Top 100 Songs of 2017 (20-11)

Click here for songs 100-21

20. “The Gold” – Manchester Orchestra

Manchester Orchestra deserve a gold medal this year for coming out with what may be their best track in their 13-year history with “The Gold.”

I believed you were crazy you believed you loved me” are some of the most sing-along-worthy lyrics of the year.

No matter what is going on in your life, “The Gold” will take away your worries, and put you at ease with its laid back tone and gentleness; if only for 4 minutes and 37 seconds. Then its back to your miserable existence.

19. “Young & Wild” – The Strumbellas

Quite unlike “The Gold,” The Strumbellas track “Young & Wild” will have you up out of your seat and ready for a dance-off right from the get-go.

I have said it before, and I’ll say it again, The Strumbellas are the best band to come out of Canada in a very, very long time.

At the moment I can’t think of a band I would want to hang out with more than The Strumbellas, and “Young & Wild” is a perfect example of how they are so fun.

You don’t hear this too often, but good work, Canada! And to The Strumbellas….. more music please.

18. “Can We Hang On?” – Cold War Kids

Besides “Auld Lang Syne” is there a song more appropriate for New Years Eve than “Can We Hang On?” by Cold War Kids?

Vocalist Matt Willett says the song “is a hopeful love song that looks back with nostalgia on the good old days but is uncertain about the future.”

There may not be too much to look back on and love about 2017, but as long as the Cold War Kids are still making music like this, the future is looking bright for alt rock fans.

17. “Speak” – Wild Cub

In the past few months I have single handedly introduced “Speak” by Wild Cub, to no less than twenty friends, and each and every one of them instantly loved the uplifting track from the Nashville indie-pop rock band.

And for the most part, my friends wouldn’t know a good song if it slapped them in the face.

I still remember the reasons why, I remember, I remember” why I almost drove off the road the first time I hear “Speak.”

Because it was that good.

16. “In Cold Blood” – Alt-J

“In Cold Blood” may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it is one of the most unique, “out there” songs of the year, and with every listen I began to enjoy it more and more.

The last minute and a half of the song is literally just “la la la’s.” But I have to say, they may be my favorite “la la la’s” of all time. Sorry Ashley Simpson.

15. “Feel Good” – Neon Trees

Tyler Glenn just has a way about making people feel good. That is why “Feel Good” is so believable and infectious.

Most Neon Trees songs are fun, energetic, and catchy, but “Feel Good” encapsulates all three the way that only Neon Trees can.

If Glenn’s only goal is to make us feel good, he passes with flying colors. As usual.

14. “Daisy” – Goodbye June

It will only take you one listen to Goodbye June’s “Daisy” for you to fall in love with the track and started searching the band on wikipedia to see who they are.

Well, let me help, the Nashville trio has been around since 2005, and the band has been described as being “blues-infused rock with hard-driving beats, blistering guitars, and down and dirty vocals.”

“Daisy” is exactly what modern day rock with classic rock influences should sound like. I’ll tell you one thing, my Spotify playlists will not be saying “goodbye” to Goodbye June anytime soon.

13. “Painkiller” – DREAMERS

DREAMERS, the three-piece band from Manhattan, NY has gotten progressivly more impressive since their debut single “Wolves (You Got Me,)” which made the countdown back in 2015 (#37.)

“Painkiller” is loud, fast, and will get you through that part of your run when you feel like you can’t possibly run any longer.

DREAMERS are beginning to make a solid name for themselves in the alt rock world, and seem to be getting more and more confident in their ability to make tracks that all-out rock.

12. “Middle Fingers” – MISSIO

If anybody out there knows of a way to not sing along and actually sticking up your middle fingers in the air while driving down the highway, please let me know. Because no matter how hard I try, I can’t seem to not get caught by someone driving next to me as I am sticking my middle fingers in the air and screaming along to the catchy track about not giving an F.

The message MISSIO is trying to deliver, however, may surprise you. In an interview with Billboard the band says “[It’s] definitely based toward an ‘eff this situation’ mode, but the message is about finding the problem you struggle with, and lifting your middle finger with other people.”

So take that, everyone on the road that thinks I am just flipping the bird to you… I am actually on a mission to create solidarity and peace… So F Off and stop giving me dirty looks.

11. “Edge of Town” – Middle Kids

Perhaps the wa

rmest welcome to a foreign band this year goes to Sydney Australia’s Middle Kids. Their track “Edge of Town” has a tempo change that is so gradual that when they explode at the end of the track, I feel as though my head is going to explode right along with them.

This is the first and only track I have heard from Middle Kids, but as the new year begins, I will make it a mission to make up for lost time, and get to know the Australian band that I had no idea I was missing out on until now.


Songs 10-1

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:

Me. Thinking about those lyrics. (photo credit:


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 deeper 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.