As you may or may not know, I used to play in a power pop cover band, which is about one step above frat party combo but still a notch or two below regional alt-country favorites. Yes, power pop is about as geeky and fanboyish as rock styles come — but hey, at least I can say I was never in an emo band! And let’s be honest, no matter the tag, power pop bands have made some of the baddest rock ‘n’ roll on the planet. You Lester Bangs-reading snobs got complaints? You can stuff it. I worked 12 hours today and pulled this puppy out. Just take it.
Read on for link and track list …
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01. Tonight We Fly / 20/20 Rockin’ right out the gate! 20/20’s debut album is a minor classic of cult rock.
02. Just A Chance / Badfinger This is the sound of your FACE BEING ROCKED!
03. Come on, Come On / Cheap Trick This is the studio version from the band’s In Color album; the live version is the one that you know from Budokan.
04. Tragedy / The Scruffs Only a sucker for rock and roll could love this record, and I am that sucker. A middle-period Beatles extrapolation in the manner of Big Star (another out-of-step Memphis power-pop group on a small, out-of-step Memphis label), it bursts with off harmonies, left hooks, and jolts of random energy. The trouble is, these serve a shamelessly and perhaps permanently post-adolescent vision of life’s pain, most of which would appear to involve gurls. To which objection the rockin’ formalist in me responds, “I wanna hear `Revenge’ again. A-”
05. Better Than Anyone Else / Toms Such killer ringers for the Beatles, the Toms’ debut is probably (unintentionally) the best of the Beatles send-ups that include Utopia’s Deface the Music and the Rutles’ “All You Need is Cash”.
06. Skin Deep / Nick Lowe Why he couldn’t keep the jams coming like this is a grievous sin against the rock … that ’90s country stuff? For the birds.
07. Give Me Some Time / The Nerves I saw Paul Collins the other day at the Uptown! He opened with “Hanging on the Telephone”! Even though he didn’t originally sing it! I am the nerdiest!
08. Ponytail / Justin Trouble I kinda like girls in ponytails, so I cannot identify with this song.
09. Marianne / Spongetones They used the sponge to soak up those British Invasion influences!
10. Big Brown Eyes / The dB’s It was strange for them to name their band after DB Cooper, but they soon became the biggest band in the world …
11. There She Goes Again / Marshall Crenshaw Marshall probably never wanted the power pop thing, but he got it anyways …
12. Behind The Wall Of Sleep / The Smithereens The Smithereens were on a 1990 episode of Saturday Night Live with host Corbin Bernsen. What a flashback, eh? Eh?
13. You Yeah You / The Quick From the Quick’s poorly named, totally rockin’ Untold Rock Stories compilation.
14. Time Goes By So Slow / The Distractions Collected on one of my favorite pop comps, Rhino’s Starry Eyes: UK Pop 2. Get it in the bargain bin, kids!
15. Take The Cash (K.A.S.H.) / Wreckless Eric Silly Eric. Ye cain’t spell.
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16. Weekend / The Boys If these guys were around today, they’d probably be called The Dudes.
17. Love Goes Underground / Pezband Apparently they were known for this because of an unspeakable talent their bass player accomplished with pez dispensers … it’s true.
18. Make Up Your Mind / David Quinton He briefly drummed in the Dead Boys, then, like Dead Boy Bators, turned pop.
19. Infatuated / Gary Valentine Former Blondie man.
20. Not Enough / Artful Dodger From the Dodger’s second album, Honor Among Thieves.
21. Late Late Late (At Nite) / Missouri Sex Offenders The sexiest of all of these bands!
22. I Don’t Fit In / The Paul Collins Beat Did I mention how I saw Paul Collins? And his Beat? He played this song!
23. Play On / The Raspberries When they were on, they were on.
24. Language School / The Tours These guys sound like a British Blink-182, and it’s great.
25. Slightly Drunk / Squeeze When Squeeze
26. Red Lights / Marbles A (criminally) unknown band from the New York CBGB times.
27. The Cabbage / Teenage Fanclub This song was inspired by the time Norman Blake brought a jug of pickled cabbage on tour. Boy, those were wild times!
28. When My Baby’s Beside Me (Alternate Version) / Big Star Bet when you were wondering where I got those Beatles remasters you didn’t know you’d also be wondering where I got that Big Star box …
29. Okay / The Shoes The more rockin’ Bomp single version of the song.
30. Teenage Confidential - Flamin’ Groovies It’s a secret! shhh!