My 10 Favorite Powerpop Songs

As you may have guessed by now I’m an extreme fan of power pop. This list was hard to write…I kept changing most of it… but I knew the top choice and worked from there.

I just gave my self ten choices or I would have gone on and on. A lot of artists and their songs were left off…such as Todd Rundgren, The Cars, Sloan, The Lemon Twigs, The Flamin’ Groovies, The Shivvers, The Jayhawks,  and too many more to mention.

10. The Ride – Twisterella– 1992 – I found this a few months back and have been listening to it ever since.

9. The Records – Starry Eyes– 1979 – Great song. Starry Eyes would end up being The Record’s best-known song. Robert John “Mutt” Lange produced their debut album for The Records.

8. The La’s – There She Goes– 1990 – A very good power pop song that has no verses…It just repeats the chorus four different ways four different times…but that doesn’t matter.

7. Cheap Trick – Voices– 1980 – One of my top Cheap Trick songs. Robin Zanders voice sounds great in this Beatlesque song.

6. The Who –Pictures of Lily– 1967 –  When this song came out Pete Townshend coined the name “power pop” and this song is about the childhood…lusts…of a boy.

5. Raspberries – Overnight Sensation (Hit Record)– 1974 – An epic song by the Raspberries. Not their most popular…that would be “Go All The Way” but this encapsulates everything power pop is about. Bruce Springsteen on Overnight Sensation: It’s one of the best little pop symphonies you’ll ever hear.

4. Big Star – The Ballad of El Goodo – 1972 – The tone of the guitars, harmonies and the perfect constructed chorus keeps me coming back listen after listen.

3. Badfinger –No Matter What– 1971 – The only band to make this list twice. Why? because this song defines the crunchy power pop of bands like Cheap Trick to come.

 2. Tom Petty – American Girl– 1977 – The Rickenbacker, the hook, and a Byrds sounding track.

 

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  1. Badfinger – Baby Blue – 1972 – The number one song was the easiest decision of the list. The rest were changed a few times…this one for me is a no-brainer. This song is the perfect power pop song…strong vocals, Crunchy Brit  guitar, great hook,  and great melody

Cheap Trick – Voices

One of my top Cheap Trick songs. Robin Zanders voice sounds great in this Beatle-esque song.

This song peaked at #32 on the Billboard 100 and #12 in Canada in 1980. The song was on the Dream Police album that peaked at #6 in 1979 in the Billboard album chart. Voices was written by Rick Nielsen.

Rick Neilsen on Voices: We started off with the chorus as opposed to building up to the chorus. Because it’s like you know “Voices,” okay, and that’s the same thing with “Dream Police,” you know, you hear voices in your head or somebody’s just messing with your brain and hears voices. You hear something, it’s like you didn’t know what you were listening for until you heard the voices. Somebody, your mind’s eye, has some talking to do to you.

From Songfacts

Long before their earnest #1 hit “The Flame,” Cheap Trick released another ballad: “Voices.” It’s a love song of sorts:

I fell in love with you again
Please, can I see you every day?

Except that it’s coming from inside his own head. “You hear voices in your head or somebody’s just messing with your brain and hears voices,” the song’s writer, guitarist Rick Nielsen, told The A/V Club. “You hear something, it’s like you didn’t know what you were listening for until you heard the voices. Somebody, your mind’s eye, has some talking to do to you.”

The “title track of the album,” has a similar theme, with the singer dealing with someone else inside his head. Both songs also use a string section.

Arnold Levine directed the video for this song, which was done on the same shoot for the “Dream Police” clip.

Voices

You didn’t know what you were lookin’ for
Til you heard the voices in your ear

Hey, it’s me again
Plain to see again
Please can I see you every day

I’m a fool again
I fell in love with you again
Please can I see you every day

You didn’t know what you were lookin’ for
Til you heard the voices in your ear
You didn’t know what you were lookin’ for
Til you heard the voices in your ear

Words don’t come out right
I try to say it oh so right
I hope you understand my meaning

Hey, it’s me again
I’m so in love with you again
Please can I see you every day

You didn’t know what you were lookin’ for
Til you heard the voices in your ear
You didn’t know what you were lookin’ for
Til you heard the voices in your ear

I remember every word you said
(Word you said)
I remember voices in my head
(In my head)
I remember ever word you said
(Word you said)

I heard your voice-it
Your voice is-cool voices
Warm voices
Just what I needed, too
Words don’t seem right
But its
Cool voices-warm voices
Your voice is
Just what I needed for
Love is the word-it’s
Warm voices-your voice is
Cool voices
Just what I needed, too
I heard your voice-it was
Your voice is-cool voices
Warm voices

Just what I needed, too
Just what I needed, too
Just what I needed, too