What Todd Rundgren song is my favorite power pop song you ask? Which? Which Todd Rundgren song?! Clamor has been building up on the blog for some time now. I really thought that would have been obvious, but tastes differ an all. It’s: Couldn’t I Just Tell You. What happens that’s very special? At 2:40 things quiet down; 2:50 all the instruments cut out except the guitar, pretty much, and then they come back, in the form of the drummer coming in and knocking the entire kit over in the business at 2:59. (This latter, by the way, is the perfect length for a song according to The Clash’s Hitsville UK, which notes that “the band went in/and knocked ‘em dead/in two minutes fifty-nine.” I loved this song inordinately when I was young, even though in retrospect it sort of has an excess of singers and maybe xylophones or something. No, wait, definitely an excess of xylophones.) The outro has a perfect bend you weren’t expecting.
There’s a playground near John’s parents’ house and I remember going there with his mom and letting her play with then-toddler Zoë while I swung on the swings, pumping my legs back and forth under the overcast, metronome back and forth and just hitting << when the song ended, for more than half an hour. This soft/loud thing at 2:40 sq is a classic power pop move, and in general: having a killer bridge, being relatively short, and not overusing your “rock trick” are the keys to power pop awesome IME. (This track has 16 sec of Todd & co forgetting to start playing after the guitar intro and exhaling bong/nitrous hits at the start, making it in truth a deceptively slim 3:19. It was put out in 1973, a time when people thought things like “sure, keep the tape rolling while you guys do whippets” and “let’s give Todd Rundgren the money to make a double-album!” seemed like good ideas.)
What if I just randomly played other power pop songs from the 90s, 2000-2010 (noting is springing to mind for the last three years) that pulled these moves off well even though it digressed from my 70s-80s power pop thing and put off my epic discussion of the metaphysics of Cheap Trick? What then? Could I get you to argue about that? Or about Todd Rundgren sucking? I feel as if this were a challenge to my blogging powers. If I can possibly induce anyone to argue about Todd Rundgren, well. Oh, shit I could get you to argue about The Strokes thought right? That would be tedious and idiotic of you. DONT BOTHER.
3:06 bitchez. They use the chorus only three times, and once is as the bridge. To be fair, they also dispense with the verses at that point. Economical. The tune is beautiful, also, and the if the ‘90s ever did anything for pop music, it was to teach it how to use LOUDsoftLOUD effectively. So much so that if you do not start feeling love for all humanity prickle your skin with life (or black bile springing forth to water the hateful roots of your soul, as preferred) at 1:10, then—at least, in the name of all that is holy (or, as I say, profane, mutatis etc.) at 2:05 and the rejoining of the remaining instruments—then…then…well, aren’t we the difficult one.
may be are prolly more purely power-poppish New Pornographers songs, but this one has always been dear to me because in a way they only use the rock trick once. Repeatedly, granted, but only at the end.
Matthew Sweet: in the classic Chuck Klosterman article “10 Most Accurately Rated Bands of All Time”, Matthew Sweet made it on like so, “every Matthew Sweet album has only one goodsong, and this good song is inevitably the first single, and thissingle is always utterly perfect (“Sick of Myself” off 100% Fun, “Where You Get Love” off Blue Sky on Mars, “Girlfriend” off Girlfriend, etc.). He sells enough albums to live comfortably, and that seems reasonable.” This is not entirely fair. Way more of the songs on 100% Fun are good. Like this one, “Get Older.” Also other songs.
“Get Older” is a short, sweet, sad, song that helped me not kill myself for a while, and what else can you really say that’s better than that?
Oh yeah I did.