Trust the Gene Genie

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

We want pop!

So, I've been meaning to do this for two weeks. Better late than never, as the cliche goes. So without any further ado, Perfect Pop Songs, Vol. 2. Allow myself to quote ... myself. Here's how it works:

I make a list of perfect pop songs, the idea being that for the listener there are a handful of songs that don't have a wasted lyric, a missed note, nothing. They are perfect. I'll post two or three at a time, updating this thread frequently. Because I know every last one of you is eager, eager, eager to know what songs out there I consider perfect.

Now, once the list of songs is (what I deem to be) complete, I throw 'em all on a CD and mail it out to a handful of lucky, lucky winners. So, onto the list.

The Push Stars' "Back to the Party" -- The Push Stars do two things very, very well. They write pop songs that sound at once familiar yet new and different. And they effortlessly blend melancholy sentiments with bright, happy-sounding songs -- melancholy without which the band's music would be unlistenable, syrupy messes. "Back to the Party," of course, is the perfect example. I love the song's opening line: "Boy and girl, you're not the same any more." It's like some throwback to those cheesy intro-to-puberty film strips you watched in elementary school. The tune itself is a love song, in a sense, that's upbeat, fun and dark around the edges, very cleverly making the point that the fear of following your heart just leads to regret.

INXS' "Disappear" -- INXS was a band I was never that into. I never heard a song from the band that was just OK. I either loved them or hated them. There was never any middle ground. "Disappear" obviously is one of those song that I just loved. The unjustly maligned Ethan Hawke vehicle "Mystery Date" put the song to great use. Anyway, the song, at its heart, is a fun tune about how the right girl can make all your insecurities, fears and doubt go the way of the dodo. Plus it's got a killer groove.

Tom Petty's "Saving Grace" -- It's the first track from his latest album "Highway Companion" and it absolutely rocks. Petty is just an amazing songwriter and "Saving Grace" showcases the talent in spades. "I'm passing sleeping cities/Fading by degrees/Not believing all I see to be so." The song is puncuated by this relentless, driving guitar that almost sounds like a semi cruising down the freeway. The song builds and builds until by the end you've got this wall of sound and a tune that's rocking at full bore. It's great for the road. "There's a guard on every door/And a drink on every floor/Overflowing with a thousand amens."

Alright, the first installment of volume two is sealed in blood. So keep on keepin' on.


Thom G. said...

OK, I have a couple for you:

The Replacements, "Can't Hardly Wait," Pleased to Meet Me. One could say that The Replacements never have written a wasted song. Can't Hardly Wait is my favorite of the whole lot of entire catlogue - and that's saying something. "I'll write you a letter tomorrow, tonight I can't hold a pen..." Brilliant.

Violent Femmes, "Blister in the Sun." Every time it comes on the radio - this song was released in 1983, mind you - it brings a smile to my face.

The Hold Steady, "Chips Ahoy." This is a new one that I've gotten totally into. The lead singer, Craig Finn, grew up in Minneapolis and is every bit as good a songwriter as the esteemed Twin City star, Mr. Paul Westerberg. "She gets migraines if she does it too much - and she always does it too much." Plus, there's a catchy organ solo in this song about a girl who can predict which horse will win in a race.

+44, "When Your Heart Stops Beating." From the ashes of Blink-182 rises Travis Barker and Mark Hoppus to continue a punk riff that makes you listen over and over again. "She says it all without a thought in her head; She says it all as she's pressed up against me; A little something just to take off the edge; A little more and I'll fall off the planet entirely" Nice.

Teddybears, "Cobrastyle." A Swedish band invites a Reggae singer cut a disc and that's Cobrastyle." The chorus is the hook -and it's catchy.

These are my opinions, take them or leave them. But thanks for spreading the word about great music.

TheRobRogers said...

You just can't go wrong with the Replacements. And thanks again for the disc, because everyone knows good music should be shared.

Steph said...

So now I'm going to be checking your site every few days to be one of the lucky winners. I loved the first installment, can't wait for #2.

Ronifer269 said...

What is the criteria that you use to define your perfect "pop" song. I've listened to "Velvet Dress" a few times lately and it has been the first time that it really came alive for me. Very haunting and powerful song. I agree that Bono just doesn't sing or write like that anymore.

HL Rogers said...

Lyle Lovett's If I Had A Boat. This perhpas stretches the definition of pop a bit but what a great song. A little social awareness, a little Lyle wackiness, a whole of pleasing melodies and just a hit of twang. I think all of us have wanted, at some point, to tell some "kiss my a** I bought boat, I'm ging out to sea." OK, so maybe not, but I'd love to have to occasion to say it.

I hope I win. I love the first installment. I had to go into work this morning and volume 1 was playing at my desk for three hours straight. 74-75 . . . indeed.

TheRobRogers said...

Jens, it's good to have you. H.L., Lyle Lovitt is cool in just about any context.

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