Waiting For Sloan Songs: Top Ten

Published on May 30th, 2012 in: Canadian Content, Issues, Listicles, Music, Top Ten Lists, True Patriot Love |

By Melissa Bratcher

sloan photo by marshall angus
Photo © Marshall Angus

Sloan was the most recent band for whom I’ve had an all encompassing mania. I had been obsessed with bands before (Blur, The Dandy Warhols, The Monkees, Bay City Rollers), and the gripping excitement and absolute fervor that I felt about those bands washed over me when I found Sloan. I miss feeling that way about them. Passion fades, mania recedes like a tide, and I settled into simple, less enthusiastic fandom.

That said, when asked to come up with a top Sloan songs list, I had to. Then I realized, all of my favorite Sloan songs are Jay Ferguson songs and that’s not terribly interesting to anyone but me and possibly Jay Ferguson. So there’s a bit of a problem. It’s not that I don’t appreciate Chris Murphy’s clever, wordplay-riddled tunes, or Patrick Pentland’s balls-out rockers, or Andrew Scott’s more esoteric leanings, but hey, I’m a Jay girl. I love that his songs sound like proper timeless pop songs. And his voice is perfect for them.

In the interest of fairness, however, I have risen above. In no particular order, my Top Ten Sloan songs:

1. “Marcus Said” (Twice Removed)
The chunky guitar on this always makes my chest feel fluttery. Their debut album sounds like a grungy version of the band they ended up being, and they sound like rambunctious puppies on it.

2. “Backstabbin'” (Action Pact)
All of Patrick’s songs from Action Pact feel like classic rock numbers a la KISS or Cheap Trick. Plus, it’s loads of fun to sing along with.

3. “The N.S.” (Between The Bridges)
Andrew Scott may be a bit self-indulgent, but this is just an epic song. It sounds like a ship creaking away from the dock and to the sea.

4. “She Says What She Means” (Navy Blues)
Every song on this album is my favorite Sloan song. It’s just nonstop excellence from the beginning to end, and a perfect encapsulation of them at their best, cohesive and brilliant. Again, the guitar sound is primal and Chris Murphy is singing at what sounds like the painful top of his range. It works so well.

5. “Junior Panthers” (One Chord To Another)
What Jay Ferguson does so well is evoke a mood (that and sing so splendidly).

6. “People Of the Sky” (One Chord To Another)
Ba bap bada Baaaaa! Everyone, sing with me! The video for this one is terribly entertaining, mostly due to Chris Murphy being such an incurable ham.

7. “I’m Not Through With You Yet” (Navy Blues)
While he is an excellent guitarist, Patrick Pentland has a great rock voice as well. It’s such a simple sounding song, and the last “yet” that he sings gives me gooseflesh every time. I’m like Pavlov’s dog.

8. “If It Feels Good Do It” (Pretty Together)
Chris Murphy has this unbounded enthusiasm that sometimes leads to cringe worthy songs (see “Pick It Up And Dial It,” or don’t because, whew, that one is embarrassing). This one, however, isn’t embarrassing. It’s wonderful and how could you not like the message?

9. “Who Taught You To Live Like That?” (Never Hear The End Of It)
The album is one of the stranger things Sloan has done, a thirty track album, with some songs clocking in at one minute or under. On some of the tracks, it’s a mercy. Jay Ferguson, as always, turns in something brilliant.

10. “Cheap Champaign” (Parallel Play)
Another “bap badap, bap badap” song. As the band has gone on, Ferguson has been the one that consistently turns out music I want to hear. He’s become such a good and varied songwriter that if Sloan ever goes down, I would imagine he’d still have a great career.

That was harder than I imagined it would be, and I hated to leave off “Summer’s My Season,” “The Rest Of My Life,” “False Alarm,” “Don’t You Believe A Word,” “Losing California,” the gorgeous “Green Gardens, Cold Montreal,” “Money City Maniacs,” “Stand By Me Yeah,” and most everything else. It might have been easier to write a list of the bottom ten Sloan songs.

One Response to “Waiting For Sloan Songs: Top Ten”

  1. Jemiah:
    June 2nd, 2012 at 5:19 pm

    I find there’s a large overlap in the fan bases of Sloan and the Monkees.

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