Two Door Cinema Club, often abbreviated to just TDCC, is an indie rock band hailing from Northern Ireland who have been around for over a decade now. Indie rock as a genre is so versatile and it’s easy to get lost in all that noise, however, Two Door Cinema Club has become one of the most easily recognized bands due to their perfectly crafted bright guitar riffs, lead singer Alex Trimble’s rather soft vocals and well done production techniques. Their break through single, “What You Know”, was the first song that I ever heard from them (along with most others) and I was just stunned at how unique it was; I listened to it nonstop for months. That song helped gain the band some traction at the beginning of their career for which they have since been recognized for various awards and other accolades. At the time this article is being written, the band has so far released three studio albums (with one on the way), a few EP’s and over fifteen singles. As a band that I listen to quite frequently and enjoy very much, I originally wanted to just do an album review on one of their studio albums. However, that was easier said than done and I had a hard time choosing between which of their three albums I wanted to discuss. So, instead, I have chosen to rank all fifteen singles from their studio albums Tourist History, Beacon and Gameshow, along with the one single released from the Changing Of The Seasons EP. (And, as to not skew the rankings, since they have a new record on the way and will be possibly releasing singles from it in the near future, I have opted out of discussing any songs from the new record just yet).
- “Something Good Can Work”
With all due respect, I have to admit that this song is not one of my favorites. It was released as the bands first ever single and it honestly just sounds like a generic indie pop song. It’s very bright and peppy, in terms of instrumental and lyrics that repeated how “something good can work and it can work for you”. Although I prefer to skip it when it comes on, “Something Good Can Work” is a well arranged track albeit the lack of originality.
- “Sleep Alone”
Looking into the lyrics and inspiration behind this song makes me understand it a little better, however this one undeniably could have been better executed. The lyrical imagery about dreaming is well written, however slightly difficult to decipher and it’s hard to get a grasp on what’s actually going on at times. The instrumentation also does nothing for the song, as it’s quite similar to “Something Good Can Work” and doesn’t contain much to make it remarkable. Unfortunately, it’s rather easy for this one to get lost among the rest of TDCC’s discography.
- “Bad Decisions”
One word I can use to describe this one is “overinflated”. Although I don’t necessarily dislike this song, it’s hard to deny that it’s a rather awkward fusion of disco and indie rock, layered into lyrics and vocals that are difficult to understand. There’s so much going on here it’s almost impossible to get a grasp on one single idea. Based on the album Gameshow as whole, this is definitely one of the weaker tracks on there.
- “Changing of the Seasons”
The one thing I really enjoy about this one is the theme of moving on and not dwelling on past relationships, comparing this feeling to the changing of the seasons (which, I’m lucky to live in a place where I get all four so I can relate). But as much as the production is on on point, and the arrangement is wonderful, this one unfortunately doesn’t have anything else going for it. I really wanted to rank it higher but if we’re being real here, TDCC has much better singles to get to. However, this one is still a bop and is definitely one that I can jam out to whenever.
- “Next Year”
This song has a really cool vibe to it, which stems from the unique instrumental. The intro tune heard in the first twenty seconds of the song is something the band doesn’t do quite often and I really enjoy how the instrumentation builds up and breaks down throughout the entire thing, keeping it interesting and keeping the listener in anticipation. There are points where it even drops out completely and even those moments feel natural. This one contains some of my favorite guitar tunes from TDCC although lyrically it’s a tad repetitive which is its only downfall.
Here we have another fusion of disco and indie rock however this time it’s a lot better executed. This one starts off a little dreamy and moves into an even drum beat, keeping it all balanced, while also incorporating various, but distinct, synth and guitar instrumentation. The melodies on this track are also superb, and happen to be some of my favorites from the band ever. As a whole, this one gets the job done and doesn’t linger when it’s over, providing the listener with a perfect indie pop confection.
The way this guitar riff effortless rips through the song yet only stays long enough to catch the listener’s attention is something that makes “Sun” such a good song. All of the pieces fit perfectly where they need to; it’s overall just a light hearted sounding track. The lyrical imagery is perfect, demonstrating the narrator trying to keeping up a long distance relationship and worrying that she’ll forget about before they reunite. Everything about this song is just exquisite, from the overall feel of it all to the lyrics that are poetic enough to be interesting but not difficult to read through.
- “Come Back Home”
The fact that I ranked this one so high might come as a shock when I say that this really isn’t one of my favorite singles from the band, however, I can’t deny that it is an overall well produced track. It’s very effortless sounding and so smooth, with that slick guitar riff placed at the end of each chorus and all the rest of the sounds layered perfectly within each other. This one never verges on the brink of feeling overinflated and I really enjoy how the lyrics are written ambiguously enough to apply to many different scenarios. “Come Back Home” is a great representation of the band when they first began and their first record. This one still stands as one of their most relatable and delightful songs to this day.
Some of the best instrumentals and some of the best melodies to come from the band, this song is packaged in an even drum beat, guitar hooks and a touch a synthesizer. It’s shiny but not too bright with lyrics that are open to interpretation, and I really like how it doesn’t drag on too long, ending just where it needs to. This one serves as a perfect transitory track on their second album Beacon, and demonstrates where the band has been and where they are willing to go. Overall, “Handshake” isn’t the most experimental or standout song from the band, however it does demonstrate their enormous talent and ability to make wonderful indie pop/ rock songs.
- “Undercover Martyn”
Balance is essential for everything and is especially what makes this song work so well. This one has a lot of parts, from the calmer verses, paired with the ridiculously up-tempo choruses to the unexpected heavier guitar solo during the bridge, this one is a mix of everything in all the right portions. The way the song moves together without feeling the disconnect between all the distinct parts is extremely remarkable in terms of production. Lyrically this happens to be one of my favorites because it’s enjoyable to try to decipher certain parts, and yet there are some pieces that are pretty straightforward, refraining from making the lyricism overly complicated.
- “Are We Ready? (Wreck)”
“Na na na” sing along moments, a defined bass line, and simple guitar tunes on this track really defer the listener’s attention from the panic inducing lyrics. This one takes in introspective look on life as we know it, from tabloids and the media to consumerism and how technology has made us antisocial. I think the reason I enjoy this track so much is that it’s written in way that’s understandable yet poetic, but also very calm in terms of instrumentation. It’s ironic and eye opening, and one of the most compelling songs the band has put out so far.
- “What You Know”
Containing one the most iconic guitar riffs in indie rock history, “What You Know” was the bands breakout single and it’s really no wonder why this one became so successful. I had never really heard a song like it at the time, with such fun guitar pieces and on overall cool vibe. It’s the epitome of the genre but doesn’t feel formulated and is a wonderful representation of the bands debut, Tourist History. Lyrically, this one can be interpreted in a couple of different ways and is melodically one of my favorite tracks ever. Even years after I initially binge listened to this track, I can always to back it without feeling like any time has passed, proving it hasn’t aged a bit.
Following the theme of rejecting certain aspects of modern life, this title track from their third studio release, Gameshow, the narrator of the song demonstrates that he’s kind of a joke to society. A game show is something we watch for entertainment and, at times, just to laugh at these people who participate on them. Lyrically this one is very thought provoking and showcases the narrators struggle with fitting in and also not caring. With lines like “fried over easy” (referring to how nobody ever orders an egg that way) and “You must do everything you could/ In pursuit of looking good”, we’re shown how he essentially may feel like a clown while trying to fit into a society that he knows he doesn’t. This one feels very mature and ahead of it’s time, along with being very well written, it proves to be a standout track among the rest.
- “I Can Talk”
Listening to this song feels like a high speed car chase (I can only assume though considering I’ve never been in a high speed car chase). Nonetheless, the speedy sounding guitar on this one is unlike any other and the lyrics are very demanding, leaving the listener in an exhilarating, high tempo limbo for the entire three minutes. The production is perfectly even to keep the track from becoming disorienting and it ends before you even know it, leaving a strange haze afterwards that’ll make you want to hit repeat.
One of my absolute favorite tracks from TDCC’s entire discography, “Lavender” is dreamy in terms of lyrics, a little 90’s sounding in terms of instrumentation and an interesting addition to the bands singles collection because of how unexpected it sounds. It moves just a little bit into psychedelic territory while staying true to the bands indie rock roots, minus the fast, high pitched guitar riffs. It’s a perfect balance between energetic and chill, and really adds to the bands ability to draw from different inspirations.