Saturday, December 31, 2011

The Top 100 Songs of 2011 -- #13: "Sail" -- AWOLNATION

When Under the Influence of Giants frontman Aaron Bruno resurfaced in 2011 as AWOLNATION, most didn't bat an eye. His band had never captured the success many had predicted it to, with "In the Clouds" being their only, albeit modest, hit.

But many, including more than a few on pop radio, were forced to listen when the anthemic "Sail" marched onto radio. A departure from his earlier, poppier material, "Sail" is rough around the edges, with Bruno's voice cracking more than a few times in his higher register.

Dreamy synths punctuate much rougher, bass-ier electronics that lie beneath. In fact, the song itself is kind of like a dream, with an ever-present nightmare looming. It's sometimes sweet, but there's an inherent darker side that comes out at times with Bruno's vocal.

Electronic-based music may have never been this harsh in 2011. The juxtapositions within "Sail" made for an incredibly popular alt-rock track, one that is still sticking around on the charts to this day. With "Sail," Aaron Bruno finally had his taste of mainstream popularity -- and all he had to do was stretch his voice a little.

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