Friday, September 13, 2013

The Love of Power Pop

It's been a long time since I've done a music post.

I'm sure I mentioned that I'm not typically into lots of stuff around now, though I did get pretty into chillwave a couple years back and there are some really great 60s-reminiscent psychedelic bands out there now (Tame Impala, Temples). But what I really want to talk about is my current favorite genre (and has been on and off for quite some time) -- Power Pop.

From many, I get the eyeroll about mentioning I like power pop as people conjure up sounds in their head that can only be compared to "soft rock" and/or "dad rock". That's too bad though because there's a lot of good stuff their missing out on. Others incorrectly think that "power pop" means large pop acts like Britney Spears or Lady Gaga, but they are sorely mistaken with that notion.

So what's considered "power pop"? Power pop is a musical genre that largely draws its inspiration from 60s (surprise!) British and American pop and rock music. Some might say it's a more guitar-laden version of melodic pop music and that's exactly what it sounds like to me - freewheeling guitars and a feeling that you should be driving down an open road during a vaguely summer-into-fall day.

Pete Townshend himself coined the term "power pop" and it is his band, The Who, which are largely credited for the birth of power pop sound amongst The Beatles (what kind of music didn't they write?), as well as The Small Faces, and The Byrds.

The power pop genre isn't solely for 60s/70s artists - there are plenty of 80s/90s bands that were given the title like the Posies, the Smithereens, Teenage Fanclub, Jellyfish, and arguably my all-time favorite band, Sloan. 

So.... enough with history, here are my personal favorite power pop songs (and there are a lot!) with the years appropriated for each. Listen to a clip or the whole thing!

Badfinger - "No Matter What" - 1970

The Raspberries - "Go All the Way" - 1972

Cheap Trick - "Surrender" - 1978

Todd Rundgren - "I Saw The Light" - 1972

Nick Lowe - "Cruel to be Kind" - 1979

The Smithereens - "A Girl Like You" - 1989
I was so lucky to get to see these guys this year!

Sloan - "Money City Maniacs" - 1998
My all-time favorite band.

The Pursuit of Happiness - "She's So Young" - 1988
This is a new-found favorite. I could listen to this song 10 times a day, still not be sick of it. Canadian + power pop + late 80s/early 90s sound = perfection.

The Posies - "Golden Blunders" - 1990
These guys are fantastic live too.

Jellyfish - "That Is Why" - 1990

Teenage Fanclub - "What You Do to Me" - 1992


  1. Love the post! So few people are aware of the awesomeness that is Sloan... and The Pursuit of Happiness!

    We're all big Power Pop fans here, as my BF's band can prove:

    1. Yes! Canadian power pop! I've been a Sloan fan now for about 13 years now - kinda late to find them since I live in the US. Always excited to find new bands so will check them out!

      My friends do joke that I'm secretly Canadian (record label reference intentional) & even now I have a light Torontonian accent that I can't get rid of from listening to so much CBC Radio 3 in the past!


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