Our top 10 The Presidents of the United States of America songs list looks at the body of work of a Grammy Awards-nominated Seattle band best known for its alternative rock sound. The Presidents of the United States of America, also known as The Presidents or PUSA by its fans, was formed in 1993 by vocalist and bassist Chris Ballew and guitarist Dave Dederer. Both Chris and Dave performed as a duo, taking on several monikers, including The Dynamic Duo and Pure Frosting.
Eventually, the duo settled on the moniker The Presidents of the United States of America, adding former Skin Yard and Love Battery drummer Jason Finn to its lineup. The band started its musical pursuits at the end of the year, growing its fanbase steadily. While the band has been overly described as an alternative rock act, PUSA’s sonic vibes extend to post-grunge and pop-punk.
The Presidents of the United States of America’s Career Beginnings and Breakthrough
After signing Jason Finn as the band’s drummer, PUSA went on to record a Froggystyle, a ten-track cassette. The band members sold the cassette to its local fans and eventually attracted the attention of PopLlama Records. Among the notable releases the band made in 1994 was the non-album single “Naked and Famous,” a song Chris Ballew had penned in the ‘80s. PUSA later released the song on its debut LP, featuring guitarist Kim Thayil of the heavy metal/hard rock band Soundgarden.
In 1995, PUSA released its eponymous debut album through PopLlama Records. The Presidents of the United States of America catapulted the band to mainstream and commercial success. The album rose to a peak position of number six on the Billboard 200. PUSA enjoyed success beyond the US, with the album making it to the album charts in Australia, Canada, France, Netherlands, and Sweden.
The Presidents of the United States of America was triple Platinum-certified in the US by RIAA. In the UK, the album achieved Gold certification, managing four-times Platinum certification in Australia and Canada. “Kitty” and “Lumps” are some of the best The Presidents of the United States of America songs that helped the band’s eponymous debut album rise to success.
The band later issued more songs from the album in 1996, with some of the most reputable hits, including “Peaches” and “Dune Buggy.” PUSA was signed by Columbia Records, a move that helped the band increase the distribution of its debut album. The Presidents of the United States of America marked the band’s rise to stardom.
The Presidents of the United States of America’s Album Releases over the Years
After the success of the band’s three times Platinum-certified eponymous debut album, PUSA returned to the studio to prepare for its sophomore LP. Eventually, the band released the album II in November 1996. II’s release was timed at the US presidential election. The album featured alternative rock sounds blended with punk rock, pop-punk, and grunge.
II was a success on the charts, making it to number thirty-one on the Billboard 200. The album also charted in Australia, Canada, France, New Zealand, Sweden, and Switzerland. Unlike the band’s eponymous debut album, II failed to make great sales, only Platinum-certified in Australia and Gold-certified in Canada. “Mach 5,” “Volcano,” and a rework of Supermodel’s hit “Supersonics” are some of the best The Presidents of the United States of America songs from II.
In 2000, PUSA released its third studio album, Freaked Out and Small. The album was issued through Music Blitz Records, unlike the band’s previous albums, which were issued through Columbia Records. Freaked Out and Small neither made it to the charts nor made reputable sales. Nevertheless, the LP featured some of the best The Presidents of the United States of America songs, including “Tiny Explosions,” “Jupiter,” and “Last Girl on Earth.” Chris Ballew and Dave Dederer penned the songs on this LP.
The Presidents of the United States of America released its fourth LP, Love Everybody, in 2004. This time, the band made its release through its own record label, PUSA Inc. Love Everybody marked Dave Dederer’s last album as a member of The Presidents of the United States of America. “Some Postman” and “Love Everybody” are musical gems featured on Love Everybody. The album is also home to PUSA’s cover of English punk rock band Sex Pistols’ hit “Problems.”
After the departure of Dave Dederer, The Presidents of the United States of America signed Andrew McKeag to play the guitar. With its new lineup, PUSA released its fifth LP, These Are the Good Times People, in 2008. The album is home to some of the most popular The Presidents of the United States of America songs, including “Mixed Up S.O.B.,” “Ladybug,” and “Rot in the Sun.” These Are the Good Times People was issued through Tooth & Nail Records.
Later in 2014, PUSA released its sixth LP, Kudos to You! in 2014. The album was issued through the band’s record label, PUSA Inc. Other notable releases by the band include three compilation albums, three extended plays, and one live album.
The Presidents of the United States of America’s Other Musical Pursuits
It was not an easy time for PUSA at some time, having the band go on hiatus at some point. The move was initiated by the band’s founder Chris Ballew who wished to start his solo music career. Eventually, Chris made his debut solo career as a children’s music artist in 2009 under the moniker Caspar Babypants.
The band’s guitarist Dave Dederer was featured in different incarnations of the ensembles Loaded, Subset, and The Gentlemen. Over its career, PUSA has collaborated with other artists, including Sir Mix-a-Lot and Shonen Knife.
The Presidents of the United States of America’s Accolades and Legacy
PUSA doesn’t have a catalog of music to showcase. In fact, the band’s commercial success only lasted for a few years after the band’s inception. However, the band remains one of the most refined alternative rock ensembles to have hailed from Seattle. PUSA has been nominated for two Grammy Awards, including the 1996 Grammy Award for the Best Alternative Music Album for its debut LP and the Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal for “Peaches.” Here we present the ten best The Presidents of the United States of America songs.
#10 – Tiny Explosions
Ushering us to the top 10 The Presidents of the United States of America songs is the splendid hit “Tiny Explosions.” The song is featured on the band’s album, Freaked Out and Small. It serves as the lead track off the band’s third album. “Tiny Explosions” was penned by Chris Ballew. The song came right after the band reunited from its short hiatus, which was prompted by Ballew’s wish to go solo.
#9 – Mixed Up S.O.B.
“Mixed Up S.O.B.” is one of the best The Presidents of the United States of America songs from the band’s fifth LP, These Are the Good Times People. The song was penned by the band’s vocalist and bassist, Chris Ballew. Despite being released in 2008, “Mixed Up S.O.B.” dates back to 1987. A version of “Mixed Up S.O.B.” was first released for Egg’s album Feel Better.
#8 – Volcano
Our number eight hit on the ten best The Presidents of the United States of America songs list is the chirpy hit “Volcano.” The song is featured on PUSA’s sophomore album, II. “Volcano” serves as imagery of the 1980 volcano that erupted at Mount St. Helens. The Presidents of the United States of America visualize the eruption as a colossal sound system. Chris Ballew revealed that he was inspired to pen the song after listening to Menthol’s hit “Francis Scott Key.”
“Jupiter” is among the finest The Presidents of the United States of America’s blend of alternative rock and pop-punk sonic vibes. The song is featured on the band’s LP, Freaked Out and Small. Its lyrics were penned by Chris Ballew. “Jupiter” feels a little catchier than some of the hits on the album, thanks to its deeper pop-punk sonic feel.
#6 – Some Postman
Number six on our top 10 The Presidents of the United States of America songs is the raving hit “Some Postman.” The song is featured on the band’s fourth LP, Love Everybody. “Some Postman” is among the successful hits the band released through its record label, PUSA Inc. Once more, Chris Ballew s credited with penning the lyrics to the song.
“Some Postman” is purely a pop-punk ballad. The song was a success in the US, rising to number thirty-one on the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks. Its music video was shot on cell phones.
#5- Video Killed the Radio Star
After releasing its sophomore LP, II, The Presidents of the United States of America worked on a compilation album, Rarities. Rarities was later issued in 1997 exclusively in Japan. The thirteen-song compilation album is home to our number five hit “Video Killed the Radio Star.”
The song was penned by Geoff Downes, Bruce Woolley, and Trevor Horn. Initially, “Video Killed the Radio Star” was recorded by Bruce Woolley. However, it was soon after recorded by the synth-pop band. The Buggles, home to Trevor and Geoff. The Buggles version was a success peaking at number forty on the Billboard Hot 100. The song is also known as the first song ever played on MTV.
The Presidents of the United States of America, Ken Laszlo, and Pentatonix have all released a rendition of the song. However, none of the covers, including PUSA’s, has been able to topple The Buggles’ version on the charts. The Presidents of the United States of America later featured the song on the compilation album, Pure Frosting. PUSA’s version of the song peaked at number fifty-two on the UK Singles Chart.
“Kitty” is one of the earliest releases by The Presidents of the United States of America. The song was featured on the band’s eponymous debut album. Initially, the song was part of the songs released by the band on the demo Froggystyle, but in the title “Kitty at My Foot.” The song was penned by Chris Ballew.
Dave Dederer revealed that the song alluded to a bad cat that lived in an apartment the songwriter shared with his friends in Boston. “Kitty” finds the singer describing how he desired to get into contact with this adorable cat, only to have it turn on him, leaving him hurt with scratches. The song was a success on the charts, peaking at number thirteen on the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks.
#3- Mach 5
Our third pick for our ten best The Presidents of the United States of America songs list is the electrifying hit “Mach 5.” The song is featured on the band’s sophomore LP, II. “Mach 5” was penned by Chris Ballew, with its lyrics alluding to an encounter a child had while playing with matchbox cars and firecrackers. The subject kid did this play-acting being the legend in Speed Racer. “Mach 5” was a success rising to number twenty-nine on the UK Singles Chart. The song also peaked at number eleven on the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart.
“Lump” is yet another great song by The Presidents of the United States of America from the band’s eponymous debut album. The song was penned by Chris Ballew, who also collaborated with Dave Dederer and Conrad Uno in producing the song. “Lump” catapulted The Presidents of the United States of America to stardom, having it being among the biggest releases by the band in 1995.
The song alludes to a story of a fairly sharp woman called “Lump,” who, despite all odds, managed to attract a lover. “Lump” was the first The Presidents of the United States of America song to top any chart, after rising to number one on the Billboard Alternative Airplay chart. The song also managed position fifteen on the UK Singles Chart.
Number one on our top 10 The Presidents of the United States of America songs list is the magnificent hit “Peaches.” The song is featured on the band’s eponymous debut album. “Peaches” samples the riffs from “Feel Like Makin’ Love” by rock supergroup Bad Company.
The song lyrics were penned by Chris Ballew. Its lyrics allude to munching peaches. However, some fans have cited this to be a metaphor for making love to a lady. “Peaches” is the only song by PUSA to make it to the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at number twenty-nine. The song is also The Presidents of the United States of America’s highest-charting hit on the UK Singles Chart, peaking at number eight.
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