Pop Rock Favorites: Volume 6 Songbook

The Pop Rock Favorites: Volume 6 collection features twelve piano solo arrangements for intermediates and up by Jennifer Eklund. Includes favorites like, "Chasing Cars" (Snow Patrol), "Drops of Jupiter" (Train), "The Middle" (Jimmy Eat World) and "Wonder" (Natalie Merchant).

This post is part seven of the Pop Rock Favorites Songbook Series.
Pop Rock Favorites: Volume 6 Songbook

🎸 About the Pop Rock Favorites songbook series:

Pop rock is a genre of music that emerged in the late-20th century, combining elements of both pop and rock music styles. It is characterized by catchy melodies, straightforward song structures, and a focus on hooks that are easily accessible to a broad audience. Pop rock songs typically feature a strong emphasis on vocals and harmonies, often accompanied by electric guitars, drums, and other traditional rock instruments. This genre is known for its radio-friendly sound, making it a staple of mainstream music charts and appealing to a wide range of listeners.

These song selections are drawn primarily from the 1990s and 2000s and feature tracks played often on the PopRocks channel on SiriusXM (channel 12) and the arrangements are appropriate for intermediates and up.

🎶 Pop Rock Favorites: Volume 6 Songbook

The following twelve songs are included in the Pop Rock Favorites: Volume 6 songbook.

These are all available as separate singles, but you get the most value by purchasing the whole collection. All of these arrangements are appropriate for intermediates and up.

  1. Back 2 Good (Matchbox 20)
  2. Barely Breathing (Duncan Sheik)
  3. Chasing Cars (Snow Patrol)
  4. Counting Blue Cars (Dishwalla)
  5. Drops of Jupiter (Train)
  6. Free Fallin’ (Tom Petty)
  7. Hanging by a Moment (Lifehouse)
  8. Head Over Feet (Alanis Morissette)
  9. Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm (Crash Test Dummies)
  10. The Freshmen (The Verve Pipe)
  11. The Middle (Jimmy Eat World)
  12. Wonder (Natalie Merchant)

🎹 Watch a performance of the entire volume:

Let’s dive deeper with some more details about a few of my personal favorites from Pop Rock Favorites: Volume 6 songbook.

1. “Back 2 Good” by Matchbox 20 (1998)

“Back 2 Good” is a song by American rock band Matchbox Twenty, released as the fifth single from their 1996 debut album, “Yourself or Someone Like You,” in September 1998.

The song, written by lead singer Rob Thomas and producer Matt Serletic, explores the theme of a troubled romantic relationship that seems to be at its breaking point. It reflects on the idea of repeatedly making mistakes and growing accustomed to them. Rob Thomas has described the song as addressing the concept of “screwing up so often that you become used to it.” He also considers “Back 2 Good” to be one of the standout tracks on the album.

The music video for “Back 2 Good” features the band walking through a street carnival while Rob Thomas sings the lyrics. The song became one of Matchbox Twenty’s biggest hits on the US Billboard Hot 100, peaking at number 24 in 1999. This success was partly due to changes in chart rules that allowed songs to chart based on airplay alone, unlike their previous hits “Push” and “3AM,” which didn’t receive commercial releases in the US. In Canada, the song reached number 11 on the RPM Top Singles chart, marking their fourth top-20 hit.

🔎 Sheet music sneak peek:

2. “Barely Breathing” by Duncan Sheik (1996)

“Barely Breathing” is a song by American singer-songwriter Duncan Sheik from his self-titled debut studio album released in 1996. The song was released as the lead single on May 3, 1996, by Atlantic Records, and it received notable recognition and chart success in North America in early 1997.

Critics praised the song’s catchy and memorable hook along with its intelligent lyrics. The song peaked at number 16 on the US Billboard Hot 100, spending 55 weeks on the chart. At the time, it was the fourth-longest-running single on the Hot 100. “Barely Breathing” also reached number one on the Billboard Adult Alternative Songs chart and number two on the Billboard Adult Top 40 chart. In Canada, it reached number 12 on the RPM 100 Hit Tracks chart and number 20 on the RPM Adult Contemporary Tracks chart. The song even found success in Iceland, peaking at number 40 on the Íslenski Listinn Topp 40.

The song’s popularity earned Duncan Sheik several accolades, including a Grammy nomination for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance and a BMI Award for Most Played Song of the Year in 1997. Additionally, it was ranked number 88 on VH1’s “100 Greatest Songs of the ’90s” and number eight on their “40 Greatest One-Hit Wonders of the 90s” list.

The music video for “Barely Breathing” was directed by Tom Oliphant and filmed in Brooklyn, New York, specifically at the Brooklyn Navy Yard.

🔎 Sheet music sneak peek:

3. “Counting Blue Cars” by Dishwalla (1996)

“Counting Blue Cars (Tell Me Your Thoughts on God)” is a song by the American alternative rock band Dishwalla, featured on their 1995 album “Pet Your Friends.” The song became their biggest hit, peaking at number 15 on the Billboard Hot 100 and topping the Modern Rock Tracks chart in 1996. It also received two ASCAP awards in 1997 and 1998 for being the most played song of the year on U.S. radio.

The song, written by Dishwalla’s lead singer J. R. Richards, tells the story of a young boy’s spiritual journey. Richards was inspired by a conversation with his 10-year-old neighbor, which allowed him to view the concept of God from a more innocent and unbiased perspective. The lyrics explore the idea that God could be envisioned as either male or female and reflect on the honesty and openness of a child’s perspective.

“Counting Blue Cars” achieved significant radio airplay, reaching number four on pop airplay and number five on Hot AC airplay in 1996. It spent one week at number one on the Modern Rock Tracks chart and peaked at number two on the Mainstream Rock Tracks chart. The song’s longevity was evident as it remained on the Billboard Hot 100 chart for nearly a year, totaling 48 weeks. In March 2022, it received a gold certification from the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for digital sales and streams of over 500,000 units.

🔎 Sheet music sneak peek:

4. “Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm” by Crash Test Dummies (1993)

“Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm” is a song by the Canadian rock band Crash Test Dummies, released as the lead single from their 1993 album “God Shuffled His Feet.” The song received positive critical reviews upon its release but has received more negative feedback in retrospective assessments. It achieved significant chart success, reaching number four on the US Billboard Hot 100 and topping charts in various countries, including Australia, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden.

The song’s content consists of three verses, each describing the isolation and suffering of different children, two of whom have physical abnormalities. The first verse tells the story of a boy injured in a car accident whose hair turns white after returning to school. The second verse features a girl with birthmarks who is uncomfortable changing clothes around other girls. In the third verse, a boy’s parents require him to come home directly after school, and during church services, they “shake and lurch” across the floor. The song is inspired by childhood experiences of the band’s lead singer, Brad Roberts.

While “Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm” was highly praised upon release and received a Grammy nomination for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal, it has also been frequently included on lists of bad songs in retrospective assessments. Rolling Stone named it the “15th Most Annoying Song,” and Blender ranked it as one of the “50 Worst Songs Ever.”

The music video for the song features schoolchildren performing one-act plays based on the song’s lyrics, intercut with scenes of the band performing. The video has gained millions of views on YouTube since its upload in 2018.

🔎 Sheet music sneak peek:

5. “The Freshmen” by The Verve Pipe (1997)

“The Freshmen” is a song by the American alternative rock band the Verve Pipe, released in January 1997 as the third single from their album “Villains.” It became the band’s breakout hit, reaching number five on the US Billboard Hot 100, number six in Canada, and number 28 in Australia.

The song’s lyrics are inspired by a personal experience of the lead singer and songwriter, Brian Vander Ark. While he had a real-life encounter with a girlfriend who had an abortion, he admits that the song is mostly a work of fiction, with poetic license applied to create a more dramatic narrative. The song delves into themes of guilt, ambivalence, and the consequences of choices made in a relationship.

“The Freshmen” exists in multiple versions, with the acoustic version initially appearing on their 1992 album “I’ve Suffered a Head Injury.” The song was re-recorded for their 1996 album “Villains.” Additionally, a modified single version was released to radio, altering the way certain lyrics were sung compared to the album version.

🔎 Sheet music sneak peek:

6. “Wonder” by Natalie Merchant (1995)

“Wonder” is a song by American singer-songwriter Natalie Merchant. “Wonder” was released as the second single from Natalie Merchant’s solo album “Tigerlily,” which marked her departure from the band 10,000 Maniacs. The album was released in 1995, and “Wonder” followed as a single later that year.

The song’s lyrics reflect on the passage of time and the wonder of life itself. It explores themes of childhood innocence, the complexities of growing up, and the marvels of the world. The lyrics also touch upon the idea of nostalgia and the longing for the simplicity and awe of youth.

“Wonder” received significant radio airplay and became one of Natalie Merchant’s signature songs. It achieved commercial success, reaching the top 20 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in the United States. The song’s music video features Natalie Merchant in various settings, including a carnival and a theater stage. The video complements the song’s themes of wonder and nostalgia.

🔎 Sheet music sneak peek:

🤔 Looking for more Pop Rock sheet music? We’ve got you covered!

👋 Do you have a favorite Pop Rock tune from this volume? I’d love to hear about it!

Jennifer Eklund
Written by Jennifer Eklund
Jennifer Eklund holds a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in music from California State University, Long Beach. She is an avid arranger, composer, and author of the Piano Pronto® method books series as well as a wide variety of supplemental songbooks. She is also a Signature Artist with Musicnotes.com with a large catalog of popular music titles for musicians of all levels.


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