Yesterday morning, I posted about bassist Emma Anzai of Australian post-grunge alt-rockers Sick Puppies, and, I said of her band: “They’re good, but, I don’t obsess over them.” Well, I listened to Sick Puppies all day yesterday, and, now, I am kind of obsessing over them! So, let me, briefly, rank my top 10 favorite Sick Puppies tracks after listening, marathon-style, to Dressed Up as Life (2007), Tri-Polar (2009) and Connect (2013):
1. “There’s No Going Back” (2013). This track just kind of snuck up on me!
2. “Healing Now” (2013). I love Emma‘s amazing backing vocals!
3. “Don’t Walk Away” (2009). Should’ve been a single!
4. “What Are You Looking For” (2007). Insanely melodic!
5. “Riptide” (2009). Awesome chorus!
6. “So What I Lied” (2009). I love Emma‘s bass line under the brief guitar solo!
7. “Maybe (Rock Mix)” (2009). Awesome Shinedown-esque power ballad!
8. “All The Same” (2007). I love the video! Emma + plaid skirt + rain = my heart skipping beats!
9. “You’re Going Down” (2009). Their breakthrough U.S. hit!
10. “My World” (2007). This is a first track, and, by my conventions, should start my playlist.
OK, so that’s my definitive top 10 after hours of listening to Sick Puppies. Yesterday morning, I was just a casual fan with an undying crush on bassist Emma Anzai, but, today, I love this band! It’s like I’ve discovered a hidden treasure in my music library. So, here, briefly, is my next 10 favorites (which, together, make a perfect playlist):
11. “Poison” (2013). It was so hard not to put this track in my top 10!
12. “The Trick The Devil Did” (2013). Badass rocker!
13. “Too Many Words” (2007). Awesome heartfelt ballad!
14. “Run” (2013). A hit just waiting to chart!
15. “Should’ve Known Better” (2009). A gritty but tuneful rocker!
16. “Asshole Father” (2007). This one is about Shim‘s ex-girlfriend’s father!
17. “I Hate You” (2009). Kind of like Puddle of Mudd‘s “She Hates Me”!
18. “Where Did The Time Go” (2013). More angsty balladry!
19. “Odd One“ (2009). Great single – probably should be ranked higher!
20. “Under A Very Black Sky” (2013). Emma on lead vocal! Last only because it’s a last track!
My favorite Sick Puppies songs have changed, since yesterday morning, but, my favorite Sick Puppy is still Emma Anzai. Duh. That won’t change. However, I did start to listen much more closely to Emma‘s bass playing, and, her prowess is a big part of what makes this band so awesome. Sure, she’s been called “the female Flea,” but, only because of her mad skills, not necessarily her style. Red Hot Chili Peppers and Sick Puppies are two very different bands. Flea‘s style is funky with a lot of slapping, while Emma‘s is more traditional, rhythmic. Both are talented, but, I’d much rather watch Emma Anzai play over Flea any day!
Anzai‘s lead vocal on “Under a Very Dark Sky” is a pleasant surprise. I must admit that, back when I was a casual fan [i.e. yesterday morning], I never even listened to that cool track! She also shares lead vocals with Moore on the first verse of “White Balloons” (from Tri-Polar). And, on the EP Polar Opposite (2011), which I downloaded after I became a diehard Puppies fan [i.e. yesterday afternoon], I found another wonderful surprise: Emma trades vocals with Shim on an acoustic version of “Don’t Walk Away”! On the studio version, other than backing vocals, she sings only the last line (“It felt like you and me were getting better”), but, on this version, Emma sings the verses while Shim takes the pre-chorus and choruses. Awesome! Emma‘s voice is strong, not girly, and, I’m even more excited for an inevitable solo project! She needs to be a frontwoman!
Shim Moore, by the way, is a great frontman. My posts focus on Emma Anzai, for obvious reasons, but, Moore is driving this band quite well. He has a good voice, and, along with Anzai, is skilled at crafting addictive hooks. Moore and Anzai worship Australian grunge band Silverchair, and, as such, Sick Puppies sound has been influenced by that band. Silverchair was a cool band, for sure, but, their songs, for me, often lacked strong hooks. Sick Puppies, however, inject heavy doses of tunefulness into their alternative rock.
So, what started as a post just to share my adoration for a beautiful female bass player, ended with me adding a new band to my ever-growing list of favorite artists. It’s kind of funny how my tastes and, in turn, obsessions change so fast and frequently. Sick Puppies will now join Shinedown and Theory of a Deadman as three of my favorite mainstream post-grunge alternative rock bands, and, I will go find out when they will be gracing the city of Cleveland, OH, with their presence so I can see Emma Anzai play her bass live!
Now, watch the video for “All the Same” here [“Why this video?” you wonder. See #8 above]: