The Best Power Pop Albums

Allmusic defines Power Pop as “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.” For me, the definition has always been “bubblegum with balls”. Some bands make entire careers out of PP while others started out that way and then ‘matured’ into real artistes. The below list of artists and albums may confound you a little bit, but remember that this is just my loose and very personal definition of what I think of represents Power Pop. Okay?

It’s a tricky game getting invested in this sub-genre because there’s so much crap out there one always steps on a few turds before one reaches Power Pop Nirvana. When it’s done right it’s transcendent; when it’s done wrong it can give you bleeding, festering ulcers of the mouth. So to save you some hassle I have compiled 30 albums of what I believe are the best of the best of the best, so you don’t have to waste your money or time buying things that’ll make you weep with frustration. As you’ll see by the list I’m no purist about genre definitions. Anything goes, pal. And before any of you smarty-pants call me on it I know that #1 Record and Radio City are 2 separate albums!

In order:

#1. Big Star: #1 Record/Radio City

#2. Nick Lowe: Jesus Of Cool

#3. Cheap Trick: In Color

#4. Teenage Fanclub: Bandwagonesque

#5. Jellyfish: Bellybutton

#6. Joe Jackson: Look Sharp!

#7. Sloan: Never Hear The End Of It

#8. Todd Rundgren: Something/Anything?

#9. Badfinger: Wish You Were There

#10. The Ramones: Rocket To Russia

#11. The Beat: The Beat

#12. Graham Parker: Squeezing Out Sparks

#13. Supergrass: Life On Other Planets

#14. Cheap Trick: Cheap Trick

#15. Raspberries: Starting Over

#16. The Monks: Bad Habits

#17. Squeeze: Argybargy

#18. Fountains Of Wayne: Welcome Interstate Managers

#19. XTC: Drums And Wires

#20. Sloan: Between The Bridges

#21. The Knack: Get The Knack!

#22. Teenage Head: Frantic City

#23. Jellyfish: Spilt Milk

#24. Flamin’ Groovies: Shake Some Action

#25. Teenage Fanclub: Grand Prix

#26. Matthew Sweet: Girlfriend

#27. Nick Lowe: Labour Of Lust

#28. Blue Peter: Radio Silence

#29. Elvis Costello: My Aim Is True

#30: Buzzcocks: Singles Going Steady