When you are blogging, you never know which of your posts will capture the imagination of readers. For me, it has been pure luck when I get an entry that takes off. Usually, the biggest traffic to this blog occurs just after we have lost a rock icon, such as Tom Petty last week, or Prince a year-and-a-half ago. Otherwise, it is just hit-or-miss with my topics. So, most of the time, I choose a topic on which I had recently been hyperfocused. During that time, I will research everything I can find about that topic and listen to the music in question. By the time I write my entry, I am long past that topic-dwelling and onto another topic that I will write about later.
That’s how I work. I have volumes and volumes of composition books filled with notes and lists, which I will often turn into an entry or two. Sometimes, I will type the bigger lists in an effort to keep from repeating entries, but that does not always work. After all, I am terrible editor. Now, as far as my text goes, I write it as I go. And, if my grammar and/or spell checks do not catch an issue, then I will give you some doozey of a sentence. I had given you some serendipitous sentences that have passed the checks but still gives you something completely different that I had intended. That’s what I get for simply writing my entries without any regard to editing. But, I have always flown by the seat of my pants when it comes to my writing. Until recently, writing was a disposable exercise for me. People would tell me to pursue it, and I would play coy. But, now that I am not doing my first, second or third loves as a past time OR a job, I guess I need to take this editing thing more seriously.
So, what rock topic has been in my soul lately? Remember back in the summer when I was going through the whole bit about alternative music, from its humble beginnings in the Sixties in garages across the US to it near-current state in the deep underground world of musicians’ lofts or their iPhones. Well, during that time, I was taking notes about the 100 Greatest Power Pop Albums of All-Time. I battled and battled through it. I walked away from the list several times, only to come back to it a few weeks later. Well, earlier today, I finally finished it!
So, I intend to spend the today and the next three days bringing this list to you. Remember, power pop is a genre based upon The Beatles’ melodicism, the harmonies of The Hollies or Beach Boys, the power chords of The Who or Small Faces, all funneled through the aggressiveness of the early Kinks. It was essentially, but not limited to, an American reaction against all of the hippy bands that were more interested in limitless jamming. This musicians wanted to bring back the melody of pop from their youth only they passed their sound through Marshall stacks to give their basic pop sound some danger and muscle.
After an initial burst of bands in the early Seventies, the form went underground, only to burst open in the late-Seventies, lead by the success of Cheap Trick and The Knack. Once again, the genre went underground, and reared its beautiful head in the early-Nineties, although many great artists came and went in the meantime. Now, power pop is hiding in broad daylight in the music of Fountains of Wayne and OK Go, but also in the punk pop sound made popular by Green Day and blink-182, and followed by Jimmy Eats World, The Ataris, Fall Out Boy and Paramore, to name but a few. Power pop is alive and well in 2017.
So, allow me the privilege of bringing to you My Top 100 Power Pop Albums of All-Time, this from a genre known more for its singles than its albums. Today, I present to you numbers 76 through 100. Let’s begin!
100. The Late Show – Portable Pop (1980). This Indianapolis-based band was big on the club scene around Indy back in the day.
99. Reno Bo – Lessons from a Shooting Star (2015).
98. The Shazam – Godspeed the Shazam (1999).
97. Robin Black & the Intergalactic Rock Stars – Planet Fame (2017).
96. Frank Bango – Touchy Feely (2013).
95. Sloan – Twice Removed (1994).
94. The Exploding Hearts – Guitar Romantic (2003).
93. The dB’s – Stands for Decibels (1981).
92. Game Theory – Lolita Nation (1987).
91. The Nines – The Properties of Sound (2001).
90. The Posies – Frosting on the Beater (1993).
89. The Three O’Clock – Arrive Without Traveling (1985).
88. Wondermints – Wondermints (1995).
87. The Paley Brothers – The Paley Brothers (1978).
86. Derrick Anderson – A World to My Own (2017).
85. Hoodoo Gurus – Mars Needs Guitars (1985).
84. Tommy Keene – Based on Happy Times (1989).
83. The Smithereens – Blown to Smithereens: The Best of the Smithereens (1995).
82. The Toms – The Toms (1979).
81. The Producers – The Producers (1981).
80. NRBQ – At Yankee Stadium (1978).
79. Adam Schmitt – Demolition (2001).
78. The Merrymakers – Bubblegun (1999).
77. that dog. – Totally Crushed Out! (1995)
76. The Popguns – Sugar Kisses (2017)
That’s where we will stop for today. Stay tuned tomorrow for another trip through My Top 100 Power Pop Albums of All-Time.