by Emily Moore | Photo Editor
Although “Vienna” by Billy Joel will be my favorite song for the rest of eternity, Snow Patrol’s Up To Now, as an album, cannot be topped. Think what you will, but there is something sweetly addictive about the way Gary Lightbody’s voice carries and transcends throughout the tracks that make up the record.
Technically, Up To Now is a compilation of Snow Patrol’s best work over their fifteen years of creating musical fusion, including covers, original work, rarities and a sprinkling of songs new at the time. Spanned over two disks, and consisting of 30 songs in total, Up To Now is a perfect showcase of all the marvelous, heart-wrenching and occasionally comic genius that Snow Patrol has to offer.
1- Personally, I think that starting this album off with a song titled “Chocolate” was a really good idea. I mean, what’s better than something sweet to ease your ears into the explosion of sound that makes Snow Patrol what they are? This song makes me happy, for reasons I’m still not sure I understand, but what I love the most about it is the way the guitar leads the lyrics. Maybe I’m the only one who sees this, or perhaps I just listened to this album way too much. Regardless, the guitar in this song is able to project the lyrics onto another level where they literally melt into the melody. Nothing sweeter than that.
2- If there is one song that has become the forefront of what Snow Patrol is the public, it’s “Chasing Cars.” Sing the chorus once, and at least three people will know what song you’re talking about- and it’s easy to see why. In a nutshell, “Chasing Cars” is the most romantic song on the album. Which, inevitably, is why so many people flock to it. It creates, and represents, a world where perfect love is not only attainable, but simple. “Chasing Cars” is able to generate an oasis where just laying still and forgetting circumstance can wipe away the world’s problems. That’s a world most people want to belong to.
3- Starting off with a murmured whisper of what a perfect morning would consist of, and then building up to a charging crescendo of passion, “Crack The Shutters” also plays into the romantic sub-plot of the album. Drawing on personifications of the sun, and the sunlight that creeps through the ‘shutters,’ this song is able to create simple snapshots of a lovely afternoon intertwined with a dream-like state.
4- Made popular by the movie Dear John, “Set The Fire To The Third Bar” is a gorgeous example of how universally adaptable Gary Lightbody’s voice really is. Here, it meshes and marries perfectly with Martha Wainwright’s floaty, simplistic soprano. Detailing the utter desire to be near to those we love, “Set Fire To The Third Bar” has a dreamy way of detailing the lengths we’re willing to go to feel the warmth that the ‘fire’ of love gives off. Cheesy ,yes, but an absolutely beautiful song nonetheless.
5- I didn’t like this song when Beyonce serenaded husband Jay-Z with it, and I don’t like it now. They may be “Crazy In Love” with each other; but I’m not with this song.
6- Through an extensive experimental process and a close encounter with a speeding ticket, I’ve found that “Just Say Yes” is best listened to with the windows down, and a little gas in the pedal. You know it is.
7- “Batten Down The Hatch” is a difficult song. Mostly because I’ll love it one day, and hate it the next. I think the soft spoken hints Lightbody’s voice give this song make it somewhat one-note, yet still harmonious and expressive. This song is great for walks on the beach and long morning stretches.
8- When I need a spontaneous pep-talk or burst of energy, I listen to this song. Full of explosive beats and a great shred on the guitar, “You’re All I Have,” is such a good example of how clear writing goes a long way. Whether it’s due to the melody, or the fact that I can pretend Lightbody is serenading me personally with his part-Scottish, part-Irish accent, “You’re All I Have” is all I need to wake up on a moment’s notice.
9- For all of you lucky enough to be athletic, “Hands Open” is a perfect song for that last straightaway, the last three minutes of an insane workout. Carrying on the theme of steady rhythm and music that gets you pumped up, “Hands Open” carries its message well. It’s the perfect tune to awaken both you and your endorphins.
10- Words cannot even begin to express how much I like this song. It’s been at the top of my Top 25 Most Played Songs playlist for as long as I can remember, and I don’t see it dropping anytime soon. “Cartwheels” is four minutes of pure bliss. It’s smooth, melodic, and it simply flows into your eardrums. Listen to it once, and you’ll be doing “Cartwheels” as well.
11- I don’t know if it’s even possible to fall in love with someone’s voice, but if it is, then this song is the one that pushed me over the edge. Lightbody’s voice is absolute perfection in this song, and it’s a humble reminder of what made Snow Patrol my all time favorite band in the first place. I feel as if this should be my favorite song on this album, and maybe it is, but I’ve never felt like that title was quite appropriate. “The Planets Bend Between Us” has that uniquely lyrical approach that makes the other 29 songs on this album jealous.
12- Once again, I’m let down. It’s not necessarily that I dislike this song completely- because I don’t. It’s just that the execution was spotty, and I’m disappointed. The lyrics in “Ask Me How I Am” are exceptional when you sit down and listen to them, but the melody leaves you with this atrocious pop, 90’s boy-band aftertaste.
13- Ah, and just like that, Lightbody to the rescue. Slowing down from the obvious mistakes of the pop attempt of the album, “On-Off” swoops in and seemingly apologizes for putting you through that. Despite being less than three minutes long, “On-Off” is just long enough, and is packed with the perfect number melodic shift. It puts this album back on track.
14- I don’t even know about this song anymore. I’ve listened to it so many times that the only solution seems to be “Making Enemies” with it.
15- The first live song of the album, “Run” (Live at the Union Chapel) shows how incredible Snow Patrol really is in concert. The solo in the beginning is breathtaking, and Lightbody’s voice seamlessly sinks into it. One thing I really admire about this song is the complete lack of resistance between the lyrics and the melody; especially considering it’s live-recording status. This, without a doubt, is my favorite song of this album. Lightbody’s accent appears more than ever before, and is still as dreamy as ever. Every single time I listen to this song, I fall in love with it more and more. This is the best way to end the first disk, and allows for an incredible transition into the second.