Mainstream Rock is a music chart in Billboard magazine which ranks the most-played songs on mainstream rock radio stations, a category that combines the formats of active rock and heritage rock. Now that you know how the chart work let’s get right into the ranking.
Shit Tier 0/5
20.Middle Fingers by MISSIO
I sometimes don’t understand Billboard. What is this song doing in mainstream rock charts? How is this rock? Honestly, I am confused. This is electronic song. This has nothing to do with rock, but let’s talk about actual song and ignore Billboard’s stupidity.
Yeah, this song is not good. Ethan from The Double Agent Youtube channel perfectly described what does not work with this song so I will just leave the link to that video with the time stamp where he talks about that song. I would only add that I have heard this melody somewhere already, but I can not remember where. Click here for the link of that video.
Bad Tier 1/5
19.If Only For Now by Pop Evil
Oh Pop Evil, who are you gonna rip off now? I guess it is time to rip off U2. Yes, this song is basically shameless rip off of U2. It actually starts very nice. That bass line is actually very good, but that is all good this song has and it is only reason why this song is not in Shit Tier. Leigh Kakaty’s vocals are so annoying that it actually makes me sad. This song is so boring that it does not gives me any material to talk about it. It is so generic that if you replace vocals with vocals from any other bad mainstream rock band you would not even notice the difference
18.Back From The Dead
Skillet, what happened with you? You used to be very good Christian Rock band. The best thing with Skillet was that their song never sounded preachy. Like, you could interpret a lot of their songs in different ways so they don’t sound religious at all. Right from the start you could see how bad this song will be. That intro is extremely hilarious. If it was not for that part I would gladly put this song in maybe even decent tier, but that part is
a) repeated too many times
b) As I already mentioned it is extremely hilarious to that point that ruins the mood of the song
I always liked Skillet a lot, I even like that overproduced mess of a song called “Feel Invincible”, but I simply can not like this. That chorus is the only part of the song that is really good and that was the reason why I would put it much higher if it wasn’t for that stupid “Babababababa” part. Seriously that intro makes me so mad.
Meh Tier 2/5
17.Madness by All That Remains
Same as “Back From The Dead” this song starts with very annoying intro too. “Back From The Dead” intro was hilarious but this song has very ear raping intro. At least it is not repeated more times during the rest of the song. All That Remains was always one of those bands that I never liked and never cared for. They are basically Five Finger Death Punch rip offs. Imagine being rip off of already very bad band. Isn’t that lovely? This song. I still have not heard All That Remains song that I actually liked. This song is not exception. Actually this might be one of their worse songs. This is generic and also not good. Later in this ranking I will mention kinda generic song that sounds good. Also, Muse did it much better.
16.Oh My God by Pretty Reckless
The Pretty Reckless was always to me lesser version of Halestorm. Very similar sound but there is something that separated them and that is their vocalists. While on one hand Lzzy Hale is more of a vocalist who would hit very high notes with a lot of vibrato, Taylor Momsen was always a singer that would stay in the mid range of her vocal range.
This song starts very nice, great classic rock inspired riff sets up very good foundation for the song but then everything goes downhill. You may ask what happened? Taylor Momsen started singing and she is using worse type of her vocals. She is using very nasal vocal delivery which kinda fits the song but still does not sound good at all. It sounds so forced and lazy. Only reason why this song is not any lower in the list is instrumentation but not even that instrumentation could not bring this song any higher.
Decent Tier 3/5
15.Breathe by Through Fire
Honestly, this is one of those songs where I don’t have much to say about. There is no single thing that stands out and there is no single things that pisses me off. It is perfect example of a decent song.This is one of those songs that just exists. Although, lyrics could be better, but this is mainstream rock I don’t expect some mind blowing shit here. Standard instrumentation with very standard mainstream rock vocals. Nothing good nor nothing bad. As I said, this is perfectly decent song.
14.Take Me by Korn
So, this is Korn? That nu-metal band lot of people say is good. To be fair I have not heard much from these guys. Actually only Korn song that I have heard before this one was “Freak On A Leash” and I thought it was good, although I did not like those shenanigans Jonathan Davis did on that song. “Take me” just as “Freak On A Leash” had a few good things but also few bad things. For one Jonathan is not doing those crazy shenanigans with his voice. Thank God for that.
Song starts with very heavy guitar intro riff which is actually quite good. After that Jonathan Davis gives us very good vocal performance during with very nice vocal melody. This song is quiet good up until the time song reaches the bridge. Then it all goes downhill. Jonathan is doing his best “Marilyn Manson” vocal impression which he does poorly and it also does not fit the song at all. It sounds so accord and out of place.
13.Feed The Machine by Nickelback
What? Nickelback song in Decent Tier? Is this true? Is apocalypse coming? I don’t know answer for that last question but I know that this song is pretty solid. I was always saying that Nickelback needs to go to more heavier route after hearing their cover of “Sad Bat True” by Metallica and this song proves that for me. Even Chad’s vocals are not as obnoxious as they usually are. Very nice sounding drums set up good foundation for very heavy guitar riff.Guitar riff is very groovy and solo is actually very very good. Honestly I did not expect this solo to be this good. I can not believe that I am saying this, but Nickelback made pretty solid song.
12.How Did You Love by Shinedown
Shinedown was always one of those bands that never fully clicked with me. Of course songs like “Call Me” and “Sound Of Madness” are amazing and I can not deny that, but I was always indifferent to the rest of their discography and I don’t know why. Sure, Brent is amazing vocalist, probably one of the best vocalist in mainstream rock right now but still they never clicked with me as much as I wanted. Same can be said for this song. It is far from being bad but it still misses something to be great. Notice how I earlier mentioned two very different Shinedown songs. “Call Me” and “Sound Of Madness”. Reason for that is that in my opinion Shinedown shines at making songs like that. “How Did You Love” is right in the middle of those two songs and I think that that is my main problem with it. It is not “Call Me” nor it is “Sound Of Madness”. To be fair this song almost ended up in Good tier but it barely missed the cut because when comparing it with other songs in that tier it just felt wrong putting it with them. Is that not fair? I don’t know.
Good Tier 4/5
11.Hated by Beartooth
Who would predict that Caleb Shomo would go from fronting one of the worst metal bands all time Attack Attack to really good hardcore punk band Beartooth? I am pretty sure nobody. This is all Creed-Alter Bridge thing over again. Instrumentation in this song is really good. I love how instrumentation stops in some parts leaving Caleb alone. It adds up to the intensity of the song. Caleb’s vocal delivery is very aggressive which is one of the main reasons why this song is this high. Every time I hear that pre-chorus I expect Light ’em Up by Fall Out Boy chorus for some reason and I get disappointed.
Breakdown of this song is absolutely fantastic and part that leads up to the breakdown serves as great build up. Caleb Shomo’s vocals are even more aggressive during that part which adds up a lot to the overall sound of the song. You could put that part in one of those Try not to headbang challenge videos and it would end up in expert mode because that breakdown is so headbangy. It simply makes you headbang.
10.Help by Papa Roach
Song opens up very good acoustic guitar riff which sets up really good foundation for the rest of the song and also that little part with programmed drums somehow fits very good. During the verse most of the instrumentation is gone which is very good because it opens up a lot of “space” Jacoby Shaddix to give us really good vocal performance. I would prefer if he went with little bit more energetic vocals but that is me nit picking. Acoustic guitar in the verses should be louder.If you are gonna have it then you should make it louder. In this state it can barely be heard. That is again me nit picking. Still this song is pretty good and we still need to talk about best part.
Best part of the song is easily the chorus. It has so many good things. Like the vocals. Jacoby Shaddix energetic vocals give the chorus that anthemic sound. Instrumentation is great too. From great guitars to equally great drums, especially that little fast drum run.Then we get to the bridge which sets up perfect foundation for final chorus in which Jacoby Shaddix gives us even energetic vocal performance.
As for the lyrics, look lyrics might be generic but that does not mean that they are not good and also even if they were not good rest of the song justifies them. Lyrics are very relatable and that is what matters in songs like this one.
9.My Champion by Alter Bridge
There is one question that got on my mind while writing this post. Can generic song be good? Short answer would be yes and this song is best example of that. Yes, guitar riff sounds very generic but even though it sounds very generic it is very good in my opinion. This is how you make good radio friendly song. It sounds a lot like most of radio friendly songs but it still stands out in one department and that is guitar solo. We all knew that Mark Tremonti is exceptionally good guitar player. Even during the Creed days he had some really good guitar parts.
Another reason why this song is this high on the list is Myles Kennedy. He sounds really good in this song. He sells those lyrics that good that you don’t even realize how vague they are. Even though they are very vague they are at least very up lifting and that is something I will always appreciate a lot.
Overall this is pretty good uplifting and upbeat song that you should definitely check out.
8.Black Rose by Volbeat
These guys made one of my absolute favorite songs of all time. It is called Lola Montez. Now you may ask:”Why are you mentioning that song?” Well, this is basically “Lola Montez part 2”. Do not get me wrong, this is still damn good song, but something feels wrong about it. It misses that charm “Lola Montez” had. Just listen to that song. That intro riff is so cheerful, Micheal’s vocals are so pleasing to listen to and that solo, OMG. It is so good. My main issue with “Black Rose” is in the chorus. It needed to have much more of a punch. Verses of “Black Rose” needed something harder something bigger. They make great build up for the chorus but at the time when it reaches the chorus it kinda disappoints. Also, I am not big fan of Danko Jones’s vocals in this song. But, best part of the song is the guitar solo. Man, this solo is absolutely awesome, maybe even better than the solo of “Lola Montez” and it actually flows very good with the chorus. It serves as great introduction to the last chorus.
7.Never Again by Breaking Benjamin
There is one thing in music that I dislike a lot and that is when artist rips himself off. Which happened with Breaking Benjamin on this song. This is basically “The Diary Of Jane” all over again. Just listen to the rhythm guitar during the whole song. Even vocal melody is identical during the verses. I actually like “The Diary Of Jane” a lot but this is just lazy as fuck. Recycling old rhythm guitars over again. Also I have heard that this is not the first time they have done this which is just lovely. This is still very good song, but I just can not avoid that this is so lazy. That is actually only reason why this song is not in higher tier. You may think that it is not fair but that is just me. This would be actually in the great tier if it was not such a shameless rip off.
6.Nimble Bastard by Incubus
Right from the start I will admit that I have not heard much from these guys. I have heard only two Incubus songs which includes this one too. Other Incubus song I have heard is “Drive” (of course).
Usually I don’t like songs that don’t have instrumental intro for some reason, but this song is exception. Brandon’s vocal delivery makes up for the great instrumental introduction and it serves as great build up. Chorus is absolutely amazing and one of the main reasons why this song is this high on the list. Brandon’s vocals are what make that chorus. His vocals are so pleasing to listen. He sounds like he is having time of his life, like something really good happened to him so he is extremely happy.
Another reason why this song is this high is guitar solo. That solo is immensely good and it has very good “introduction” done by rhythm guitar which adds up a lot to the overall sound of the song. Pre chorus serves as great build up for the final chorus where Brandon sounds as good as on the rest of the song.
Great Tier 5/5
5.Let You Down
Song opens up with very nice guitar riff which explodes for little bit of time and then again goes back to its first state when Shaun Morgan starts singing. Most of instrumentation is gone up to that point and all attention is pointed towards Shaun Morgan and he uses that attention very good. Then we get to the chorus. Is it little bit generic? Kinda but that is ok because this is really good chorus which will work perfectly live.
Second verse is somehow even better. Shaun Morgan’s singing in this song is pretty good which in other songs was not much of a case. This song desperately needed good singing. Bridge of this song is absolutely perfect. It has awesome groovy riff which serves as great introduction for the final chorus.
This song has very dark lyrics and very dark instrumentation and those two things match perfectly.
If I could speak, I’d tell you all my fears and deprivations
If I could feel, I’d take away your pain
If I could breathe, I’d show you all my scars and imperfections
If I could bleed, I’d hold you in my veins
Then later in the second chorus lyrics get even weirder and darker
If I could breed, I’d show you all my infantile obsessions
If I could sleep, I’d hold you in my head
If I was strong, I’d keep you close and render you defenseless
If I was gone, I’d hope you take my place
4.Monster by Starset
I have always seen these guys as Ayreon of alternative metal. Which is really good thing. Sci-fi themed lyrics-check. big production-check. They are just missing multiple vocalists thingy Ayreon has been known for since it was founded, but that is enough about Ayreon. Let’s talk about Starset and their song “Monster”. First time, I have heard this song my reaction was:”Eh, another Pendulum sounding song” and man was I wrong. This song is basically perfect. Yes it reminds me of Pendulum, but Pendulum are gods of this genre of rock. If you get compared to the gods of the genre you must embrace it.
I remember saying one thing few weeks ago. Violin is such underused instrument across all genres. Especially in rock so I am glad that someone has been using them. They can help a lot with building up the song and that is what do in this song perfectly. I love how song “explodes” during the chorus. Dustin Bates’s vocals during the chorus are absolutely fantastic. I love that sound he makes when he sings line “Will you change me”. It sounds beautiful.
3. Highway by Bleeker
Right from the start this song is amazing. I mean you could figure that out by its ranking but still any praise this song gets is not enough. When I have heard this song for the first time I was 100% that it is a female singer who is singing in a song and I am pretty sure that I am not the only one, but I was actually wrong.It is actually Taylor Perkins who is singing in this song. It is still hard for me to believe that it is a male singer. This song reminds me so much of Halestorm and I do not know why. Is it that in some parts of the song he sounds like Lzzy Hale? It could be. All I know that I am loving this song a lot. This is basically mainstream rock done right. Production of this song is amazing. I think production is what makes him sound very female-ish. Because when I have listened their debut album “Erase You” his vocals did not sound female-ish at all. I love how distorted his voice sounds and how good it matches with rest of the sound.
Now, let’s talk about instrumentation. Instrumentation of this song is basically perfect. Whole instrumentation stands out as one beautiful big picture. Everything is on its place. Guitar riff does not have more than 4 notes and it still sounds absolutely fantastic. This is guitar tab for the main guitar riff. It is basically notes C, H, E and F# and yet it sounds fantastic.
2.Show Yourself by Mastodon
Mastodon was always one of the bands I respected more than I liked but after I have heard their newest album “Emperor of Sand” and went deeper into their discography I started liking them a lot. My biggest problem with Mastodon was always Troy’s vocals but over some time I got used to them and started liking them. I like how this song has two vocalists. Troy and Brann. Brann’s vocals are really good for this very radio friendly Mastodon songs. This is not the first time they have done this type of a song.”High Road” and “Motherload” are two other examples of great radio friendly Mastodon songs. I love how even though this song is very radio friendly it still has that signature Mastodon song that always divided them from other metal bands. Like those drums for example. I swear, Brann Dailor is one of the best drummers of this century. His feeling for groove is amazing. This guy is incredible and he really shows his talent on this song and on almost every other Mastodon song. His vocals are very on point on this song. Troy’s vocals on this song are much more “lighter” sounding which suits the song perfectly. Overall this is pretty amazing song that you should definitely check out.
1.My Name Is Human by Highly Suspect
This is not only best song of this list, this is one of the best songs of all time. Seriously, this song is amazing on every possible level. Let’s first start with the lyrics because they are probably best part of this masterpiece. This song has multiple “meaning” built into it. Lyrics of this song are about following you heart, not playing by the book, it is about the speaker defining his role as “human.” This song is also big “fuck you” to the people who are full of themselves . In the chorus lyrics of this song turn into very self empowerment anthem with lyrics where speaker is being told to stand up and find himself which he will do in the last chorus Overall lyrics of this song are extremely well written and they mean shit ton to me.
Now, let’s talk about overall sound of this song. This is one of those songs where you just need to close your eyes and fully enjoy every second of it. It sounds absolutely beautiful. From very noisy guitar to very emotion driven vocal performance from Johnny Stevens this song is master craft that not many bands are capable of crafting and the chorus. Holy shit. I simply love how everything builds up for that moment when everything explodes. Very noisy guitar during the verses transform into very good not that much distorted guitar which suits the chorus in such a good way. Johnny Stevens’s vocals in this part are simply amazing. Everything I say about this song is not enough because this song is simply amazing. I get goosebumps every time I listen to it.This is one of those songs once you start listening to you simply can not stop listening to it. It traps you into it. It does not let you listen to anything else. It is like drugs but healthy.
Follow me on Twitter
Like my Facebook Page