Ranked: Cold War Kids Tracks

We tried not to be bias in ranking Cold War Kids (CWK) songs. We've always loved "Robbers and Cowards," and the first four tracks on this list are from that album. They were also hallmarks of a mixed CD we made in Fall of 2006, and we'll always associate the season with their sound. As we compiled our ranking 12 years later, we realized the classics are still our favorites...but Cold War Kids has released some great contenders ever since.

1. We Used to Vacation

This syncopated desert jam makes you want to be a better man.

2. Hospital Beds

”There’s nothing to do here.” Except be in awe.

3. Hang Me Up to Dry

This grungy guitar riff perfectly bridged “We Used to Vacation” and “Tell Me in the Morning” on Robbers & Cowards. It falls between the two in our list, but it really could have landed anywhere in the top four.

4. Tell Me in the Morning
This one rounds out the four CWK classics in our book. The tempo changes keep us holding on for more: “Slow it down / Lay it low,” erupting into an accelerated shrill. Brilliant.

5. Goodnight Tennessee

We first heard this on their “Live at Third Man Records” release. They recorded it straight to acetate in Nashville and appropriately closed the show with this exploding ballad. It was the gem of the album.

7. Drive Desperate

CWK has always been one of our favorite roadtrip bands, and this song is perhaps the most literal to play in that setting. As the open road unfolds in front of you, we dare you to refrain from belting out this catchy chorus: “Follow me, will you? / Follow me, will you? / Follow me down until / I will admire / Oh, I need someone who will.”

9. Passing The Hat

This baltic Sea shanty is a refreshing deviation, while still maintaining the characteristic CWK sound. And, it sounds like they’ve been hanging out with the Decemberists (think “Mariner’s Revenge Song”).

6. Royal Blue

”Royal Blue” is an overture for the underdog, an anthem for the everyman. The rhythmic bongos lead in to the track like a boxer’s warm-up punches, before dethroning the reigning champ.

8. Relief

As the only track from “Loyalty to Loyalty” to make our list, this is a solid addition. Garage band fuzz kicks it off and then gives way to something much sweeter. “You made it out alive, oh, what a relief.”

10. First
Resounding on Coors commercials and TV shows like Quantico and Suits, this song provided a pop culture segue. Don’t let the mainstream success overshadow the profound lyricism: “Flying like a cannonball, falling to the earth / Heavy as a feather when you hit the dirt / How am I the lucky one? / I do not deserve / To wait around forever when you were there first.”