On My Playlist: Top 5 The Starting Line songs

The 2000s were known as the era when pop-punk bands ruled the airwaves.
You had bands like Simple Plan, Blink 182, Yellowcard and others ruling the roost. One of the most underrated bands of that genre was The Starting Line. This US band has some of the catchiest songs and lyrics and should be held in higher regard.
The band went through a hiatus in the mid-2000s but are currently active, with the lead vocalist and bassist, Kenny Vasoli still taking listeners on nostalgic trips.
The band consists of Kenny – lead vocals, bass guitar; Matt Watts – rhythm guitar, backing vocals; Mike Golla – lead guitar, backing vocals; Tom Gryskiewicz – drums, percussion and Brian Schmutz.
Honourable mentions: ‘Hello Houston’, ‘Left Coast Envy’, ‘Cheek to Cheek’, ‘Decisions Decisions’.
5. Up & Go
The opening track on the band’s debut album, Say it Like You Mean It is also the opening number on this playlist and quite an appropriate way to kick it off. The opening guitars in the intro are typical pop-punk with melodic riffs before palm-muted picking signal the start of the first verse. The lyrics focus on the difficulty of keeping a relationship together when one person constantly changes their minds. The chorus is also one of the best parts with layered vocals creating a brilliant singalong effect.

4. A Goodnight’s Sleep
This is, to me, the best intro in the band’s catalogue. The bass guitar murmurs in the background with clean picking from the lead guitar creating a platform for the song to build up. The drums then kick in with a low tom and snare beat before the distorted guitar takes the song into the first verse. The main chorus summarises the main theme of the song where rejection and break up caused a rift: ‘You can sleep in your own bed tonight, sleep away a silent pain, screaming out my name. You can sleep in your own bed tonight. I hope for your sake you don’t wake up as broken as I am.’
The lyrics in this song are deep and emotional with ‘in self-defence, I won’t sleep a wink to prevent dreaming of you,’ showcasing the band’s lyric writing ability.

3. Given the Chance
Pop-punk is meant to be jumpy, fun and filled with melodies and this is exactly what this song is all about. The opening guitar riff with a bit of a phaser in the tone gets the song off to a great start with the major notes creating a positive atmosphere to fit with the theme. This is a track about being thankful for what you have and using your chances to live your dream. In this song, Vasoli sings out how he is living his dream as a musician: ‘I guess dreams do come true, this song itself is living proof’.

2. Leaving
This is one of the typical pop-punk sounding tracks that the band is famous for and carries a great message that anyone can relate to – the ups and downs of a relationship and how great moments intertwine with sad times. The worst part is always saying goodbye and wishing that things could have been different: ‘The best day of my life is all thanks to you. Precious remembrance saved for rainy days in February. Few scenes from my life where moments mean more to me than our fine nights, I remember like yesterday, the time of my life.’ The song has a fantastic energetic tone and Vasoli’s vocals are some of his finest.

1. Best of Me
‘Best of Me’ is the quintessential The Starting Line song that most people should be aware of. The acoustic guitar opening with Vasoli’s vocals are one of the most recognisable song intros and the shift to the distorted, fast-paced guitar riff immediately gets you into the song: ‘Tell me what you thought about when you were gone and so alone. The worst is over. You can have the best of me. We got older but we’re still young. We never grew out of this feeling that we won’t give up.’
This track also has some of the best lyrics that the band has ever produced and, from start to finish, you realise why this was such a hit. The song focuses on long distance and how some relationships can be mended after all the rough times: ‘Jumping to conclusions made me fall away from you. I’m so glad that the truth has brought that together. Me and you.’

Wouter Pienaar
Sport Journalist

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