The 11 Best Nickel Creek Songs

Music Lists Nickel Creek
Share Tweet Submit Pin

After nearly seven years apart, Nickel Creek recently returned with a new album. For fans of the talented trio, there isn’t much need to stoke excitement. They know how special it is to have Chris Thile, Sara and Sean Watkins back together. But, if you’ve never heard the three as Nickel Creek, or it’s been some time since you last did, we have just the list to prepare you for A Dotted Line. Here are the 11 best Nickel Creek songs:

11. Young
(from the album This Side)
Chris Thile is no stranger to writing about love. Critics have even knocked him for writing too often on the matter. On “Young,” though, Thile doesn’t merely present a tale of heartbreak, but of the confusion young lovers often face. “It’s not like I wanna get married/ I never asked you to kiss me/ I just don’t want you to be sorry you didn’t try,” he sings, and the pains of middle school resurface quicker than you can remind yourself you also had frosted tips in middle school, so maybe you should just forget that part of your life. Add in Watkins’ effective guitar riff, giving the song an added edge, and you’ve got a great Nickel Creek love song.

10. This Side
(from the album This Side)
The title track to Nickel Creek’s fourth record is led by Sean Watkins. It’s also the perfect embodiment of a classic Nickel Creek song, following the formula that made so many of their tracks successful. There is a singular prominent voice, backing harmonies, the occasional instrumental solo and a catchy melody. What works really great here is the differing tone color of Sean and Chris’ voices, and how they are able to meld together seamlessly. Chris’ voice is so distinct in its timbre that it often can overpower and take hold of a song, but here it simply supports.

9. Destination
(from the album A Dotted Line)
Sure, A Dotted Line was just released, but this song is so much fun because of its steady rhythm, its singability and the sheer fact that Nickel Creek is back. It’s been a long time since these three have been together, and the time shows—just not as you might expect, though. Thile and the Watkins don’t sound rusty, but more mature and polished than ever.

8. Ode to a Butterfly
(from the album Nickel Creek)
This stunning instrumental kicked off Nickel Creek’s new musical life. As the first track on the group’s self-titled record—often considered their debut as it reintroduced the band with a more vocally driven sound—it perfectly displays the virtuosity of each member. The brisk pace, light melody and complex rhythmic sections embody the song’s namesake and show just what ability Chris Thile has to compose and arrange a bluegrass tune.

7. Somebody More Like You
(from the album This Side)
Why Should the Fire Die? marked a distinct change for Nickel Creek. They left producer Allison Krauss and joined forces with Eric Valentine (who produced the trio’s new record, A Dotted Line) and Tony Berg, who helped the band craft a sound more rock influenced. The first selection from the record echoes that sentiment clearly. Sparse instrumentation, by Nickel Creek standards, but a steady rhythm give the song, written and sung by Sean Watkins, it’s drive and bite.

6. Helena
(from the album Why Should the Fire Die?)
The climax of Why Should the Fire Die?, “Helena” seems to never stop building—a four minute crescendo that never really culminates. There isn’t a moment of release like in “Can’t Complain”; instead, the song never allows the listener to escape the tension. Even when it ends, it leaves a haze of the wickedly dark song behind. Nothing is resolved, at least not satisfactorily, and isn’t that just how it goes sometimes?

Recently in Music