Beyond Radio is the place where music discovery and music nostalgia collide. It is your one-stop source for playlists, music charts, remembrances and recommendations. Our Podcast and music therapy playlists combine elements of nostalgia and discovery, while my blog entries reflect on our musical past through the lens of my personal charts from decades past. I weave a story that includes the connection between artists, chart facts and personal anecdotes that hopefully conjure a connection to the soundtrack of your own life. The current charts and playlists are updated monthly or bi-monthly (bi-weekly for the BR250) and are curated based on a passionate audience that produce their own personal charts weekly.
The Many Faces Of Alternative and Some Alt Radio Records
My top 11 this week in 2010 shows the variety of Rock styles that fit into the Alternative universe at the time.
In 2008 this Florida Emo band scored a #1 Alternative song with “Feel Good Drag” from the fourth album “New Surrender” and first on a major label. ‘Drag’ took 29 weeks to reach the summit which was a record at the time and was Billboard’s #2 Alternative song of the year. The following year it was bested by Phoenix’s “1901” (31 weeks) and in 2010 “Animal” By Neon Trees eclipsed that with 32 weeks). Phoenix, a French indie-Pop band had a decade of moderate success in their homeland before they hit it big in the States in 2009 with “1901” and “Lisztomania”. Those 2 songs made Billboard’s year-end Alternative top 10, at #4 and #7, and were from their fourth album “Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix”, an album that won the Grammy for Best Alternative Music Album in 2010.
Neon Trees were descending my chart this week with “1983” (51) after peaking at #5 in September. Both that and “Animal” made my top 50 of the year and in Billboard, the former was the #44 Alternative song of 2011 and the latter was #5 of 2010. “Animal” was also the first of 2 top 10 Pop hits as well. In 2012 the Provo, Utah band returned with “Everybody Talks” which took them in the top 5. After a lengthy absence from the charts, during which time lead singer Tyler Glenn came out, they returned this year with the Alternative top 5 “Used To Like” and another charter, “New Best Friend”.
Anberlin’s ‘Drag’ was a re-recorded version of a song from their 2005 independent album “Never Take Friendship Personal” that spawned their first chart single “Paperthin Hymn”, #38 on the Alternative chart and #8 on my personal chart. The band has always been connected to the Christian music scene though the lead singer Stephen Christian (hmmm) says their intention was not to be categorized in that way. This, I believe is similar to the approach that Manic Bloom, whom I wrote about extensively earlier this year, has taken. “Impossible” was their second top 5 on Alternative radio and not their only #1 on my chart. In April of 2011 they repeated with “Pray Tell”. 2 more songs would chart in 2011, “Closer” and “Take Me (As You Found Me)”. “Impossible” also was Billboard’s #21 Alternative song of the year in 2010.
San Diego’s Switchfoot may be the most successful Christian Rock band on the mainstream charts. They have been a mainstay on my personal chart with 50 songs over the last 19 years (starting with “Learning To Breathe” in 2001). 2010 was not their best year on my chart but they did place 2 songs on Billboard’s year-end Alternative chart in 2010. “The Sound” was #25 and “Mess Of Me” was #44. 8 of the songs from their 2009 album “Hello Hurricane” made my personal chart in 2010, 2 of those made my weekly top 25. The ballad “Your Love Is A Song” performed well on Christian radio and at HotAC and went to #21 and “Free”, an anthemic non-single, and my fav from the album, which debuted on my chart the following week, rose to #4 in February 2011.
Pocket Full Of Rocks/Alive (2)
Formed in 1995, this Christian band released 6 albums between 2002-2011. This is the only song I know by them. A great Pop-Rock tune that would spend 2 weeks at #1 on my chart in November and go onto place at #18 on the year-end chart.
A Silent Film/You Will Leave Your Mark (3)
The bright Alt-Pop from this British outfit has drawn comparisons to Keane, Coldplay, and Snow Patrol. I definitely gravitated towards the driving energy of their more upbeat songs. ‘Mark’, a great car with windows down kind of song, is their only song to reach the Alternative chart in the States, peaking at #38. I’m relatively sure that it got much more exposure on SiriusXM’s Alt Nation station. In fact, looking it up the song was #4 on the station’s year-end countdown. Another band that made their top 18 of the year countdown was by The Temper Trap, an Australian Indie band whose sound was in a similar vein. Their song “Fader” was #15 for the year on Alt Nation and one of two songs to reach my top 10. The other, “Sweet Disposition” was also an Alternative radio and UK top 10. This song initially did not perform well but after its inclusion in the movie “500 Days Of Summer” it had a renewed life. In the end, in 2010 the song won Most Popular Australian Single at the ARIA Awards.
A Silent Film would chart for me 6 times and produce 3 other top 30 songs. “Driven By A Beating Heart”, even with a peak of only #22 on my weekly chart, ended up at #59 for the year (26 weeks in my top 150 and 15 of those in the top 40). In 2012 they came back with “Danny, Dakota and the Wishing Well” which was one of my husband John’s favorite songs of the year. The Temper Trap had a bit more success overall. Both bands had 3 studio albums, but A Silent Film didn’t have much chart success, while The Temper Trap had 2 of their albums go to #1 in Australia. In 2016 they would return to my chart and make it to #1 with the percolating “Alive”, a feel-good anthem from their final album “Thick As Thieves”, a single that failed to chart. The title track could chart for me in the coming weeks as I had not heard it before. The other single from that album “Fall Together” floundered on my chart for 11 weeks, never getting above #148 though in listening to it now it should have done better. I find it funny that in looking at other songs that were around it on my chart at that time 4 years ago, I remember it so much better than many of them.
Two Door Cinema Club/Come Back Home (4)
Speaking of songs that I don’t remember well; this song was spending its third week at #4 on my chart. Even with the first time I listened to it now I was like, why don’t I remember this? I’m listening to it again now while I write this (probably the third time recently) and it is coming back to me to some degree. This whole process of analyzing my past personal charts is so fascinating to me, and certainly a joy. There is a jangly essence to the UK band’s Alt-Dance vibe. I remember their first single “What You Know” better in retrospect, though that one only made it to #49 on my weekly chart. It was a top 25 hit on the U.S. Alternative chart. This is another band that my husband John has gravitated towards over the years. Songs like 2016’s “Bad Decisions” and 2019’s “Talk” (the band’s only other top 10 on my chart) were in heavy rotation on his playlist. The band has reached my top 50 8 times.
The band hails from Northern Ireland and won the Choice Music Prize for Best Irish Album of the Year in 2010 for their debut “Tourist History”. That album produced 5 singles including “Something Good Can Work” and ‘Undercover Martyn” but it was the last of those, “What You Know” that finally got them on the UK singles chart. They never reached the top 30 on that chart but the last 3 albums have all made the UK top 5.
This band, along with Phoenix and The Temper Trap, are all on Glassnote Records. Launched in 2007 by 30-year music veteran Daniel Glass. The label also is the home of Folk-based rockers Mumford and Sons whose 2009 debut single “Little Lion Man” established the UK band as one of the biggest Rock bands of the last decade. The song was a huge hit, reaching #1 on the Alternative chart in the States (#18 for the year) and the album “Sigh No More” selling over 3 million copies. The album won the Brit Award for Album of the Year, yet the song surprisingly only peaked at #24 in the UK. It produced 2 other Alternative top 10s, “The Cave” and “Roll Away Your Stone”. I was not a big fan of the band with none of these songs making my weekly top 100. They did make an appearance in my weekly top 10 once, with the lead single “I Will Wait” from their second album “Babel”. That album went on to win the Grammy for Album of the Year in 2013.
Another UK band in the Alt-Dance realm (and another fav of John’s), The Wombats, first charted for me with “Let’s Dance To Joy Division” in 2007. On this week’s chart, they had “Tokyo (Vampires & Wolves) (59). For some reason, I always thought this band was from Australia. Ironically their first album, released only in Japan, is titled “Girls, Boys, and Marsupials”. Many of the tracks on that album were included on the international debut album in 2007. Like so often happens in the UK, the original single releases were re-released to better effect after they had established themselves with the public. Their debut single “Backfire At The Disco” had one week on the UK singles chart in April 2007 and then another 5 weeks a year later in April/May of 2008.
The band has had 10 songs reach my weekly top 100 (well 2 of those almost made it so technically 8) though they only have gotten past #33 once. In 2015 they quickly clicked and shot up to #1 on my chart with “Emoticons”. With 14 weeks in my top 10 and 5 in my top 2, that song ended as my #2 of the year in 2016. There was just something to the build of that song. It starts with a simple beat, a lazy guitar line, breathy vocals, and simple keyboards. By the end, it is an exuberant denouncing of emojis (“all these emoticons and words, they try to make it better, but they only make it worse”). I like it when a middling band has a moment in the sun.
30 Seconds To Mars/Closer To The Edge (5)
Moving to the heavier side of Alternative is this Jared Leto led L.A. band. Some may remember that Leto won numerous acting awards in 2013 for his supporting turn in the movie “Dallas Buyers Club”. Matthew McConaughey also won Best Actor in that film, a biopic about AIDS patient Ron Woodroof who smuggled experimental drugs into the country. The band has placed 9 songs in the Alternative top 10, this one peaking at #7. This was their second and last Pop hit. Both ‘Edge’ and 2006’s “The Kill (Bury Me)” reached #30. These are 2 of 4 songs to reach my top 10 (“From Yesterday” and “A Beautiful Lie” are the other 2). The band made the “Guinness Book of World Records” in 2011, clocking in 309 live performances during a one-album cycle. The tour was in support of the 2009 album “This Is War’. The title song and “Kings And Queens” both hit #1 on the Alternative chart and ‘Edge’ was the best-selling rock single in the UK, topping that chart for 8 weeks.
Solon Bixler was in the band from 2000-2003 and went on the form the band Great Northern. In 2007 they landed a #4 on my chart with “Home”, a dreamy concoction with back and forth vocals from Bixler and Rachel Stolte that was featured in a 2008 Nissan Murano ad and in the movie “21”. “Story” (58) is one of three songs that charted for me from their second album “Remind Me Where The Light Is”. All but one of the songs on that album have a one-word title.