so that you, too, can be funny at your awful place of employment that does not have weekends, holidays, summers, week long vacations, snow days, extreme cold days, and extreme hot days off.)

WARM UP JOKE: Just a little warm up to get your LOL on. If ANYONE, AT ANY TIME YOU ARE AT WORK……. EVER…….. starts a meeting/announcement/sentence with the phrase “Well, I don’t want to bore you to death…” the ONLY way to respond is by screaming “TOO LATE.” And, yes, it is imperative to scream it. You must include the presenter in the joke, and make sure they hear it, otherwise, they may hear everyone around you laugh, and you may hurt their feelings. This is especially true if they are actually forced to tell you about something that literally may bore you to death. It is the perfect way for everyone to get out a big, hardy LOL, before the snooze fest begins.

11. Late to Meeting / Leave Meeting Early
Running Late
This first one is so easy that even a newbie or a rookie could do it. All it takes is just a little bit of courage, and an unfortunate co-worker. The only bad thing about this joke is that some people get ultra sensitive if you make fun of them in front of their co-workers and/or boss, so make sure you refrain from using this joke on anyone that will get their panties in a bunch if you make fun of them in front of a room of their peers and bosses.

If one of your co-workers is either late to a meeting, or leaves a meeting early, simply say “I didn’t know we could be late,” or “I didn’t know we could leave early.”

Say it just loud enough so you do not completely disrupt your boring meeting, but instead garner the laughter from the co-workers sitting around you (as well as a middle finger from your co-worker that has such a busy life that they can not attend the entire meeting).

Occasionally the joke may backfire if your co-worker needs to go to a funeral or wake, and everyone will mad at you for being so rude, but the reward for when the joke successfully lands, far outweighs the risk.

LOL Potential  = 6

10. What’s With All the Junk Mail?!?
Junk Mail
Although the need for them are significantly diminishing, many schools still have mailboxes for their staff. Due to more and more districts and/or companies becoming green and going digital, most of the items in our mailboxes are junk mail. I get hundreds of Scholastic Magazines in my mailbox on a weekly basis, and I can not dispose of them quickly enough. So, what I typically do, is place them in a co-workers mailbox that has even less of a need for them than I do, and let them deal with them. This typically happens in the morning when I already have my hands full with my own personal items, and can not be bothered with junk mail that will only increase the likelihood of me dropping my iced coffee before arriving safely at my desk.
I particularly love putting my Scholastic flyers in the P.E. teachers’ mailboxes and watch as they stare dumbfounded as to why Scholastic Weekly Reader sends them so much material.
I am sure that if your office or place of work has some sort of mailbox or “cubby” for its workers, you can think of plenty of useless mail to throw in your friend’s mailbox.

COMMON SENSE ALERT: Make sure your name isn’t on the mail that you throw in someone else’s mailbox, or it will just get redelivered to you, and your cover will be blown.

LOL Factor = 6.5

9. Blocking Co-Workers In at the End of the Day

There is no better feeling than walking out of your workplace at the end of each workday. ESPECIALLY if it is a Friday and you and your co-workers are heading to the nearest watering hole.
In this prank, you will sacrifice a few moments of your own free time, and risk not getting a good seat at the bar, but it is almost guaranteed to make all of your co-workers (besides the poor soul that you are playing the prank on) LOL .

Here is how it’s done: You simply get into your car after work, and as your co-worker gets into their car, simply drive behind them and prevent them from backing up. Do whatever needs to be done to stay there as long as possible, whether it be pretending to check your phone, pretending to find a good song on the radio, or pretending to fix your hair. Whatever you do, do not look at your frantic co-worker that is trying to get the hell out of the parking lot and start boozing it up.

Within minutes you can watch them go from this……

Leaving Work on Friday

Leaving Work on Friday


to this…..

Victim of Ryan's Prank #9

Victim of Ryan’s Prank #9


CAUTION: Be sure you do not choose to do this prank to a co-worker that is an awful driver. If they do not look in their rearview mirror before backing up, they will smash right into you, and you will feel really bad. A.K.A. Do not try this trick on me, or it could very likely backfire on you.

LOL Factor = 7.5

8. Phone Call During Meeting

This is my oldest trick in my work prank book. Most people are mortified when they forget to turn the volume off on their cell phones before attending a meeting. I feel as though it is my duty to call out these forgetful co-workers. So, during each and every faculty meeting I go through my phone and call my co-workers one at a time until one of their phones ring. This usually puts the boring meeting on hold while the entire faculty stares at them as they frantically try to find their phone in the bottom of their bag, or deep in their pocket.
After 10 years and hundreds of faculty meetings, this has backfired on me a bit, because whenever anyone’s phone goes off the entire faculty stares at me, assuming that I am the culprit, even though I may be on my best behavior at that particular moment.

NOTE: If you are not willing to stand up and shake your head in disapproval of your co-workers inability to shut their phone off before a meeting, you are not allowed to pull the prank. The standing up and shaking of the head just adds to the humiliation of your friend/co-worker, and really brings the laughs. It is also recommended that the person pulling off the prank does everything in their power to make eye contact with the boss/principal and give an eye roll and shake of the head, as if to say “I would fire them immediately if I were you, because I would NEVER leave my phone on during such an important meeting.”

FUN FACT: This joke also works perfectly in church. My cousin Paul and I have been calling each other at Christmas Eve Mass every year since we had cell phones. In a setting like church though, it may be best to not make God too mad and just send a funny text, such as “Hey buddy. Just wanted to make sure that the volume was off on your phone. Merry Christmas. Love you.” That way, even if it does go off the only people that will judge him are the few people that are sitting close to him. You don’t want your friend to get excommunicated from the church, you just want to have a bit of a giggle at their expense.

I don’t recommend it, but if you want to be a real jerk, do it during the part when the priest is turning the bread and wine into the body and blood. That is typically when the entire congregation is on their best behavior, and when it would be the most embarrassing for your friend. Whatever you do, DO NOT send it during the “peace be with you” part, as that is basically an intermission, and a free-for-all. Your joke would be useless as nobody would hear it. The only person that would know that the joke happened would be God, and I don’t think he would think it was very funny. If you are going to get in trouble with God, you might as well get a few laughs out of it.

LOL Factor = 10 (for the first 75 times) 8 every time after that.

7. The “See Me” Note

Just like when you were in school and you got back a test that had the phrase “see me” on it, this trick is sure to work perfectly. And the joke could not be any easier. All you have to do is place a note on your co-workers desk (or in their mailbox) that says…

See Me.
– (Boss’s name)

This will be sure to send your friend into a frenzy wondering what they have done wrong, and why their boss needs to see them so urgently. Of course, if you are a real jerk, you can add “ASAP”, but that is just cruel IMHO.

PRO TIP: For some reason, Post-It-Notes work best. Not sure why, but there is just something about the Post-It-Note that screams, “You are in SOOOOO much trouble.”

BONUS: If you are actually a teacher, this trick works fantastic on students as well. Instead of actually writing a “100” or “A+” on an exceptionally smart student’s test, simply write “see me.” Watch them panic, and stumble up to your desk. When they arrive and say “you wanted to see me,” just say, “oh, you got everything correct, but I just didn’t feel like writing that all out, so I just figured that I would tell you to your face.” Classic. Kids are so easy to fool, and believe everything you say. It’s great.

For Part 2 of the countdown click here.

If you have an amazing joke to pull on your co-workers, please leave a comment below, and I will do my best to make it happen. Who knows, if it is clever enough I may even get it on film for all the world to see!