If you’re a fan of big hooks, huge choruses, and clever, snarky lyrics, you’ll probably already be aware of All-American Rejects, the emo-pop band that exploded into the mainstream in 2003 with their platinum-selling debut single, Swing, Swing. In case you’re not, these are ten of the best All-American Rejects songs to get acquainted with.
10. Heartbeat Slowing Down
All-American Rejects frontman Tyson Ritter said “It’s sort of the bookmark of the record (Kids in the Street). It really is a turning point where this sort of grand sound comes out through this ballad that is a bleeding heart for the record. I think it’s one of our greatest songs that we’ve ever written as a band.” Listen out for singer-songwriter Mika’s angelic vocals in the background.
9. I Wanna
Playful, catchy, and with a big enough hook to catch a whale, I Wanna was one of the bright spots on the band’s third album, When the World Comes Down. It was also one of its most successful singles, peaking at number 32 on the Billboard Mainstream Top 40 and number 23 on the Adult Top 40 charts in the summer of 2009.
8. The Last Song
Speaking to MTV after the release of the band’s first album, Tyson Ritter described The Last Song as his favorite song on the album. It’s a lot of other people’s too, with witty lyrics, a typically bombastic chorus, a chugging guitar line, and enough little surprises (check out that string arrangement) to keep you on your toes.
All American Rejects have been around for over 20 years, but as they proved on 2017’s Sweat, they’re a band that’s capable of evolving while still delivering what their fans want and expect. A shimmering, sexy song with a giant, anthemic chorus and an equally mammoth hook, it won rave reviews from critics, with Markos Papadatos of DigitalJournal.com calling it “a true work of art,” adding “The All-American Rejects have outdone themselves musically and artistically. They are not afraid to showcase their vulnerability as recording artists, and it is safe to say that their vulnerability is their pop-rock listening audience’s reward.”
6. Kids in the Street
Kids in the Street might be a little darker than All-American Rejects’ standard fare, but it’s still every bit as catchy, with a contagious energy and insatiable beat that doesn’t let off for a single second of the song’s almost 5-minute long duration. Hugely ambitious, stirringly nostalgic, and almost cinematic in scale and scope, it’s a must-listen. Released as the second single from the album of the same name in March 2012, it didn’t make it into the charts, but it’s become a fan favorite since.
5. It Ends Tonight
After releasing several singles that cemented the band’s status as purveyors of super catchy, super fun power pop, the All-American Rejects dug deep for It Ends Tonight, a dreamy, piano-led ballad with an extraordinarily powerful vocal performance from Tyson Ritter. Released as the third single from their second album Move Along, it reached number 8 on the Billboard Hot 100, becoming their highest charting song in the U.S until that point. It’s since featured in dozens of TV shows, including Laguna Beach: The Real Orange County, One Tree Hill, Battlestar Galactica, and All My Children.
4. Dirty Little Secret
If big hooks and giant choruses float your boat, Dirty Little Secret is going to be your kind of song. Fun, cheeky, and with a surprising amount of depth hidden beneath the surface frivolity, it’s impossible to shake from your head once it’s wormed its way in. Released as the second single from the band’s second album, Move Along, it romped to number 9 on the US Billboard Hot 100 and also gave the band a top 20 hit in the UK. It’s since gone on to sell over 2 million copies in the US, earning platinum certification.
3. Move Along
Move Along, the band’s second album, was a major hit, reaching number 6 on the US Billboard Hot 100 and selling over 2 million copies in the US alone. It also spawned three mega-selling singles, one of which was the title track. An insanely catchy, polished affair with an uplifting message and enough energy to power the national grid, it soared to number 15 on the UB Billboard Hot 100 and took home an award for Best Group Video at the MTV Video Music Awards.
2. Swing, Swing
In 2002, All-American Rejects crashed into the mainstream with the debut album, The All-American Rejects, and their debut single, Swing, Swing. The album went platinum and the single, a super slick, super catchy earworm with the kind of chorus that, once heard, is never forgotten, sent the band to number 8 on the US Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart and number 60 in the US Billboard Hot 100 chart. It also performed well on the other side of the pond, reaching number 13 in the UK Singles Charts.
1. Gives You Hell
If a single is certified 4× Platinum after selling over four million copies in the US alone, you know it’s a song to take seriously… and Gives You Hell is definitely that. A clever, attitude-laden song with a deep-seated groove and a massive chorus we dare you not to sing along with, it’s impossible to resist. Released in September 2008 as the lead single from the band’s third studio album, When the World Comes Down, it charted at number 4 on the US Billboard Hot 100 (their highest charting position on the Hot 100 of all time) and topped Billboard’s Mainstream Top 40 and Adult Top 40.