1. “A Little Faster” by There for Tomorrow
A pop-punk song with the perfect ratio of pop to punk.
2. “Misery Loves Company” by Emilie Autumn
After a suicide attempt left her committed to a mental institution, Courtney Love’s former violinist draws on personal experience and shines as a solo artist, coming off as something like a depressed, angrier Lady GaGa.
3. “All I Want” by A Day to Remember
The first single off ADTR’s new album is proof that the consistently excellent “heaviest pop-punk band ever” has no intention of slowing down.
4. “Beautiful Loser” by William Control
Aiden’s frontman moonlights as a solo artist and dabbles, successfully, into the obscure darkwave genre with this catchy psychosexual single.
5. “Two Cups of Tea” by Star F***ing Hipsters
Straight-up punk with the welcome twist of a female vocalist.
6. “Ether” by AFI
To know this song means you are either a diehard AFI fan (as I am) or foreign; a legal snafu kept the band from releasing it in the U.S. (though it can be heard on the soundtrack for the video game NASCAR 09). But with what is, in my opinion, one of the best vocal harmonies in contemporary rock, it deserves every listen it can get.
7. “Angels” by Within Temptation
These Dutch rockers are sure to please fans of Evanescence. They take a break from their usual metal for this soprano demi-ballad.
8. “Mosquitos” by Black Suit Youth
A song with noticeable classic-rock roots and one foot in the contemporary. Gritty vocals and lyrical cynicism only add to the appeal.
9. “I Don’t Care (feat. Adam Gontier)” by Apocalyptica
As a metal band comprised solely of three classically trained cellists and a drummer, Apocalyptica is forced to borrow singers from other bands; Three Days Grace frontman Gontier was an excellent choice.
10. “Airplanes” by The Ready Set
The Ready Set lends a surprisingly successful pop-punk edge to B.o.B.’s megahit.
11. “Dear Angel” by April Sixth
By turns romantic and wrenching, this little-known band (it’s not even on Wikipedia!) proves itself worthy of far more recognition than it has ever received.
12. “Fer Sure” by the Medic Droid
Essentially a synth-pop take on Meat Loaf ‘s “Paradise by the Dashboard Light” for a less romantic, more drug-addled generation.
13. “For All Lovers” by Stanfour
Caught somewhere between Skillet and Nickelback, this song proves that sometimes simplicity really is better.