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Talking about Pure Pop For Now People

July 17, 2005

Bravo on ‘God Only Knows’

I’d add ‘Never Let Her Slip Away’ by Andrew Gold… call me a soppy twat if you will. Also perhaps ‘Blackbird’ by the Beatles but maybe the lyric doesn’t meet rule#2 (concise).


This has got me thinking.


One of the ingredients that is missing is ‘instrumentation’. You should be able to touch, feel, taste the sound. Witness the french horn in Kate Bush ‘The Man With the Child in His Eyes’


Pure Pop For Now People

So begins my quest for the perfect pop song…



Perfect pop is:


: The 3 minute confection is the standard


: There are no labored metaphors, no florid lyrics to obscure the message, no pretentious poetry getting in the way


: Most songs are concerned with love: finding it, keeping it, losing it, aching for it, etc.


: No affectations, no irony, no arch declarations, nothing precious.  (I wanted to include Istanbul by They Might Be Giants, but it’s a little too clever for its own good, so no dice.)

Melodious:  The hook is everything!  And it has to be irresistible. 

The song has to possess moments of such sheer beauty that you can hardly stand to listen to it because you think at any moment your heart might burst.

If a perfect song falls in a forest and no one is around, is it still perfect pop? Yes, it’s still perfect pop.  This opens the door to a lot of hidden treasures, like Vanishing Girl by Dukes of Stratosphear (XTC’s alter ego band).  It is sublimity embodied.  It is exactly those lost little ditties that I seek.  

The essence of a perfect pop song is two-fold: You can’t bear to hear it end, but you also couldn’t stand one more second of it. Some people will understand this intrinsically. Others may never get it. Perfect pop is ephemeral and elusive but the perfect pop song itself is timeless.

Here’s my list so far:


Let Her Dance by The Bobby Fuller Four

Tears of a Clown by Smokey Robinson & The Miracles

Teenage Kicks by The Undertones

Feel A Whole Lot Better by The Byrds

Go All The Way by The Raspberries

September Gurls by Big Star

Someday, Some Way by Marshall Crenshaw

Couldn’t I Just Tell You by Todd Rundgren

If I Can’t Change Your Mind by Sugar

God Only Knows by The Beach Boys



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