Our top 10 songs from The Sounds look at the body of work of a Swedish outfit famed for its indie rock sound. Established in the late ‘90s, The Sounds became the second most successful indie rock band after The Cardigans. The band has also been cited as one of Europe’s new-wave revivalists of the early 2000s. Incorporating new wave elements into its music has seen The Sounds likened to distinguished new wave bands including Missing Persons, The Cars, and Blondie.
The band’s impact in the rock scene fails to match that of fellow Swedish acts like ABBA, Europe, Roxette, Ace of Base, and The Cardigans. However, we remain indebted to The Sounds for its striking impact on the Swedish indie rock and new wave scene, especially in the early 2000s. The band has been active since its formation, maintaining the original lineup to date.
The Sounds’ Album Releases over the Years
In 2002, The Sounds issued its debut studio album, Living in America. The album was issued through New Line Records, now WaterTower Music. Living in America is primarily a new wave-oriented record with traces of the indie rock-influenced post-punk revival. Thanks to the band’s great lyricism the album soared fairly high in the mainstream.
Living in America rose to the third spot on the Swedish Albums Chart. The album also achieved mild success in the US rising to a peak position of number thirty-one on the Billboard Independent Albums Chart. “Dance with Me,” “Fire,” “Rock & Roll,” “Seven Days a Week,” and “Living in America” are the best songs by The Sounds from this album. Living in America was platinum-certified in the band’s homeland selling over a hundred thousand copies in the US.
The Sounds returned with its sophomore studio album, Dying to Say This to You in 2006. Dying to Say This to You had its production work handled by Jeff Saltzman who has also worked with The Killers, El Elle, and Blondie. “Song with a Mission,” “Tony the Beat,” and “Painted by Numbers” are the top musical gems by The Sounds from this album.
“Queen of Apology,” a track on this album, was remixed by Patrick Stump of the American ensemble Fall Out Boy. Dying to Say This to You was a mainstream success rising to the eighth spot on the Swedish Albums Chart. However, the band’s biggest achievement with this album was topping the Billboard Top Heatseekers Chart and entry to the Billboard 200, peaking at number one hundred and seven.
The Sounds went on to issue their third studio album, Crossing the Rubicon in 2009. Crossing the Rubicon was a mainstream success, rising to number sixty-four on the Billboard 200. The album only peaking at number fourteen on the Swedish Albums Chart. “Beatbox,” “Midnight Sun,” “Crossing the Rubicon,” and “No One Sleeps When I’m Awake” are the best songs by The Sounds from the album.
In 2011, The Sounds returned with a new studio album under the title Something to Die For. The album was an ambitious release in terms of the sound explored. The Sounds added synth-pop elements to its staple indie rock and new wave signature sound. “Better Off Dead,” “Won’t Let Them Tear Us Apart,” and “Something to Die For” are the most remarkable songs on this album. The album was fairly acclaimed in the US mainstream rising to number one hundred and forty on the Billboard 200.
Two years after the release of Something to Die For, The Sounds issued their album, Weekend. Like the band’s fourth LP, Weekend saw The Sounds blend indie rock, new wave, and synth-pop sound influences. “Shake Shake Shake” and “Outlaw” are the most outstanding hits issued by The Sounds on this album. Weekend is the band’s last charting album on the Swedish Albums Chart, peaking at number thirty-five.
After seven years, The Sounds returned with a new (the band’s most recent) studio album entitled Things We Do for Love. The album saw the band explore an amalgam of indie rock, new wave, alt-rock, and pop. Songs on the album saw The Sounds compared by critics to artists such as Roxette, Ace of Base, and ABBA. However, some songs like the album title track were more evocative of the band’s sound resemblance to Blondie. Other popular songs by The Sounds from the album include “Miami,” “Hollow,” and “Safe and Sound.”
The Sounds’ Legacy
The band lacks an admirable array of accolades to point toward its remarkable music career. However, its impactful role in the Swedish indie rock scene is just iconic, falling only second to The Cardigans. The band has also been cited to be among the outfits that spearheaded the revival of the new wave sound in the early 2000s. Here we present the ten all-time best songs by The Sounds.
#10 – Shake Shake Shake
Ushering us to our top 10 songs by The Sounds is the brilliant hit “Shake Shake Shake.” The song is featured on the band’s fifth studio album, Weekend. While Weekend followed Something to Die For’s dance-centric effect, it failed to impress like the band’s previous albums. However, “Shake Shake Shake” finds the band pushing its dance-centric elements to the limits. Thanks to its disco-influenced synth and guitar riffs that “Shake Shake Shake” keeps The Sounds’ raving funky feel alive.
#9 – Something to Die For
As mentioned in the number ten pick of our ten best songs by The Sounds, Something to Die For is best remembered for its dance-centric feel. This album title track leads the rest of the LP’s hits with its club-ready dance tunes. “Something to Die For” is a refreshing disco-influenced anthem that showcases the band’s excellence at issuing synth and electronic-influenced hits.
We can’t forget the alluring vocal delivery by the band’s vocalist Maja Ivarsson. Listening to songs like “Something to Die For” proves that The Sounds’ move to self-produce the song’s parent album wasn’t a bad gamble after all! The song was featured on the soundtrack of the 2011 slasher film Scream 4.
#8 – Painted by Numbers
Number eight on our top 10 songs by The Sounds is the tremendous hit “Painted by Numbers.” The song is featured on the band’s sophomore studio album, Dying to say This to You. One thing that stands out in this fast-paced new wave/indie rock hit is Maja’s vocals which are evocative of Debbie Harry of Blondie.
Like most of the songs on this album, “Painted by Numbers” gives us the best of Jesper Anderberg’s inspirational indie rock-influenced keyboard riffs. “Painted by Numbers” was fairly successful in the mainstream, rising to number five on the Swedish Tracks Chart.
#7 – Better Off Dead
Let’s return briefly to the band’s fourth studio album, Something to Die For. The album is home to the seventh pick of our ten best songs by The Sounds, “Better Off Dead.” “Better Off Dead” is no different from most of the album’s songs, featuring a dance-influenced sound. However, the song brings extra house and synth-pop elements that increase its pop appeal.
“Better Off Dead” is the band’s best attempt at releasing radio-friendly hits on its album Something to Die For. The song had been issued as the first single of the album. “Better Off Dead” managed to rise to the sixth spot on the Finnish Singles Chart.
#6 – Song with a Mission
Number six on our top 10 songs by The Sounds is the grooving hit “Song with a Mission.” The song is among the most sought-after hits off the band’s sophomore studio album, Dying to Say This to You. “Song with a Mission” serves as the album opener to this album. The song starts with some tranquil yet admirable guitar riffs delivered by guitarist Felix Rodriguez. Vocalist Maja Ivarsson disappoints not in this hit, crooning passionately from the beginning to the end in an energetic vocal delivery. “Song with a Mission” rose to number twenty-two on the Swedish Singles Chart.
#5 – Seven Days a Week
The Sounds achieved mainstream success almost imminently after the release of their debut studio album, Living in America. “Seven Days a Week” is one of the indie rock/new wave hits that pushed Living in America to its status in the mainstream. Together with other songs on the album Living in America, “Seven Days a Week” showcases the band’s earliest raw new wave delivery evocative of distinguished outfits like The Cars and Blondie.
The song was a mainstream success, rising to a peak position of number twenty on the Swedish Singles Chart. “Seven Days a Week” was a popular hit that was later featured on the football simulation video game FIFA 2005.
#4 – No One Sleeps When I’m Awake
“No One Sleeps When I’m Awake” has been cited as one of the purest new wave hits by The Sounds of all time. The song is featured on the band’s third studio album, Crossing the Rubicon. “No One Sleeps When I’m Awake” features lively synth tunes amalgamed with exquisite guitar riffs. The Sounds’ singer Maja Ivarsson impresses with her vocal delivery in this hit giving us one of her most energetic performances. “No One Sleeps When I’m Awake” rose to number twenty-six on the Swedish Singles Chart.
#3 – Tony the Beat
The third pick of our ten best songs by The Sounds is the thrilling hit “Tony the Beat.” Ranking “Tony the Beat” above The Sounds hit “No One Sleeps When I’m Awake” might feel a little off, especially comparing the vocal delivery of Maja in the two hits. However, it is the inspirational instrumentation that makes “Tony the Beat” stand out and rise above all songs in Crossing the Rubicon in our list of the best songs by The Sounds..
Special credit to Jesper for delivering impressive synth tunes that gives the chorus of this song a magical touch. Drummer Fredrik Nilsson is also worth mentioning, thanks to his steady drum skills on this hit that can only be described as glamorous. “Tony the Beat” rose to number one hundred and forty-three on the UK Singles Chart.
#2- Rock & Roll
“Rock & Roll” is one of the trademark hits allusive to The Sounds’ indie rock/new wave influences. The song is featured on the band’s debut studio album, Living in America. “Rock & Roll” is more of an anthem by the band about the love for rock and roll music. In this song, the singer reveals that nothing can really turn her on since her soul craves one thing alone, rock and roll.
You ought to love Maja’s silky vocals which are complemented by the song’s flawless groove. Dance elements can be felt from a distance and the urge to stand on your feet and shuffle to this rock and roll anthem gets even wilder as the song progresses. “Rock & Roll” managed to rise to number twenty-seven on the Swedish Singles Chart.
#1- Living in America
Number one on our top 10 songs by The Sounds is the haunting hit “Living in America.” The song was issued as the second single for the band’s debut album of the same name. “Living in America” is The Sounds’ best effort in releasing a classic new wave hit. The song features upbeat synth tunes which complement its mildly aggressive guitar riffs.
“Living in America” became the band’s signature hit almost imminently after its release. The song also remains the band’s highest-charting hit on the Swedish Singles Chart, peaking at the third spot. It is the energy exuded on this track and the great musicianship by the members of The Sounds that make it an all-time fan-favorite track. The song was featured in the 2010 music video game Rock Band 3.
Top 10 Songs By The Sounds article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2022
Classicrockhistory.com claims ownership of all its original content and Intellectual property under United States Copyright laws and those of all other foreign countries. No one person, business, or organization is allowed to re-publish any of our original content anywhere on the web or in print without our permission. All photos used are either public domain creative commons photos or licensed officially from Shutterstock under license with ClassicRockHistory.com. All photo credits have been placed at the end of the article. Album Cover Photos are affiliate links and the property of Amazon and are stored on the Amazon server. Any theft of our content will be met with swift legal action against the infringing websites.