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My Power-Pop/Pop-Rock Top Twenty!

Compiled from way back in 2004

When Jamie Delerict from TCC asked us all to put together a list of favourite albums we all had our own little niches of what we liked. Wylde had his Glam, Jamie his Punk and Mike his Progressive stuff which kind of leaves me in a grey area! Most of my all time favourite albums would probably be Hard Rock and Glam stuff but Mr. Wylde pretty much has that category sewn up so what you've got below is my list of favourite Pop Rock albums or Power Pop if you will. I wouldn't say these were my all time favourite albums (there's no Poison, Hardline or Extreme in there as you'll see) but a lot of them are well up there without a doubt. I'm sure there's a few pop purists out there who will criticise some of the inclusions or 'exclusions' (where's Cheap Trick or Jellyfish? I hear some cry!) but if you get chance check some of these out and remember 'Melody is King!!'

All American Rejects - S/T (Dreamworks 2003)
Scarily catchy debut from a scarily young band. At first I thought this album sounded a bit demoish with the programmed drums but the songs are just brilliant and it gets better on every listen. Very samey throughout but if you like one tune you eat them all up. This band could be huge!

Bowling For Soup

Bowling For Soup - A Hangover You Don't Deserve (Jive / Zomba / BMG 2004)
This hasn't been released long but it's by far the bands strongest batch of songs put to disk. There's perhaps not as many singles as Drunk Enough To Dance but the songs work so much better together and it's a fuckin great feel good record which I can see me playing for many years to come. The production is awesome, songs are great and the bands personality just bursts out all over the place.

Collective Soul - S/T (Atlantic 1995)
Collective Soul have always been a great riff band. This first full band album (the first being a collection of Ed Roland's polished demos) proves this to the max. 'Simple', 'Smashing Young Man' and the mighty 'Gel' hold monster riffs to shake the bones but the bands cool, slick choruses are always the priority. A great post grunge band who combined the dirty Seattle sound with catchy hooks and melodies.

Dad's Porno Mag - S/T (Robison Records 2000)
Loved the band before I'd even heard them cause I thought the name was great so I was already sold. The fact the album rocks was just an added bonus. Cheap Trick for the modern day is the best way to describe DPM. Something of a hard rock supergroup with Ryan Roxie, Keri Kelli and Mike Fasano. Great tongue in cheek songs like 'Smell My Finger' and 'My Bad Knee' are just great. A one off gem!

Everclear - Songs From An American Movie Vol. One Learning How to Smile (Capital 2000)
Another cracking post Grunge band that have a sound that rocks but with a radio friendly vibe. The first of two albums, the second Vol. Two having more of a rockier edge, this is songwriting at it's finest. Carrying a solid acoustic base but not letting up on the rock, Art Alexis proved what a fine and underrated songwriter he is. Great lyrics and hooks and the bands cover of 'Brown Eyed Girl' is one of the best you're likely to hear.

Fountains Of Wayne

Fountains Of Wayne - S/T (Atlantic 1996)
Kings of Power Pop without a doubt. Just about every song on this album is a winner. It's hard to pick a favourite from any of FOW's albums but this debut just about clips it. 'Radiation Vibe' never fails to deliver and the cool stories which they drop in 'Jo Ray', 'Barbara H.' and 'Sick Day' are brilliant. Most songs only clock in at around two and a half minutes. Pure pop masterpiece!

40ft Ringo - Funny Thing (Atenzia 2003)
Hard Rock and Pop collide resulting in one of the most rocking releases for some time. Steve Brown and PJ Farley, formerly with the awesome Trixter, continue to deliver the goods with this modern day gem. Readers of TrashPit will already know how much I like this band and I can't wait for the new album.

Gingersol - Extended Play (Dental Records 1995)
Okay, it's just an EP but the six songs on here are just massive. When I heard this CD I knew this was the kind of music I wanted to play (and I reckon I've come pretty close). On Extended Play, Gingersol come across as the Goo Goo Dolls (see below) with some added Gin Blossoms sparkle. They seem to have gone in a more acoustic direction of late but this CD rocks big time.

Goo Goo Dolls

Goo Goo Dolls - A Boy Named Goo (Warner Bros 1995)
Easily one of my all time favourite bands. I heard about the Goo Goo Dolls after reading a few write ups in Kerrang! and they sounded right up my street. I picked up a promo of the track 'Only One' before this album was released and when I heard the full album I was blown away. I think it's always cool when you get into a band with a bit of a history. It was great going back and hearing how they developed from full on punk to one of the finest rock bands around today. This was the bands make or break release and just as they were considering calling it a day the track 'Name' broke massive on US radio and the rest is history. A Boy Named Goo is split pretty evenly between Rzeznik and Takac tunes and it's a great introduction for anyone wanting to check them out.

The Loveless (1994 I think!)
Super slick release that earned the band praise as being the next Beatles by some rock magazines. Great love lost lyrics and melodies throughout alongside a smooth radio pop vibe. Features vocalist Shane who was in Electric Angels with Ryan Roxie and it's a real shame this album wasn't bigger as there's a bunch of potential hit singles here.

Marvellous 3 - Ready Sex Go (Elektra 2000)
I think Mr. Wylde has already shouted the praises for this album and rightly so. The final release from the band that have gone on to be the 'Godfathers of Nu Breed'. It's the perfect crossover album from Hard Rock to Power Pop and one that shows in full what a great talent Butch Walker possesses and proved what a massive future awaited him.

Rick Price - Heaven Knows (Epic 1992)
Probably the wimpiest CD in all the TCC selections but I loved this album a decade ago and it still holds up. Who say's Australia doesn't produce good bands and musicians?! Rick Price is a God and this album is brilliant. 'Not a Day Goes By', 'A House Divided' and 'Foolin Myself' - oh man this is great! If you like Mitch Malloy or Richard Marx you've GOT to get this album.

Roxie 77 - Peace, Love & Armageddon (2004)
The perfect partner to the Dad's Porno Mag album mentioned earlier, if you've got that, you need this too! The new solo album from Ryan Roxie is yet another collection of great pop rock tunes but in a more polished and 'mature' nature (err, there is the track 'My Girlfriend' though which holds onto the DPM vibe) and it shows that Roxie is much, much more than just Alice Cooper's sideman and a great star in his own right.

Samantha 7 - S/T (Portrait 2000)
In guitar circles, Poison guitarist CC Deville can't play worth a shit! I never realised this when I grew up on Poison. He was always my favourite member and I found his songs and solos much more memorable than the endless fret wanks that most guitar gods spewed out. His solo project Samantha 7 also proved he can't sing worth a shit either but again I don't care! This album is great fun and damn catchy. Great pop with a dirty punk edge - we love you CC!

Soul Asylum

Soul Asylum - Let Your Dim Light Shine (Columbia 1995)
The mid nineties found Soul Asylum at the top of their game. After years of releasing albums they finally hit it big during the grunge era. Soul Asylum were different though, they had much more of a pop vibe going on and this album along with it's prior release 'Grave Dancers Union' proved how good they were and what a star Dave Pirner was. This album is worth the price alone for the opener 'Misery', and the brilliant 'Hopes Up'

Matthew Sweet - 100% Fun (Zoo 1995)
Surely the title says it all right? Well the title may be a bit off the mark as a lot of the songs aren't as 'up' as you may expect but Big Guitars and Big Hooks are the order of the day with something of a retro undertone. Sweet has the knack of bonding haunting vocals to dreamy Beach Boys-esque tunes. One of the best songwriters of the past ten or fifteen years.

Butch Walker - Left Of Self Centred (Arista 2002)
The Man, the Legend! Butch Walker has earnt god like status in power pop circles following the release of this debut. If you thought Marvellous 3 were good things just got better. 'My Way', 'Suburbia', 'San Fernando Sexx Star' and the beautiful 'Take Tomorrow' are just heaven. Buy this album and find out what feel good power pop is all about!

The Wannadies - Be A Girl (Indolent 1995)
Easily the bands biggest album due to the massive success of 'You & Me Song' but this album would be awesome even if that wasn't on there. 'Might Be Stars', 'Sweet Nymphet' and 'Dying For More' are pure pop with a great Euro feel. If you've not heard The Wannadies but love great pop songs you need this album.

The Wonderstuff

The Wonderstuff - Construction for the Modern Idiot (Polydor 1993)
I've got my good lady to thank for getting me into The Wonderstuff. This, their last album before their ten year hiatus is just fantastic and why they aren't considered one of this countries finest ever bands when the likes of Coldplay and Radiohead are heralded as geniuses for churning our constant dreary rubbish is a mystery! Miles Hunt delivers big time on this album with 'Wish Them All Dead', 'Full Of Life', 'On The Ropes' and the gorgeous 'Sing The Absurd' which contains the scarily poignant line 'Guess who just threw up, when he learned that he grew up'. A real pop star with something real to say.

Dweezil Zappa - Confessions (Food For Thought 1991)
I love this album on so many levels. Not just for the songs but also for the personality it has, the way it's packaged and just for being so damn cool. Very much a guitar album with lots of solos and fret board acrobatics but it has great quirky songs that rule. Produced by Dweezil and Extreme's Nuno Bettencourt, this sounds as much Nuno's album as Zappa's. His vocals are really prominent throughout so anyone who was a fan of Extreme ought to track this down. There's awesome cover versions of The Beatles 'Anytime at All' and a rocking take on 'Stayin Alive' with Donny Osmond on vocals (I'm serious) and an epic guitar solo featuring Zakk Wylde, Steve Lukather, Warren Dimartini and Nuno. Like it's follow up 'Shampoohorn' it also has one of the most impressive Thank You lists of all time! Love it!!

Let me know of any cool albums you think I should have included or need to check out!

 
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