I landed a copy of Adam Daniel’s 1999 debut Blue Pop sometime around 2008. From the opening strains of “Breaking Up” I was hooked. Reviewers at the time gushed about the brilliance of the record, comparing it to work by Marshall Crenshaw and Tommy Keene. Daniel’s genius was to overlay the discordant vibe of the 1990s onto some pretty classic poprock. The album has so many highlights it’s a shame to focus on just this or that song … but I will. “Battle Song” is a rock solid single, with hooks and tempo changes that give it first-class ear-worm status. “Cured” reminds me a bit of the bouncy guitar pop of Mary Lou Lord. “Her Shake” kicks off with the tear-away electric guitar fun of a Fountains of Wayne single before resolving into a more uptempo Elliot Smith feel. “Said Don’t Go” is one of those subtle, melodic deep cuts each listener thinks is the special song only they have noticed. “Guess I Got a Girl” updates some neo-1950s motifs for the 1990s to create some pretty hooky magic. Meanwhile the various acoustic guitar numbers (“You Wrecked Me,” “Lovebug”) demonstrate the songwriting strength on this album. Sure the distinctive production and instrumentation makes this record sound pretty special but it wouldn’t go far without strong material. The album ends on a strong note with “Say Goodbye,” a slower tempo number that has a languid beauty, a slow hooky groove.
Somehow I lost my copy of Blue Pop in one of my many epic computer memory fails of the new millennium. I’d been listening to it a lot in the car but now, wiped from the hard drive, I couldn’t recall the name of the artist or the album title or even a single song. But from all music I lost, I somehow knew this was one I was really missing. When I chanced upon “Battle Song” on the internet recently, it all came flooding back. It’s great to be reunited with Adam Daniel!
Daniel has had a sporadic output since Blue Pop but the magic is still there in various releases, all of which can be perused on his Bandcamp, Facebook or personal website pages.