Sleeping With Sirens are probably most known for singer Kellin Quinn's high-pitched tenor, but since their inception, the band have grown tremendously as an instrumental unit, as well. In the past six years, SWS brought us some excellent tunes, especially from their second and third records (2011’s Let's Cheers To This and 2013’s Feel), which expanded the band's sound into new territories. Feel catapulted the band to main-stage status, and proved their radio appeal, despite their post-screamo antics. Having just released their fourth collection, Madness, Sleeping With Sirens are about due for a Top 10 list—but that doesn’t mean it’s an easy one to make.
1. “Do It Now Remember It Later” – Let's Cheers To This (2011)
The first single off their sophomore record, “Do It Now Remember It Later” pulses with frustrated energy. It's the kind of song that kicks things into high gear immediately, and turns a screaming crowd into a mosh pit of swinging limbs. It also shows how much the band had already tightened their sound in the year's time since their 2010 debut.
2. “Feel” – Feel (2013)
The title track off the band's third album is infectious and moving: Instrumentally, it grows like a Queen song, while vocally, Quinn stretches his voice to amazing ranges. The lyrics are also some of the strongest he's ever written, making for the ultimate opener.
3. “Gold” – Madness (2015)
With their latest record, SWS chose to both honor their roots and take influence from mainstream pop and alternative rock. “Gold” has melodic instrumentals–simple and sweet–and a thoroughly memorable chorus that passes over the listener like a cooling wave.
4. “If You Can't Hang” – Let's Cheers To This (2011)
“If You Can't Hang” is an especially fun track, with lyrics that many listeners probably connect. The opening lines set the mood perfectly: “Met a girl at seventeen / Thought she meant the world to me / So I gave her everything / She turned out to be a cheat.” But rather than stick in broken-hearted cliche, “If You Can't Hang” comes with moments of surprising rage. Not only is it all quite catchy, Quinn’s vocals overflow with palpable emotion.
5. “Alone” – Feel (2013)
“Alone” is another track fueled by compelling lyrics and soaring vocals, the type of piece that Quinn does best. And MGK's rap sequence is a great one, that can rival the likes of Fall Out Boy’s “The Mighty Fall” with Big Sean.
6. “The Strays” – Madness (2015)
Off the band's latest release, “The Strays” comes as a complete surprise. It starts as an acoustic piece accompanied by soft strings, then opens up to full band instrumentation with impassioned verve. The overall sound is sweet and reminiscent of This Wild Life and the Tragic Thrills.
7. “If I'm James Dean, You're Audrey Hepburn” – With Ears To See And Eyes To Hear (2010)
This was the song that started it all. “If I'm James Dean…” is a burst of energy, and sticky enough to still be memorable five years later. It came at a time when the band was still mostly influenced by the screamo bands their first label, Rise, helped make popular during the first decade of the 2000s.
8. “Don't Say Anything” – Madness (2015)
The closer for Madness, “Don't Say Anything”, initially takes a similar route as “The Strays,” but as it progresses, the track evolves to mix calm and frustration with ease. The chorus alone is extremely memorable, lyrically and vocally, while the opening stage (and its later reprise) is soft and potent.
9. “Let Love Bleed Red” – With Ears To See And Eyes To Hear (2010)
The first slow song SWS fans came to know, “Let Love Bleed Red” is soppy, sure, but it's so precise it doesn’t matter. Melodically, it's one of the smoothest songs the band has ever recorded, and therefore highly recommended. “Lay me down / And tell me everything will be all right.” We will.
10. “Here We Go” – Feel (2013)
Feel was a record where chances were taken, but “Here We Go” was one of its more straightforward tracks. That being said, it's a song where each member of the group harnesses, then subsequently unleashes enough frenetic power to shock. This energy is palpable, making “Here We Go” the kind of song you would use to kick off your Get Pumped mix.