Saturday, October 18, 2008

It's not just any pop. It's a more powerful pop.

I know, I know, 7 days is like 7 months in blog years, but I'm finally sitting down to introduce my entries in Splotchy's Green Monkey Music Project Power Pop Mix. I am a techno-tard, so you'll get no downloadable links here. Nope. You'll have to visit I, Splotchy for that kind of digital interactive fun.

When I think of power pop I think back to a pretty specific time in my life, in high school in the late 1970's. I think the first time I saw the phrase "power pop" was in Rolling Stone magazine, in a story about Nick Lowe. While possibly the best power pop tunes are by Americans--Surrender by Cheap Trick, My Sharona by The Knack, and What I Like About You by The Romantics--the sound of Elvis Costello, Dave Edmunds and Nick Lowe from the late 70's comes to mind first for me. Probably because that's what I listened to when I was first buying records and enjoying music on my own.

Here's what power pop sounds like to me: lots of chords, not many guitar solos, driving beat and a damn catchy, even hummable, tune.

Take Me Out Franz Ferdinand


Franz Ferdinand was the archduke of Austria, and heir to the Austro-Hungarian empire. In 2001 he formed a band in Glasgow, Scotland and the rest was history. When my youngest discovered them and played them for me I was struck by how familiar they sounded (along with another favorite of hers, the Futureheads). They reminded me of stuff I listened to in the late 70's and early 80's.

Dreaming Blondie


One of my favorite songs of all time. Just perfect. It makes me happy and sad at the same time.

Cruel To Be Kind Nick Lowe


Crawling to the USA
Elvis Costello


Girls Talk
Dave Edmunds


Three of my favorite songs from what I regard as the heyday of power pop. Insanely catchy tunes, great chord progressions, kind of a cool galloping sound. Yeah.

Everybody's Happy Nowadays

Ever Fallen In Love


Two great tunes from the Buzzcocks' 1980 compilation Singles Going Steady. The Buzzcocks are the bridge to newer bands like Franz Ferdinand and The Futureheads.

Basket Case Green Day


Our eldest always hated it when people referred to Green Day as a punk band. Believe it or not, she'd never heard the term power pop, and now that she has she thinks it fits Green Day.

Now head back over to the Green Monkey Music Project Power Pop Mix and give it all a listen. All the hep kids are doing it.



7 comments:

Spartacus said...

Here's a few more from that era Bubs:

East Side Story - Squeeze (Tempted is my favorite here)

Pretenders - Pretenders (Kid is my fave)

Outlandos d'Amour - Police (toss up between So Lonely and I Can't Stand Losing)

Fear of Music - Talking Heads (Life During Wartime)

Thanks for posting this dude. Brings back lots of memories.

Randal Graves said...

Ha ha, you guys are old! Nyah nyah nyah!

That said, all hail Trick. Now, dammit, start hailing!

Bubs said...

Randal, not just old, but old and treacherous. Hail.

Spartacus, yes, all those records! Excellent!

DCup said...

You, sir, are tickling my music fancy. The Buzzcocks song is a favorite.

Here's a memory you stoked - I was a freshman in high school and this guy who was a junior had a thing for me. He gave me one of his class pictures and on the back of it he wrote "I Want You to Want Me."

I'll never forget that guy, though he never got his wish. (And damn, he drove a nice car.....)

Erik Donald France said...

These are absolutely right on the money.

And *really* true, happy and sad at the same time, then and now.

Dreamin' is free . . .

Dale said...

I love every one of these. You're a Power Bubs!

Splotchy said...

Nice description of your picks, Bubs!

Thanks a lot for playing. I'm looking forward to whatever theme you cook up for your own GMMP mix.