Power Pop

pow·er pop


a style of pop music characterized by a strong melody line, heavy use of guitars, and simple rhythm.

I am a huge fan of the power pop. I love the infectious hooks, the tight harmonies, and the vague lyrics without being too profound. It is the ultimate ear candy. The greatest beauty is that it’s obscure enough that it doesn’t get destroyed by over exposure on the radio. Unless you’re listening to some power pop Sirius radio programming or podcast. Here are five of my favorites.

1971: “Too Many People” by Paul McCartney

In 1980, this was my favorite song, for a good three months. Somehow, I missed the boat on this album, Ram, McCartney’s second solo album after splitting from the Beatles and right before he started Wings. It is now my favorite post-Beatles album.

1979: “Back Of My Hand” by The Jags

I can’t remember where I first heard this song. I’m pretty sure it wasn’t on the radio. If I had to make a guess, it was one of those late night music video television shows before there was MTV. After hearing it only once, all I knew was this; I had to have it. Long story short, it took a long time to track this record down. When I finally got it, I listened to it 20 times in a row.

1979: “Starry Eyes” by The Records

I heard this song late at night on a Wisconsin radio station driving home from a concert at Alpine Valley. I fell in love with it right away. I still have the 45. I played the living shit out of it. I would be very surprised if it was still listenable.

1979: “Girl Of My Dreams” by Bram Tchaikovsky

1979 was a very good year for power pop. Before they were called Bram Tchaikovsky, they were The Motors. Before that, there was a Nixon of the Richard M. variety, and before that, dinosaurs.

1982: “What Do All The People Know” by The Monroes

I heard this song on WXRT, a great Chicago radio station that got bought out by Westinghouse in 1995. Now, they’re just a slightly different version of corporate shit. This record came in the form of an EP, not quite an LP, but more than a 45, thus an Extended Play. And that was all she wrote. Poor financing from their record label, led to them being signed to Columbia records, which led to their early demise in the form of drowning in a big sea of artists and red tape. MORAL: Columbia Records and corporations suck.

4 thoughts on “Power Pop

    • What if a North Korean threatened to kill you unless you chose one song, something about Kim Jong-Un only buying one mp3 to be shared by all fellow workers? My pick is “Back Of My Hand”.


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