American Hi-Fi have released four studio albums since they burst onto the scene in 2001 with their self-titled debut LP. Over the years, the band has fused alternative rock, power pop and punk rock influences into a slick, hook-laden and well-produced catalog of music. While they have not amassed an enormous amount of record sales and mainstream radio airplay -- outside of their breakthrough hit “Flavor of the Weak” -- the band continues to churn out great rock songs with attitude and energy, proving they are much more than a one-hit wonder.
With catchy tunes, sing-a-long lyrics and some masterfully thick and heavy guitar work from Stacy Jones and Jamie Arentzen, tasteful bass licks from Drew Parsons and headbanging drumming from Brian Nolan, American Hi-Fi are this generation’s Cheap Trick, albeit a much heavier and punk-influenced version.
Below, we have compiled our picks for American Hi-Fi's 10 Best Songs:
"The Break Up Song"'The Art of Losing' (2003)
“The Break Up Song” is featured on American Hi-Fi’s second album, The Art of Losing, which was released in 2003, two years after their self-titled debut effort. The Art of Losing didn’t perform well over all and the band was dropped from Island Records shortly after its release. However, there are some great songs on the album including the title track and “The Break Up Song,” which shines a light on frontman Stacy Jones’ knack for writing catchy and clever lyrics surrounding relationships and their untimely end. “The Break Up Song” features the infectious chorus, “It’s over / We’re over / Just like in 'Crimson and Clover' / We’re sinking / I’m thinking, how the hell did we get so stupid / It’s the end / ex-girlfriend / I don’t care what you think of me now / So long you’re gone / This is the break up song.” “The Break Up Song” brilliantly captures the vibe and feelings surrounding a bad break up and turns it into a fist-pumping anthem.
“Flavor of the Weak”"American Hi-Fi' (2001)
“Flavor of the Weak” was the first single released by American Hi-Fi. The track made an immediate impact and put the band on the map when it arrived in January 2001. It peaked at No. 15 on the U.S. Pop Songs chart, No. 5 on the Modern Rock Tracks and No. 41 on the Billboard Hot 100. The brilliant video for the song was directed by Chris Applebaum and is a take on the classic 1986 documentary, Heavy Metal Parking Lot.
"Acetate"'Fight the Frequency' (2010)
“Acetate” takes us back to high school chemistry class. The song relates the negative ions typically found in water solutions and salt, which is used to create chemical reactions, to a doomed relationship. Jones’ hook in the song is memorable: “I remember how you radiate / Chemicals react on acetate / The camera never lies and stole my fate / Now I can’t find my way.” The catchy song shows off their power pop side and is featured on the band’s 2010 album Fight the Frequency and is a mainstay in their live show.
"Scar"'American Hi-Fi' (2001)
“Scar” is the hard-hitting track off the band’s self-titled debut. It shows of their heavy metal side with huge distorted guitar work and a powerful pre-chorus with an aggressive fist-pumping section that gets stuck in your head with the line: “You'll break me if you can / You'll break me if you can.” The track then launches into the memorable Stacy Jones’ penned chorus: “Drag me down again / It's hard to be your scar / A frozen satellite / You never got that far / It's hard to be your scar / And be cool like you.” “Scar” is a fan favorite and a staple of the band's live show.
“Lookout For Hope”'Fight The Frequency' (2010)
“Lookout For Hope” is a deep cut off of 2010’s Fight the Frequency. Casual fans may not be familiar with this song, but it has all the makings of a hit record and perhaps would have been if it had been released as a single with a proper push. The optimistic song paints a picture of a relationship on the brink and contains the lines: “Hearts get torn in two / When there’s nothing left to lose / Lookout for hope / Cause she’s coming into view.”
“Wall of Sound”'American Hi-Fi' (2001)
“Wall of Sound” is the final track on American Hi-Fi’s self-titled debut album. The 6/4 time signature gives the song an infectious swing and marks a departure for the band with its unique sound. The moody tune is the longest on this list at just under six minutes and reaches a boiling point of intensity toward the end with a stellar slide solo and some additional riffage from Jamie Arentzen on the outro as the track fades out and puts a cap on Hi-Fi’s first album.
“Where Love Is a Lie”'Fight The Frequency' (2010)
“Where Love Is a Lie” is the power ballad off 2010’s Fight the Frequency. The acoustic intro gives way to Jones’ heartfelt lyrics of regret, and the brilliantly mapped out song features some haunting lyrics: “And soon you'll see, you're never free / You'll always remember / Her high wire grace, her smiling face / and a kiss like December.” The dynamic song goes full circle after reaching a crescendo and ends with its opening lyric over the strumming acoustic guitar.
“Golden State” "Blood & Lemonade' (2014)
“Golden State” was the first single released off American Hi-Fi’s latest album Blood & Lemonade. The heavy rock track is one of the stand out songs on the effort with its luring chorus that boasts wonderfully stacked vocal harmonies on top of the heavy guitars and an insane amount energy supplied by the band. The video for the song features the band performing in a room adorned with an American flag and posters of Bob Marley, the Clash and Nirvana to name a few and cruising around Los Angeles in a vintage pick-up truck.
"A Bigger Mood"'American Hi-Fi' (2001)
"A Bigger Mood" is the third track on the band’s self-titled debut, which was recorded in Maui and produced by Bob Rock (Metallica, Aerosmith). It exemplifies everything about American Hi-Fi, from its heavy guitars to booming and catchy chorus to its head-banging bridge, “A Bigger Mood" an infectious song that will have you singing “Yeah, you’re always in my way” at the top of your lungs by the time it’s over.
"Armageddon Days"'Blood & Lemonade' (2014)
"Armageddon Days" really shows how far the band has come over the past 15 years. The complex track opens with a killer guitar riff before the wonderfully-heavy processed drums kick in. Jones comes in with the intriguing lyrics, ”Brace yourself before the wave / of blood and lemonade.” The song explodes when the full band kicks into high gear in the chorus and is the highlight of the new album, which is by far American Hi-Fi's best effort. It’s full of musical peaks and valleys and truly takes the listener on a high-octane thrill ride for 3 minutes and 41 seconds.