Join us as we dive in Enter Shikari’s deep back catalogue and find out their Top 25 Songs
I first became aware of Enter Shikari in December 2007. I had just finished setting up my Uncle’s new personal computer and he was eager to show me that ‘good new shit’. The ‘shit’ he was talking about came to me in the form of Enter Shikari and the songs Sorry, You’re Not a Winner and Mothership. I cannot recall my reaction but I just was not impressed, I can still remember the look of disgust on his face to this day. Not phased by this I went on to enjoy the rest of my December most likely opening presents that contained Simpsons DVD box sets and cringey WWE calendars.
Fast forward to June 2008 and I found myself at my second ever gig, a day festival called Projekt Revolution at The National Bowl, Milton Keynes. I was there to see Linkin Park headline (and see them play a few songs with Jay-Z too!). It was a packed out day which also had Pendulum, NERD, The Bravery, InnerPartySystem and, you guessed it, Enter Shikari. Recalling the songs my uncle had played me I went straight into the crowd proclaiming that they should play Mothership (they didn’t) and saying I would enjoy what would be my first mosh pit. 50 minutes later and I swear I had felt all of the emotions, whilst being terrified throughout (pretty sure there was a little bit of wee as some massive meathead ran towards me shouting SORRY YOU’RE NOT, but I digress). I went to the festival to see Linkin Park but the longer lasting emotions stuck with Enter Shikari.
Five months later it was Halloween and Enter Shikari happened to be playing in my hometown. Not scared enough the first time round, I went head first again into the pit braver than before except this time they played Mothership and I left the venue happy (and topless). Since then I have seen Enter Shikari a total of 14 times and they have become my most listened to band in my life. In the early days, their fusion of rock and trance was nothing like I had ever heard; these days, they are pigeon-holed into a genre and whilst their overall ‘feel’ may differ, the themes behind their songs always stick with me and I find positives in whatever records they release.
Here at Upside Down Shark we rank things, just take a look at our Simpsons Showdown podcast to see the lengths we will go to argue with one another about what we think is the best. Matt Dobbie made a series of ‘listicles’ which chronicled the Top 50 Frank Turner songs and I am here to tell you the Top 25 Enter Shikari songs (with 2 bonus remixes). And yes reader, here at UDS we hate the term ‘listicle’ as much as you do.
A few important notes; this is my personal top 25 songs, I didn’t consult anyone else on the UDS team if they wanted something like Adieu thrown in there, it’s all my opinion. My tastes will almost certainly be different to your tasteless ear drums so do not be disheartened if your favourite song does not get mentioned – it just means that we are different and well, you’re most likely wrong. Also important to note these are pure Enter Shikari songs, we all love Jonny & The Snipers’ cover songs and other songs they feature in but they don’t belong here.
Without further Adieu, here is the Top 25 Enter Shikari Songs (with 2 bonus songs) as listed by Craig Baughan:
25. Elegy For Extinction – Nothing Is True & Everything Is Possible
We’ve come a long way since Take To The Skies! E.F.E is an orchestral delight sounding more like something from Kingdom Hearts than an Enter Shikari track. Rou Reynolds makes a surprising orchestral arrangement for someone who started out in the music industry by inward screaming. The song proves Enter Shikari really could be any genre and they are not scared to deviate from what people would expect. A fine way to start off a top 25 list.
24. The Sights – The Spark
The Sights is the most poppy/electronic song that Enter Shikari have ever made, which isn’t to say it’s a bad song. It gives off high energy vibes which are enough to make anyone want to get up and dance… well, at least get up long enough before the breakdown.
Additionally the video itself harkens back to We Can Breathe In Space which is a nice little reference for hardcore Shikari fans.
23. Fanfare For The Conscious Man – Common Dreads
If the first album and its subtle hints of social commentary flew over your head then Fanfare For The Conscious Man closed out the second album, Common Dreads, with no doubt how Enter Shikari felt about the world.
Fanfare closes the loop of the overall theme of solidarity with the words ‘We’ll be together against this! We’ll be forever against this!’ strengthening the fact we should all come together to help prevent injustices of the world. Arms trafficking, war business and religious fights should not be commonplace; all of this backed by the sound of Enter Shikari with trumpets.
22. All Eyes on The Saint – Tribalism
All Eyes on The Saint is one of those hidden gems that every band has. It appeared as a B-Side (remember them?) on the Juggernauts single and lyrically, differs quite a bit from their other songs. Choosing to focus upon their hometown St. Albans and the history there within, we hear St. Alban (the person) and his execution taking place in 209AD for his beliefs in Christianity, thus becoming a martyr.
The song itself has many peaks and valleys sort of like a ‘Shikari Mashup’. Having the trademark inward screams throughout but not afraid to slow it down after the aforementioned execution with some soothing singing before rising back up to a techno breakdown. Simply glorious.
21. Constellations – A Flash Flood of Colour
Constellations is the last track on A Flash Flood of Colour and acts as closure not just for the album but also the themes within. Simply put, it’s about the current generation making the right choices which help spread the message of love & peace instead of the usual hate that it appears we have all grown accustomed too.
A Flash Flood of Colour is a rollercoaster of an album with many ups and downs emotionally and musically. Constellations is the full stop to end the chaos and show that we should all get along. What sets this apart from the usual Shikari songs is that you can feel a different emotion erupting in the vocal, which really catches your attention when you are so used to an aggressively emotional performance.
20. Radiate – Radiate
Shikari never fear from letting their views loose on the world, one of these issues comes in the form of the government and how they are running the world and Radiate is a prime example of this. The theme here is about stagnant government and financial institutions suppressing artistic expression as a means to control everyone. Sounds like a heavy topic on the outset but it doesn’t stop the song from feeling genuine, with their message being that everyone should be able to express themselves artistically as it’s the one thing we are able to do from an early age, it’s a freedom we are born with.
Throughout the song there are heavy guitar riffs, heavy drums and lyrics being shouted at the listener, the only time the listener gets any type of reprieve is during the bridge/chorus to bring emphasis on the message:
‘So to keep us from falling apart
We’ll write songs in the dark
And to stop us from fading away
We’ll write for a better day’
19. Torn Apart – The Mindsweep
When compared to other Enter Shikari songs Torn Apart seems like a mild affair, something that you would easily find on the radio. What makes the song the 19th best Enter Shikari song overall is how everything comes together within. Opening with an extended verse before we are treated to the chorus and it covers a lot. The overall message of Torn Apart is racism is not just wrong, but if we look into it, well, it just does not make sense. If we were to study ourselves as a people we would find more in common with people from another continent than people on our land mass. The breakdown to the bridge highlights this fact as if he is screaming out to no one, but by the songs close he is joined by like minded people, still not sure how they are going to get out of this mess but at the very least they are united for the cause.
Additionally this is the first time Enter Shikari used falsetto properly in a song. They should be given credit for this.
18. Redshift – Redshift
Redshift was a shift of sorts for Enter Shikari (no pun intended). Released in between albums The Mindsweep and The Spark, it saw Shikari in a much more radio friendly tone. What was once a band firmly placed in Post-Hardcore (to this day I do not know a clear definition of this) were now releasing a song that could be classified as Pop/Rock.
Creating music and not caring what they’d get labelled as,which is still something they do to this day. This is not a bad song, it gave people a glimpse of what The Spark would be, and for better and for worse showed a different direction for the band.
17. Marionettes Part 1 & 2 – Nothing Is True & Everything Is Possible
Marionettes (I. The Discovery of Strings) and Marionettes (II. The Ascent) is better when played together than apart (most likely by design). When placed together we hear the story of puppets that are neglected by their master, discovering their strings and deciding to climb up them.
So much gets covered within these two songs that it’s quite easy to get overwhelmed with all the concepts, but that’s why it works so well. Sounding like a soundtrack from a noir piece, our journey takes us through breakbeats, synth effects, falsetto vocals and that’s all in Part I! When you relisten to this song there will be something new for you to take away from it, even if the destination ends up being the same. Just like a well made noir film.
16. Arguing with Thermometers – A Flash Flood of Colour
Hey I love the environment, who doesn’t? Apparently a lot of people (mostly people who deal in capitalism) deny climate change still to this day. Arguing with Thermometers is about oil companies putting the short term profit of their companies over the long term health of the planet.
The song itself is a heavy one to say the least; here we have Rou’s inward shouting over some heavy synths, guitars and drums. This is best played loud, no arguing with that.
15. The Jester – Common Dreads
Sometimes in life you have that one moment you wait for. You build yourself up and up and up, just waiting for that release knowing that it will please you after waiting for so long. The Jester is like this in many ways, the song itself lyrically recalls the wait before feasting upon that perfect meal whilst the song builds and builds as if you are anxiously waiting for that inevitable drop. Sometimes in life it is ok to wait for things because they might just be worth it.
14. We Can Breathe in Space – We Can Breathe in Space
The best Enter Shikari song made in a shed. Buzz Lightyear should be jealous.
13. Thumper – Thumper
Thumper is similar to All Eyes on The Saint in the regard that it did not have a ‘main release’. Part of the Tribalism compilation album, Thumper has a great techno backing track, a great pace and a drop in the second verse that is one of the best found in any Enter Shikari song.
Despite it not being a “true” release they still made a music video for it and the animation adds an extra layer of sinister-ness that cannot be found in any other songs.
12. The Last Garrison – The Mindseep
The Last Garrison is a song that tells us about the ups and downs of life. The song is superbly paced to help accomplish this, the verses being somewhat of an onslaught with ‘Can you hear the war-cry?’ shouted to the listener and then by the chorus a more subdued voice lamenting ‘I wanna lie here and soak up the sun’.
It’s a song that expertly shows how it is not just lyrics that are used to convey the themes of a song.
11. Mothership – Take to the Skies
The first ever Enter Shikari single really encapsulates what they are about. Here we witness all the genres they have to offer: Punk, Rock, Metal but also Rave, Trance, House and Drum ’n’ Bass too! At some points you want to rave, at some points you want to mosh, what other songs about aliens wanting to know about climate change can you do that to?
10. satellites* * – Nothing Is True & Everything Is Possible
Here we are at the top ten mark of an already impossible list and you may be surprised to see something from the new album all the way up here. satellites* * is similar to The Sights in terms of its high energy poppy aesthetic, once it gets going you’ll get it stuck in your head (the nanananana section is particularly infectious).
Delving deeper the song shows empathy toward its fellow man, tackling the subject of mental health within the LGBTQ+ community and how the simple act of just holding one’s hand can be a daunting task due to societal judgement. I am always one for showing empathy and trying to make people think a bit beyond their scope with hope that it leads to positive change…
Maybe some other time then…
9. Slipshod – Slipshod
Slipshod is a brutal loud assault on the senses. If you have ever had bad service at a restaurant and didn’t know how to get your feelings across about the whole ordeal then Enter Shikari have you covered. For those unaware, the word slipshod means ‘characterized by a lack of care, thought, or organization’ and the heavy screams, deep drums and in-your-face profanity perfectly captures that time you sat down thinking you were about to have a nice meal but ultimately thought you should have stayed at home.
8. Gandhi Mate, Gandhi – A Flash Flood of Colour
Some songs are better live. They just are, there is no getting around it. Gandhi Mate, Gandhi is one of those songs. The song talks about the frustration of our current infrastructure of the world and how perhaps judging a country on how much money is made is possibly not the healthiest way to see how we all are doing as a society. Vocally Rou gets angrier and angrier until it boils over, almost like an argument is happening within the song. The intensity is real and when performed live goes up to another level. Mix it in with a bit of Robbie Williams and it is just a complete work of art. Yes, you read that right.
7. Juggernauts – Common Dreads
After their first album was released, many people were confused by the release of Juggernauts. Was it a new song by The Streets? No, it was another example of Enter Shikari not abiding by genre. It is not the heaviest track, yet not the most pop strong song either.
Juggernauts was an expedition into new territory for the band. They were no longer being subtle about their beliefs and found success in the future by being upfront about their beliefs – and it started with the release of Juggernauts.
6. Jonny Sniper – Take to the Skies
Severely panned by NME who described the song as the ‘worst single ever made by anybody ever’, ‘a bizarre, entirely unlistenable stew’ and simply ‘shite’. Jonny Sniper has a special place in my heart even if NME disagrees (who likes them anyway?). Take To The Skies is extremely aggressive for the majority of the album, then when we get into the final third it changes with Jonny Sniper & Adieu. These two songs show the band are not just your typical screamy shouty techno band and are able to convey their lyrics in a more modern sense as well.
Jonny Sniper is an extremely catchy song lyrically and instrumentally. Featuring a guitar riff that never lets up throughout the whole song and a chorus repeating ‘This is all I need to feel alive’, it’s like it was created primarily to get stuck in your head and nothing else.
5. Destabilise – Destabilise
After leaving a major record label, Destabilise was released in a sort of spur of the moment manner to celebrate their new found freedom. The song has sufficient ebbs and flows like a river, and just when you think it is safe to let your guard down it smashes you in the face with more bass and synths that you just are not ready for.
Most importantly it asks Rory C for his thesis. Which he promptly gives.
4. Step Up – Common Dreads
The wait between Take To The Skies and Common Dreads felt like a long one. A common criticism between some bands is that they don’t change or in some cases they change too much. Evolution is important not just in a musical sense but also on a personal level too. As mentioned earlier Common Dreads is Enter Shikari not being subtle anymore, this song is literally called Step Up so that the people of the world step up to the real problems of the world.
Any doubt that Enter Shikari were going to suddenly change too much into a Jazz band are swiftly put to rest with quick and heavy guitar and drum combination accompanied by Rou venting his frustration in a loud shouting manner, as he is wont to do.
3. Sorry You’re Not a Winner – Take to the Skies
A song as old as time (well 2003). Sorry You’re Not a Winner is one of the oldest Enter Shikari songs, so old they tried to retire it because they had played it so much. The song tells the story of someone who has lost everything they had, most likely due to gambling debts. The song’s structure is repetitive in nature with the verses all being the same, to show the protagonist caught in the same loop and thinking about the better days of the past, and how he is unable to change his current course.
This song is the most catchy Enter Shikari song to date. Memorable guitar riff, the inward shouting from the early days of Shikari and the iconic clap that is just a treat to be a part of when watching live. Sorry You’re Not a Winner is the most quintessential Enter Shikari song in the band’s history and for good reason too!
2. Keep It on Ice – The Zone
Sometimes in life you just need a bit of relaxation and chill vibes. Keep It on Ice is just the song for that. The lyrics here do not make much sense (‘Your fucking noodley tangle’) but it doesn’t matter. The song is about the rich not hearing the pleas of the poor, but the words are there to sing along with and not to analyse. The beat is built out of simplicity with an underlying techno beat and once again proves that Enter Shikari are not stuck to any genre.
BONUS “One True Colour” (Keeno Remix) – The Mindsweep: Hospitalised
One True Colour‘s message is the absurdity of religion and its exclusive, intolerant nature. When it’s not a rock song based on religious dispute, it is a rave worthy dance number when produced by Keeno. It would not be out of place at a rave, it has synths, basslines to test the speakers and perfect drops to make you want to get up and jump around.
BONUS “Interlude” (The Erised Remix) – The Mindsweep: Hospitalised
What makes this song so good is that it is not an Enter Shikari song in the slightest. Being a big fan of almost all the interludes found across the Enter Shikari albums, it’s hard to know what can be added but what The Erised (a good band themselves) have done is taken a barebones interlude, added a haunting atmosphere and even added their own lyrics to create something so sinister and different from an Enter Shikari song it deserves a mention.
1. Antwerpen – Common Dreads
The year was 2009 and people who loved Enter Shikari were chomping at the bit for the follow up to their debut album Take to the Skies, Common Dreads just could not come soon enough. The album itself was due to release in June and to tide people over and wet their appetite, they released Antwerpen.
The song is about Antwerp, a large town in Flanders, Belgium and how a giant used to charge people a toll to cross the river. If you couldn’t afford it he’d chop your hand off and throw it in the river. Eventually a Roman soldier was able to defeat the giant and chopped off the hand of the giant and threw it in the river. Think of it as a metaphor for positive aggression, taking down the giants.
Soon as the song starts, Rou is screaming as if to tell us the urgency of this tale, as if to say if we do not listen, we are doomed to repeat and fall to the giant. The first breakdown of the creepy chimes is something that induces anxiety until we are built back up by Rou laughing maniacally, meaning that we can overcome this, you have nothing to worry about if we work together. The end asks the listener will you revolt and break the mould and be like Silvius Brabo and not be treated like a slave or just let your hands be cut off?
This song defines Enter Shikari, the message of the song, the screams, the techno breakdown and the guitarmanship which is on point throughout, ultimately ending in one hell of a solo.
Antwerpen is the best Enter Shikari song.