Top 10 Vertical Horizon Songs

Vertical Horizon Songs

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 WantGo 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 – When You Cry

“When You Cry” is a track from Vertical Horizon’s fourth studio album, Go, released on September 23, 2003. The album was a follow-up to their highly successful double platinum album Everything You Want.  “When You Cry” is a heavy tune fueled by emotional vocals typical of the band’s best work. “When You Cry” and the album as a whole faced commercial challenges, partly due to the lack of support from RCA Records amidst the label’s restructuring and eventual merger with Sony Music.

“When You Cry” was released as the single that followed “Forever.” The album debuted at number 61 on the Billboard 200.”When You Cry” broke into the top 40 on the US Billboard Hot 100, peaking at number thirty-five. Listen to the guitar line at the end of the song which sounds as if the instrument is crying. That’s cool stuff.

# 9 – Even Now

“Even Now” is a significant track from Vertical Horizon’s album Burning the Days, which was released on September 22, 2009. This song stands out not only because of its introspective lyrics and compelling composition but also due to the remarkable collaboration that brought it to life. Matt Scannell, the lead vocalist and guitarist of Vertical Horizon, co-wrote “Even Now” with Neil Peart, the legendary drummer and lyricist of Rush, who also played drums on this track. This collaboration marked a unique intersection of artistic worlds, bringing together Scannell’s poignant songwriting with Peart’s intricate rhythmic and lyrical sensibilities.

The recording of “Even Now” took place during the sessions for Burning the Days, a period of creative rejuvenation for Vertical Horizon. Scannell took a hands-on approach to the album, working from his home studio and establishing his own label, Outfall Records, for its release. This environment allowed for a level of creative freedom and exploration that is palpably reflected in the song. Scannell’s invitation to Neil Peart to play drums on “Even Now” led to an enthusiastic commitment from Peart, who famously stated, “No one else can play drums on it — I won’t let anyone else play drums on it. I have to play the drums on it.” This dedication from Neil Peart added a distinctive rhythmic foundation to the track, complementing its emotional depth and lyrical complexity.

The song’s themes revolve around introspection, regret, and the passage of time, motifs that are recurrent in Vertical Horizon’s music and were given new dimension through Peart’s lyrical contributions. The collaboration between Scannell and Peart on “Even Now” is a highlight of Burning the Days, showcasing a fusion of styles and influences that enriches the album’s sonic landscape.

While Burning the Days received mixed reviews, “Even Now” was often singled out for its unique fusion of Vertical Horizon’s melodic rock with Peart’s progressive rock elements. Critics acknowledged the album’s “immaculate production” and the fresh perspective brought by external collaborations, particularly with Peart. Despite the varied critical reception, tracks like “Even Now” underscored Vertical Horizon’s ability to evolve and experiment while maintaining the emotional resonance that has characterized their music throughout their career.

In summary, “Even Now” represents a significant moment in Vertical Horizon’s discography, highlighted by the collaborative synergy between Matt Scannell and Neil Peart. This track not only showcases the band’s continued growth and exploration but also stands as a testament to the powerful outcomes that can emerge from the meeting of musical minds across different spheres of the rock genre.

# 8 – Goodbye Again

“Goodbye Again” is a track from Vertical Horizon’s album Burning the Days, released in 2009. This song, like many others by Vertical Horizon, delves into themes of parting and the emotional complexities of saying farewell, possibly hinting at the personal growth and changes experienced by the band members during their careers. The album marked a significant period for Vertical Horizon, showcasing a matured sound and depth in songwriting, reflective of their experiences and evolution as a band.

The recording of Burning the Days was a notable period for Vertical Horizon, with Matt Scannell taking a leading role in the production and songwriting aspects. The album features contributions from various members and collaborators, including the notable involvement of Neil Peart from Rush on three tracks, though not specifically on “Goodbye Again.” This period was marked by a blend of introspection and experimentation, with the band exploring new musical territories while staying rooted in the emotional and lyrical depth that characterized their earlier work.

“Goodbye Again” captures the essence of Vertical Horizon’s ability to weave complex emotions into their music, with Scannell’s evocative lyrics and the band’s compelling musical arrangements creating a poignant narrative. The song’s production values reflect the band’s growth and the collaborative nature of the album’s creation, with a sound that is both polished and deeply expressive.

#7 – Broken Over You

“Broken Over You” is a track from Vertical Horizon’s sixth studio album, Echoes from the Underground, released in 2013. This song exemplifies the band’s continued exploration of emotional depth and musical evolution, even two decades into their career. With its introspective lyrics and compelling musical arrangement, “Broken Over You” captures the essence of heartbreak and the complexities of a relationship gone awry, themes that have been a hallmark of Vertical Horizon’s songwriting.

The recording of Echoes from the Underground marked a period of rejuvenation for Vertical Horizon, with Matt Scannell leading the creative direction of the band. The album was produced by Scannell himself, showcasing his growth as a musician and producer. The sessions for the album were noted for their collaborative spirit, with contributions from the band’s lineup during this period, including long-time members and newer additions who brought fresh energy and perspectives to the band’s sound.

“Broken Over You” stands out for its emotional resonance, characterized by Scannell’s poignant lyrics and the band’s dynamic musical accompaniment. The song’s arrangement, featuring a blend of acoustic and electric elements, complements the lyrical themes, creating a soundscape that is both reflective and immersive. The track’s production values maintain the band’s signature sound while also incorporating new textures and layers, reflecting the band’s evolution over the years.

#6 – We Are

“We Are” marked Vertical Horizon’s initial foray into the mainstream music scene as the first single from their major label debut album, Everything You Want, released in 1999. This track set the stage for the band’s emergence into wider recognition, showcasing their evolving sound that adeptly combined elements of alternative rock with a more polished, radio-friendly appeal. “We Are” served as an introduction to a broader audience, encapsulating the band’s introspective lyrical themes and compelling musical dynamics.

The recording of “We Are” took place during the sessions for the Everything You Want album, under the guidance of producers Mark Endert and Ben Grosse. These sessions were instrumental in shaping the album’s sound, blending the band’s alternative rock roots with accessible, mainstream production values. The lineup for this period included Matt Scannell on lead vocals and guitars, Keith Kane on guitars and backing vocals, Sean Hurley on bass, and Ed Toth on drums. Their collective efforts during these sessions resulted in a sound that was both engaging and introspective, qualities that are vividly present in “We Are.”

Upon its release, “We Are” received positive attention for its lyrical depth and compelling melody, though it did not achieve the same level of commercial success as some of the album’s subsequent singles, such as the chart-topping “Everything You Want.” However, the track made a respectable showing on the Modern Rock Tracks chart, peaking at no. 21, and helped to establish Vertical Horizon’s presence in the music scene of the late 1990s. The song’s themes of identity and self-reflection resonated with listeners, further solidifying Vertical Horizon’s reputation for crafting songs that delve into the complexities of personal experience.

#5- Forever

Go, the band’s fourth studio album, is home to the fifth pick on our top 10 Vertical Horizon songs list, “Forever.” Lead vocalist Matt Scannell penned the song—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 reached 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 a poignant and introspective track from Vertical Horizon’s highly successful album, Everything You Want, released in 1999. The song was the last single issued for the album. “Best I Ever Had (Grey Sky Morning)” has lyrics alluding to a guy who just broke up with a girl he loved passionately. 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 reached the fifty-eighth spot on the Billboard Hot 100. 

The song’s enduring popularity led to its cover by country singer Gary Allan in 2003, whose version titled “Best I Ever Had” brought the song to a new audience and showcased its versatility across different musical genres. Allan’s rendition also received positive acclaim, highlighting the song’s broad appeal and the universality of its themes.

#3 – I’m Still Here

“I’m Still Here” is a poignant track from Vertical Horizon’s album Go, released in September 2003. The song reflects a sense of resilience and persistence, themes that resonate deeply with listeners. Its creation took place during a period when the band was undergoing significant transitions, not just internally but also within the broader context of the music industry, particularly with their record label, RCA, experiencing major restructuring.

The production of “I’m Still Here” involved a collaboration with notable musicians and technical experts. Matt Scannell, the lead vocalist and guitarist of Vertical Horizon, played a crucial role in its development, both as a musician and a songwriter. The recording sessions for Go were held over several months, with locations and exact dates not widely publicized. The production team for the album included seasoned professionals who had worked with the band on previous projects, ensuring a continuity of the sound that fans had come to associate with Vertical Horizon.

Critical reception of “I’m Still Here” highlighted the song’s emotional depth and the band’s ability to convey complex feelings through their music. The track’s arrangement, combining poignant lyrics with compelling melodies, was praised for its ability to connect with the listener on a personal level. In terms of chart performance, “I’m Still Here” made its mark on the Adult Top 40, peaking at number 17. This achievement underscored the band’s continued relevance in the music scene, despite the challenges posed by the shifting dynamics of the music industry and the internal changes within the band itself.

The music video for “I’m Still Here” further amplified the song’s themes of endurance and presence. It visually represented the emotional landscape of the lyrics, creating a narrative that complemented the song’s message. The video’s production, while not as widely documented as that of the song, contributed to the track’s impact, offering a visual interpretation that deepened the listener’s connection to the music.

#2 – You’re a God

“You’re a God” is a standout track from Vertical Horizon’s breakthrough album Everything You Want, released in 1999. This song is one of the band’s most recognizable hits, encapsulating the post-grunge era’s sound with its compelling melodies and introspective lyrics. Written by Matt Scannell, the lead vocalist and guitarist, “You’re a God” delves into themes of idealization and the pedestal on which we sometimes place others, often at the expense of our own self-worth.

The recording of “You’re a God” took place during the sessions for Everything You Want, with the band working closely with producer Mark Endert, who played a significant role in shaping the sound of the album. These sessions were crucial in defining the band’s musical direction at the time, blending rock elements with more polished, radio-friendly production. The lineup featured Matt Scannell on vocals and guitar, Keith Kane on guitar and backing vocals, Sean Hurley on bass, and Ed Toth on drums, each contributing to the dynamic and emotive sound that characterizes “You’re a God”.

Upon its release, “You’re a God” received considerable acclaim, both from critics and fans. The song’s accessible yet emotionally resonant composition was highlighted, showcasing Vertical Horizon’s ability to craft songs that spoke to the listener’s own experiences and emotions. In terms of chart success, “You’re a God” made a significant impact, peaking at number 23 on the Billboard Hot 100 and further solidifying its presence on the Adult Top 40 charts. This commercial success was a testament to the song’s widespread appeal and the band’s growing prominence in the late ’90s music scene.

The music video for “You’re a God” further amplified the song’s themes, presenting a narrative that visually echoed the lyrical content’s exploration of idealization and the disillusionment that can follow. The video’s production complemented the song’s message, providing a visual layer to the already richly layered track.

“You’re a God” remains one of Vertical Horizon’s most beloved tracks, encapsulating a moment in time when the band was at the forefront of the alternative rock movement. Its enduring popularity is a testament to the song’s relatable lyrics, memorable melody, and the band’s skillful musicianship.

#1- Everything You Want

“Everything You Want” is not only the title track but also the cornerstone of Vertical Horizon’s third studio album, released in 1999. This song stands as a pivotal moment in the band’s career, marking their transition from the fringes of indie music to mainstream success. Written by the band’s frontman, Matt Scannell, “Everything You Want” captures the essence of unrequited love and the pain of longing for someone who is in love with someone else, a theme that resonates deeply with many listeners.

The recording process for “Everything You Want” took place alongside the rest of the album’s tracks, under the guidance of producers Mark Endert and Ben Grosse. These sessions were instrumental in shaping the polished sound that would come to define the album and, by extension, the band’s identity during this era. The lineup for this period included Matt Scannell on lead vocals and guitars, Keith Kane on guitars and backing vocals, Sean Hurley on bass, and Ed Toth on drums. Their collaborative efforts during these sessions resulted in a sound that was both expansive and deeply personal, qualities that are vividly present in “Everything You Want.”

Upon its release, “Everything You Want” received widespread acclaim and quickly climbed the charts, becoming a defining anthem of the late ’90s. The song reached the pinnacle of success by securing the number one spot on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, a testament to its broad appeal and the universal nature of its themes. Its success on the Adult Top 40 chart further underscored the song’s resonance with a wide audience, cementing its place as one of the year’s most significant hits.

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© 2024

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