The Best of Mikel: The Singer

Posted: October 7, 2013 in 5's
Tags: , , , , , ,
Mikel Jollett of The Airborne Toxic Event. Photo by TATE fan Ryan Macchione.

Mikel Jollett of The Airborne Toxic Event.
Photo by TATE fan Ryan Macchione.

By Mike

Ed. Note: This is the first in a six week series in which fans of The Airborne Toxic Event select their Top 5 musical moments of their favorite band member. Mikel gets two entries – one for vocal performances, and one for lyrics. Next week: Daren Taylor, The Ultimate Beat Keeper.

When I accepted the task of composing a Top 5 list of Mikel Jollett’s best vocal performances, I had a few ideas in my head. My first step was to go to YouTube and start listening to all the Airborne Toxic Event videos I had watched thousands of times before. Only this time, I did something different: I shut my mouth, quit singing along like I always did, and really listened. Obviously, I was focusing on the vocals, but I really listened. My opinions of the top five started changing. What I ended up doing was compiling a list of nine songs, then I went back to YouTube and carefully pared them down. And now I present to you, the Top 5.

5. The Kids Are Ready to Die

This is my favorite recording of the punk version of this song. They really rock out on it. I considered making the long journey to this show, but in the end I didn’t. I probably should have. Mikel’s energy is evident from the beginning of the intro, and it climaxes when he belts out, “The kids are lined up on the wall and they’re ready to die!”

4. The Storm

The beauty in this one is how Mikel’s vocals perfectly complement the slow build of the music. It starts out slowly and crescendos into a frenzied storm. It’s hard for me to pick just one point. I get chills every time he sings, “Then you walk right through the doorway, you tell me you’re here to stay.” And when they play it live, I totally get off on belting out, “And you knew it all along, I wasn’t happy all alone.” It’s easily my favorite song on Such Hot Blood.

3. Half of Something Else

This song is a favorite of many fans for many reasons… the subject matter, the beauty, the passion. And that is embodied perfectly in Mikel’s voice when he sings, “The way that you screamed, The way that you cried, The way that you wipe your eyes and fall against my side.” The band gets a lot of letters telling about the song being played at weddings, and I can see why. It’s my favorite love song of all time.

2. Duet

I hate to cop out, but the beauty of this song is the whole thing. It is quiet, playful, bold, and graceful. That being said, a huge assist has to go to Anna Bulbrook on this one. Mikel’s singing along with both Anna and her viola is where the song draws its power. The Walt Disney Concert Hall show is the highlight show of the band’s career thus far, and for me, this is the shining moment.

1. Sometime Around Midnight

This was an obvious pick. It not only is the song that started me on the path to becoming an Airborne superfan, it did the same for many of my friends as well. The first time I heard Mikel sing, “And you walk, Under the street lights,” I was hooked. I cried the first hundred times I heard the song. And sometimes I still do.

Purchase the Best of Mikel:

The Kids Are Ready to Die
The Storm
Half of Something Else
Duet (Live from Walt Disney Concert Hall)
Sometime Around Midnight

mike Mike is just a half-white guy from Akron, and the indisputable winner of the “Best Airborne Tattoo” prize.

  1. jenlargent says:


  2. Nick says:

    I really love this idea! It would be neat to do 5 moments for each member as even a performer too. This might be a little more challenging to find specific accounts of certain moments, but it would be fun!


  3. Would love to hear others’ top 5 Mikel’s vocals. Mine (in no particular order) would be Midnight (“Then you walk under the streetlights”); Half of Something Else (“The way that you screamed”); Half of Something Else – Going the Distance version (“And the way that you answered when you knew I was gone”); Innocence (pick any phrase!); and The Way Home (“I don’t know if this road will end at your door…”I don’t even know what I’m heading for”). Honorable mentions to All for a Woman, All At Once and, oh, about 25 others…


  4. Susan says:

    Duet is my hands-down favorite part of the DVD and it’s impossible not to site the entire song. Aside from the beauty of the lyrics, the vocals, the quiet emotion, the way it was captured on film is breathtaking and captures the mood perfectly. This is my top Airborne moment.


  5. […] Toxic Event select their Top 5 musical moments of their favorite band member. Previous entries: Mikel Jollett’s Top 5 Vocals; Daren Taylor, the Ultimate Beat Keeper; Anna Bulbrook, Classically Trained Punk Rock Chick; Noah […]


  6. […] The Best of Mikel (Vocals): The first installment in a six part series in which TATE fans attempted the impossible, selecting […]


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