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.
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.