Pop Rock Favorites: Volume 9 Songbook

The Pop Rock Favorites: Volume 9 collection features twelve piano solo arrangements for intermediates and up by Jennifer Eklund. Includes favorites like, "Closing Time" (Semisonic), "High Hopes" (Panic! at the Disco), "The Difference" (The Wallflowers) and "Don't Look Back in Anger" (Oasis).

This post is part ten of the Pop Rock Favorites Songbook Series.
Pop Rock Favorites: Volume 9 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 9 Songbook

The following twelve songs are included in the Pop Rock Favorites: Volume 9 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. All the Small Things (Blink 182)
  2. Best Day of My Life (American Authors)
  3. Closer to Free (BoDeans)
  4. Closing Time (Semisonic)
  5. Every Morning (Sugar Ray)
  6. High Hopes (Panic! at the Disco)
  7. Kids (MGMT)
  8. Losing My Religion (R.E.M.)
  9. Name (Goo Goo Dolls)
  10. Over My Head (The Fray)
  11. The Difference (The Wallflowers)
  12. Don’t Look Back in Anger (Oasis)

🎹 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 9 songbook.

1. “Closing Time” by Semisonic (1998)

“Closing Time” is a song by the American rock band Semisonic. It was released as the lead single from their second studio album, “Feeling Strangely Fine,” on March 10, 1998, and gained mainstream radio airplay starting April 27, 1998. The song was written by Dan Wilson and produced by Nick Launay.

“Closing Time” achieved notable success, reaching number one on the US Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart and charting in several other countries, including Australia, Ireland, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom. It received a gold certification in the UK and was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Rock Song in 1999. The song experienced a resurgence in popularity in 2011 when it was featured in the movie “Friends with Benefits” and an episode of the TV sitcom “The Office,” charting in Australia and Ireland.

While “Closing Time” is often associated with people leaving a bar at closing time, drummer Jacob Slichter has indicated that the song was also written with themes of fatherhood and being born in mind. Wilson wrote the song as a way to end their concerts, moving away from their previous closing song, “If I Run.”

The music video for “Closing Time,” directed by Chris Applebaum, features two continuous shots side by side on the screen. One side shows the band playing in a rehearsal space, while the other side follows a woman as she tries to meet up with the singer, Dan Wilson. Despite their efforts, they keep missing each other by seconds, leading to a bittersweet conclusion. The video’s unique aspect is that each shot was done in one long, continuous take, with no cuts or editing, relying on precise timing to synchronize the two sides of the video.

🔎 Sheet music sneak peek:

2. “Losing My Religion” by R.E.M. (1991)

“Losing My Religion” is a significant song by American alternative rock band R.E.M., released in February 1991 as the lead single from their album “Out of Time.” It marked a departure from their previous sound, featuring a prominent mandolin riff. The song achieved widespread success, becoming R.E.M.’s highest-charting hit in the United States, reaching No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 100. It also received critical acclaim and won two Grammy Awards in 1992 for Best Short Form Music Video and Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal.

The song’s creation was inspired by guitarist Peter Buck, who was learning to play the mandolin at the time. It was recorded with mandolin, electric bass, and drums, with additional acoustic guitar by touring guitarist Peter Holsapple and orchestral strings added later. Michael Stipe’s vocals were recorded in a single take. Despite its title, the lyrics are not primarily about religion but rather deal with themes of unrequited love and frustration.

The song’s music video, directed by Tarsem Singh, features a blend of religious and dreamlike imagery and won several MTV Video Music Awards. “Losing My Religion” has received numerous accolades and is considered one of R.E.M.’s signature songs, even achieving one billion views on YouTube in 2022. It remains a significant and influential track in the history of alternative rock music.

🔎 Sheet music sneak peek:

3. “Name” by Goo Goo Dolls (1995)

“Name” is a song by the American rock band Goo Goo Dolls, released in September 1995 as the third single from their album “A Boy Named Goo.” This song marked a turning point for the band, becoming their first major hit. It achieved significant success, reaching the top position on both the US Modern Rock Tracks chart and the Album Rock Tracks chart. Additionally, it peaked at number five on the Billboard Hot 100 and reached number two on the RPM Top Singles chart in Canada.

Despite Goo Goo Dolls’ previous classification as an alternative rock group, “Name” had a broader appeal, crossing over to pop and adult contemporary radio, which significantly expanded their fan base. The band later re-recorded “Name” for their compilation album “Greatest Hits Volume One: The Singles,” featuring a version with minimal arrangements and production.

The song’s unique guitar tuning, D-A-E-A-E-E, was created by replacing the B string with a high E string. This distinctive tuning contributed to the song’s memorable sound. Additionally, the inspiration behind the song’s lyrics was revealed by Johnny Rzeznik, the singer and songwriter, as being about his complicated relationship with MTV VJ Kennedy, with whom he shared a moment that inspired the song. “Name” has remained one of Goo Goo Dolls’ most iconic songs and continues to be celebrated in music history, with its inclusion in various charts and rankings.

🔎 Sheet music sneak peek:

4. “Over My Head (Cable Car)” by The Fray (2005)

“Over My Head (Cable Car),” originally performed as “Cable Car,” is a song by the American rock band the Fray. Released in October 2005 as the lead single from their debut album “How to Save a Life,” the song quickly gained popularity and reached the top 10 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. This success helped elevate their album from the Top Heatseekers chart to the top 20 of The Billboard 200 chart. The song was also released as the second single from the album in the United Kingdom.

“Over My Head (Cable Car)” sold over two million digital downloads in the United States, earning it a 2× Platinum certification from the RIAA in May 2006. It was among the top five most-downloaded singles of 2006 and ranked 13th on Billboard’s Hot 100 singles of 2006. Additionally, the song received a Grammy Award nomination for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals in 2006.

The song’s meaning revolves around lead singer Isaac Slade’s relationship with his brother Caleb, nicknamed “Cable Car.” It reflects a period of estrangement and conflict between them. Isaac Slade wrote the song as a way to express his feelings about the strained relationship with his brother. Despite their differences, they ultimately reconciled and became close friends again.

The music video for the song, directed by Elliott Lester, features the band members as children playing various instruments. It was filmed at East High School and the Fox Theatre in Denver and Boulder. The video showcases their musical talent and earned recognition on VH1’s “Top 40 Videos of 2006.”

🔎 Sheet music sneak peek:

5. “Don’t Look Back in Anger” by Oasis (1996)

“Don’t Look Back in Anger” is a renowned song by the English rock band Oasis, composed by the band’s lead guitarist and primary songwriter, Noel Gallagher. Released on February 19, 1996, as the fifth single from their second studio album, “(What’s the Story) Morning Glory?” (1995), the song achieved significant success, becoming Oasis’s second single to reach the number one spot on the UK Singles Chart and earning a quintuple-platinum certification in the UK. This track marked Noel’s debut as the lead vocalist on an Oasis single.

The song has become one of Oasis’s signature tunes and was performed at nearly every live concert from its release until the band’s dissolution in 2009. It received numerous accolades, such as being ranked number one on NME’s list of “50 Most Explosive Choruses” and being voted the fourth-most-popular No. 1 single of the last 60 years in the UK by the public. Rolling Stone readers also voted it the second-greatest Britpop song after “Common People” by Pulp.

Noel Gallagher wrote “Don’t Look Back in Anger” inspired by a moment when he and his brother Liam, the band’s lead vocalist, were not on speaking terms. The song captures the sentiment of not dwelling on past regrets and looking forward instead. The character “Sally” mentioned in the song does not refer to anyone specific but was used as a fitting name for the lyrics.

Gallagher explained that the song’s inspiration came during an Oasis concert in Paris when he started strumming a guitar with the lyrics “So Sally can wait,” suggested by Liam. Noel recalls writing the song quickly after that moment. He also mentioned that the character “Lyla” from Oasis’s 2005 single is Sally’s sister. Some lines from the song are borrowed from John Lennon’s recordings, and the piano introduction bears a resemblance to Lennon’s “Imagine.”

🔎 Sheet music sneak peek:

6. “Kids” by MGMT (2008)

“Kids” is a song by the American rock band MGMT. It served as the third and final single from their debut studio album “Oracular Spectacular,” released on October 13, 2008. The version of the song that appears on the album is an updated version from earlier versions found on the band’s EPs “Time to Pretend” (2005) and “We (Don’t) Care” (2004).

The song gained recognition and was even nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals in 2009. It was also at the center of a legal dispute involving the former President of France, Nicolas Sarkozy, due to his unauthorized use of the song during a political party conference.

The music video for “Kids” had two notable versions. The first, a student-made video, featured lip-syncing students and clips from various YouTube videos. The second official video, directed by Ray Tintori, depicts a toddler encountering monsters that are invisible to his inattentive mother. The video incorporates animation and has been both praised and criticized for its treatment of the toddler.

“Kids” received positive reviews and achieved commercial success. It peaked at number 9 on the US Billboard Alternative Songs chart and garnered accolades from publications like NME and Rolling Stone. The song also made appearances in various films, TV shows, and video games, further contributing to its popularity and cultural impact.

🔎 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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