Our top 10 Vertical Horizon songs list looks at the catalog of an American band revered for its alternative rock sound influences. The band was formed in 1991 by rhythm/acoustic guitarist Keith Kane and vocalist/guitarist Matt Scannell, the latter being the only lasting original member in all Vertical Horizon’s lineups. Initially, the Matt-Keith duo took on acoustic rock playing in local venues and parties, exploiting their harmonized vocals during their performances.
Matt and Keith went ahead to shape the future of Vertical Horizon, particularly after graduating from Georgetown University. However, acoustic rock would only get the duo so far in the music scene despite the endearing efforts of Matt and Keith. Vertical Horizon evolved to become a four-piece act by 1996, ultimately capturing the attention of major record labels with its solid performances in concerts.
The band signed a recording deal with RCA Records, at the same time, shifting focus from acoustic rock to alternative rock influences. This daring move paid off with the band’s first album through RCA Records earning Vertical Horizon massive success in the mainstream and commercially. Over the years, Vertical Horizon has accumulated a total of seven studio albums, four of which have made it to the Billboard 200.
Vertical Horizon’s Albums
The band’s initial years speak less of Vertical Horizon’s impact on the alternative rock scene. However, we cannot shy from discussing their role in shaping the musicianship between the band’s founders, Keith Kane and Matt Scannell. Fresh from college, Matt and Keith issued their debut studio album, There and Back Again. This 1992 acoustic rock record was solely the work of Matt and Keith from performance to production and engineering. “Trying to Find Purpose,” One the Sea,” and “Prayer for an Innocent Man” are some of the classic gems featured on the album.
Running on Ice, issued in 1995, marked the duo’s sophomore studio album. The album featured guest musicians Doug Derryberry on the keyboards and Carter Beauford of the Dave Matthews Band on the drums. Doug also featured in the album’s production work alongside Matt and record producer John Alagia, who is best known for his work with John Mayer, Herbie Hancock, Dave Matthews Band. “Heart in Hand,” “Japan,” and “The Man Who Would Be Santa” are the most popular songs by Vertical Horizon from the album Running on Ice.
After signing a recording deal with RCA Records, the band re-issued its former releases through the label, issuing a new album Everything You Want later in 1999. Often regarded as Vertical Horizon’s breakthrough record, Everything You Want saw the band venture into the alternative rock scene with few post-grunge and pop rock influences. Mark Endert, Ben Grosse, and David Bendeth were tasked with the production duties of Everything You Want. Endert is known for his prodigious work with multiple artists including, Maroon 5, The Fray, Miley Cyrus, and Madonna.
On the other hand, Grosse has worked with Sevendust, Depeche Mode, and Marilyn Manson, while Bendeth is known for his endearing work with Asking Alexandria, Bring Me the Horizon, Jeff Beck, and Breaking Benjamin. Everything You Want made it to the third spot on the Billboard Heatseekers Albums Chart, eventually rising to number sixty-six on the Billboard 200.
Notably, the album is also the only record by Vertical Horizon to make it to the UK Albums Chart. Everything You Want was a commercial success earning a gold certification in Canada and two times platinum certifications in the US. “You’re a God,” “Everything You Want,” “Best I Ever Had (Grey Sky Morning),” and “We Are” are some of the best Vertical Horizon songs from the album.
In 2003, Vertical Horizon returned with its fourth studio album Go. The alternative rock/pop rock album marked the band’s last release through RCA Records. Go was produced by John Shanks, a songwriter/record producer revered for his work with Sheryl Crow, Westlife, Take That, Jon Bon Jovi, and Miley Cyrus. Despite not matching the success of Everything You Want, Go still managed to succeed in the mainstream earning a peak position of number sixty-one on the Billboard 200. “Forever,” “I’m Still Here,” “When You Cry,” and “Goodbye Again” are the most popular songs by Vertical Horizon from Go.
Burning the Days, issued in 2009, marked the band’s fifth studio album and first release through Vertical Horizon’s label Outfall Records. Additional personnel featured on this record include drummer Blair Sinta, pop rock singer-songwriter Richard Marx on the piano, and former Rush member Neil Peart on the drums. The album was a fair release, making it to position one hundred and fifty-eight on the Billboard 200. “Save Me from Myself,” “All is Said and Done,” “Even Now,” and “Back to You” are some of the best Vertical Horizon songs from the album.
The band returned in 2013 with its sixth studio album Echoes from the Underground. Once again, the band featured former Rush drummer Neil Peart on this album—Neil played drums on two tracks in this album. Echoes from the Underground marked Vertical Horizon’s final album to grace the Billboard 200, peaking at number one hundred and sixty-four. “Song for Someone,” “Broken Over You,” “You Never Let Me Down,” and “Frost” are some of the most memorable musical gems from the album.
The Lost Mile, issued in 2018, is the band’s seventh and most recent effort. Pop rock star Richard Marx is featured on the backing vocals of the hit “I’m Not Running,” one of the classics from the album. Other impressive picks from The Lost Mile include “Save Love,” “Lighthouse,” and “I’m Gonna Save You.” Below is the list of our top 10 Vertical Horizon songs of all time.
#10 – Save Me from Myself
We start our top 10 Vertical Horizon songs list with the intoxicating hit “Save Me from Myself.” The song is featured on the band’s fifth studio album Burning the Days. “Save Me from Myself” is quite a dark song penned by the band’s lead vocalist Matt Scannell. The singer went on to reveal that the song was an attempt to illustrate the precarious situations in his life.
“Save Me from Myself” is among the final songs by Vertical Horizon where we get to experience the luscious taste of Keith Kane’s harmony vocals complementing Matt’s vocal delivery. After a long time serving as a member of the band, Keith left Vertical Horizon in 2010—his absence in the band’s later releases is quite noticeable! Former Rush member Neil Peart plays drums on this song.
#9 – Song for Someone
Without a doubt, Matt Scannell’s songwriting ability has played a significant role in Vertical Horizon’s endured success in the alternative rock scene. His ability to churn out touching lyrics like in the song “Song for Someone” cannot be underestimated! Matt revealed that he penned the song “Song for Someone” after playing shows in Iraq for the armed forces.
“Song for Someone” finds Matt Scannell issuing a tempestuous vocal delivery that aligns with the song’s mood. The song went ahead to become one of the fan-favorite picks from the band’s sixth studio album Echoes from the Underground. Unfortunately, the song never made it big in the mainstream.
#8 – Goodbye Again
Coming in at number eight on our top 10 Vertical Horizon songs list is the emotional hit “Goodbye Again.” The song is among the most sought-after songs off the band’s fourth studio album Go. “Goodbye Again” finds Matt crooning soulfully about a heart-breaking account of a relationship! Matt’s vocals in this song evoke the emotions of a broken-hearted man who gave his best shot at a love relationship!
#7 – Broken Over You
It is the power in the song’s delivery and anthemic groove of “Broken Over You” that guided our move to make the song our best song from the album Echoes from the Underground. Vocalist Matt Scannell revealed that the song “Broken Over You” has its lyrics alluding to the loss of the connection between lovers that culminates in doubts creeping in. The uptempo delivery of this track makes it an absolute rocker! “Broken Over You” had its accompanying music video directed by Chris Folkens (a film director who has worked with yet another rock band The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus.
#6 – We Are
Number six on our top 10 Vertical Horizon songs list is the dazzling hit “We Are.” The song was issued as the lead single of the band’s third and most successful studio album Everything You Want. “We Are” never made it big in the mainstream compared to the other singles that followed. However, the song peaked at number twenty-one on the Billboard Alternative Airplay Chart.
Go, the band’s fourth studio album, is home to the fifth pick on our top 10 Vertical Horizon songs list “Forever.” The song was penned by lead vocalist Matt Scannell—the singer revealed that “Forever” is a song about people who have come and gone from his life. He continued to mention that the song was inspired by the urge of wishing to hold on to the memories left after losing someone.
“Forever” was a mainstream success rising to number eighteen on the Billboard Adult Top 40 Chart. The song also made it to the seventeenth spot on the Billboard Adult Contemporary Chart.
#4 – Best I Ever Had (Grey Sky Morning)
“Best I Ever Had (Grey Sky Morning)” is one of the impressive tracks that helped catapult the album Everything You Want into mainstream and commercial success. The song was the last single issued for the album. “Best I Ever Had (Grey Sky Morning)” has its lyrics alluding to a guy who just broke up with a girl he passionately loved. Despite being the “best he ever had,” the singer expresses in this song his lost love for the lady.
“Best I Ever Had (Grey Sky Morning)” was a mainstream success rising to the seventh spot on the Billboard Adult Top 40 Chart. The song also made it to the fifty-eighth spot on the Billboard Hot 100. “Best I Ever Had (Grey Sky Morning)” was covered by country musician Gary Allan in 2005.
#3 – I’m Still Here
The third spot on our top 10 Vertical Horizon songs list goes to the hit “I’m Still Here.” “I’m Still Here” was issued as the first single of the band’s fourth studio album Go. The song finds Matt ruminating about the reasons why people stick around after their relationship crumbles down. “I’m Still Here” was fairly successful in the mainstream rising to the seventeenth spot on the Billboard Adult Top 40 Chart.
#2 – You’re a God
“You’re a God” is yet another impressive track from the band’s third studio album Everything You Want. The song was penned by Matt Scannell who later revealed in an interview that “You’re a God” was inspired by a person in his life who held power over him, making his life miserable. Matt admits the title of this song is quite ironic owing to the lyrical content.
The song was a mainstream success rising to the nineteenth spot on the Canadian Top Singles Chart. “You’re a God” also graced the ARIA Singles Chart peaking at number fifty-nine. The song is Vertical Horizon’s second highest-charting track on the Billboard Hot 100 peaking at number twenty-three. “You’re a God” featured a music video directed by The Malloys, a duo that has worked with multiple other artists including Vampire Weekend, Sheryl Crow, Kesha, Avril Lavigne, Lit, and Metallica.
#1- Everything You Want
Number one on our top 10 Vertical Horizon songs list is the striking hit “Everything You Want.” The song is the album title track to the band’s third and most successful third studio album. “Everything You Want” finds singer Matt Scannell dealing once again with the theme of unrequited love. In an interview, Matt revealed that the song was autobiographical—the singer mentioned having been in a relationship that ended in pain.
“Everything You Want’ rose atop the Billboard Hot 100, Billboard Adult Top 40 Chart, and Canada Rock/Alternative Chart. The song also graced the UK Singles Chart peaking at number forty-two (this has been Vertical Horizon’s only song to make it to the UK Singles Chart so far). “Everything You Want” had its music video directed by Clark Eddy—Clark has also worked with other artists including Ne-Yo, Rihanna, and Dua Lipa.
Feature Photo: Mira Hartford, CC BY 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons
Top 10 Vertical Horizon Songs article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2023
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