As much as I like blues and jazz and all that good stuff, I’m still a sucker for good pop or pop-rock music. After all, pop constitutes much of what I grew up on before I even discovered those other genres.
Wikipedia in its typical bloodless though not entirely inaccurate way says, “Pop music is eclectic, and often borrows elements from other styles such as urban, dance, rock, Latin, and country; nonetheless, there are core elements that define pop music.
Identifying factors include generally short to medium-length songs written in a basic format (often the verse-chorus structure), as well as common use of repeated choruses, melodic tunes, and hooks.” (And BTW, typically three minutes or less.)
The Raspberries were a band from Cleveland, Ohio who had a couple of hits, most notably the naughty-for-its times (and banned by the stodgy BBC), “Go All the Way.” Allmusic says, “The Raspberries cut through the epic pretensions and pomposity of ’70s-era rock to proudly reclaim the spirit and simplicity of classic pop, recalling the heyday of the British Invasion with their exquisitely crafted melodies and achingly gorgeous harmonies. ”
Yes indeed, a song about fucking made its way into the Top Ten in the US and did well in Australia and Canada. (Not so sure about the UK thanks, one supposes, to the Beeb). Lead singer/songwriter Eric Carmen went on to score solo hits, most notably “All By Myself.”
Baby, please, go all the way
It feels so right (feels so right)
Being with you here tonight
Please, go all the way
Just hold me close (hold me close)
Don’t ever let me go
One learns things by researching these songs. For example, I found out that Arizona-founded Gin Blossoms list “jangle pop” as one of their genres. Old friend Wikipedia says: “Jangle pop is a subgenre of pop rock that emphasizes trebly, ringing guitars (usually 12-string electrics) and 1960’s-style pop melodies.
While the Everly Brothers and the Searchers laid the foundations for the style, the Beatles and the Byrds are commonly credited with launching the popularity of the “jangly” sound that defined the genre.”
The Gin Blossoms released their debut album Dusted in 1989 (and a new one a few months ago) and it includes a great piece of “you betrayed me” jangle pop (or call it what you will) called “Found Out About You.” (The song was re-released on New Miserable Experience to capitalize on its hit status.)
Street lights blink on through the car window
I get the time too often on AM radio
You know it’s all I think about
I write your name drive past your house
Your boyfriend’s over I watch your lights go out
Whispers at the bus stop
I heard about nights out in the school yard
I found out about you
Marshall Crenshaw (pictured on top of post) is a singer/songwriter from Detroit, Michigan. We first learned his name when he played John Lennon in a Broadway show called Beatlemania that ran in the late ’70’s. He subsequently launched a solo career (and has recently been touring), releasing his eponymous debut album in 1982. Crenshaw has also sat in with the Smithereens on the death of singer Pat DiNizio.
If there’s a better piece of power pop (yet another subgenre) than “Someday, Someway” then I need to hear it. “Some of the stuff I’ve done you could call power pop,” he told an interviewer, “but the term does have sort of a dodgy connotation.” Sure, whatever that means. My guess is he doesn’t much like being pigeonholed.
I’ll love you for my whole life through
I can’t stand to see you sad
I can’t bear to hear you cry
If you can’t tell me what you need
All I can do is wonder why
Someday, someway aw
Someday, someway, yeah yeah
Maybe I’ll understand you
Trivia – Crenshaw played Buddy Holly in the 1987 Ritchie Valens biopic, La Bamba. Ace guitarist Brian Setzer played Eddie Cochran in that movie and Los Lobos had a hit with their cover of the title song.