Close readers here may remember my initial journey into PowerPopLand, via my Power Pop, Vol. 1 playlist. The very name, of course, implied that there would have to be a sequel, and at long last the thing takes flight.
Check out the previous post for some of the underlying philosophical musings, which this unique not-exactly-a-genre genre seems effortlessly to prompt, at least in me. This time around, the list veers even further from the generally acknowledged power pop standards, in part because I mixed in a good number of 21st-century examples, and in part because I sought to include a larger spectrum of power pop’s musical coverage, which ranges from the impeccable melodic gloss of songs like “Slackjawed” to the Byrds-ian jangle of “When Things Go Wrong” to the peppy pseudo-reggae of “Second Choice” to the blink-and-you’ll-miss-it crunch of “All-Nighter.” While I may take some extra liberties here and there—some people might consider the Ramones beyond the genre’s boundaries, even as quite a few of their songs are spot-on power pop, if you really just listen; and Sarah Harmer has probably never before shown up on anyone’s power pop playlist, but from the itchy, new-wave-y bass line to the subtly glorious chorus, I’m on board here, and encourage you to join me. I do manage to bring things home with “Shake Some Action,” which is on just about everyone’s top 10 list. And if you listen to only one song, make it the one right at the top, as Translator’s “Un-Alone” is surely one of the great lost power pop gems of the 20th century. Everything that band ever did was overshadowed by its first-album college-rock classic “Everywhere That I’m Not,” a fine tune itself but nothing like power pop. And as at least some of us are convinced, there is nothing like power pop.
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