If you’ve been around this site enough, you know that I didn’t really get into music until 2009, when I was about fifteen years old. That was when I got my first iPod and it’s when I discovered Rolling Stone magazine, which was a big influencer for me as I became an avid music listener. I was young and hungry to learn everything I could about music, and so I listened to anything I could get my ears on from Aerosmith to Beyonce to Skillet to Michael Jackson. There’s a lot of stuff from back then that I would never listen to today, but through it all, one band has remained comfortably entrenched in my musical diet: Adelitas Way.
I began listening to Adelitas Way as soon as their first album came out. They were just starting out with their first studio LP and I related to that concept of starting fresh and being excited to discover. I found out about Adelitas Way through WWE who used their song “Invincible” as the theme song for one of their weekly television shows. I liked the song and decided to listen to Adelitas Way’s entire self-titled debut, which was no small thing back then as it was well before Spotify and I had to purchase their album as a gesture of faith. I wasn’t disappointed. And even though I’ve gone through album after album from some of the greatest bands of all time, have listened to every song on Rolling Stone‘s Top 500 Songs of All Time list, and have well over 2,000 songs in my Burnes Turns playlist, Adelitas Way is always there. Listening to them takes me back to that time in my life when everything I heard sounded new and exciting. Amusingly enough, they also have become synonymous with Disney World in my psyche as I was listening to them heavily upon my trip to the theme park in the Spring of 2010. I’ve been back twice since then, in 2012 and 2014, and both times I made a point to listen to Adelitas Way’s entire catalog while I was there.
People are often shocked when I tell them about my love for this band. They associate me much more with bands of a bygone era like Aerosmith, Guns N’ Roses (who aren’t so bygone these days), The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, etc. And the truth is, I hate pretty much any band that sounds like Adelitas Way to come out of that mid-to-late ’00s time period (with the exception of The Veer Union, who I also got into around that ’09 time frame). But Adelitas Way just hit me at the right time in my life to stick. And no matter how sophisticated my musical taste gets, I will always have a place for them. So in celebration of one of my favorite bands from my formative years of music, I present my list of the Top 10 Adelitas Way songs of all time.
10. “Not Thinking About Me” – Stuck (2014)
Although my relationship with Adelitas Way began with their first album, I’ll never forget listening to Stuck for the first time and being legitimately impressed with what the band had accomplished. It sounded so different and more polished than their first two efforts, and it even incorporated different sub-genres they had yet to explore. “Not Thinking About Me” was instantly one of my favorites featuring an almost ’90s Grunge feel and a brooding mood that I have consistently enjoyed.
9. “Dog on a Leash” – Stuck (2014)
When I went to Disney World in 2014, the full Stuck album had yet to be released, but Adelitas Way had already released this pretty ambitious first single to promote it. I wasn’t so sure about it at first; the chorus is a little too busy and the intro produces this almost countrified vibe (which I was very against at the time). But the more I listened to it, the more I came to appreciate it. And that appreciation continues today.
8. “Getaway” – Getaway (2016)
I’ll admit that I was a bit disappointed with last year’s Getaway as a whole. It didn’t sound that different from Stuck whereas I felt the band had shifted their soundscape notably between each of their first three albums. Even worse, many of the songs on the album were simply weaker than previous efforts. But that doesn’t mean I can’t recognize the greatness of the first four songs on the LP including the excellent title track. I like it more and more each time I hear it.
7. “Low” – Getaway (2016)
While “Getaway” has grown on me over the last year, I was enamored with “Low” from the first time I heard it. It really shows off the production acumen that the band had acquired over the course of their eight years and four LPs. Frankly, this song wouldn’t have been possible on their first couple of albums and to hear them graduate to this more adept sound was really rewarding as a longtime fan.
6. “Invincible” – Adelitas Way (2009)
When you go back and listen to Adelitas Way’s first couple of albums (particularly Home School Valedictorian), it’s hard not to notice the lack of production quality compared to their more recent two. The song quality also tends to be a bit choppier than on Stuck, understandable as this largely sonic-oriented band needed time to develop their sound. But there is no denying the greatness of “Invincible,” from its supercatchy hook to the excellent drumming on display from Trevor Stafford, whose excitement you can hear loud and clear on the record. Its placement on this list may, admittedly, have to do with nostalgia (it was my introduction to the band, after all), but for me, the track still holds up quite well today.
5. “Bad Reputation” – Getaway (2016)
The lead single to 2016’s Getaway was hardly subtle, but subtlety isn’t exactly Rick DeJesus’ style. The upbeat grooviness from Robert Zakarayan is one of his greatest riffs ever. It’s not unheard of to be turned off by the chorus’s repetition, but when you’ve got a hook this hot, you may as well ride it for all it’s worth.
4. “Good Die Young” – Getaway (2016)
If “Bad Reputation’s” groove is one of Zakarayan’s greatest moments, the Slash-esque, Bluesy intro of “Good Die Young” is his peak. This roots-based vibe sets the stage for what is easily the best track from Getaway, and one of my favorite songs in Adelitas Way’s catalog.
3. “Stuck” – Stuck (2014)
The damn near deathly intro to this song is reminiscent of the death bell at the end of Aerosmith’s “Mia” and sets the stage for one of the darkest songs (and albums) in Adelitas Way’s already brooding catalog. Its cleanly produced sound and slithering tempo was a nice change of pace from 2011’s Home School Valedictorian, and it, along with “Dog on a Leash,” became great harbingers for Adelitas Way’s best album to date.
2. “Blur” – Stuck (2014)
I probably lose hearing every time my playlist shuffles to this song from cranking it up so loud. It’s a worthy sacrifice. From the first time I heard Stuck, I was blown away by this Grunge-based tale of a doomed romance. It perfected the sound that Adelitas Way had been chasing since “Dirty Little Thing” from their first album, and I can only imagine that the satisfaction I feel when I listen to it was magnified tenfold by the men that hit it out of the park in 2014.
1. “Brother” – Adelitas Way (2009)
It’s very difficult to top “Stuck” and “Blur,” but nothing Adelitas Way have recorded in their eight years as a mainstream Rock act even approaches the level of this heartbroken piano-laced power ballad about a brother (either literal or figurative) too far gone to reach. It’s such a relateable song, and that provides it with its strength. But what really sends the song into orbit is its last two minutes featuring a band in sync and in the pocket ready to take on the world capped off perfectly with Chris Iorio’s extended soaring soloing (one of my favorite guitar moments of all time). “Brother” is a triumph that Adelitas Way have yet to replicate, but that’s okay. Only the daring would endeavor to try.