It doesn’t matter what part of the 2000s alternative music spectrum you lean toward. Whether your iPod was dominated by neon, pop punk or screamo tracks, one thing is for sure: Everyone loves an acoustic song.
The trend persists quite actively today. Tune in to just about any band’s quarantine livestreams and you’ll catch stripped versions of all of your favorite songs. Back in the 2000s, though, we were waiting and praying for bonus tracks or deluxe versions of any given album. Wow, times have changed…
Over a decade later, we’re still wondering how some acoustic tracks didn’t beat their originals for prime album spots. Here are 10 pared-down versions of alternative songs that we think were even better than their predecessors.
“Fell In Love Without You” – Motion City Soundtrack
Leave it to an iTunes bonus track to show up the rest of the album. The upbeat opening song to Motion City Soundtrack’s Even If It Kills Me hit pretty hard to begin with. Add to that a softer, melodic air to accentuate Justin Pierre’s emotive vocals and you’ve got a sonic masterpiece.
“Jasey Rae” – All Time Low
There are two types of people in the world, and they’re characterized by which version of “Jasey Rae” they prefer. There’s no going wrong, if we’re being honest. Both versions of the song showcase All Time Low’s talent and stylistic range. There’s just something about the raw emotionality of the acoustic track that drives the narrative even deeper, though.
“I Can Do Better” – Avril Lavigne
We love Avril Lavigne for her signature pop-punk energy. However, that doesn’t mean she can’t pare it down from time to time. The acoustic version of “I Can Do Better” proves that she’s still capable of major attitude without a band backing her. Somehow, the stripped track even makes for a better singalong.
“The Ground Folds” – Senses Fail
No one would dare argue that Senses Fail aren’t poignant with their aggressive post-hardcore sound. Pare everything back so that Buddy Nielsen’s passionate lines shine through, though, and it’s a totally different experience altogether. It’s a wonder that this one was only included as a bonus track on the Drive-Thru Records re-release of From The Depths Of Dreams. We’d argue that it could have held its own in the middle of the original tracklisting.
“Kelsey” – Metro Station
We will never say one bad word about Metro Station’s electronic sound. After all, there’s a damn good reason that they’re one of the most memorable bands of the 2000s. With that said, the stripped version of “Kelsey” makes the song feel way more sentimental. It was reason enough to purchase the deluxe edition of their debut self-titled album.
“A Letter From Janelle” – Chiodos
There’s nothing more fun than when traditionally heavier artists descend into a softer sound. Chiodos are no exception. While “A Letter From Janelle” is viscerally emotional to begin with, the acoustic rendition transforms it into a striking ballad. The track was only added to Bone Palace Ballet: Grand Coda in the 2008 reissue by Warner Records. Even so, it serves as beautiful transcendence from the rest of the album’s more aggressive sound.
“Homesick” – A Day To Remember
A Day To Remember tend to kill it with their acoustic tracks in general. We’re inclined to focus on “Homesick,” though, because it’s such an anthem. The band released the acoustic version of the song in the special edition of their album by the same name. The stripped track shines a spotlight on the catchy melody and makes the (highly relatable) lyrics so much more digestible.
“Bruised And Scarred” – Mayday Parade
If Mayday Parade could just accompany every one of their releases with acoustic counterparts, that would be great. It’s not that we don’t love the full-band versions—we do—but the stripped tracks are just that much more stirring. “Bruised And Scarred” is the ultimate example. The original track is catchy to the max, but it pales in emotional range compared to the pared-down EP version.
“Tears Don’t Fall” – Bullet For My Valentine
Just leave it to Bullet For My Valentine to tackle both ends of the spectrum so effectively with “Tears Don’t Fall.” The original track is a treasure, no doubt. There’s a good reason why it’s their most streamed song on Spotify. With that said, the acoustic song is debatably even more powerful, allowing Matt Tuck’s rousing vocals to take center stage.
“Hero / Heroine” – Boys Like Girls
To be honest, with an acoustic track like this, it’s easy to forget that the original ever existed in the first place. The stripped version of “Hero / Heroine” shows off Boys Like Girls’ ability to drive captivating melodies without any added frills. Though it was only included as a bonus track, it really could have taken the original’s place.
What are your favorite acoustic versions of 2000s alternative tracks? Let us know in the comments below!