Best Power Pop Songs of All Time?

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I wanna make a cool POWER POP mix CD. List what you think should be on it.

-carlos nyc

Carlos Ramirez (Carlos Ramirez), Friday, 5 December 2003 05:59 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

Sweet "Ballroom Blitz"
Blondie "Dreaming"

Orbit (Orbit), Friday, 5 December 2003 06:10 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

"Shake Some Action" - Flamin' Groovies
"Come On, Come On" - Cheap Trick
"Too Late" - Shoes
"Ballad Of El Goodo" - Big Star
"False Alarm" - Sloan

Johnny Fever (johnny fever), Friday, 5 December 2003 06:10 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

'American Ruse' - MC5

webcrack (music=crack), Friday, 5 December 2003 06:12 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

"You've Got My Number (Why Don't You Use It?)" - The Undertones

Johnny Fever (johnny fever), Friday, 5 December 2003 06:13 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

records "starry eyes"

the surface noise (electricsound), Friday, 5 December 2003 06:18 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

the first three who albums, in their entirety.

fact checking cuz, Friday, 5 December 2003 06:22 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

Teenage Fanclub - "What You Do To Me"

miloauckerman (miloauckerman), Friday, 5 December 2003 06:35 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

The Plimsoles - "A Million Miles Away"

Alex in NYC (vassifer), Friday, 5 December 2003 06:36 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

anything by Badfinger.

hstencil, Friday, 5 December 2003 06:38 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

Something from Weezer's Blue Album. Say what you want, but they ARE a
power pop band.

latebloomer (latebloomer), Friday, 5 December 2003 06:39 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

The Plimsoles - "A Million Miles Away"

Put this song twice.

billstevejim, Friday, 5 December 2003 07:07 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

The Raspberries - "I Wanna Be With You"
Todd Rundgren - "Couldn't I Just Tell You"

billstevejim, Friday, 5 December 2003 07:10 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

1. "My Sharona," The Knack (or "Your Number Or Your Name," if you want something a little less well known from GTK)
2. "Let's Go," The Cars
3. "Dearest Darling," Liquor Giants
4. "Just Say," Fastbacks
5. "Radiation Vibe," Fountains of Wayne
6. "Sick of Myself," Matthew Sweet

John Fredland (jfredland), Friday, 5 December 2003 07:47 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

"Letter from an Occupant," New Pornographers

Sean Thomas (sgthomas), Friday, 5 December 2003 08:16 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

i wanna be your boyfriend - rubinoos

gaz (gaz), Friday, 5 December 2003 08:41 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

If you want Power Pop, you have to check out the excellent Elaine MacKenzie album by Green, crammed with yearning & screaming PowerPopSongs. Follow-up White Soul is excellent as well. If I would have to pick one song to include on your comp, it'd be "Don't Ever Fall In Love With Someone, As Long As You Love Someone Else".

willem (willem), Friday, 5 December 2003 08:56 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

"If I Can't Change Your Mind" by Sugar

Rob Bolton (Rob Bolton), Friday, 5 December 2003 09:33 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

"Flavour of the month" by The Posies.

Rob M (Rob M), Friday, 5 December 2003 09:44 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

"Flavour of the month" and "radiation vibe" seconded. also...

brendan benson - tiny spark
lemonheads - confetti
teenage fanclub - neil jung

weasel diesel (K1l14n), Friday, 5 December 2003 09:54 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

"Not If You Were The Last Junkie On Earth", Dandy Warhols

aldo_cowpat (aldo_cowpat), Friday, 5 December 2003 11:07 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

"I Watched You Rhumba" - Hackamore Brick

NickB (NickB), Friday, 5 December 2003 11:10 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

Sex Clark Five-"Detention Girls"

Colin Beckett (Colin Beckett), Friday, 5 December 2003 12:07 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

kilians suggestions seconded (or thirded)

gaz (gaz), Friday, 5 December 2003 12:50 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

How killer to see Green mentioned on iLX!

You should put some Shoes on there, and don't forget Material Issue's "Valerie Loves Me" on there. (BTW, Jim Ellison was a member of Green for awhile back in the day, though I don't think he played on Elaine.) You might as well put on some early Posies and Smithereens, too.

don weiner, Friday, 5 December 2003 13:04 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

I agree with a lot of the songs mentioned in this thread and add one: The Producers, with either "What's He Got" or "I Love Lucy". Or both -- whichever you choose.

Tenacious Dee (Dee the Lurker), Friday, 5 December 2003 13:09 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

Some slightly more obscure greats:
Spongetones: She Goes Out With Everybody
Fotomaker: Where Have You Been All My Life?
20/20: Yellow Pills
Tearaways: Jessica Something
Brad Jones: Miss July
Cotton Mather: My Before And After

Geir Hongro (GeirHong), Friday, 5 December 2003 13:11 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

Fuckin' "Another Girl Another Planet"!!!

Mr. Snrub (Mr. Snrub), Friday, 5 December 2003 14:25 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

"Airport!" by the Motors

lawrence kansas (lawrence kansas), Friday, 5 December 2003 14:38 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

Man - what great suggestions. I want the disc when it's done.

Yo La Tengo - Bitter End
Magnapop - Lay it Down

dave225 (Dave225), Friday, 5 December 2003 14:48 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

yeah Carlos, are you willing to "distribute"/trade when it's done?

willem (willem), Friday, 5 December 2003 14:59 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

Plimsouls -- "How Long Does It Take?"
Blondie -- "Hangin' on the Telephone"
Cheap Trick -- "Surrender"
the Nerves -- "Paper Dolls"
The Exploding Hearts -- "Rumours in Town"
The Jam -- "I've Changed My Address"
the Posies -- "Grant Hart"
Nova Mob -- "Last Days of Pompeii"

Kingfish Beestick (Kingfish), Friday, 5 December 2003 15:11 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

Big Star to thread ...

Josh in Chicago, Friday, 5 December 2003 15:51 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

Oh, I guess "Ballad of El Goodo" (mentioned in post #3) isn't good enough for you?

see also: "September Gurls," "In The Street," and "Back Of A Car."

Johnny Fever (johnny fever), Friday, 5 December 2003 15:55 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

Gin Blossoms - Follow You Down
The Romantics - What I Like About You
The Nazz - Open My Eyes
Ben Folds Five - Emaline

My name is Kenny (My name is Kenny), Friday, 5 December 2003 16:00 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

Walking Out on Love - The Beat
I Think We're Alone Now - The Rubinoos
Tell That Girl to Shut Up - Holly & The Italians

may pang (maypang), Friday, 5 December 2003 16:17 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

"Her Head's Revolving" by the Three O'Clock

Alex in NYC (vassifer), Friday, 5 December 2003 19:45 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

The Quick - "Hilary"
The Boys - "Brickfield Nights"
The Nerves - "Hanging on the Telephone"
The Beat - "Rock N Roll Girl"
Pezband - "Baby It's Cold Outside"
The Donkeys - "No Way", "Don't Go"
The Robbs - "Bittersweet"

why not some current: The Exploding Hearts - 'I'm a Pretender', The Star Spangles - "Which One of the Two Of Us Is Going To Burn This House Down"

brent_D, Friday, 5 December 2003 20:34 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

If we're suggesting BF5 songs, I think "Juliane" and "Underground" and "Song for the Dumped" are FAR MORE appropriate here than "Emaline".

nickalicious (nickalicious), Friday, 5 December 2003 20:36 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

"Friendship" - Sloan
"Bottle of Fur" - Urge Overkill

Second (or third) the Big Star suggestions

webcrack (music=crack), Friday, 5 December 2003 21:29 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

Someloves-"Know You Know"
Gary Charlson-"Real Life Saver"
The Notes-"Rough School Year"
The Jags-"Back of My Hand" (the first version)
The Outcasts-"The Cops Are Comin'"
Tom Petty + Heart Breakers-"Rockin' Around"
The Shivvers-"Teen Line"
The Know-"I Like Girls"
The Vertebrats-"Teen Seen"
Marshall Crenshaw-"Someday Someway"
The Boo Radleys-"Wish I was Skinny"
The Gay Potatos (Chris Collingwood)-"Frank Strange"
The Rooks-"Reasons"
Velvet Crush-"Atmosphere"
Shoes-"On Fire For Awhile"

Colin Beckett (Colin Beckett), Friday, 5 December 2003 22:02 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

"Hello There" by Cheap Trick. And man, I second "Yellow Pills". But is The Boo Radleys' "Wish I was Skinny" power pop?

Naive Teen Idol (Naive Teen Idol), Friday, 5 December 2003 22:07 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

"i've got your number (written on the back of my hand)" - the jags
"where's the boy for me" - the rezillos
"get over you" - the undertones
"time goes by so slow" and/or "boys cry" - the distractions
'i don't wanna be friends with you" - the shop assistants
"girl about town" - helen love

lauren (laurenp), Friday, 5 December 2003 22:07 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

valerie loves me: material issue

anthony kyle monday (akmonday), Friday, 5 December 2003 22:13 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

Good call on The Star Spangles.

"Can't Hardly Wait" by The Replacements.

Alex Pittman (Alex Pittman), Saturday, 6 December 2003 00:31 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

But is The Boo Radleys' "Wish I was Skinny" power pop

Sounds a lot like it to me.

Colin Beckett (Colin Beckett), Saturday, 6 December 2003 00:33 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

The Posies "Solar Sister" - Frosting on the Beater is an incredibly strong power pop album in whole.

kinski (kinski), Saturday, 6 December 2003 00:57 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

Frosting on the Beater is an incredibly strong power pop album in whole

Like all Posies albums, it falls about after the first five songs.

Colin Beckett (Colin Beckett), Saturday, 6 December 2003 01:30 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

(Whoops, my bad re: Big Star)

Josh in Chicago, Saturday, 6 December 2003 04:51 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

Raspberries, "I Wanna Be With You"

Burr (Burr), Saturday, 6 December 2003 05:12 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

Pshaw. The best power pop song:

augh (Control Z), Thursday, 20 November 2014 02:06 (three years ago) Permalink

"Shakin' Street"'s great--was just reading Greil Marcus' review of Back in the USA not 30 minutes ago (just posted yesterday):

clemenza, Thursday, 20 November 2014 02:17 (three years ago) Permalink

On the "Nuggets" end of the power pop spectrum, we present: The Grip Weeds - "Astral Man"

One more: "Love's Lost on You"

Hideous Lump, Thursday, 20 November 2014 05:10 (three years ago) Permalink

The greatest power-pop album ever in the history of everything has just been reissued on vinyl:

Montgomery Burns' Jazz (Tarfumes The Escape Goat), Thursday, 20 November 2014 14:57 (three years ago) Permalink

two weeks pass...

How about some Japanese power pop? Puffy AmiYumi - "Planet Tokyo". The whole album "Nice" is worth a listen for anyone into '70s/'80s rock pastiche (all of us).

skip, Wednesday, 10 December 2014 15:49 (three years ago) Permalink

Having said Radio City is mostly not even remotely power pop, leading to a small chorus of hoots, I feel compelled to say what exactly power pop would be if not that! And yes, September Gurls strikes me as fitting. But songs with a lot of chugging weird rhythmic moves, screwy extra sounds, and audible pain - this describes the bulk of Radio City - don't seem to show up much in the later canon of songs people refer to as power pop.

If power pop means anything other than just a catchy form of "rock" then it should indicate super catchiness, uptempo excitement, a kind of smiling thing going on (that could be messed over by the actual lyrical content: BETTER!), not too many different parts in the same song (i.e. no, seriously, people listing Big Star's far-superior-trippy-bummer-to-roger-waters-era-pink-floyd "Daisy Glaze" as power pop: you wouldn't even call this masterpiece power pop if it were done by any other band).

People start power pop off with Beatles & Kinks & Who & Troggs which is almost cheating! Isn't that just "rock"? Nevertheless, "So Sad About Us" & "With a Girl Like You" do cross over into that super-catchy but still rocking-zone which I'm figuring is the hallmark. personally, I'd say some serious 60s/early 70s power pop examples are:

Beach Boys - Darlin
Grass Roots - Temptation Eyes
Boyce & Hart - I wonder what she's doing tonight
Bobby Fuller Four - I Fought the Law & The Law Won
Nazz - Open My Eyes (this one allegedly an example of 60s punk via nuggets inclusion)
Crabby Appleton - Go Back
Badfinger - No Matter What (if this ain't power pop the genre doesn't exist)

An obvious question --- well, obvious as soon as I ask it --- is the relationship between power pop and bubblegum. I'd say you can't stick a pubic hair between them in some cases: Yummy Yummy by the Ohio Express isn't just pop, and it isn't just powerful, it's the most obvious template for "Holidays in the Sun"

Another obvious question --- why isn't any black music called power pop? (was everything Christgau said about Trouser Press true?) If there is any black power pop then let me nominate "Apple Peaches Pumpkin Pie" by Jay & The Techniques (any excuse to praise that record!!) and "Fun" by Sly & The Family Stone (road-tested with a battalion of power pop fans who loved it). Just for starters, mind you.

There's plenty more lame genre arguments I can troll here but let me get into safer territory now: some examples of great power pop from the 'recognized power pop era' that I shouldn't get many arguments about, at least if you go and listen to them:

Sniff'n the Tears - Driver's Seat
Undertones - Hypnotized
Undertones - His Good Looking Girlfriend (2 undertones songs out of many candidates)
Buzzcocks - Everybody's Happy Nowadays
Monochrome Set - Martians Go Home
Altered Images - Funny Funny Me
The Adverts - Safety in Numbers (allegedly punk I know but Adverts is pretty pop & good for them)
The Vibrators - Baby Baby (ditto)
Shonen Knife - Bear Up Bison (Pretty Little Baka Guy version is more pop & less punk)

Vic Perry, Friday, 12 December 2014 00:15 (three years ago) Permalink

This is the best power pop song of all time:


Moka, Friday, 12 December 2014 00:25 (three years ago) Permalink

And this the second best:


Moka, Friday, 12 December 2014 00:26 (three years ago) Permalink

This is a storming piece of power pop imo, but might have flown under lots of people's radars through being on a metal album (warning: most pop thing on the record, which is 'only' a great sludge album elsewhere).

the bowels are not what they seem (aldo), Friday, 12 December 2014 10:25 (three years ago) Permalink

The entire Adam Schmitt - World So Bright album is amazing. His second record is worth checking out too although it's a little darker/more disjointed.

DavidLeeRoth, Friday, 12 December 2014 13:21 (three years ago) Permalink

weird why did it take me so long to hear about Emitt Rhodes?

reminds me a lot of the s/t Flame album

Οὖτις, Friday, 12 December 2014 17:32 (three years ago) Permalink

Moka, Saturday, 13 December 2014 21:17 (three years ago) Permalink

I don't care for them, but when I think of power pop I think of FOUNTAINS OF WAYNE

brimstead, Saturday, 13 December 2014 21:20 (three years ago) Permalink

And why have XTC not been mentioned yet. This is one of the highlights for me:

Moka, Saturday, 13 December 2014 22:07 (three years ago) Permalink

No Game Theory or Loud Family? Ok then: "Nine Lives to Rigel Five," "24," "Erica's Word," "We Love You Carol and Alison," "Inverness," "Motion of Ariel."

mike a, Thursday, 18 December 2014 16:03 (three years ago) Permalink

LOVE the first Loud Family album. I'll add Take Me Down To Haloo to your list.

kornrulez6969, Thursday, 18 December 2014 16:11 (three years ago) Permalink

We're also missing some of the most popular songs that flirt with the genre:





and I'm not if it qualifies but I see it dumped in several 'power pop' lists:


Moka, Thursday, 18 December 2014 18:27 (three years ago) Permalink

Pilot "Magic" might have been the first power pop song I fell in love with, unless "Little Willy" by Sweet and/or "Jet" by Paul McCartney count.

The Romantics one I go for is "Talking in Your Sleep"

Vic Perry, Thursday, 18 December 2014 18:32 (three years ago) Permalink

two weeks pass...

The Sun Sawed in 1/2 were almost as good as Jellyfish (and very similar in style) for a couple albums. too bad they never really took off. one of my favorites:

yusef latifah (unregistered), Saturday, 3 January 2015 02:00 (three years ago) Permalink

Chumped's "Something About Geography"--I count it, most wouldn't.!/s/Something+About+Geography/7aJL92?src=5

clemenza, Sunday, 4 January 2015 14:23 (three years ago) Permalink

six months pass...

Last weekend:

timellison, Wednesday, 29 July 2015 03:24 (two years ago) Permalink

two years pass...

Who else has been playing Power Pop lately?
The Toms album is amazing.

He said captain, I said wot (FlopsyDuck), Saturday, 7 July 2018 22:24 (two weeks ago) Permalink

"Tonight" by the Raspberries
The whole Singles Going Steady disc
"At Night" by Buffalo Tom

rip van wanko, Saturday, 7 July 2018 22:33 (two weeks ago) Permalink

"And Your Bird Can Sing" -- The Beatles
"Dirty Water" -- The Standells
"When My Baby's Beside Me" -- Big Star
"Yeah Yeah Yeah Yeah Yeah" -- The Wedding Present
"Echos Myron" -- Guided by Voices
"I'm Always in Love" -- Wilco
"The Bleeding Heart Show" -- The New Pornographers

reggie (qualmsley), Saturday, 7 July 2018 22:50 (two weeks ago) Permalink

crazy that only 3 tracks by Cheap Trick are listed here! i mostly know the first two albums so these are all just from those records:

"ELO Kiddies"
"Taxman, Mr. Thief"
"He's a Whore"
"Big Eyes"
"I Want You To Want Me"
"Oh Caroline"
"Southern Girls"

Hazy Maze Cave (Adam Bruneau), Saturday, 7 July 2018 23:08 (two weeks ago) Permalink

"Downed" is probably my favorite

I want to live on a mountain
way down in Australia
It's either that or suicide
It's such a strange strain on you

hearing this the first time unlocked some hidden level in my mind completing the gap between The Beatles and Nirvana

Hazy Maze Cave (Adam Bruneau), Saturday, 7 July 2018 23:10 (two weeks ago) Permalink

Wait a second, there's a list of great Cheap Trick songs from the first two records that omits Oh Candy? What the hell is going on?

kornrulez6969, Saturday, 7 July 2018 23:33 (two weeks ago) Permalink

help me list tropes of the genre. I'll start:


rip van wanko, Sunday, 8 July 2018 00:43 (two weeks ago) Permalink

This is the best power pop song of all time:


― Moka, viernes 12 de diciembre de 2014 0:25 (three years ago)

This is still my answer.

✖✖✖ (Moka), Sunday, 8 July 2018 01:26 (two weeks ago) Permalink

Link has died so new link

✖✖✖ (Moka), Sunday, 8 July 2018 01:27 (two weeks ago) Permalink

Ron Howard directed this made-for-TV film called Cotton Candy in 1978. That thing is the ultimate power pop movie!

timellison, Sunday, 8 July 2018 03:18 (two weeks ago) Permalink

This is the best power pop song of all time:



― Moka, viernes 12 de diciembre de 2014 0:25 (three years ago)

This is still my answer.

Two others by Twilley for your consideration:

You Were So Warm
Burning Sand

Naive Teen Idol, Sunday, 8 July 2018 03:48 (two weeks ago) Permalink

Looking for the Magic is perfect. Adam the next two CT records are great too

albvivertine, Sunday, 8 July 2018 05:37 (two weeks ago) Permalink

On the Cheap Trick front, I saw Over the Edge for the first time tonight (in a theatre).

clemenza, Sunday, 8 July 2018 05:56 (two weeks ago) Permalink

the next two CT records are great too

i've ordered Heaven Tonight and Dream Police both VG+ used vinyl for under $10

Hazy Maze Cave (Adam Bruneau), Wednesday, 18 July 2018 19:24 (four days ago) Permalink

weird al does a surprisingly good cover of Hello There.
What's the best power pop song from a decidedly non-powerpop band?

Philip Nunez, Wednesday, 18 July 2018 19:54 (four days ago) Permalink

Power Pop is probably not the first thing you think when you think NRBQ, but they had a number of great moments in that vein ("I Want You Bad", "Green Lights", "Me and The Boys" etc.).

Making Plans For Sturgill (C. Grisso/McCain), Wednesday, 18 July 2018 19:59 (four days ago) Permalink

Paperback Writer

mick signals, Wednesday, 18 July 2018 20:00 (four days ago) Permalink

A number of songs on the Ron Goedert solo album!

timellison, Wednesday, 18 July 2018 20:19 (four days ago) Permalink

Is Hey Ya power pop or bubblegum?

Philip Nunez, Wednesday, 18 July 2018 20:37 (four days ago) Permalink

||||||||, Wednesday, 18 July 2018 20:38 (four days ago) Permalink

What's the best power pop song from a decidedly non-powerpop band?

Either 'Drill Sergeant' by N*E*R*D or 'Here Come July' by Scritti Politti

Gavin, Leeds, Wednesday, 18 July 2018 20:55 (four days ago) Permalink

"My Sharona" for song structure alone.

... (Eazy), Wednesday, 18 July 2018 21:02 (four days ago) Permalink

Simon Turner - (Baby) I Gotta Go

flopson, Wednesday, 18 July 2018 21:38 (four days ago) Permalink

Peace Love & Understanding - Elvis Costello

― ImprovSpirit, Friday, April 23, 2010 1:10 PM (eight years ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

this is the jam

InfoWarriors (Spottie), Wednesday, 18 July 2018 21:42 (four days ago) Permalink

the beat - rock n roll girl

flopson, Saturday, 21 July 2018 19:53 (yesterday) Permalink

pure bliss

niels, Saturday, 21 July 2018 23:59 (yesterday) Permalink

rip van wanko, Sunday, 22 July 2018 02:13 (two hours ago) Permalink

help me list tropes of the genre. I'll start:



rip van wanko, Sunday, 22 July 2018 02:29 (two hours ago) Permalink

Some later era cheese

DM3 - Road to Rome album

Lolas - Something You Oughta Know album

The Candyskins - Never Will Forget You

Flashing Lights - Where Do the Days Go? Heard this one in between sets at a Sloan show but doesn't appear to be available streaming anywhere.

skip, Sunday, 22 July 2018 04:47 (eight minutes ago) Permalink

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