A year in pop songs

This year I am going to indulge a bit and give some thought to some of my favorite songs. A year of Pop Songs: Jangle, Brit-Pop, Powerpop…the only real common thread is the feeling you get in your chest from a well-formed pop song.

1/1 – Doing the Unstuck – The Cure (Wish)
I can’t think of a better song to kick off a new year. Doing the Unstuck is one of my favorite Cure songs off of one of the best Brit-pop records. Jangly? Check. Musical gravitas? Check. Let’s get happy! Check. “Tear out the pages with all the bad news”…”it’s a perfect day to throw back your head and kiss it all goodbye.”

1/12 – A year in pop songs: Aussiepop. For those of us who are still thinking about resolutions two weeks into January…This song is great for a “get pumped” mix (as it was for me traversing international immigrations) but it’s just a great powerpop song. It’s not brain surgery but it makes you feel good. I am sure Kisschasy will make it into my list more than once this year.

1/22 – A Year in Pop Songs: In honor of the cold snap (thankfully the closest we get to winter)…and then the perfect weather we had afterwards…For your consideration, “Mr. Winter,” which has the ‘coolest’ opening riff.

2/2 – A Year in Pop Songs: I just heard this song for the first (I think) time this week. Mark has been telling me for years that I should check these guys out and I was really glad I did this week. I’ve often been heard saying that music should be more fun and there’s no shortage of that here. Not saving the whales, but I LOVE songs like this. I have simple tastes though – I could fill up mixtape after mixtape of songs at the same pace, and likely with the same three chords, and I would never get tired of it. This song is quite also suitable for a revenge mix. The fan made video is pretty cute too.

2/14 – A Year in Pop Songs: Hey, I know Valentine would be more appropriate, and there are more mushy Paul songs out there, but this is one of my favorite Paul songs. It’s big, fun, lustful and joyful – the way love should be. And I am sure that tonight my valentine and I will love everything that they hate.

2/22 – Domo, how can I just choose one Domo song?! Do I go with 88 Measures to Make Things Great? Meltbreakdown? Honestly? With Friends Like These? Domo, our first local entry in my year of pop songs, are purveyors of fine powerpop at the highest level. Need a happy song about murder? They have it! Want to break up with someone? Let Domo handle it for you! Today, I have decided to go with Middle Class Life…a end-of-week beacon, for sure. A suitable commute soundtrack that I recommend singing loudly as your small protest.

3/7 – Year in pop songs: Tommy Keene makes my ventricles hurt. When Mark and I were kids we’d refer to the feeling as being ‘there.’ ie. “that song is so -there-“…A term that was our way of trying to define a completely undefinable feeling you get from a song or the sky. And surely as vague as our little code word implied.

3/19 – A year in pop songs: Last Monday, Mark and I had the pleasure of seeing Green Day at the Marquee Theatre. A small venue for a huge band – they didn’t need to do that. They would make more money if they played one of our many large concert venues, but they did it anyway. I don’t have an interest in very many national bands. I can’t get into most of the new indie-cred bands, even though I know I’m SUPPOSED to. But I am a girl who was raised on rock and a sense of fun and there’s just nothing that fun about pencil mustaches. I am sorry, there’s not. This is a band that has straddled the genres and been knocked for that. Yeah, their sound isn’t super diverse, but I knows what I likes. Green Day makes me want to be a better person – to sing louder, shout more, have fun, do stage jumps, while maintaining whatever antiestablishment mentality you can in our current reality. It’s nice to have a national band that is so consistent. It was hard to pick one here…yet another band that is saving the powerpop anthem.

3/27 – Such an obvious choice for song of the week, Mark Ord! I think R.E.M. was the first band that I had enough awareness of to know all the members names, which is a big thing when you’re 8. Jangle.

4/10 – A year in pop songs: In honor of the Black Moods CD release this past weekend and the fun that was had, Don’t Let Them Get You Down. God bless Petty-esque pop songs (and the Black Moods!) Go get ‘um boys.

4/29 – This pop song of the week is brought to you by Genevelyn Ord and the continent of Australia. I like bass playing lead singers too – and no, not the obvious ones like Sting, who I am ambivalent about at best. And vests need to make a comeback for men – seriously. But like rock vests, not ironic 1800’s vests. It’s that little bit of flair that your shirt just didn’t have.

5/11 – Song of the Week: Big Casino. Powerpop Weekend, yay! Last night’s Jimmy Eat World concert was notable for a few reasons. First, I have never been to a concert where more adult men turned into ecstatic screaming girls. It made me very happy to see music fans like that. Second, it marks the first time I have seen them live. It was great how they are able to translate their songs into a live format and not lose any of the gravitas and energy. Their songs have that “ton of bricks to the chest” sort of vibe, and they capture that live. This song was on the setlist last night- Cool video. I like the message of the song as I stumble through my 30s and negotiate the passage of time.

5/26 – Pop song of the week: P.S. by Toad the Wet Sprocket. This is a stinkin’ cool video of one of my favorite Toad songs. Toad, like a few other bands from the 90s, take you to some pretty dark places in a jangled and disarming way. It’s artistic without being pretentious and sometimes either lyrically or by the structure of the music (see: Crazy Life) it just hurts down to the bone. Glen reminds me of John O from the Maine in this. I think it’s the hair.

6/3 – Song of the week: Love and Drugs – The Maine. Very excited about their Zia in store tonight and the release show tomorrow at Tempe Marketplace. Mark and I listened to a 2 hr and 40 minute AP Podcast with them on the way to (and from!) Prescott this weekend. It’s always so good to hear a band that GETS it – and isn’t cynical about the very cool job they have and are uncompromising about the music they make. If Love and Drugs is any indication of the record, I expect to enjoy it. They make me feel like a kid again.

6/21 – Pop song of the week! I was a late comer to the Plimsouls, although I always really loved Robin’s cover of Oldest Story in the World, but hadn’t delved into their catalog until the last few years. Everywhere at Once is a stinkin’ great record. I remember loving this song when it would come on at work back in the retail days. The video is really cool in that lovely 1983 way. Peter Case is dreamy in it too – which doesn’t hurt.

7/8 – Pop Song of the Week: Nixon Saves – Dead Hot Workshop. I would like to do a PHD in Babb – a dissertation wouldn’t even begin to cover it. DHW is the Eva Gabor of music. They will not hurt you.

8/1 – Pop song of the week…or whenever I actually get around to it clearly…Aussie version. Hoodoo Gurus have many a song to choose from but this is one of my favorites and reminds me of some fun times. Come Anytime? Australia, don’t mind if I do!

8/9 – Song of the week! We haven’t been waking up to the radio but if we were it would be this song every morning…at least that is what happened during the 2 and a half years I lived in Australia. It was Groundhog’s Day level comic. I would assume that the Choirboys are the REO Speedwagon of AU. It’s a guilty pleasure, but I always find myself listening a second time. (“Again!”)

8/18 – Pop Song of the Week Aussie Edition. We’re back in the U.S. now, so what would be more appropriate than my favorite Australian band performing the song that essentially brought us to this point – a love affair with a song, a band, Mark Ord, a desert place. It has made us our own island to some extent. Mark is a 16 hour flight (and countless airport wait hours) from home. (I’m a three hour flight, not too much room to complain.) It’s hard sometimes – we definitely felt that this week. We have lived in a constant state of goodbyes. First between he and I, now the families we leave behind. It’s all for having found our place in the world which started (more or less) with the original version of this song. I have heard about a million Hey Jealousy covers. This is my favorite one – I think it’s pretty true to the original. This is a band that understands pop music and although trends towards a hard rock/emo mentality at times, always has the pop sensibility running through their work.


8/29 – Pop song of the week: Let’s just say: I indeed WILL dare.

9/14 – Song of the week: It was DAMN hard choosing a BTE song. Partially because of the emotional connection that I may have to the songs, but also…just such a good band. (Bring me the 90s, just bring it to me!) I believe that Better Than Ezra goes on record as being the only one of “my bands” (or my “wussy” bands) that my Dad actually willingly went to go see with me because he actually liked them. I think he was impressed that they were a three piece, had a big full sound and had some rockers in their repertoire. I didn’t CHOOSE one of those rockers to represent, but instead chose a song with “feelings” associated with it. This record came out August 25, 1998. ’98 was sort of a big deal for me. It is a bit wussy, but it says what needs to be said.

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