If you’re looking for a genre of music that combines catchy melodies, energetic guitars, and irresistible hooks, look no further than power pop. Power pop is a style of rock music that emerged in the late 1960s and early 1970s, influenced by the British Invasion, the Beatles, and the Beach Boys. Power pop songs are typically short, upbeat, and radio-friendly, with lyrics that often deal with love, romance, and youth.
In this playlist, I’ve compiled some of the best examples of power pop from different decades and countries, featuring both classic and modern bands. Whether you’re a fan of the genre or just curious, I hope you’ll enjoy these tunes as much as I do.
## The Pioneers
The oldest track on the playlist is “Paperback Writer” by the Beatles, one of the earliest and most influential power pop songs. The Beatles were a huge inspiration for many power pop bands, especially with their use of harmonies, guitar riffs, and catchy choruses. Other tracks from this era include “Go All the Way” by Raspberries, “Day After Day” by Badfinger, and “September Gurls” by Big Star, all of which showcase the power pop sound of the 1970s.
## The Revival
Also on the playlist are some of the bands that revived the power pop genre in the late 1970s and early 1980s, adding elements of new wave, punk, and glam rock. Some of the highlights are “My Sharona” by the Knack, “I Want You to Want Me” by Cheap Trick, “Turning Japanese” by the Vapors, and “American Girl” by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. These songs are full of energy, attitude, and fun, and they still sound fresh today.
## The Moderns
The last part of the playlist brings us closer to the present day, with some of the contemporary bands that have kept the power pop spirit alive. These include “Buddy Holly” by Weezer, “Bohemian Like You” by the Dandy Warhols, “Stacy’s Mom” by Fountains of Wayne, and “California” by Phantom Planet. These bands have added their own twists to the power pop formula, incorporating influences from alternative rock, indie pop, and grunge.
## The Conclusion
Power pop is a genre that has endured for over 50 years, and it shows no signs of slowing down. It’s a genre that celebrates the joy of music, the thrill of love, and the excitement of life. It’s a genre that makes you want to sing along, dance, and smile. It’s a genre that I love, and I hope you do too.
In early 1980 newspaper The Village Voice published the results of its poll of 155 music critics. Voted the best album of 1979 was Graham Parker & The Rumour’s Squeezing Out Sparks. The rest of the top ten was:
Neil Young – Rust Never Sleeps
The Clash – The Clash
Talking Heads – Fear of Music
Elvis Costello – Armed Forces
Van Morrison – Into the Music
The B-52s – The B-52s
Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers – Damn the Torpedoes
Pere Ubu – Dub Housing
Donna Summer – Bad GirlsGraham Parker was born on this date in 1950. A handful of his songs are included on today’s playlist.
“I love rock ‘n roll, so put another dime in the jukebox, baby”
Would the youth of today understand those lyrics from Joan Jett & the Blackhearts’ cover of The Arrows’ “I Love Rock ‘n Roll?” “What’s a jukebox? What’s a dime?” I hear them asking. If that song were written today, how would it go?
“I love rock ‘n roll, so stream your favorite song on your smartwatch, baby”
“I love rock ‘n roll, so send payment via Venmo so you can unlock the playlist you want to hear, baby”
“I love rock ‘n roll, so tap your phone to connect to the speaker’s Bluetooth and hit play on your selection, baby”
“I love rock ‘n roll, so say ‘Hey Siri, play some rock ‘n roll and feel free to include women and Black artists because you’re not Jann Wenner, baby’”
“I love rock ‘n roll, so use your smartphone’s camera to scan the square-shaped QR code to be redirected to a website or an app where you can choose from a variety of songs and see the ratings, reviews, and popularity of each and select the song you want and it will be added to the queue and play when it’s your turn, baby / I love rock ‘n roll, so come and take some time and dance with me”
That last one just rolls off the tongue. So singalongable!
I love rock ‘n roll and I love Joan Jett, who turns 65 today. A handful of tracks by Joan Jett & the Blackhearts are on today’s playlist.