Friday, November 03, 2006

Friday 8-Track

I've been on a power pop kick of late so that should do nicely for today's theme. If I ever got into playing original music again, this is most likely the songwriting vein I would be mining. There is something really exhilirating about this little sub-genre with its strong melodic structures, fun if not even complex harmonies, big hooks, and lots and lots rock guitar.

Cheap Trick - "Surrender" - At Budokan

One of the masters of the "genre," Cheap Trick just plain f'in rocks. "I Want You To Want Me" would be the obvious example but for whatever reason I've gone with "Surrender." One of the cool things about this song is that it is somewhat anti-rebellious, reminding kids that their parents were once young too and probably a lot cooler than they think, "Mommy's alright, daddy's alright, they just seem a little weird. Surrender, surrender, but don't give yourself away." And the live version explodes off of the Budokan album.

Teenage Fanclub - "Star Sign" - Bandwagonesque

I once stood in a half-empty 9:30 Club watching these guys play as if it was 10 years ago and those of us that were there (lots and lots of single dorks milling about by themselves) just ate it up. So, when Kevin Shields (My Bloody Valentine) and Bobby Gillespie (Primal Scream) were each driving Creation label head Alan McGee insanse -- quite literally -- with their long overdue magnum opi, this little pop gem came along to suppress the demons in McGee's head. They should have been one of the most popular bands in the world. Oh well.

Gin Blossoms - "Til I Hear It From You" - Empire Records: The Soundtrack

I think this band was way too unfairly maligned. Their only real sin was being a pop band at a time when everyone thought they hated pop music. They really are a good bunch of songwriters and this song is a strong example of that. I was working at a Blockbuster the summer after I graduated high school (and for several years after) and this video was on a trailer for Empire Records that would play in the store constantly. I miss that job.

Tommy Keene - "Places That Are Gone" - Showtunes

The original EP that this song was first released on in 1984 is pretty tough to find but the live version off of the Showtunes album will suffice. A hometown guy who was supposed to be the Next Big Thing has pretty much been ignored his entire career. Hell, I didn't know who w=he was until he opened up for GBV on their final tour. But man can this guy write and play. He's still cutting albums and his last one, Crashing the Ether, is definitely worth checking out. This song is a good aural definition of power pop.

Fountains of Wayne - "Maureen" - Out-Of-State Plates

Perhaps the current reigning kings of power pop, the Fountains are great. This song would have been the B-side to "Stacey's Mom" but they decided not to release it. This record takes off from start to finish with loud guitars and high harmonies. "I know you think I'm just a friend, but can we please just put on aned, to all the Catholic imagery that you insist on feeding me?"

The Bigger Lovers - "Peel It Away"- This Affair Never Happened...And Here Are Eleven Songs About It

Here's an example of a cool band that just never made it commericially and subsequently disbanded. All I can say is this is a good album, a great song, and I wish I could have found out where they would have gone next.

Velvet Crush - "Drive Me Down" - In the Presence of Greatness

I am sure you find yourself in a lot of pretentious conversations about power pop so this is one of the bands you want to name drop (avoid the obvious Big Star references). Discovered (sort of) by Norman Blake of Teenage Fanclub and featuring as producer and unofficial fourth member a young Matthew Sweet, Velvet Crush is yet another band that should have been really successful but instead wallowed in obscurity. Whatever, the music is great. Which leads us to...

Matthew Sweet - "Where You Get Love" - Blue Sky on Mars

This song kicks ass. When I first heard it I was kind of still hung up Girlfriend and was pleasantly surprised by this pop-y gem. I believe this was the first album after he parted ways (in the studio) with post-punk guitar legends Robert Quine and Richard Lloyd. Not that this means anything other than the fact that I want to seem cool.


At 11/03/2006 11:35 AM, Blogger Dara said...

The Cheap Trick, Matthew Sweet, and Gin Blossoms bring me right back to late high school/early college. Awesome.

At 11/03/2006 2:21 PM, Blogger Jason said...

Remember the 90's? Good times.

At 11/03/2006 3:25 PM, Blogger Ryane said...

Ahh...Teenage Fanclub. I love them, and haven't thought about them much since I lived in Britain.

It makes me miss Ocean Colour Scene, Paul Weller and I need to go home and dig through my CD's...

At 11/09/2006 10:02 AM, Blogger jen said...

i was OBSESSED with matthew sweet's album "girlfriend" while i was in college! haven't heard anything he's done since, but i'll check out "blue sky on mars."

i disagree about "till i hear it from you," though. ugh, if i never hear that song again, i'll be happy. the best gin blossoms song, and the song that in my mind is synonymous with the year 1993, is "hey jealousy." whsf used to play that song all the time, but i never got sick of it.

while i'm admitting to liking this crap, some of my other fave power pop songs include: "sk8er boi" by avril lavigne and "semi-charmed life" and "jumper" by third eye blind.

At 11/09/2006 10:03 AM, Blogger jen said...

oops, meant "hfs"...


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