On My Playlist: Top 5 +44 songs

+44
+44

This week, with On My Playlist, I have decided to focus on one of those bands that only released one album but, in essence, should at least have given more music in their short existence.
Mark Hoppus, primarily known as the bassist for Blink-182, had a side project known as +44 that he focused on after the First Blink 182-hiatus back in 2004.
In my opinion, +44 was one of Hoppus’ little gems, which he and fellow Blink bandmate, drummer Travis Barker, brought to life in 2006.
The band has a great Hoppus-like influence and focuses on numerous melancholy influences and ideas.
The lyrics are brilliantly written and, along with the music, created a great couple of songs that connected with the heart and psyche. Mature punk rock music with an electronic touch may be one way to describe it.
+44 consisted of Mark Hoppus – lead vocals, bass guitar, Travis Barker – drums, percussion, keyboards, Shane Gallagher – lead guitar and Craig Fairbaugh – rhythm guitar, keyboards, vocals.
Honourable mentions: ‘Lillian’, ‘Baby Come On’, ‘Make You Smile’, ‘Little Death’.
5. Lycanthrope
The opening track on +44’s only album Lycanthrope is one of the faster-paced songs on the album and has a really catchy guitar intro from Gallagher and fast-paced drumming from Barker to set the mood. The lyrics are dark and brooding as Hoppus lays out everything on his sleeve in the first two verses: ‘I still feel you looking over my shoulder. Your sinking guilt an approaching nightmare, and I know none of us will survive ‘cause I know everything.’ Themes of hopelessness, regret and guilt permeate this song and really showcase the space of mind that the band was in at this stage of their career. Sad songs really do make memorable ones and this is a perfect example.
The great aspect of this number is the drums and guitar that really drive this number forward, especially with a tasty piece of solo instrumentation in the bridge.

4. Weatherman
The drums start off this number with absolute precision as the slow beat and brooding distorted bass really set the tone for this dark number on failed relationships: ‘Let me slip away. I’m barely holding on. Every now and then, I feel the end of us.’
The lyrics are beautifully written and just suit the song perfectly. Touches of lead guitar also add to this fantastic track: ‘I never meant to say I’m sorry, And I’m not sad to see you go. We’re human shapes burnt on concrete walls. These days, the sun don’t shine here anymore.’ A really underrated song and a must listen to appreciate its tone and structure.

3. No, It Isn’t
This is another sad song from this band’s repertoire about saying goodbye and what leads to separation in general. The lyrics are dark and metaphorically written and really point to the destruction that damaged and torn relationships bring. Most fans say this song is directly about Tom de Longe and Blink-182 hiatus that lead to +44’s existence.
The lyrics: ‘I listen to you talk, but talk is cheap.
And my mouth is filled with blood from trying not to speak.’
Another fantastic part of the song is how it starts off slowly and builds up brilliantly after the piano lead bridge that is both beautiful and haunting at the same time.
A quick snare drum roll from Barker on drums puts the song into its quickest speed yet as the song reaches its climax on a high note, both musically and lyrically: Lay rotting where I fall. I’m dead from bad intentions. Suffocated and embalmed.
And now all our dreams are cashed in. So please understand. This isn’t just goodbye. This is I can’t stand you.’

2. 155
Electronic influences cling to this song in the intro as Travis Barker’s high-hat beats put this song into motion.
This is one of +44 best-written songs and has a great pace to it with brilliant drumming throughout.
The impact of love and relationships once again fuels this song and is one of the main reasons why it is so highly ranked – it just has a way of speaking to the listener: ‘Love. This is getting harder.
And I can’t seem to pick you out of the crowd. But you, my dear, have been discovered a liar.
And I’m afraid that this is building up for far too long,’ sings Hoppus as he dreams of simpler times.

1. When Your Heart Stops Beating
This is, without a doubt, +44’s most well-known and best-loved song with its pacy beat, punk rock vibes and familiar sounding lyrics that focus more on the positive aspects of love and commitment for a change. The song opens with a great lead guitar melody that is carried forward to the verse.
The chorus is where this song really picks up, together with the memorable lyrics: ‘I’ll be there when your heart stops beating.
I’ll be there when your last breath’s taken away. In the dark, when there’s no one listening. In the times when we both get carried away.’
The bridge and guitar riff is also one of my favourite parts as Gallagher plays a nice lead interlude. Hoppus, though, is the star of this song with his voice really suiting the song from start to finish.

  AUTHOR
Wouter Pienaar
Sport Journalist

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