It was indeed a ‘wild’ and ‘exciting’ sound when I first heard it back in 1983. I’d stumbled across a ‘DJ-only’ pressing of “Whenever You’re On My Mind” and I was hooked, that Steve Lillywhite, reverb-drenched guitar line forever ingrained on my consciousness. From there I would double back to discover his amazing 1982 self-titled debut and go forward buying every real time release from 1985’s Downtown on. And unlike much of the studio-centric music of the period, Crenshaw’s accessible brand of new wave-tinged rock and roll was made to be enjoyed as much live on stage as on vinyl.
All of the above is just a roundabout way of saying that The Wild Exciting Sounds of Marshall Crenshaw: Live In The 20th and 21st Century will surely be a welcome addition to any Crenshaw fan’s collection. With 26 tracks, the collection is basically what we used to call a double album. One half focuses heavily on Crenshaw’s first two albums and his crack band from the period are in fine form. 12 of the 16 tracks here cover tunes from his debut and follow up album, the self-titled Marshall Crenshaw and Field Day, with two Elvis covers, an Al Green cover, and MC’s early Shake Records single “Something’s Gonna Happen.” The second batch of songs represent a Crenshaw-curated selection of tunes from the rest of his catalogue, with nearly every album getting a look in barring Downtown and What’s in the Bag? (Ok, I’ll admit it, I was bummed to see no Downtown tracks included here but, in fairness, they do appear on both of Crenshaw’s other live album releases). As with all things Crenshaw, the album design is stylish and cool while the song performances give us new insight into their versatility and melodic depth. There’s no doubt in my mind, fans are going to want to get wild with this set.
Buy this record from Marshall’s Bandcamp page to make sure he gets the maximum on your money appreciation and check out his website and Facebook for tour and music news.
It’s been five years since I embarked on this mad journey: to write a music blog. I dithered over the decision to start one for a number of months. There’s nothing more pathetic than to start something with maximum fanfare and enthusiasm, only to have it flame out a half dozen posts later. The questions I had to ask myself were: (a) was there enough of ‘my kind’ of music to regularly post about, and (b) could I sustain the effort to get regular posts up on the blog? Well here’s the proof. In five years I’ve managed to produce 347 blogs posts. I’ve written more than 170,000 words about poprock tunes. And, most importantly, I’ve featured almost 1000 different artists. Guess the answers to (a) and (b) are both a resounding yes!
I think the biggest reason this blog thing has worked out for me is that it is such a great outlet for being creative and having fun with something that has always been pretty central to my life: music. I love doing all the mock serious regular features (e.g. Breaking news, Around the Dial, Should be a hit single) and coming up with goofy themes as a way to feature different artists (e.g. “Telephonic Poprock,” “Summer’s Coming,” and the Cover me! series. Sometimes I’ve pushed the posts in more serious directions (“Is That So Gay,” “Campaigning for Hooks,” and “Pandemic Poprock“) but only if the melodies and hooks were there in abundance. The blog has also allowed me to pay tribute to my musical heroes (Buddy Holly, The Beatles, The Zombies, Elvis Costello, Nick Lowe, Marshall Crenshaw, Suzanne Vega, Aimee Mann). But, as regular readers know, such luminaries mostly appear as reference points to better help people get of a sense of what all these new acts are doing.
If you’ve just tuned in, I’m not assigning the past five years of posts as homework. Instead, I offer today’s anniversary post as a retrospective of what’s been happening here. I reviewed all 347 posts to pick out some choice examples of the range of styles I can cram under the rubrik of ‘poprock’. It wasn’t easy! My first go round produced a list of 118 songs. When I converted that to a playlist I got the number down to 81 tracks. Ack! Still too many. So I’ve broken things down into themes. This is not a ‘greatest hits’ or ‘best of’ Poprock Record. I’ve left out a lot of acts I really love. It’s just a representative sample of what goes on here, to borrow some lingo from my day job. Click on the highlighted band names to go to the original posts on the blog.
Let’s start by recognizing that not all that appears here is new. The blog has allowed me to explore a huge number of acts I’ve missed over the years, particularly in the 1990s when my new day job (academe) took over my life. I can’t believe I somehow missed great bands like Fire Town and the Soul Engines with their incredible guitar hooks. The Sighs “Make You Cry” is a pretty perfect poprock single. I knew about Billy Cowsills’ Blue Northern but had never heard of his later group, the Blue Shadows. And Eugene Edwards’ sole solo release, My Favorite Revolution, is a must add for any melodic rock and roll fan.
There have been acts that appeared again and again on the blog, my ‘old reliables’ as I might call them. These are performers I can pretty much carve out space in the queue for whenever I hear a new release is on the way. Gregory Pepper is probably my most covered artist. I love his quirky, always hooky, sometimes touching efforts. Ezra Furman was another great find who has an unerring knack of placing a memorable hook at the centre of whatever he’s doing, whether it’s retro 1950s pop or a punkish political ode. I discovered Jeremy Fisher long before the blog but I’ve used it to feature his work, old and new. He’s like a new wave Paul Simon with great videos. Edward O’Connell only has two albums, but they are reliably good. We really need a third. Mo Troper always delivers something wonderfully weird but still melodic and ‘can’t get it out of your head’ good. Finally, Jeremy Messersmith’s records regularly encompass big vision but he doles it out in memorable should-be hit singles.
In my world of poprock, while any instrument goes, the electric guitar is arguably pretty central. Some bands really know how to ride a guitar-driven song right into your head. Jeff Shelton’s Well Wishers excel at putting the guitar up front. “Feeling Fine” is practically a ‘how to’ example of killer guitar-dominant poprock. The David James Situation and The Format are no slouches either. Jangle is a related field of guitar poprock and takes a number of forms, from the 1960s-inflected Byrds sound of The Vapour Trails to the more jaunty bubblegum feel of The Lolas “We’re Going Down to the Boathouse.” Jangle also usually features pretty addictive harmony vocals, showcased below in Propeller’s “Summer Arrives.”
As the original and defining decade of poprock (in my view), the 1960s sound continues to be mined by new artists. Daisy House have few rivals in nailing the late 1960s California poprock vibe, sounding like time travelers from San Francisco’s 1968 club scene. Space Dingus have got The Monkees feel down. Both Shadow Show and The On and Ons gives us that rockier pop sound of the mid 1960s, with the latter delivering killer lead guitar hooks. By contrast, both Cut Worms and The Young Veins offer a candy-coated pop sound more akin to The Cyrkle and Simon and Garfunkel.
I’m a sucker for shivery harmony vocals so they’ve been featured regularly on the blog. One of Jenny Lewis’ side projects is the one-off album from Jenny and Johnny, I’m Having Fun Now. Aptly named, the record gently rocks and delivers amazing vocals. The Secret Sisters offer up a punchy tune where the harmony vocals seal the hooky deal. The Carousels “Call Along the Coast” has a big sound the rides a wave of harmony vocalizing and Beatlesque guitar work. Meanwhile Scotland’s Dropkick corner the market on delightful lilting songcraft on “Dog and Cat.” The blog sometimes shades into retro country and folk territory. Bomabil are an eccentric outfit who stretch our sense of song but never drop the melody. The Top Boost are pretty new wave but on “Tell Me That You’re Mine” they’re channeling Bakersfield via the Beatles 65. The Fruit Bats put the banjo upfront in “Humbug Mountain,” where it belongs. Gerry Cinnamon is like Scotland’s Billy Bragg and he shows what you can do with just an acoustic guitar and a Springsteen harmonica.
I’m proud to say that the blog has sometimes strayed off the beaten path of conventional poprock into more eccentric territory with bands that are smart and quirky and not afraid to lodge a hook in a more complex setting. Tally Hall pretty much define this approach. So ‘out there’ but still so good melodically. Chris Staples and Hayden offer up more low key, moody tunes but they still have a strong melodic grab. Overlord take clever to a new level, like a grad school version of They Might Be Giants. Coach Hop is just funny and hooky with his unabashed ode to liking Taylor Swift.
After the 1960s the new wave era is the renaissance of poprock for me with its combination of hooky guitars, harmony vocals, and melody-driven rock and roll. Screen Test capture this ambience perfectly on “Notes from Trevor” with a chorus that really delivers. The Enlows drive the guitar hook right into your head on the dance-madness single “Without Your Love.” Billy Sullivan epitomizes the reinvention of 1960s elements that occurred in the 1980s, well embodied in “Everywhere I Go.” Another strong theme in the blog has been the “I Get Mail” feature, populated largely by DIY songsters who write me about their garage or basement recorded releases. It is inspiring to hear from so many people doing their thing and getting it out there, especially when it is generally really good. Daveit Ferris is a DIY workaholic with an amazing range of song and recording styles. “Immeasurable” is a good illustration of his genius, with a banjo-driven chorus that always makes me smile. Mondello is practically the classic indie artist movie script, struggling to get an album out after 20 years. But then his follow up single, “My Girl Goes By,” is gold!
I want to leave you with a two-four of should-be hits from Poprock Record. These songs are all quality cuts, grade A poprock with melodies and harmonies and hooks to spare. Some of these songs leave me panting, they’re so good. I kicked off the blog back in 2015 with Family of Year and I still think “Make You Mine” is a textbook should-be AM radio hit. Sunday Sun channel The Beatles through a 1980s song filter, in the very best way. Sitcom Neighbor’s “Tourist Attraction” is a delightful earworm affliction. Wyatt Blair has somehow boiled down the essential formula of a 1960s-influenced poprock hit. Wyatt Funderburk understands how to assemble the perfect melody-driven single. And so on. Get your clicking finger warmed up and you’ll be introduced to the essence of Poprock Record in 24 melodious increments.
One thing I didn’t anticipate was all the great people I’d come in contact with writing a music blog. Thanks to all the bands, record labels, and readers who have responded so positively to what I’ve been doing here. A special thanks to Best Indie Songs, Tim at Powerpopulist and Don at I Don’t Hear a Single for their advice over the years and to my friends Rob at Swizzle and Dale at The View from Here for encouraging me to do this.
This post features pics from my poprock-postered 1985-7 apartment in Vancouver’s West End. Just $285 a month, all inclusive. No wonder I could buy so many records.
Marshall Crenshaw has long been my fave solo artist. Why MC? Maybe it was the glasses – he looked kinda smart and rock and roll. But what first caught my attention was the 1000 watt hook lighting up Field Day’s first single, “Whenever You’re on My Mind.” Has anyone recorded a more perfect seven seconds of poprock intro? I don’t think so. But then I’ve always been a sucker for a stunning lead guitar line – stuff like the Beatles’ “I Feel Fine” and “Day Tripper” or the Church’s “Unguarded Moment” and Big Country’s “In a Big Country.” But it’s more than just hooks that makes Crenshaw a poprock legend, there’s something about his songs that can always toggle the joy and an involuntary smile from me. And it’s all there with his combination of 1950s Buddy Holly and Everly’s roots, Beatlesque melodies and a 1980s new wave/indie delivery.
With ten albums, six EPs, and a host of one-off singles, compilation contributions and covers there’s plenty of Crenshaw to choose from. What follows is just my whirlwind and idiosyncratic take on a pretty fabulous and inventive career. Now to begin, let’s be clear that MC’s first two albums, the self-titled Marshall Crenshaw and Field Day, are pretty much poprock perfection. I shouldn’t single anything out – these records are nonstop ear candy. I’ll say this much, you can dance to “She Can’t Dance” while “One Day With You” is a masterclass in melodic songcraft. Funny, though I first heard MC via Field Day’s initial single, I didn’t pick up the album until years later. Problem was, as an older release (by one year when I first heard it!) the damn record never went on sale at my local retailer.
The first Crenshaw album I really got into in real time (i.e. when it was released) was Downtown and it remains my favourite, mostly for sentimental reasons. I bought it and played it non-stop in my first one-room apartment in Vancouver’s West End. It was both a declaration of adult independence and – thematically, with its retro 1960s Warner Brothers vibe – a strong link to my parents’ record collection. The album rocks on tracks like “Right Now,” “Little Wild One,” “Terrifying Love,” and “(We’re Gonna) Shake Up Their Minds” while Everly-ing the hell out of “Vague Memory” and “Lesson Number One.”
From then on I’ve pretty much picked up every EC release as soon as they hit the shelves and never been disappointed. If you’re just starting out, here would be my picks from each to get you into the groove. From 1987’s Mary Jean & 9 Others I’d drop the needle on “Mary Jean” and “Calling Out for Love at Crying Time.” You really get a sense of Crenshaw’s mastery of the hooky lead line here. 1989’s Good Evening is hard to make choices over given its exquisite, dynamic mix of originals and covers. Personally I love “Someplace Love Can’t Find Me,” “She Hates to Go Home,” and “On the Run” but really I feel like I’m choosing which limb to hack off because every song here is pretty special. In 1991 MC left Warners for MCA with Life’s Too Short. In interviews for the record Crenshaw talked about the work he put into extending his guitar technique and it showed on should-be hit singles like “Delilah,” “Fantastic Planet of Love,” and “Don’t Disappear Now.”
On the RunDelilah
And then Crenshaw left the major label scene altogether for the relative freedom of more independent releases, first with Razor and Tie and then with his own 429 Records. Since then he’s moved in some new directions musically but always offered up some melodic poprock gems, like “What Do You Dream Of?” and “Starless Summer Sky” from 1996’s Miracle of Science, or “Television Light” and “Right There in Front of Me” from 1999’s #447. In the new millennium there’s been “A Few Thousand Days Ago” from 2003’s What’s in the Bag? and “Long Hard Road” from 2009’s Jaggedland. #395 is MC’s EP collection from 2015, a kind of quasi-album at 14 tracks, and it sees Crenshaw back in excellent form with “Moving Now,” “Front Page News,” and a killer Bobby Fuller cover “Never to be Forgotten.”
What Do You Dream Of?Right There in Front of MeFront Page News
While the flow of Marshall Crenshaw new material may have slowed in recent years there’s no lack of quality re-issues coming on stream. Intervention Records put out a fabulous redesigned Field Day a few years back, complete with a rare 12” US remix EP, while Crenshaw himself is just in the process of re-releasing his post major label work, tweaking the production on certain cuts and adding out-takes and b-sides, starting with the fabulous Miracle of Science. Hustle on over to marshallcrenshaw.comto keep up with the latest news.
Just to prove my MC cred, here’s snap from my past featuring my unique bachelor apartment decor! Ok, this is actually my second apartment (circa 1987) but if you look up in the far right corner, you’ll see the Billboard magazine ad/poster for MC’s debut LP that appears above on the wall! Photo credit: James Koester.
What started out as a home demo B-side has gone on to become one of Marshall Crenshaw’s most enduring and widely covered songs! Crenshaw recalls that “You’re My Favorite Waste of Time” was written while he was still employed playing John Lennon in the off Broadway production of Beatlemania, and that it was one of his very first forays into songwriting. Marshall’s version of the song – still the definitive treatment IMHO – has him playing all the parts in his New York City apartment home studio in 1979, despite being credited on the 45 to the ‘Handsome, Ruthless and Stupid Band’ when released as the B-side to “Someday Someway” in 1982. Cover versions have emerged at regular intervals since then. What draws people to the tune? No doubt it’s Crenshaw’s unmistakable, unforgettable vocal hook in the chorus that gives the song its classic and timeless poprock sound.
Marshall’s original version of the song has a curious tempo and an eerie vocal harmony. It’s sounds just a little out of kilter, with distinctive keyboard notes, and a lovely stumbling finish. Why he didn’t elect to produce a polished professional studio version is unclear. Still, the demo version is charming. The song’s covers have ranged all over the style map, from country to dance club to rock and roll. But not every version is a winner, from my poprock-biased point of view. Bette Midler’s slick, poppy early 1983 cover no doubt gave the song it’s major exposure to American audiences, while Owen Paul’s more dance-pop take made the UK top ten in 1986. But neither version really grabs me. By contrast, the Bellamy Brothers’ version from their 1985 LP Howard and David has real heart. So I’m gonna be choosy here, featuring only the covers I think honour the spirit of Crenshaw’s vision for the song.
The Bellamy Brothers
Crenshaw’s musical oeuvre stands at the crossroads of rock and roll’s country and rhythm and blues roots. Not surprisingly then, the covers that work best draw from these traditions too. Kevin Johnson and the Linemen really nail the song on their 1991 debut album, Memphis for Breakfast, with an alt country-fied rock and roll sound. They almost sound like Crenshaw himself! Then the covers really start coming in the new millennium. Crenshaw himself played on Ronnie Spector’s 2003 cover of the song from her EP of his tunes, Something’s Gonna Happen, so it rocks, not surprisingly. Jeffrey Foskettis well known for his work with Brian Wilson and the Beach Boys, particularly on vocal support. Predictably, he makes the most of the vocal machinations embedded in the song, especially in the chorus. A poprock superstar version came out in 2013 from Matthew Sweet and Susanna Hoffs, a bonus track addition to volume 3 of their Under the Covers series. And the song has also gone international with Irish, Swedish and Norwegian bands taking it on, from Johnny Logan, The Drowners and Kjetil Linnes respectively, producing great straight-up, poppy, rock and roll renditions. The most recent cover I could find can be found on Rachel Kiel’s super 2017 release, Shot From a Cannon.
Kevin Johnston and the LinemenRonnie SpectorMatthew Sweet and Susanna HoffsJohnny LoganThe Drowners
Who should have covered this song? The Everly Brothers, that who. But barring that now irreparable oversight, there’s room for more time-wasting song-wise. Click on the links above to get to know these cover artists other material, and don’t forget to give Marshall lots of love too!
Bobby Fuller’s untimely death in 1966, just as his career was taking off, deprived popular music of his unique Buddy Holly-meets-British Invasion sound and clear songwriting promise. Case in point: “Let Her Dance,” an ear-wormy, hook-rich masterpiece. The song contains a brilliant juxtaposition of musical tensions that pull between the beat, lead guitar line, vocal melody, and some inspired background- vocal counterpoint. No wonder it’s been covered by countless bands, each choosing to balance the competing elements in somewhat different and intriguing ways. Today’s post explores that variety with a “Let Her Dance”-a-thon. Get your dancing shoes ready!
Where to start? With The Bobby Fuller Four, of course. Though here fans may not know that “Let Her Dance” was actually a rewrite of an earlier Fuller release, “Keep On Dancing.” IMHO the rewrite improves things considerably but compare for yourself below. Now, confession time: the first version of LHD I heard was actually by Marshall Crenshaw from his 1989 Warner’s swan song album, Good Evening. Marshall is a huge Fuller fan, describing him as his “favourite rock star ever to be murdered by gangsters.” More seriously though, at a South by Southwest Bobby Fuller panel session, Crenshaw called the group “…one of the great rock ‘n’ roll bands,” insisting “[t]hey did what they did with so much conviction and energy. Those guys really knew what Fender guitars were for.” In addition to LHD, Crenshaw has covered Fuller’s “Julia,” “My True Love,” and “Never To Be Forgotten.” And Crenshaw’s LHD is a loving homage, fattening up the opening guitar, spacing out the vocal parts, and adding a nice echo-y bit to the bridge. Compared to the original, all that’s missing is Fuller’s heavenly wall-of-background-vocals.
Bobby Fuller Four – Let Her DanceBobby Fuller – Keep On DancingMarshall Crenshaw – Let Her Dance
Crenshaw’s wasn’t the first cover of LHD, not by a long shot. The first I could find was from Eddy Grant’s 1960s interracial British band, The Equals, from their 1967 album, Explosion. Grant changed lyrics and tempo, smoothing out Fuller’s frenetic pacing, giving the tune a more laid back vibe. The seventies would also put its stamp on LHD when The Spitballs, a Beserkley label house band consisting of various members of the Modern Lovers, Greg Kihn Band, Earth Quake and the Rubinoos, gave it a refreshing ‘spirit of 1978’ back-to-rock-and-roll-basics treatment. The eighties saw a host of LHD covers see the light of day, starting with Phil Seymour from his killer debut album, the self-titled Phil Seymour. Released as a follow up single to the poprock smash, “Precious to Me,” Seymour’s cover of LHD showcased his uncanny ability to add something new to other people’s songs. His version had jaunty guitar, pumping piano, handclaps and, of course, his own special vocal stylings in what amounted to a new wave, powerpop reinvention of the song. Taking things in a punkier direction, Teenage Head indie-fied LHD with their rockier take from their 1986 album Trouble in the Jungle. Linda Rondstad’s 1960s backing band, Swampwater, produced a cool southern fried rock cover of LHD in the late 1970s but the group’s Reunion album didn’t see release until 1987.
The EqualsThe SpitballsTeenage HeadSwampwater
The 1990s were a less fertile LHD-cover terrain – I couldn’t find a single version! But all that changed with the new millennium. Changes in recording technology and music delivery costs meant that artists could experiment a bit more, offering up more covers. The Incredible Casuals, Bill Lloyd and The Terrible Noises all offered up great poprock treatments of the song while others strayed into related genres, with Los Super Seven adding latin touches to Fuller’s texas rockabilly sound, Joe Goldmark and Keta Bill provided a straight up retro country treatment, and The Vikings barrelled through in classic Ramones-revivalist style. Meanwhile, others pushed the boundaries of LHD conventions. Musical iconoclast George Elliott took a very creative approach, almost sounding like The Folkmen from The Mighty Wind mockumentary while The Very Most messed with the traditional instrumentation and background vocals in a most enjoyable way.
The Incredible CasualsBill LloydThe Terrible NoisesLos Super SevenJoe Goldmark and Keta BillThe VikingsGeorge ElliottThe Very Most
Of course, why limit yourself to this one great song, albeit delivered in 17 fabulous flavours? There’s plenty more Bobby Fuller to go around. Keep the Fuller poprock legacy alive and check out his impressive back catalogue today.
Names come and go. Some, like Gertrude, Hilda, and Agnes, are probably never coming back. But others carry on through generations, like Maryanne. It’s a name that conjures up the quintessential girl next door. She seemed to be at every dance in the 1950s, ended up shipwrecked with Gilligan in the 1960s, and was the focus of a host of singer-songwriter’s attentions in the 1970s. Leonard Cohen tried to say “So Long Marianne” but it didn’t work. More Mary Anne songs kept coming. Today’s post focuses on songs named for Maryanne, Mary Anne or Mary-Anne (though, curiously, not Marianne).
What sparked this theme was my just discovering The Spongetones’ amazing single “My Girl Maryanne” from their 1984 album, Torn Apart. How did I miss these guys back in the 1980s? They had it all going on: a thoroughly Beatlesque esthetic, catchy poprock tunes, with jangly guitars and killer harmonies. The chorus from this song channels a vocal harmony straight out of 1966, as if the Mamas and Papas got the Beatles to swap out the Wrecking Crew for a session.
Of course, any mention of Mary Anne immediately got me thinking of a deep cut from Marshall Crenshaw’s stellar self-titled debut album from 1982. Distinctive guitar and background vocals always made this one a favourite for me, while the chord changes struck me as similar to Nick Lowe’s “My Heart Hurts” from the same year (similar but still sufficiently different).Mary Anne
But two songs hardly a theme blog post make. I needed more material. There was that Cohen cut, or The Who’s “Mary Anne with the Shaky Hand, or even The Four Season’s “C’mon Marianne” but they didn’t work with the blog or seemed too obvious (though I was sorely tempted to go with the Who!). Then I stumbled across a rare vocal turn from the normally instrumentally focused Shadows on their own “Mary Anne” song. Not bad for guys who usually let Cliff Richard do all the singing.
Rounding out this tribute to various Mary Anne’s is a more modern track from Boston’s alt-country outfit, Girls Guns and Glory. “Maryanne” comes from the band’s 2014 release, Sweet Nothings. The whole record is a worthwhile kick-up-your-heels, Dwight Yoakam-ish country-plus-rock and roll mash up. But check out the melodic twist in the chorus – pure poprock! Don’t overlook their 2016 album, Love and Protest, particularly the killer single “Rock and Roll.”
With the internet, releasing a single or album is now an event that never really ends. The chance that some old thing from years ago could take off unexpectedly is so much more possible now than previously. So drop in on The Spongetones, Marshall Crenshaw,The Shadows, and Girls Guns and Glory and let the hit-making begin!
On the blogosphere there is already a clearly demarked niche music genre that combines melodic pop melodies with the classic rock and roll combo of electric guitars, bass and drums: power pop. Said to have been coined by no less an authority than Pete Townsend of The Who, the term ‘power pop’ is now applied to any band with jangly guitars, swooping background harmonies, and a strong melodic hook. My blogroll features two such sites (Absolute Powerpop and Powerpopaholic) and there are many more. So why cast my efforts under a different label like poprock? Well, simply put, I think poprock is a broader, more inclusive term. Or, to put it another way, while all of power pop could be considered a form of poprock, not all poprock would be characterized as power pop.
For many bloggers, power pop has become a kind of music esthetic: a certain kind of guitar sound, a particular combination of instruments and vocals, etc. Poprock, by contrast, is less rigid. It is less a genre than a sensibility, crossing over different styles. Sure it is defined by strong melodies and as a category it would make little sense if it didn’t relate to the rock and roll cannon. But rock and roll itself was a bastard child of multiple influences: south Chicago electric blues, Appalachian mountain fiddle solos and harmony vocals, western swing, and so on. What differentiates its many sub-genres is the balance of influences. Thus poprock takes a bit more of the swing and country than the blues while still set within the classic rock and roll combo. Here I’m thinking of Buddy Holly, the Beatles, the Steve Miller band (in the hits era), Marshall Crenshaw, The Smithereens, and, more recently, Bleachers.
So don’t get me wrong – I love power pop. It’s just that I like a lot of other things too.Bleachers website