My Top 1000 Songs #585: Modern Kicks

[I've been writing up my Top 1000 songs on a daily basis--you can see them all in descending order by hitting the All My Favorite Songs tag.]

This joyful (if under-appreciated) pop-punk track, like the rest of 2003's outstanding Exploding Hearts debut LP Guitar Romantic, is tough to listen to in a vacuum. Shortly after the release by this promising young band, their van overturned on the way home from a gig, killing 3 of the band's 4 members. So, yeah, the song and the album, for all their youthful exuberance, are unavoidably bittersweet.

But, if you can manage that in-a-vacuum listening experience, "Modern Kicks" is relentlessly fun. While most of the pop-punk acts of that era were aping the harder edged sound of Green Day and the like, the Exploding Hearts sounded more old-school, like authentic circa '78 UK punks (despite being from Portland, OR), or at least the pop side of those bands--a blend of Mick Jones' Clash songs, Buzzcocks, the Undertones, and Generation X. The tune has hooks to spare, at least as much a power pop song as a punk song, with some lo-fi edge to keep it firmly rooted in an older age.

Live, San Francisco, final show:
Tenth anniversary cover version from The Cry, 2013:


  1. What a band! Similar sad story to Aussie band The Eastern Dark - two members tragically killed in a road accident. Worth checking out their music. Also if you don;t know them, For Squirrels - who also sadly shared the same tragic fate. Their album Example is very special...


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