83. The All American Rejects - Swing Swing

In putting together this list, I've tried to avoid putting in songs from the last few years because I didn't want the fact that they were newer and fresher to cloud my judgment against other songs that I may have heard dozens of times over the years. "Swing Swing" by The All American Rejects is one of the more recent songs on this list and I put it on because it was just too good to let my bias against newer songs keep it off.

The All American Rejects are a band from Oklahoma that have been lumped in the pop-punk genre, but I think their style is much more sophisticated than that. In just this song, you can hear influences from the punk movement, sure, but you can also hear echoes of The Cure, The Cars, and even classic rock from the 60's and 70's with the Hammond organ they use. There's a complexity to their songwriting and instrumentation that a lot of their contemporaries can't claim.

"Swing Swing" starts with that lifting Hammond organ that make you think this may be a Steve Winwood song or something. But then the more punk sounding guitar chops in, letting you know that this is a song unlike anything you've heard before. They added elements of punk, pop, rock and reggae all into a blender and this song is what came out. The melody pegs this song as a pure pop song, but all the other elements add a sonic depth that make it much harder to dismiss. There's even an almost hair-metal guitar refrain during the last bridge that almost remind me of an Iron Maidenish sound. Yet another musical influence to throw into the blender.

The way lead singer Tyson Ritter sings this song is very reminiscent of Robert Smith of The Cure. But in the chorus, he adds a soaring lift to his vocals that remind me more of U2's Bono. I like that he blends styles vocally since the instrumentation of the song is a blend of other styles as well.

The lyrics are about a guy who's heart has been broken and who wonders if it will ever be whole again. We've all been there.

Swing, swing
From the tangles of
My heart is crushed By a former love
Can you help me find a way
To carry on again?

But in contrast to depressing odes to a broken heart, the Rejects focus on the future - a hopefully brighter future.

Dreams cast into the sky
I'm moving on
Sweet beginnings do arise
She knows I was wrong
The notes are old
They bend, they fold
And so do I to a new love

"Swing Swing" shows us that there's a light at the end of even the darkest tunnels and that as long as you keep focusing on getting through it, better days await you. It's a concept that I've lived in my life and I can say from experience that the new love you may find can be more fulfilling than you ever thought it could be. So that could be part of the reason why this song speaks to me so strongly. It's something that I've lived in my life and I'm better for it. And isn't that the purpose of all good songwriting? The songwriters get you to think that they're writing the soundtrack to your life. So "Swing Swing" is definitely on my life's mix tape, and I'm happy to have it there.

I'll also put the link for the official video:

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