Forget iPods, rock out to the catchy sounds of the cell phone

New Jersey is a relatively boring state to be in during Spring Break, especially when the weather is windy, snowy and bitter cold. But I did get one bit of warmth during my Spring Break when I replaced my three-and-a-half-year-old cell phone.

The whole theory of color screens and built-in cameras was like ancient Latin to me. However, I was fairly excited when I discovered that I could turn voice memos into ring tones, opening up a whole world of new possibilities for me. It begged the question: what songs would make the perfect ring tones? I thought about it for a little while and skimmed through my iPod for ideas, and here is what I finally decided:

Candy Butchers, “Nice to Know You”: Sometimes you just need to hear some really good, bouncy, guitar pop. Mike Viola has made a career out of writing catchy, hook-laden pop songs, this one being no exception. Also, as a point of reference, it was him you heard singing the theme song to the 1996 Tom Hanks film “That Thing You Do.” This song appears on the band’s third album, “Hang on Mike.”

Genesis, “No Reply At All”: What’s not to enjoy about Genesis? Phil Collins was in Genesis and a lot of people like Phil Collins, therefore, through simple logic, it can be proven that people therefore like Genesis. But I digress. Probably the biggest hit off perhaps their biggest album, 1981’s “Abacab,” the peppy pop song about love and the miscommunication that goes with it suits a ring tone. Plus, it features the ever awesome Earth, Wind & Fire horn section.

Mos Def, “Hip Hop”: He is personally one of my favorite rap artists of all time, although he definitely took a misstep on his last album (2004’s dreadful “The New Danger”). This is one of the more perfect combinations of instrumentation, production and rapping ability that you will find out there today. The first 15-20 seconds of the song, which is the second track on his wonderful 1999 release “Black on Both Sides,” will have you hooked and will make for good ring tone action.

Stars, “Elevator Love Letter”: Perhaps the best band to come from north of the border in quite some time, this Montreal quintet produced perhaps the best song of 2003 with this track off of their second album, “Heart.” Full of jangly guitars, good production and the wonderful male-female vocal interplay of Torquil Campbell and Amy Milan, this one will have the people sitting next to you on the subway singing along.

Loveless, “You Wore Me Out”: To anybody who spends their days and nights listening to and brooding over the sounds of mid-90s modern rock, take note. Loveless is perhaps the best group out there. They have a continuing ability to recreate the sound of an era gone by, even though it went by only a few years ago. The third track off of their late 2003 release “Gift to the World” is an array of textured guitars, massive hooks and earnest, heartfelt lyrics. This will make the people around you sorry that you answered the phone.

The Features, “Blow it Out”: The most singable song of 2004, the chorus will get stuck in your head for months. “If you’re happy and you know it turn the volume up and blow it out …”

Dandy Warhols, “Last High”: Off of their 2003 release, “Welcome to the Monkey House,” there is nothing quite like the combination of druggy guitars and heavy synthesizers. Sweet.

There were several other songs that I considered in my search for the perfect ring tone: The Sounds’ “Dance with Me,” The Smiths’ “How Soon is Now,” Old 97’s “King of All the World,” Minus Five’s “Where Will You Go,” etc. The choices are interminable, and all of them will make your cell phone and the people around you happy. So if you’re tired of hearing some lame Yellowcard song every time someone’s cell phone rings, take my advice and try some of the above.

– Ring tone ideas? E-mail