Our Top 10 Everlast songs list looks at an artist who is famous for his rock and hip-hop releases. He started as a member of Ice-T’s Rhyme Syndicate in the late 1980s. Subsequently, Everlast made an unsuccessful attempt at launching a solo career with his solo debut album Forever Everlasting in 1990. That convinced him to team up with DJ Lethal and Danny Boy to form House of Pain, which saw meteoric success with its self-titled debut album in 1992 before gradually declining until its breakup in 1996. Afterward, Everlast made a second attempt at launching a solo career. This time, his second studio album Whitey Ford Sings the Blues met with a much better response in 1998. Since then, Everlast has released six more studio albums, which say much about his staying power. The latest one – Whitey Ford’s House of Pain – came out in 2018.
Top 10 Everlast Songs
#10 – Saving Grace
Saving Grace was a crime drama on TNT from 2007 to 2010. Everlast was chosen to write and record its theme song. For the most part, “Saving Grace” is a straightforward description of the show’s lead character – Grace Hanardarko – a good-hearted detective who is nonetheless on the road to damnation because of her self-destructive tendencies. The theme song is surprisingly enjoyable for what it is, perhaps because Everlast’s distinctive vocals are so well-suited for depicting sympathetic if somewhat stained characters.
#9 – Lonely Road
“Lonely Road” is a song on Everlast’s fourth studio album White Trash Beautiful. It was never a single, but it has its fair share of fans. The title makes it obvious that this isn’t the happiest of songs. Despite that, there is a certain bounciness to its blues and country-influenced sound that supports the singer’s claims of resilience in the face of adversity. Simultaneously, the singer maintains a haggard, time-worn tone, which gives credence to his claims of emotional vulnerability. Put together, one can’t help but hope that one day his ordeal will be over, even though it is never made clear exactly what he is supposed to be paying off.
#8 – I Can’t Move
Everlast released his third studio album Eat at Whitey’s in 2000. “I Can’t Move” was the second of its three singles, securing a number 24 position on the Billboard Alternative Airplay but otherwise failed to make it onto U.S. music charts. Its lyrics are a bit eyebrow-raising. After all, Everlast sings about getting close to someone, looking her in the eye, and then spooking her into running away. Everything becomes more understandable when one learns the popular speculation is that the woman is a representation of Death. In other words, “I Can’t Move” is a gesture of defiance celebrating Everlast’s survival of his heart attack in 1998.
#7 – Put Your Lights On
Strictly speaking, “Put Your Lights On” isn’t an Everlast song. Instead, it is a Carlos Santanna song from his 18th studio album Supernatural, which was famous for featuring collaborations from artists who were contemporary in the late 1990s. Still, it counts because Everlast wrote and recorded the song, taking considerable inspiration from his then-recent heart attack. Thanks to that, “Put Your Lights On” is a song of hope and affirmation coming from dark and dreadful roots, which makes for a lovely metaphor.
#6 – Folsom Prison Blues
“Folsom Prison Blues” is a Johnny Cash song directly descended from train songs and prison songs. It is extraordinarily popular, so much so that it often shows up on lists of the greatest country songs ever released. Naturally, a lot of artists have covered “Folsom Prison Blues.” Everlast’s version came out on Love, War, and the Ghost of Whitey Ford in 2008. It is country enough to show its roots, but at the same time, his other influences come through strong enough for it to stand out from the crowd.
#5 – Black Jesus
In September of 2000, Everlast released the self-penned “Black Jesus” as the lead single for Eat at Whitey‘s. Given the name, one might guess it is a song with religious themes. Nothing could be further from the truth. “Black Jesus” is a bluesy detailing of the peaks and troughs that Everlast had experienced during his career up to that point. It met with some commercial success, as shown by its peak placement at the number 15 position on the Billboard Alternative Airplay and the number 30 position on the Billboard Mainstream Rock charts.
#4 – I Get By
Everlast can be surprisingly political. For instance, consider “I Get By,” the lead single from his Songs of the Ungrateful Living in 2011. It makes it very clear that the narrator is a criminal. Even so, Everlast convinces the listener to sympathize with the man through a couple of means. One, the lyrics make it clear the man isn’t happy about what he is doing, as shown by how he laughs so that he won’t cry. Two, the lyrics make it clear the man feels he has no other way to feed his family because of forces beyond his control, which is about as sympathetic as criminal motivations get. Consumers seemed to have bought the message to at least some extent because “I Get By” claimed the number 23 position on the Billboard Alternative Airplay. In a real sense, the song is a refinement of a formula that Everlast has returned to again and again over his solo career.
#2 – Ends
“Ends” is the second single from Everlast’s second studio album Whitey Ford Sings the Blues. It is unlike most of his songs in that he wasn’t the sole songwriter. Instead, Everlast shared the credit with Dante Ross, who was also involved as a producer for the studio album as a whole. “Ends” isn’t remembered as well as its counterpart “What It’s Like,” but it shares a lot of similarities. One example would be their general style. Another example would be their use of multiple character-centered narratives to make a point. The critical difference is that “Ends” isn’t a call for empathy but a meditation on what people are willing to do for the sake of money. As such, its characters are more mixed when it comes to whether listeners will sympathize with them or not.
#2 – White Trash Beautiful
“White Trash Beautiful” was both the title track and the lead single for the studio album of the same name released in 2004. The studio album is rightfully known for its skillful use of blues and country to provide narratives of loneliness with extra emotional impact. Its title track is an even better example of that than “Lonely Road.” With that said, “White Trash Beautiful” is one of those songs that become a thousand times more impactful when people have seen the music video. The song itself goes into great detail about how a man and a woman love each other even though they are often apart because of their imperfect circumstances. That sense of sadness becomes overwhelming when the music video reveals that the man died in a car accident because he was fatigued from working long hours to support their growing family. As such, “White Trash Beautiful” is another example of Everlast’s consistent support for the unfortunate.
#1 – What It’s Like
“What It’s Like” has no real challengers for the honor of being Everlast’s best song. For starters, he wrote and recorded the song for Whitey Ford Sings the Blues at the true start of his solo career. It features the unique blend of rock, hip-hop, and blues that characterizes so much of his solo musical output. As such, “What It’s Like” was something of a trendsetter for the songs that followed in its wake. Subject-wise, the song does a wonderful job of encouraging the listener to empathize with the unfortunate. It doesn’t do this through pure sermonizing. Instead, it tells the stories of an unnamed beggar, a pregnant girl named Mary, and a drug dealer named Max, thus making their situations relatable in a way that pure sermonizing cannot. On top of this, “What It’s Like” even managed to meet with commercial success. Yes, it peaked at the 13th position on the Billboard Hot 100, but it claimed the first positions for both the Billboard Alternative Airplay and the Billboard Mainstream Rock.
Top 10 Everlast Songs article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2022
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