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7:45 p.m. - October 15, 2007
Whither Power Pop?
As it’s now music fortnight (at least – oh, it probably will be just music fortnight and I’ll finish the new purchases over the rest of 2007. Like I finished “Know Your States”. Wait. What?), I have a musical question.

Well, a question about music.

As in, why isn’t power pop more popular?

Ever since the demise of The Beatles and the peak of Badfinger, groups that have exhibited rock tendencies, coupled with harmonies, catchy melodies, and smart lyrics have not charted well, and have been forgotten by the masses it seems.

I mean, music geeks like me love the genre, but except for a few flashes in the pan, there’s not been a lot of chart love for this type of music.

Sure, the Raspberries had some hits, but they really didn’t sustain a big career and were looked at more as teeny-boppers, which was a crying shame.

Some call Cheap Trick power pop, but to me they’re more rock-and-roll with pop tendencies than power pop. At least that’s what I hear. Some called Rick Springfield power pop, but only on occasion. Same with the Knack. You gotta have the good harmonies, I believe, to make it good power pop.

The cause celebre for this is Big Star, and their first two albums. They’re just wonderful records, with great melodies, harmonies and a rock and roll crunch, but no one was listening.

Just think of some of the bands and artists that also could be considered power pop: Matthew Sweet, Marshall Crenshaw, Paul Collins Beat, Teenage Fanclub, and The Posies. Sure, you’ve heard of them, but they didn’t really achieve commercial success.

Is there anything wrong with that, Smed asks? I mean, you know my MO, I really don’t care much for what’s popular.

Except that I can’t really explain why power pop is NOT popular.

The Fountains Of Wayne had a hit with “Stacy’s Mom”, but really that was a fluke egged on by a clever video. Same with OK Go – they had more video success than true popularity.

So what is it, readers?

Do people just not like the harmonies, melodies, and rock in a musical burrito (with clever lyrics being the sour cream or guacamole)?

Is it too challenging? But how can it be challenging. The Jesus Lizard – they’re challenging. (Though I would have loved for Casey Kasem to have said, “From their smash album Goat, it’s the Jesus Lizard with “Mouth Beather”, number 32 on this week’s countdown!” Of course, I would just love for Casey Kasem to say “Goat”! Heh.)

Is it just too easy? Nah, that can’t be it.

Am I just going to have to chalk it up to “kids nowadays”? Well, I guess that goes back to MY time of being a ‘kid’ – though I bet I would have liked Shoes or the dB’s IF I COULD HAVE HEARD THEM ON THE RADIO IN BFE LAND!

Sorry…didn’t mean to shout.

Anyway, support your local power pop band. PLEASE?

Thanks!

 

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