If you’re Peter Fonda and you want to impress John Lennon while tripping on LSD in a hot tub, tell him how you died once when you were a little kid. Guaranteed, you’re going to going to send the coolest Beatle someplace dark and scary, the only way out of which will be to write a stunner of a song in which A. he tells you, you’re making him feel like he’s never been born, and B. he and his band will go a long way toward perfecting the psyche-infused power pop record almost before it’s even been invented. Oh, those lovable mop-tops.
“I do remember hearing Overnight Sensation (aka Hit Record) on the radio when it was new, maybe two or three times. But it definitely didn’t hit in my corner of North America, where the Raspberries were good for two sharp power pop anthems and then weren’t much heard from anymore (overnight sensations indeed). Which is great in a way, because that means I never got allergic to Overnight Sensation which likely would have happened had it received its due. Which, I guess, is my vaguely Buddhist way of admitting that despite my numerous complaints as the to corrupt and absurd nature of the music biz, I’m often as not delighted at how time-the-universe-everything has spun things out – that there are still some absurdly overlooked treasures just lying around. And thus there’s a reason to keep digging through that hissing, shifting, living landfill that the 20th century left us. Mostly just trash, some of it genuinely toxic, but every now and then ….” (Philip Random)
“The sorta punk thrash psychedelic power pop blast of Husker Du’s Celebrated Summer was exactly what my Universe needed in the mid-80s. One night in particular comes to mind. And it wasn’t even Husker Du playing, but an all all-girl band from California (wish I remembered their name) at the Arts Club on Seymour (best live venue this town ever had). 1986 I’m pretty sure, and summertime, which meant Expo was squatting in the near distance sucking all the light and love from things. And I’d just seen Skinny Puppy up at UBC, which was a terrorizing experience, because man, the acid was particularly FUN that night. So yeah, it all came around to the song not so much saving my soul (my soul was fairly intact in those days) as reigniting it with hope, fervour, blinding white light, which is to say, celebrated and wild, erupting with summer. And as soon as we got back to the car, New Day Rising got jammed into the cassette player. Once more unto eternity.” (Philip Random)
“Wherein the Pointed Sticks (straight outa late 70s suburban Vancouver) hit the eternal pop gold standard with a three minute nugget the whole world should have heard, but it didn’t for some stupid reason (and it still hasn’t). Which puts a big loud BULLSHIT to the argument I’ve heard over the years from some I know that, despite all the music biz’s ugliness, waste, criminality and stupidity, the truly good stuff always rises, gets its due, gets heard. Yeah right.” (Philip Random)
“Translator are one of those bands that time seems to have mostly forgotten. Which is a pity because their first album in particular is well worth forty minutes of anyone’s life. And Everywhere That I’m Not is pretty much perfect, the kind of pop nugget that shoulda-woulda-coulda been huge if the music biz of 1982 actually cared about quality, which it didn’t. I guess the cocaine was just too pure in those days.” (Philip Random)
“In which the band known as Wire deliver the future circa 1979 from one of the great albums. Call it power pop, I guess, all angles and perhaps cold light. As for the map reference, I looked it up. It’s a placed called Centerville, Iowa, for no reason I can grasp … other than being the absolute center of Absolute Middle America (speaking of psychic topography here), which is about the last place you’d expect something like Map Ref 41°N 93°W to ever be a hit. Certainly not in 1979.” (Philip Random)
“How dumb was America in 1974 (and Canada for that matter)? This Town Ain’t Big Enough For The Both Of Us, one of the fiercest, funniest, pop smart eruptions to ever get pressed to vinyl, didn’t make the singles charts, didn’t even crack the Top 100. In fact, no Sparks single ever charted in the entire decade of 1970s, their best. Thank God for friends and friend’s big sisters being somehow cool enough to find out about them anyway, and share the f***ing glory.” (Philip Random)
1966 found the Beatles at their power pop peak, cranking out perfection at a faster rate than the culture could even begin to handle. And Your Bird Can Sing wasn’t even included on the North American version of Revolver. Got stuck on the compilation album Yesterday and Today instead, the one with baby dolls and butchered meat on the cover. Which quickly got pulled, of course, the forces of decency in full combat mode. Oh those loveable moptops.