Sweet Sweet Music presents the best 100 Power Pop songs of the past 20 years.
Many thanks to all songwriters and musicians who, by writing a comment or a small story about their song, contributed to the creation of the list.
If you want to listen to the songs while reading, you can find the Spotify playlist here.
001 TSAR – Kathy Fong Is The Bomb (2000)
Jeff Whalen: “I was sitting in the Tsar apartment with our lead guitarist Dan. We were goofing around with guitars and listening to the album The Slider by T. Rex and I was struck by how simple the chord progressions on that album are. They’re the most basic things you can imagine, but they’re put forth so confidently, so triumphantly, so without shame, that it sounds masterful. You don’t doubt a thing about it. I was playing the chord progression from “Metal Guru” and I said to Dan, “How does he get away with this? He stole this chord progression from like a million songs!” Dan said something like, “Why don’t we steal it, too?” I had written the title “Kathy Fong Is the Bomb” on a Post-It note, because it had popped into my head at this temp job I was working, and I put it to the “Metal Guru” chord progression over and over and over until I had a chorus that seemed like its own thing. The lyrics pretty much wrote themselves. One of the funnier songs to write.”.
002 Sloan – Spin Our Wheels (2018)
Chris Murphy: “Sloan’s manager is always making fun of me for continuing to write songs about the band and our commercial trajectory, or lack thereof, but I can’t help it. See also “Anyone Who’s Anyone” (1996) or “Fading into Obscurity” (2006).”.
003 Tinted Windows – Can’t get a Read on You (2009)
Sweet Sweet Music: Tinted Windows from Tinted Windows is the most underrated Power Pop record ever. The band is made up of members of Fountains of Wayne, Hanson, The Smashing Pumpkins and Cheap Trick and all those bands have not made a record better than this. Yes, it is true. What an energy, what a truckload of beautiful melodies and what a power.
004 The Posies – Squirrel vs Snake (2016)
Ken Stringfellow: “Squirrel vs. Snake was written now 5 years ago, even before the last US presidential election cycle had really gotten up to speed. It’s not a commentary on Trump, or Clinton, but more the atmosphere of anxiety that weighs upon as we try and make the best decisions that we can. It’s really about an age of surrealism and weirdness that we are officially in, and perhaps never leaving. The mind-bending qualities of Philip K. Dick’s writing, the vaporous assaults we endure by faceless attackers on social media…we seem to float in a murky sea of meaning, and our toes are barely touching bottom. There is a youtube video called “Squirrel vs. Snake” which is where I got the title. It’s not so important that it was either of those two animals facing mortal combat–it’s more that they are not things that we normally see facing off, and I just kind of went further down the ladder of nonsense from there. I say nonsense only because the song is the soundtrack of my addled brain trying desperately to make sense out a world that refuses to steady itself and simply become comprehensible. “.
005 P76 – Me & Her, The Road and Our Ej (2001)
Danny McDonald:” ‘Me & her, the road and our EJ’ was the last song I wrote for the ‘Into the Sun’, which was something of a concept album, conjuring the feeling of the Australian summer as I remember it growing up in the late ’70s and early ’80s. I’d been working on that collection of songs for a year or two and ‘EJ’ was pretty much the culmination of that time. It’s a short, simple, and powerful recording thanks to the wonderful musicians I was lucky to be working with at the time. Lyrically, it’s about the feeling of freedom, and driving through the bright and expansive open landscapes of Australia – something I’ve been missing during these times of COVID-19. The recording was produced by my friend Dom Mariani (The Stems, DM3) who also contributed the main lead guitar and backing vocals.”.
006 Lolas – Me And Barbara Stanwyck (2006)
Tim Boykin: “Barbara Stanwyck as “Sugarpuss” O’Shea in the 1941 film Ball of Fire is what I think of. The movie really works, and the way she turns Gary Cooper’s world upside down is dazzling and hilarious. When I wrote the song, Stanwyck’s character, the ball of fire, came crashing into my song and made herself the center of attention. Who was I to refuse?”.
007 Pacific Radio – Katie (2019)
008 Hurry – Nothing to Say (2016)
Matt Scottoline: “When I think of “Nothing To Say,” it brings to mind the excitement and nerves of shifting my songwriting to a new place, and trying an entirely new sound. That record was an experiment for me in dialing down the noise and fuzz, and I’m really happy how it came out.”.
009 The Critics – World Stops Turning (2005)
010 Fountains of Wayne – Little Red Light (2003)
Sweet Sweet Music: I like records that last no longer than 34 minutes and 21 seconds. If you take the best 35 minutes from Welcome Interstate Managers with Little Red Light on it, then you probably have the best Power Pop record of the last 20 years. And even then Little Red Light would stand out because of the ‘power’ melody. Of course, Stacey’s Mom is just as good.
011 Sugarbomb – Bully (2001)
012 Nada Surf – Always Love (2005)
013 Wanderlust – Pornographic Version Of You (2012)
Rob Bonfiglio: “Interesting choice, I don’t really recall much about that song except it was recorded in a flurry with a batch of other songs within the very brief span of time that we reunited and made that record. Lyrically speaking you’d have to ask Scot the meaning, he wrote it.”.
Sweet Sweet Music: Scot?
Scot Sax: “Ah yes, “Pornographic Version Of You”. I think of three things. Thing number one: I was afraid my brand new wife was going to be a little weird about that title. She was not. Thing number two: Jim, our drummer was actually fairly upset about it. His son was young and I guess he just got paranoid that being in a band and having the word pornographic in a song title was not going to be a good idea. It was fine. Thing number 3: my inspiration was late 70’s punk bands and The Knack. Especially their tempos. I don’t usually write super fast songs. I made a point to write one and the words came out at the same time.”.
014 A View of Earth from the Moon – One Thousand Miles Apart (2017)
Jon Fickes: “Quite simply, it’s a breakup song. I was in a long distance relationship and while you might think the chorus of the song is a metaphor, I was actually thousands of miles apart from my partner at the time. It’s become surprisingly appropriate for the situation we’re living in right now. We could be right down the street from our friends and family, but because of social distancing, it feels like thousand of miles.”.
015 Ryan Allen & His Extra Arms – Chasing a Song (2016)
Ryan Allen:”The first thing that comes to mind when I think of “Chasing A Song” is “breezy”. It’s definitely one of my more jangle-y, laid back tunes – sitting somewhere between later period Teenage Fanclub and the band Real Estate. At least that’s what I was going for. Subject matter-wise, it’s really about what every songwriter is after – trying to chase that dream of writing the perfect song and not giving up, even though it’s an impossible goal. The message is simple: keep grinding.”.
016 The Popdogs – Kissin’ Alicia (2013)
Jim Styring: “I remember we’d been listening to a lot of Blondie at the time, so the song was definitely influenced by that sound. First time we’d added keyboards, too. I had some lyric ideas already written that just fit perfectly. A lot of people have since said it’s their favorite track from that album”.
017 Soul Engines – It’s Just Another Day (2001)
Dave Kuchler: I never considered that song to be Power Pop rather just a rock song. I wrote it in a fit of creativity after my oldest son was born. He was sitting in a bouncy seat, and I sang it to him as the words came out. I wrote it before I joined the band, and when the guys heard the demo, it was immediately included.
018 The Maureens – Early June (2013)
Hendrik-Jan de Wolff: “The first thing that comes to mind when I think of “Early June” is the making of the video clip on a hot summer day in 2013. All 6 (!) band members filming each other from different angles on our phones. Good memories! In time four of them have left the band and two new guys joined The Maureens. The love for harmonies never changed, these days in a more compact sound. We’re proud to be part of this beautiful list!”.
019 Van Go – Miles Away (2018)
Dave Sippel: “Miles Away is about anxiety, and keeping yourself safe during anxious times. Rather than the physical Social Distancing we are going through now, this is more of an emotional distancing of oneself. Does evil truly lurk in the hearts of men and women, both? Maybe, maybe not, but to be on the safe side, best to be… miles away, at least figuratively speaking.”.
020 Locksley – My Kind of Lover (2007)
021 Jeff Whalen – The Alien Lanes (2019)
Jeff Whalen: “I was writing and home-demoing songs for my solo record. I had just gotten Tsar’s old reel-to-reel 8-track recorder repaired and I was excited to use it again. Writing and recording demos digitally was bumming me out—Pro Tools has all those unlimited tracks and an “undo” button and you can start to defer a million decisions to some mythical “later.” It seemed like it was making me lazy and I was feeling disengaged from what was at stake, rock-and-roll-wise. I felt like I needed a process that demanded more discipline and focus from me. When you have just eight tracks of tape, the decisions you make are more consequential. They require more, you know, intentionality, or whatnot. I ended up writing pretty much everything for 10 More Rock Super Hits on that machine, but “The Alien Lanes” was the first one and I kind of consider it the central, you know, fulcrum, or whatnot of the record. I’m not sure how the song comes across to the listener, but for me it’s about a girl and her pop music obsession.”.
022 My Life Story – Taking On The World (2020)
Jake Shillingford: “Taking On The World is not quite what it appears on first listen.
The song is like a Black Mirror episode in song form. It’s about the ultimate dystopian TV reality game. A pop apocalypse where Flat Earthers and Fake Newsters take on the Old Darwinians and Extinction Rebellion in a battle of conspiracy theories.
I imagined what the end of the world would be like if it was played out live on TV, with Man declared the winner over Nature on a technical knock out, choking on golden non-biodegradable ticker tape as he celebrates his pyrrhic victory.”
023 Splitsville – The Popular (2001)
Matt Huseman: “I’m pretty sure I wrote this quickly based on a riff I’d been playing around with for a while. It reminds me of a specific time in my life for sure, but I was going for the Elvis Costello trope of mixing extremely personal lyrics with disparate ideas. Note: I neither freak nor do the body rock, however my brother and I have been known to pop and lock. It was originally supposed to have an a cappella musical interlude where the bridge is now, but I chickened out.”.
024 The Fire Apes – 3 O’Clock (So Long) (2011)
John Seymour: “I wrote 3 o’Clock (So Long) about the inexplicable feel and surreal place my mind goes when absorbed in the world of the 1960s art films. In particular, Truffaut’s 1966 adaptation of Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 and Michelangelo Antonioni’s Blowup. There is something about these films that capture a sublime and idyllic world mixed with an underlying fear of the strange and unknown that feels exciting but indescribable.
I see it as an invitation to a lover to enter into a new, exciting, but risky adventure into an unorthodox utopian world of his making/daydreams, attempting to get the love of his life to see, feel, and understand in the same way. Somewhat like Huxley’s Brave New World mixed with W. Somerset Maugham’s main character, Larry, in his novel, The Razor’s Edge. Although, not as dystopian!”.
025 Berwanger – Slutty Skin (2016)
Josh Berwanger: “Most of this song is about High School and how “some” teacher’s (adults) would pressure kids on how the only way to be successful is by going to college. I thought the word “slutty” worked as in being young and undiscerning. It’s hard to know what to do, so a part of me is like what the chorus says “I don’t care” but, then again I think I’m supposed to care about all of this. Although, the line “get my kicks hanging with the slutty chicks,” was a quote from this dude that the girl’s thought was gross, and they were correct. He was like a Jeff Spicoli character, I always remembered that and thought it worked pertaining to the perception of delusion.”.
026 International Pop Overthrow – X-tended Care (2002)
Chris Lund: “The song was written about the first real job I had during college – specifically my experience working at a head-injury facility with in-house patients. The residential patient wing of this facility was called “Extended Care”. My job was to assist and shadow the patients through their daily routines which included making sure they went to all their daily physical therapy sessions, counseling appointments, relearning of basic life skills therapy, and the taking of their medications. This was very routine some days, but due to these horrible head injuries that damaged their brains to varying degrees they would often be in pain and would lash out, suddenly throwing chairs or attacking their counselors (me). The counselors all had short-wave radios and at the very end of the song in a very nasal toned voice, I’m simulating a call for assistance with a violent client on the short wave radio. I can surely say now that teaching guitar and making records is a much easier way to make a living – less dangerous anyway.”.
027 Weezer – Island in the Sun (2001)
028 The Ravines – Blue Eyes (2015)
Chris Corney : “Ok, I guess “a deceptive femme fatale” would be the first way of describing the song that comes to mind!”.
029 Fireproof Sam and the Network Stars – Old Trope Academy (2018)
KC Bowman: “I think of long-lost college pals convening (in person or remotely) to record a song that was inspired by hearing “Roxanne” back to back with “You Shook Me All Night Long” and thinking those two songs would make a reasonable mashup! Stole the verse from one and grafted on the chorus of the other…kinda!”.
030 Tuns – Mind Over Matter (2016)
Chris Murphy: “TUNS is made up of 3 old friends who have made lots of records since the 1990’s. We got together in 2016 and made a record. All of the TUNS songs are born of jams that we record into the voice memo app on our phones. When we have 50 jams, we pick our favorite 15 or so and try to form those jams into enough songs for a record. It is very collaborative and romantic. Matt Murphy sings this one. There is a video for it and if you don’t think it’s funny, we can’t be friends.).”.
031 Feel – Got Your Name On It (2002)
032 Ex Norwegian – Team No Sleep (2018)
Roger Houdaille: “What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Team No Sleep?’ Well…I immediately think of the source of inspiration which was “Team No Sleep” spray painted on a concrete bank of the canal by where I lived. I would see it every day and thought that was such a random and silly phrase. I loved it!”.
033 The Legal Matters – Short Term Memory (2016)
Andy Reed: “The first thing that comes to mind when I think of Short Term Memory is how much the three of us like to sing together. This is The Legal Matters at our best IMO.”.
034 The Sugar Stems – We Only Come out at Night (2014)
035 Nick Piunti – One Hit Wonder (2016)
Nick Piunti: “I don’t know if I have a method of songwriting but I know when lyrics, melody and a cool guitar riff come together in the same sitting I’m usually on to something. The first line of the song is important, and when I came up with, “burned out before it began, if it was destined to be then we stuck to the plan” I had a good feeling. So though the song is called “One Hit Wonder” it’s not about a band having just one hit song but about a relationship that burned bright but burned fast. One of my more typical power pop songs for sure. Sugary sweet harmonies, tight arrangement, stops and starts, handclaps, and can’t forget the key change at the last chorus. And just over 3 minutes. Can’t over stay your welcome in the power pop world. Thanks to Donny Brown, Andy Reed and Ryan Allen for performing on this record with me, and as always Geoff Michael for producing it. Oh, and Jem Records for releasing it!”.
036 Car City – (Don’t) Give Up on Love (2018)
Jason Lemke: “When I hear the song I usually think about ice skating for some reason. I guess what it means to me is willing to fight a relationship to succeed. It’s work and you have to not give up. But if you found someone you really care about that is a precious thing.”.
037 Michael Carpenter – She’s In Love With Herself (2016)
Michael Carpenter: “‘She’s In Love With Herself’ was a song written by a good friend of mine, Allan Caswell, and some young guys he was writing with in Juvenile prison. I was asked to do a ‘rock demo’, and the demo of the song sat on the shelf for a while. It always annoyed me that it didn’t get picked up by anyone, so I eventually asked if I could release it. I added a little more jangle, and the Murphy Brothers on backing vocals, and there it is!
I love the attitude in the lyrics, and was always pleased by how much ‘power’ there was in this great pop song. It all turned out well. Fun video too!”.
038 Aerial – A Great Teenager (2014)
Colin Cummings: “I suppose “A Great Teenager” is our Peter Pan song. Over the years Pop music has been full of songs that document teenage angst and we wanted to pay tribute to those classic 50s / 60s “teenager” songs. However we thought it would be interesting to write something that described how those typical “teenage” feelings & behaviours don’t necessarily just disappear as you get older. As adults I think we all still feel like a teenager at times and in those moments it’s often easiest to just retreat back to that world and refuse to grow up!!”.
039 The Bishop’s Daredevil Stunt Club – Day’s at the Pool (2014)
Bill Giricz: “When I think of “Days At The Pool”, I think pool party of epic proportions, surfing on the winding concrete, and other sun drenched shenanigans. You’ve just got to get to this party, and you never want this day to end.”.
040 The Successful Failures – Hit the Ground Running (2014)
Mick Chorba: “The first thing that pops into my head when I think of “Hit the Ground Running” is a group of 4 friends blazing across the verdant open roads of the Netherlands – in a convertible. The top is down and everyone is singing our song at the top of their lungs. The tulips are swaying in the wind in time with the backbeat. The sun is shining and it’s a beautiful day!”.
041 Ulysses – April Showers (2013)
042 Cliff Hillis – Time an Evangelist (2017)
Cliff Hillis: “I wrote this song during the 2016 US election… I was at the gym and there were multiple TVs set to different channels. On one TV I saw a presidential debate with a snake oil salesman in the lead, and on the next over I saw a televangelist selling holy water. When I got home I wrote this song.”.
043 Telekinesis – Tokyo (2009)
044 Anyway Gang – Big Night (2019)
Chris Murphy: “Anyway Gang is made up of 4 guys who each have their own band that came together for a short time in October 2018 to record a few songs each. They weren’t that collaborative in the writing but we all played and sang on each other’s songs. “Big Night” is all Sam Roberts but I (Chris Murphy) sing the 2nd verse and Menno Versteeg sings the 3rd verse so that was fun. Note: The lyrics I sang involved knocking a girl’s cosmo off of the bar and I had to look up what a cosmo was.”.
045 The Top Boost – What If She Loves You? (2016)
046 Adam Daniel – Summer’s Coming (2013)
Adam Daniel: “Summer’s Coming is a mashup of Elton John piano, glam rock guitars, Beach Boys vocal stacks, and new wave synth candy—all my favorite things!”.
047 Edmund’s Crown – Feet on the Ground (2006)
Greg Pope: “To me, the song is about trying to keep your head while also trying to realize your dreams… It’s about trying to make good choices whatever the present vogue may be. The first thing that comes to mind when thinking of this song is the recording process… The band was kind of falling apart and I ended up playing all the instruments on this song… Which was kind of fun! Perhaps it was a sign of things to come?”.
048 The Speedways – Just Another Regular Summer (2019)
Matt: “Just Another Regular Summer is about wishing the best thing ever could last forever.”.
049 The Grip Weeds – Life Saver (2016)
Kurt Reil: “I co-wrote “Life Saver” with Jon Dawson for the band Third Of Never- for me it was a side project from The Grip Weeds, which started b/c Jon came to me with an album of songs he wanted to finish and record at our studio, the House Of Vibes. The lyrics are about duality and opposites- like you can be saved by the one who you are at odds with- the sickness can be the cure, etc. Jon had the chorus chords which produce interesting voicings on the electric guitar- you put two fingers down on the neck and the others are ringing open- really cool harmonics. I wrote the verse to work with that. The original recording was for Third Of Never and is on the album Downrising. I liked the version we did but felt it was missing that certain something that turned it from a ‘performance’ into a ‘Record.’ I do remember playing that version for other The Grip Weeds and watching their reaction, which seemed like “why did you give this great song to another band,” or “why aren’t we doing this song?” Later, Kristin pushed for The Grip Weeds to record it, and then everyone pitched in with ideas- Rick came up with the intro smashing chords; Kristin’s guitar riffs and solo are all hers; Dave DeSantis was new on bass and he chipped in with a great bass line. I was able to produce the track as I wanted to, so I pulled out all the stops to make it as great as possible. I was slightly influenced by ELO at the time and added a synth line that’s buried in the track to make it swirl a bit. Kristin and I were in a NJ club one night and the song came on- at first I didn’t know who it was. That’s the acid test for any recording artist- how does the song go over in a club? But right there, I knew we had done it- it sounded so great coming over those speakers and the crowd loved it.”.
050 The Greenberry Woods – Good Man Down (2018)
Matt Huseman: “‘Good Man Down’ – One of the earliest songs I wrote. I was maybe 19 and listening to a lot of The Smiths. A lot of REM too. It was my first real attempt at writing something deeply personal about my life and my relationship with my father at the time, so listening back now I hear a lot of teen angst. I think this was a handful of songs that had potential to make our first Greenberry Woods release but didn’t for whatever reason.”.
051 The Well Wishers – The Last to Fall in Love (2014)
Jeff Shelton: “What’s kind of funny is….
The first thing that comes to mind with respect to this song is that the drummer I was playing with at the time (Braden McGraw) was more of a hard-hitting power rock kind of drummer. I remember him being very nervous and reluctant to play a laid back pop track like this one. I reassured him that he did a fine job….and the result speaks for itself!”.
052 Paul Collins – Hurting’s On My Side (2010)
Paul Collins: “When I think of Hurting’s on My Side, I think of how a melody can capture the sadness you can feel in a quite way, there is a sweetness to the sadness as it resolves, like tears do.”.
053 Johnny Stanec – You’re an Empty Sound (2019)
Johnny Stanec: “I really liked that song from the moment I wrote it. It was actually a song I wrote fairly quickly. It came together all at once. I started playing the main riff and then it just sort of took off from there. The lyrics have some nice bite to them too. It was definitely one of the songs at the time where I felt like it would get a good response once people heard it. It has a fully developed feel to it. A song made for being a single. And since its release, it has been of the my most streamed and downloaded songs, so other people have obviously gravitated toward it, which is great!
Actually, most of the the record that ‘You’re An Empty Sound’ is on was written in a three week span. I was trying to come up with new songs for what, at the time, was supposed to be a new band, but after a while it ended up being a solo record. However, I think being in a place where I was focusing on something new gave that song and that record its entire feel.
Whenever I listen back to songs I recorded I’m very critical and it usually takes me a while before I can listen without picking apart the production or whatever, but that is one that has a pretty satisfying playback to it. I am happy with it and glad others have enjoyed it too!”.
054 Swag – Please Don’t Tell Her (2001)
Doug Powell: “I remember the band rehearsal when we wrote that song. Robert and Jerry Dale had been working on the verse (the Kinks-sounding riff) and started playing it. I add libbed the b-section, we fine-tuned it, and suddenly we had the song. The whole thing took about 10 minutes. I recall we did standing up – never had time to sit. We also wrote Ride and She’s Deceiving that day, and the process was almost identical. An uncharacteristically productive rehearsal for Swag!”.
055 The Wellingtons – Help me fall (2006)
Zac Anthony: “‘Help me fall’ is the oldest Wellingtons song by a long way. It was played live but soon pushed aside by the two bands I was in before I formed The Wellingtons. Oddly enough I remember the time and location I wrote the song which is a rarity for me (age 20 and in a bungalow /bedroom I had in a share house in Yarraville for the record) I’m glad I persisted with the song because a few years after it was released it was selected for synchronization on the How I met Your Mother DVD set. When the show initially aired on tv Fountains of Wayne’s Sink to the Bottom was used, but when it came to issuing the DVD they decided to use our tune. Maybe Fountains of Wayne wanted too much money so the went for the cheaper Fountains of Wayne?? Who knows? Really glad some people have responded so positively to the song!”.
056 Ed Ryan – Everything’s Gonna Be Alright (2016)
Ed Ryan: “It was my introduction to the world as a solo artist. The first single, first song on my first album…a lot of firsts! What does it mean to me? It represents the optimist under my somewhat cynical outer shell, the need to have and to give hope.”.
057 The Bobbleheads – Turn the Radio On (The Perfect Song) (2014)
John Ashfield: “I think about cranking the stereo in the car and going on a road trip!”.
058 The Fags – List (2002)
059 Champagne – Don’t Feed The Animal (2016)
Champagne (now Neon Vampire): “When I Think in DFTA one of the things that come to my mind is the process of production. The song has many arrangements that we studied a lot…The synths have a really important place in that song… I think the origin of the song is the melody of the synths.”.
060 Ruler – Petrified (2018)
061 Parks – Fools (2018)
062 Jason Falkner – This Time (2007)
063 Eugene Edwards – It Doesn’t Get Better Than This (2005)
064 Eytan Mirsky – I Saw Something In You (2016)
Eytan Mirsky: “My own foolishness.”.
065 The Lemon Twigs – The One (2020)
066 The Split Squad – Feel the Same About You (2014)
067 Tim Cullen – On The Down (2004)
068 The Chevelles – Zaragoza (2008)
069 Rooney – I’m Shakin’ (2003)
070 Deleted Waveform Gatherings – Little Baby Warfare (2008)
Øyvind Holm: “Going back to listen to “Little Baby Warfare” brought back quite a few happy memories. My first band, Dipsomaniacs, had ended in 2003 and I had released a solo album in 2005, before putting DWG together in 2006.
“Baby Warfare” was the second album recorded under the DWG moniker, and the only one of our four albums recorded in a full-blown state of the art recording studio. Naturally, that added an extra layer of excitement to the whole process for us as a band. When listening back, it also means the album has a richer, more hi-fi sound than our other albums, which we recorded on our own.
After listening to the title track now, it was cool to be reminded of the contrast created by the razor-sharp cuttings of the almost London-Calling-like guitars and the floating string arrangement that weaving its melodic threads in between the staccato beats of the basic track.
Lyrically I remember my original idea was to try to turn the concept of war into a living person. What if all the destructive forces that drive us to go to war were the personal characteristics of a person, what would that person be like? How would this person justify his (yeah, most likely a man) action?
And with that as a thematic backdrop for the song, that aforementioned staccato rhythm could very well also be interpreted as the sound of marching troops.”.
071 Derrick Anderson – Checking Out (2017)
Derrick Anderson: “I suppose the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about that song is: “Now, more than EVER, man!” Even though I wrote “Checking Out” years ago, when The Reaper was but a small speck in the crowd at the back of the stadium, he’s now larger than life itself, roaming our neighborhoods looking for an open door to waltz right in (and he’s quite capable of busting through closed ones). So live, love and be loved, because tomorrow is never promised.”.
072 Brendon Benson – Tiny Spark (2009)
073 Raymond Meade – Tracing Air (2012)
Ray Meade: “It’s really a song about keeping yourself going, not letting things get you down.”.
074 Superdrag – Lighting The Way (2000)
075 The Goldbergs – Feel The Sun (2008)
076 Fuzzbubble – Don’t Let It Get You Down (2000)
077 Goodman – Watch Your Mouth (2019)
078 Cheap Trick – Perfect Stranger (2006)
Sweet Sweet Music: In 2006 everyone was convinced that Rockford was the best Cheap Trick record since In Color or since Dream Police or since Lap of Luxury or …. Apart from Live At Budokan, Cheap Trick has not made any records that can captivate me from start to finish, but they have made a lot of songs where they have found the ultimate combination of melody and manikality. Perfect Stranger is such a song and could have been on Live at Budokan if it would have been there then.
079 Jughead – Promise (2002)
Sweet Sweet Music: Power Pop that is played by musicians who normally earn their money playing some harder music. Jughead’s Promise sounds like a Beatles song produced by Bob Rock. Contagious and massive.
080 Fair – Monday
081 Phonograph – Hangin’ Round (2014)
082 The Beat Seekers – Cinderella’s Demise (2009)
083 Reno Bo – Sweetheart Deal (2015)
084 French Films – Special Shades (2013)
Johannes Leppänen: “First thing that comes to mind… I wrote that one back in 2012 when we were visiting the parents of my girlfriend at the time. She had a guitar in her old room and I had nothing else to do so I tuned it and came up with the song. The lyrics are just some gibberish about walking around town when it’s the first really sunny day of spring and you’re getting that perfect buzz that shuts up all the depressive stuff in your head for a moment. Pretty bland, but it’s an okay song I think, just checked after many years.
The “million ways of killing time” -line is a coincidence, I learned about The Dogs (the French band) afterwards.”.
085 Screen Test – Notes from Trevor (2018)
086 Genuine Leather – Three Chord Song (2019)
087 Dude York – Box (2019)
088 Foxhall Stacks – Turntable Exiles (2019)
Sweet Sweet Music: If a group of punk rockers wants to show that they also love The Beatles, the result is roughly predictable. Forget it. Turntable Excile is much better than you can predict.
089 Crocodiles – Wait Until Tomorrow (2019)
Brandon Welchez & Charles Rowell chose a different route and they indicated what they think is the best Power Pop song of this century: “It’s a hard decision to try to name the best power pop song of the last 20 years but if I had a gun to my head I would say “Clocking In” by the UK band TV Crime. A total stomper of raw punk energy with a jewel of a pop song underneath! Like Elvis Costello on an amphetamine kick. I always play this when I DJ out and though most people aren’t familiar with it they can’t help but end up bouncing around to this infectious gem. Full disclosure, these guys are friends of mine but whether I knew them or not, Shaun’s songwriting chops are undeniable. A quick glance over the work he’s done in several bands shows this. Honorable mention to “Back Of The Van” by Hard Skin (which I guess is technically Oi! but what is the best Oi! if not power pop made by skinheads?).”.
090 Tommy Keene – Out Of My Mind (2015)
091 The Resonars – Gone Is The Road (2019)
092 Lannie Flowers – Kiss a Memory (2017)
Lannie Flowers: “I wrote that song back in my mid 20’s. It was me telling an ex goodbye, in a not so nice way. Most of my romantic relationships didn’t end well. Probably should’ve looked in the mirror. Ha! Don’t remember who it was about though. It’s been so long ago. It just sat around with many other songs for years. Until a couple of years ago, I was gonna record a couple of songs with NiteBob. He’s worked with Aerosmith, NY Dolls, Iggy Pop among many others. So we were going through demos and that was one of the ones that he wanted to do. So, we just sped it up a little and moved it from C to D. He took it back home to New York and mixed it there. I wish I had some great mysterious story for it, but that’s pretty much it. Thanks for the interest in the song.”.
093 The Late Show – Sha La La (Wake Me When You’re Done) (2018)
Sweet Sweet Music: How a group of people over 60 can sound like a bunch of pissed off adolescents.
094 Farrah – This Is My Life (2004)
095 Somerdale – Shake It Maggie (2017)
096 Arlo – Working Title (2002)
097 The Empty Hearts – (I See) No Way Out (2014)
098 Joey Sykes – That’s American Life (2016)
099 The Madd – I Know (2009)
100 Telephone Lovers – Downtown Girl (2017)
How – why? – are the New Pornographers not on this list? I’m genuinely perplexed. It’s like having a list of the greatest power pop singles of the 70s, and leaving off Badfinger, the Raspberries, and Big Star.
41 Miles To Roscoe, The Midnight Callers (2020)