The Ledge #543: Power Pop, Pt. 1 (The Past)
On a fairly regular basis I'm asked what type of music I most enjoy. It's a pretty tough question to answer, to be honest. The standard answer I hear in return is "I love all kinds of music", which to me is code for "I only like what's popular". Sorry, but having a playlist on Spotify that includes both Drake, Meghan Trainor, and Luke Bryan isn't the proof of versatility most of these poeple believe it is.
So what is the genre or sub-genre that is closest to my heart? "Punk" is a little too confining, and honestly there is a lot of shitty music under that moniker. "Alternative" doesn't mean the same today as it did 30 years ago since maintstream rock radio has co-opted it. "Garage rock" is indeed getting closer but still doesn't feel right.
I think deep in my heart the term power pop, or at least my version of the term, best describes my music taste. I was, after all, born the day The Beatles recorded their first single, and the first two rock and roll albums I owned just out of my toddler phase was the first Monkees record and the A Hard Day's Night soundtrack.
My teen years coincided with the rise of punk rock, and the initial blast of punk was primarily sped up power pop. Catchy tunes played fast, and that is where my description of power pop may be a little bit different from what others consider power pop. There's a lot of bands in this genre that, honestly, sound a little too wimpy for me. I emphasize the "power" portion of the term.
Tonight's show is not only a remembrance of bands and records from that time, but is also a reaction to reading a couple of great books that I recently acquired. Go All The Way: A Literary Appreciation of Power Pop and Go Further: More Literary Appreciations of Power Pop are collections of essays on the genre compiled by Paul Myers and S.W. Lauden. This led me to dig through my iTunes archives to reacquaint myself with some long lost fave, and also asked for some suggestions on Facebook.
This show is part one of a two part series. Here's almost 2 1/2 hours of my favorites from the past. Next week will be a show devoted to current (or somewhat current) bands continuing to carry the torch for guitar-driven pop songs. Do you have some favorite current power pop bands or songs? Please let me know!!!
I would love it if every listener bought at least one record I played on either of these shows. These great artists deserve to be compensated for their hard work, and every purchase surely helps not only pay their bills but fund their next set of wonderful songs. And if you buy these records directly from the artist or label, please let them know you heard these tunes on The Ledge! Let them know who is giving them promotion! You can find this show at almost any podcast site, including iTunes and Stitcher...or
1. The Replacements, September Gurls
2. Big Star, The Ballad Of El Goodo
3. Chris Bell, I Am The Cosmos
4. Dwight Twilley, I'm On Fire
5. The Flamin' Groovies, Shake Some Action
6. Cheap Trick, He's a Whore
7. Shoes, Boys Don't Lie
8. The Real Kids, All Kindsa Girls
9. 20/20, Yellow Pills
10. D.L. Byron, Listen To The Heartbeat
11. The Nerves, Hanging On The Telephone
12. The Breakaways, Walking Out On Love
13. The Beat, Rock N Roll Girl
14. The Plimsouls, Hush, Hush
15. The Records, Starry Eyes
16. Eddie & The Hot Rods, Do Anything You Wanna Do
17. The Only Ones, Another Girl, Another Planet
18. Wreckless Eric, Whole Wide World
19. Tommy Keene, Places That Are Gone
20. The dB's, Black And White
21. Game Theory, Make Any Vows
22. Let's Active, Every Word Means No
23. Ill Bill and the Spinal Chills, Play With Me
24. Pointed Sticks, Out Of Luck
25. The Bats, Not My Girl Anymore
26. The Letters, Nobody Loves Me
27. The Neighborhoods, No Place Like Home
28. The Shivers, Teenline
29. Nikki & The Corvettes, Summertime Fun
30. Juliana Hatfield, Everyone Loves Me But You
31. The Muffs, Everywhere I Go
32. Teenage Fanclub, The Concept
33. Matthew Sweet, Girlfriend
34. Velvet Crush, Hold Me Up
35. Material Issue, Valerie Loves Me
36. Guided By Voices, Glad Girls
37. The Exploding Hearts, Modern Kicks
38. Paul Westerberg, As Far As I Know