The 30 (well, 34) Best Power Pop Records of 2022

curated by the Power Pop community!

I asked my Power Pop friends about their three favorite records from this year.
This Top 30 (well, 34) is compiled from all the submissions I received. I got a lot!

Thanks to everyone who took part. THANKS!

  1. Sloan – Steady
  2. Young Guv – GUV III
  3. The Beths – Expert In A Dying Field
  4. Uni Boys – Do It All Next Week
  5. 2nd Grade – Easy Listening
  6. Brendan Benson – Low Key
  7. Push Puppets – Allegory Grey
  8. Trevor Blendour – Falling in Love With
  9. Phil Angotti – Once Around Again
  10. Lolas – All Rise
  11. The Well Wishers – Blue Sky Sun
  12. BOAT – No Plans To Stick The Landing
  13. Alvvays – Blue Rev
  14. Nick Frater – Aerodrome Motel
  15. Crossword Smiles – Pressed & Ironed
  16. Buzzard Buzzard Buzzard – Backhand Deals
  17. Dazy – Out of Body
  18. Romero – Turn It On!
  19. The Speedways – Talk of the Town
  20. Chris Lund – Indian Summer
  21. Greg Pope – Rise of the Mythical Creatures
  22. Chris Church – Darling Please
  23. Andy Bopp – An Andy Bopp Compendium (remixed/remastered by Nick Bertling)
  24. Marc Valentine – Future Obscure
  25. Extra Arms – What Is Even Happening Right Now?
  26. Maple Mars – Someone’s Got To Listen
  27. The Glad Machine – Hey!
  28. Bird Streets – Lagoon
  29. Dot Dash – Madman in the Rain
  30. Tamar Berk – Start at the End
  31. Model Shop – Love Interest
  32. Cheap Star – Wish That I Could See
  33. Librarians With Hickeys – Handclaps & Tambourines
  34. Dungeon of Skeletons – Patterns

Because it’s so much fun to look at lists, below are some individual entries.

There is always more. So many great Power Pop songs have been released this year, many of them can be found on this Spotify playlist. Enjoy!

Barry F. Walsh (Galore, Cool Blue Halo)

1) Sloan — Steady. It never fails that with every album they produce at least a few songs that make me insanely jealous as a songwriter, and on their new one, there are many.

2) Suede – Autofiction. Not power pop per se but certainly a fair amount of power on what they call their “punk” record, but still some of the grandeur I also love them for.

3) TUNS – Duly Noted. Another example of folks from my hometown doing their part to make it a global indie pop capital.

Brad Thayer (The Glad Machine)

The Bishops Daredevil Stunt Club – Please Stand By

Phil Angotti – Once Around Again

Golden Richards – Shake Your Hair

Chipper Saam (Crossword Smiles, Indie Pop Takeout)

1. Sloan – Steady

2. Pleasure Center – Pity in Jangle City

3. The Tisburys – Exile on Main Street

Chris Church

Johanna Warren – Piscean Lover

Chris Lund – Mary Jane

King’s X – Festival

Christina Bulbenko and Rex Broome (Big Stir Records)

Maple Mars – Someone’s Got To Listen

Librarians With Hickeys – Handclaps & Tambourines

Richard Öhrn – Sounds In English

Coke Belda

Sloan – Steady

The Glad Machine – Hey!

Tamar Berk – Start at the End

Curt Vance (Power Pop Overdose)

1. Phil Angotti – Once Around Again

2. Push Puppets – Allegory Grey

3. Uni Boys – Do It All Next Week

Dan Pavelich (Pop-A-Looza, The Click Beetles)

Nick Frater – Aerodrome Motel

Crossword Smiles – Pressed & Ironed

Deadlights – Deadlights

Daryl Bean

Trevor Blendour – Falling in Love With

Sloan – Steady

Miles Out to Sea – The Roots of British Power Pop 1969-1975

David Woodard

David Schrader – Don’t Tell Anyone

Tamar Berk – This Is Me Trying

Greg Pope – Sorry I Wrote This Song

Drew Forsberg (The Persian Leaps)

Beach Bunny – Emotional Creature

Guided by Voices – Crystal Nuns Cathedral

Young Guv – GUV III

Ed Ryan

Sloan – Steady

The Beths – Expert In A Dying Field

Chris Church – Darling Please.

I also really love Lolas – All Rise.

Erich Specht (Push Puppets)

1. Push Puppets – Allegory Grey

2. Phil Angotti – Once Around Again

3. Crossword Smiles – Pressed & Ironed

4. Bird Streets – Lagoon

Finn Donders (Navigate, Sweet Sweet Music blog’s Head of Branding)

Uni Boys – Do It All Next Week

Buzzard Buzzard Buzzard – Backhand Deals

Dot Dash – Madman in the Rain

Garret Vandermolen (Speedfossil)

1. Sloan – Ready (I’m sure this one is on at least 90% of the lists you are getting😀)

2. Brendan Benson – Low Key

3. The Daylilies – From America

Jan van Aert (Sweet Sweet Music Fest)

Young Guv – Guv III

Sloan – Steady

2nd Grade – Easy Listening

The Well Wishers – Blue Sky Sun

Brendan Benson – Low Key

Jeff Shelton (The Well Wishers)

Uni Boys – Do It All Next Week

Sloan – Steady

Young Guv – Guv III

Jeremy Porter (Jeremy Porter & The Tucos)

Urge Overkill – Oui – It’s powerful and it’s poppy, so it counts! Also, one of the most unexpected surprises of the year. Urge’s best effort since 1995’s under-rated Exit the Dragon. Who else would open the LP with a WHAM! Cover? Fantastic record that got a lot of spins in 2022.

Popular Creeps – All of This Will end In Tears – Detroit pals’ sophomore release is even better than their debut with great hooks, smart lyrics, and rockin’ guitars. Yeah, I got a co-write on a song, but it’s a hell of a record regardless and worth any power-pop fan’s ears.

Butch Walker – Butch Walker as…Glenn – What can you say about BW that hasn’t already been said? He’s a master craftsman and knows how to get the magic down on tape. Simply incredible, hooky, pop rock masterpieces that sound amazing and work together brilliantly on this wonderful concept album.

Sloan and The Beths both put out great records that’ll deservedly be all over the end-of 2022 lists.

Enuff Z’Nuff put out a surprisingly strong collection of Sunset Strip meets Cheap Trick hooks.

It was another fantastic year for rock and roll! xx

Jim Basnight

My favorite songs of 2022: “After The Lights Go Out” Walker Brothers (1965), “Tired Of My Life” David Bowie (1971) and “Going Down Slow” St. Louis Jimmy (1941).

John Dunbar (John Sally Ride)

Toni Tubna with The Stockholm Tuba Sect – When The Magic Went Wrong

Nomden – Parallel Universe

Adrian Belew – Elevator

Lindsay Murray (Gretchen’s Wheel)

1. Chris Church – Darling Please

2. Bird Streets – Lagoon

3. Sloan – Steady

If I could add an honorable mention for a compilation album: An Andy Bopp Compendium (remixed/remastered by Nick Bertling)

Morten Henriksen (The Yum Yums)

1. Trevor Blendour – Falling In Love

2. Trevor Blendour – Falling In Love

3. Trevor Blendour – Falling In Love

Neil Christie (Emperor Penguin)

Buzzard Buzzard Buzzard – Backhand Deals

The Beths – Expert in a Dying Field

Elvis Costello and the Imposters – The Boy Named If

Favorite song – Will I be Cool by Golden Richards.

Nick Frater

Michael Rault – Michael Rault

The Beths – Expert In A Dying Field

Spygenius – Jobbernowl

Nick Piunti (Nick Piunti & The Complicated Men)

Wet Leg – Wet Leg

Alvvays – Blue Rev

The Beths – Expert in a Dying Field

Nisse Donders (Navigate, Apeshit, Sweet Sweet Music blog’s Head of Cool)

BOAT – No Plans To Stick The Landing

The Well Wishers – Blue Sky Sun

Dazy – Out of Body

Patrick Donders (Sweet Sweet Music blog)

Sloan – Steady

2nd Grade – Easy Listening

Young Guv – Guv III

Andy Bopp – An Andy Bopp Compendium (remixed/remastered by Nick Bertling)

BOAT – No Plans To Stick The Landing

Phil Yates (Phil Yates & The Affiliates)

Young Guv – GUV III

Rolling Blackouts C.F. – Endless Rooms

BOAT – No Plans To Stick The Landing

Ray Gianchetti (Kool Kat Musik)

Cheap Star – Wish That I Could See

Lolas – All Rise

The Sun Sawed In 1/2 – Triptych

And , for good measure “Pop Aid – A Power Pop Compilation To Benefit The Citizens Of Ukraine”!

Reinhard van Biljon (The Cudas)

Fuzzbubble – Cult Stars From Mars

Sloan – Steady

Dungeon of Skeletons – Patterns

Richard Rossi (, Rumble Strip)

Greg Pope – Rise of the Mythical Creatures

The Glad Machine – Hey!

Jellyfox – Holy Moly!

Richard Turgeon

I vote for mine, Rough Around the Edges ; )

Robby Miller

Toledo – How It Ends

Sloan – Steady

NO WIN – Dodgers Stadium

Ryan Allen (Extra Arms)

I should start by saying that these aren’t necessarily my 3 favorite records from 2022, nor do I really love the idea of placing records into a specific genre (even if some typical genre signifiers exist on the records) – good music is just good music, ya know? But that being said, there are 3 records that came out this year that (if you twist my arm) I would call “power pop” that deserve more attention. So with my disclaimer out of the way, I present them to you in no particular order (actually, these are in order, but whatever):

1. Ex-Void – Bigger Than Before: When I heard “Churchyard” all way the way back in January of 2022, It immediately bowled me over. I think I proclaimed that it was going to be the best song of the year. Almost 12 months later, it still holds true. Why? Well, Ex-Void channel the jangle-heavy spirit of Black Tamborine or “Simpatico”-era Velocity Girl, outfitted with male/female vocals that are often times sung in unison. On top of that they add some Teenage Fanclub-esque guitar work and throw in a dash of hardcore and punk influences to give their sound a unique spin. So basically it’s everything I like rolled into one band. But aside from all the influences, these UK kids just really know their way around a song, tossing off one catchy banger after another with little to no stress. If this band is unfamiliar to you, then do yourself a favor and please change that. Hear it

2. Jacky Boy – Mush: Jacky Boy fell onto my radar courtesy of Mark Palm of Seattle crunchy power-pop studs Supercrush. Mark is a music fanatic and he’s always posting about good shit to check out…usually made by friends the band has made during their heavy touring schedule. Anyway, I can’t quite put my finger on exactly how to describe Jacky Boy’s catchy pop except that it shares a lot of touchstones with 90s slacker rock. It’s not overly caffeinated or uptempo like a lot of power pop bands tend to be, instead delivering a more laid back (but still loud) approach that isn’t too dissimilar to, say, mid-period Buffalo Tom, or maybe Tom Petty, or even something like Third Eye Blind. I dunno – I never got into them. Anyway, there’s a real ease to what they do – nothing seems forced, and it feels like the kind of record you would put on in the car with your friends driving to the thrift store to buy oversized cardigan sweaters and stripped t-shirts. Hear it

3. Classic Traffic – S/T: In 2021 and on into 2022, I got VERY into buying bootleg band t-shirts via Instagram. Name a band, and I probably have a t-shirt by them (oh, you want a Teenage Fanclub soccer jersey? I got that. A Gin Blossoms shirt celebrating their essentially unheard first album “Dusted”? I have that, too.) Anyway, one of dudes who runs a bootleg account I follow posted about his band saying something like, “Oh I have a band, we have a record coming out, check it out.” Very nonchalant tho. So I did. And I was blown away. Classic Traffic mine similar sonic territory as the Posies, Teenage Fanclub and Dinosaur Jr., adding a bit of classic rock/riff-y edge to balance out the pop. It’s really great stuff that I doubt many people have heard. But it’s WELL worth your time. Hear it

And just because, here’s a few other “lesser-known-but-probably-more-known-than-the-ones-I-picked” power-pop adjacent records I recommend checking out:

Young Guv – III & IV

Mo Troper – MTV

Dazy – Out of Body

2nd Grade – Easy Listening

Tony Molina – In the Fade

Romero – Turn It On!

Sabeth Elberse (Sabeth Elberse Studio, Sweet Sweet Music blog’s Head of Design)

Romero – Turn It On!

Model Shop – Love Interest

The Beths – Expert in a Dying Field

Sandy McKnight

1. Fernando Perdomo – Moon River

2. Christopher Peifer – The Long Goodbye

3. Liv Cummins – Let Me Go

Scott Gagner

(…) the best Power Pop I’ve heard would certainly be Nick Frater’s “Dancing With a Gertrude” single. One of the best chorus melodies I’ve heard in years.

Scott Theabo

Maple Mars – Someone’s Got To Listen

Lannie Flowers – Flavor Of The Month

The Cowsills – Rhythm Of The World

Shane Tutmarc (Dolour)

1. Castilho – Today we’ll be the lucky ones

2. Dungeon of Skeletons – Patterns

3. Shintaro Sakamoto – Like A Fable

S.W. Lauden (aka Steve Coulter) (TSAR, The Brothers Steve, ‘Go All The Way’ and ‘Go Further’)

1. Uni Boys – Do It All Next Week

2. 2nd Grade – Easy Listening

3. Young Guv – Guv III

Tim Boykin (Lolas)

My Picks for Best 3 Power Pop Songs of 2023:

1. Alvvays – Many Mirrors

2. White Reaper – Pages

3. Chubby and the Gang – Who Loves Ya? (Coup d’état)

Victor Ramirez (Ramirez Exposure, Marc Jonson & Ramírez Exposure)

The Cowsills – Rhythm Of The World

Bart Davenport – Episodes

Model Shop – Love Interest

Yoshiyuki Morikawa

Dungeon Of Skeletons – Patterns 

Marc Valentine – Future Obscure

Marc Jonson &  Ramirez Exposure – Turning On The Century Vol.1

Fox Paloma – Retrospectacular

Fox Paloma, from Denmark, makes catchy and delicious Psych Pop inspired by the sound, smell, and color of the 60s. Rasmus Holst introduces the band.

How did this record come together?

Our EP really started to come together when we went to Starrsound Recording Studio to record the songs. We had made a few demos and picked 4-5 songs to record. But it was unfinished arrangements and some songs missed lyrics altogether. But it was intentional. We have a fantastic partnership with our producer Søren Christensen, and together we worked on the songs. And Starrsound Recording Studio is a heaven for retro lovers. It’s owned by the band The Courettes, and the gear, equipment, and interior are all old stuff from the 60’s and 70’s. Even the lounge/living room/bedroom is a vibe: It’s all red. Red carpets, red painted walls, red TV, red chairs, red cups, red fork, red radio and so on. And everything is retro stuff. We wanted to use that vibe and time bubble as inspiration for our songs.

How great is the urge to stay creative?  To keep writing songs and lyrics?

Our urge to stay creative grows every time we finish songs and/or release new songs. We are always inspired to grow as a band, make better songs, and better records. 

You can pick 3 co-writers to write new songs with. Who? … and Why?

Brian Wilson would surely be one of them, because he writes beautiful harmonies and chord arrangements. Kevin Parker because of his expertise in making vintage sound modern. And then JVKE. He is very playful and skillful in mixing genres such as pop, hip hop, and classical music and just make it work perfectly – in a way he just as forward thinking as Brian Wilson back in the day.

What’s the gig you will always remember? And why?

We’ll always remember our gig at Spot Festival in Aarhus, Denmark in May 2022. It’s a festival for upcoming artist (some more upcoming than other), and we felt like we arrived on a wild card. Nobody really knew anything about us. So our expectations weren’t that great.

We decided to release “Bubble” as a single that day. And to our surprise a few hundreds came to our show, we handed out soap bubbles toys to the audience – it was a blast! People were dancing and blowing bubbles everywhere!

 Playing music in front of a crowd. What’s all the fun about?

We write music for people not for ourselves. It’s wonderful to work on songs in the studio and it’s great to release them to the world. But nothing beats playing our music in front of a crowd and get the immediate reaction. To see them dance and hear them sing along to our songs. Feel the vibe and energy. When we really connect with the crowd, and the crowd connects with us – that’s when it all makes sense. 

What compliment you once received will you never forget?

One of our missions with Fox Paloma is to bring back the 60’s vibe. We absolutely love 60’s music and in the beginning of the “project” we almost exclusively draw our inspiration from back then. After our very first gig on our very first tour in 2022 a young bloke came up to us and said: “I felt like I was at a Beatles concert”. To be honest, at first we didn’t take it as a compliment – that’s one hell of a box to be put in. But then we thought about. Maybe his frame of reference of music from the 60’s is the Beatles. Thinking in that way he didn’t mean that we sounded like the Beatles. Instead, we embodied his imagined nostalgia of the 60’s. That’s when we thought we were on to something. We nailed the sound and the vibe! Or maybe he just thought we sounded like the Beatles…..

Those magical moments when you’re working in the studio.  Which moment was the most magical?

We love being in the studio – it’s such an immersive experience. We’ve recorded at Starrsound Recording Studio a couple of times now and we’ve had many magical moments there. For this record it was especially magical when the sample in the intro to our song “Bubble” was added. It felt like it all was coming together.

If you could pick three singers to sing harmony vocals on your next record, who would you ask?

Our dear friend Jonas Ringtved, Brian Wilson and Robin Pecknold!

‘colouring outside’ and being the epitome of underground.

‘I think our songs are distinct from many other songs because we imagined all of the songs from these releases as coming from a fictitious 80s jangle pop band in a French Colony off the coast of Newfoundland who never released a record and broke up under suspicious circumstances. That is a mouthful, but it is true that these songs are to be viewed through this lens. Another thing that sets us apart is Charles Austin, who writes the music, and is an elite-level fuzz connoisseur. Also, unlike most bands, we purposefully obfuscate our songs and degrade their fidelity. We hoped the songs would sound like an old water-damaged cassette found in a moldy basement.’, says Josh Salter. He is talking about his band Colouring Outside, who released many great songs in the last couple of years.

What place do you occupy in the music industry?

I would like to say the very bottom wrung of the ladder, but the truth is probably the ground on which the ladder rests. Maybe even the soil beneath. We are the epitome of underground.

The meaning of success has changed over the years. What would success look like for the new record?

Success for our records is mostly dependent on us enjoying making the music. Literally, anyone hearing said music is a plus. We’ve never played a show (except in our elaborate fictitious backstory).

Cassettes are back. Which 5 five songs would make your first mixtape?

The Pooh Sticks – On Tape

Elyse Weinberg – Houses

The Boy Hairdressers – Golden Showers

Shira Small – Eternal Life

The Replacements – Run For the Country

Who would you ask if you could pick three singers to sing harmony vocals on your next record?

David Crosby, Graham Nash, and Stephen Stills circa 1968 or Alvin, Theodore, and Simon circa 1980.