Power Pop

Happy Memorial Day, everyone!

It’s been raining here in Northern California for, oh I don’t know, maybe 780 days in a row and I need a little musical pick-me-up. Tried Dylan, Blood On The Tracks, but that just made me want to take a warm bath with a razorblade, if’n you catch my drift (and I think you do).

I need something fun, poppy, and fast. I go to my CD library and go to the section labeled “Power Pop”, and pull out the following albums:

Sloan, Never Hear The End Of It
Buzzcocks, Singles Going Steady (no matter what anyone tells you, these guys were far and away one of the best power-pop bands of all time!)
Rocket To Russia, The Ramones (see above!)
Big Star, #1 Record/Radio City (a two-fer, what a deal!)
Teenage Fanclub, Bandwagonesque
Fountains Of Wayne, Traffic and Weather
Cheap Trick, Heaven Tonight
Badfinger, Wish You Were Here
Jesus Of Cool, Nick Lowe
Shake Some Action by Flamin’ Groovies
Get The Knack, by The Knack (underrated)
Argybargy by Squeeze
Bad Habits, The Monks (not those Monks, the other one)
The Eight Legged Groove Machine by Wondersuff
Seconds Of Pleasure, by Rockpile
Frantic City (or the self-titled debut) by Teenage Head

Allmusic defines power-pop thusly: “Power Pop is a cross between the crunching hard rock of the Who and the sweet melodicism of the Beatles and Beach Boys, with the ringing guitars of the Byrds thrown in for good measure.” Most of you will already know I am a huge sucker for a good power pop band. The complaint this particular genre has to endure is that it “all sounds the same”, which is a load of horse shit if I ever heard it. Each one of those albums above is unique and different; the only thing they have in common is catchy songwriting and a tendency to stick to classic bass, guitar and drums.

This genre inspires legions of fans to start their own blogs or fan sites much in the same way heavy metal or, to a lesser degree punk, does. They’re fanatical about their music, man. And while I do love a good p-pop album I wouldn’t necessarily say I’m fanatical; simply a fan of good, quality music. I can admire the good stuff and recognize that there is a lot of crap power pop out there as well. The above are the albums that I consider the best of the genre, and if you are new to it then delve right in there with any of ‘em. All serious record collectors should own at least a few