The Top 25 Power Pop albums for 2011

This was an extremely difficult year to pick a top ten, as so many artists produced excellent work. So I expanded the list this year to 25. Even then a handful of really deserving artists didn’t make the list. So here is the whole enchilada for you to chew on this weekend:

  1. Cirrone – Uplands Park Road
  2. The Wellingtons – In Transit
  3. Marco Joachim – Hidden Symphonies
  4. Robbers On High Street – Hey There Golden Hair
  5. Mike Viola – Electro De Perfecto
  6. The Bangles – Sweetheart Of The Sun
  7. Pugwash – The Olympus Sound
  8. The Red Button – As Far As Yesterday Goes
  9. Sloan – The Double Cross
  10. Fountains of Wayne – Sky Full Of Holes
  11. Skeleton Staff – Psychomorphism
  12. Tally Hall – Good & Evil
  13. David Mead – Dudes
  14. Ian Moore & The Lossy Coils – El Sonido Neuvo
  15. Miles Zuniga – These Ghosts Have Bones
  16. Beady Eye – Different Gear Still Speeding
  17. The Davenports – Why The Great Gallop?
  18. Supraluxe – The Super Sounds of Supraluxe
  19. The Genuine Fakes – The Striped Album
  20. The Turnback – Drawn In Chalk
  21. Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds – Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds
  22. Kelly’s Heels – Playing Into Your Hands
  23. The Secret Powers – What Every Rose-Grower Should Know
  24. Michael Oliver & The Sacred Band – Yin & Yanxiety
  25. Peter Baldarachi – Tomorrow Never Knows

18 thoughts to “The Top 25 Power Pop albums for 2011”

  1. Pingback: "Beyond Belief" by The Turnback @TheTurnback - The Music Feed
  2. Mike Baron said: “With the REd Button, the shock of the new is over. This may be one reason it didn’t rate higher.”

    So, you would have not rated The Beatles Second Album higher in 1964 because “the shock of the new was over”?

    The real shock is, is that TRB’s 2nd record is fantastic, when most sophomore records don’t come close to their first outings. **That** , Mr. Baron, is the real “shock”. If you thought less and understood the medium better you would realize true, consistent greatness before your very nose. Yeah. I said greatness. Good day to ya. Liverpool/UK

    1. I have a very simple criterion. Does the record stay in the machine day after day? My choices are based almost exclusively on how much I love the album as evidenced by how long it rules the turntable.

  3. First, I have high respect for the blogger. Second, any denigration of the other bands/artists on the blogger’s list was not intended. All apologies if taken that way. These are all terrific artists, no doubt. But, they are not The Red Button. If I may address the good blogger’s retort. He wrote:

    “In my own defense here, there is a reason The Red Button only rated an “8″ on the list, even though I also gave it my highest rating during the review. This is a Power Pop list, so every song must fall within the genre. “Genevieve” and “Running Away” were more in the Adult contemporary pop category. Great songs, yes… but not power pop. So it loses points for that.”

    Would the good blogger have taken “points” off Rubber Soul because it had “Michelle” on it as too “Adult Contemporary”? Would he have demerited The White Album because it contained “Good Night” or “I Will” as not “power pop” enough? “Genevieve” is about as good a ballad as it gets in power pop. It is straight out of the Paul McCartney school of pop ballads. Would the blogger have ranked Red Rose Speedway lower because it had “My Love” on it? I think not.

    This is a teaching moment (I don’t mean this in any sanctimonious or supercilious way). In music, stop looking at “the rules”. The Red Button is great because they continue the tradition of great, singable, memorable songs, at an average (I would guess) of 3 minutes in length. It’s not about whether the songs are classified as “power pop”. The Beatles weren’t just power pop. They were POP, meaning popular. Meaning, you could sing it and feel good in an entire album. The Red Button succeeds in this tradition in spades, like no other band on this list. Not Fountains of Wayne, not The Bangles. Like no one else. Listen again if you must.

    This is where I stick to my original criticism: that the good, well-meaning, intelligent and pop-loving blogger has “thought too much” about his list. There is The Red Button and then there are the other acts, if your base is The Beatles, and in any real pop blog, it must be. This is not to infer that the basis of a good record is whether the artist sounds most like The Beatles. No. More like, whether the artist is in the tradition of The Beatles which is, as mentioned, is a consistent batch of highly melodic, high quality pop songs, rendered creatively and simply. By ranking The Red Button #8, the blogger is looking through a magnifying glass, not a telescope.

    Said with respect to this excellent blog. I am an avid reader of it although a major error was made in this ranking.

  4. Hey Aaron!!! Merry Christmas!! This is a cool list, but I believe The Kavanaghs “Love conquers pain” is far much better that Beady Eye´s album!! 😉
    good vibs!!!
    thanks for sharing our music with the world!!

  5. Fountains of Wayne are the KINGS – when you talk about pop lineage they are in the mix! Tear for Fears stop that nonsense

  6. You haven’t seen The Bangles album because it wasn’t very good. In the good blogger’s Top 10, there is a track here and a track there on many of these albums, But, don’t for a second think they are remotely in the same universe as The Red Button. If you do, you don’t understand just how truly great they are.

    In fact, they are in the direct lineage of The Beatles.Yeah. You heard me right. That line, a short one, stretches out like this: The Beatles, Badfinger/The Raspberries, ELO, Klaatu, The Red Button. That is the direct line. Yes, a little of Billy Joel, XTC, Tears for Fears and Oasis. But no one writes, sings, plays a consistent and entire album of Beatle-type music (while not “copying” it) like TRB. No one on the planet is even close.

    The kind of album, you put on and let play and it is all great. You may like one song more than another. Hell, I liked “It’s Only Love” and “The Word” on “Rubber Soul” more than I liked “Michelle” (at the time). But what The Beatles did and what The Red Button does is make top to bottom quality records with consistently GREAT songs. That is why the ranking of #8 is absurd. But, the blogger in question is a decent and well-intentioned chap, who this time, was thinking to much instead of just putting in the obvious.

    Love to all!

    1. In my own defense here, there is a reason The Red Button only rated an “8” on the list, even though I also gave it my highest rating during the review. This is a Power Pop list, so every song must fall within the genre. “Genevieve” and “Running Away” were more in the Adult contemporary pop category. Great songs, yes… but not power pop. So it loses points for that. If it was only about great pop songs, Ben Wilkins would’ve definitely been on this list. And this is only my opinion here — so good for you that you love TRB more.

  7. I like this list very much. Of course I might have put a few things higher, a few things lower, and included some others that didn’t make your cut at all (Title Tracks seems not to be getting any love this time around). That’s the nature of lists, though.

    But what pleases me most of all is that you have included The Bangles, for an album that is easily their best since their debut and qualifies as the comeback of the year, narrowly eclipsing The Smithereens, whose new one is also terrific. I haven’t seen The Bangles on any other lists to this point, unless I’ve just missed ’em.

    Anyway, thanks for another job well done.

  8. The Red Button record at #8?
    Methinks the good blogger
    hath been “thinking”
    about his choices rather than
    choosing the very obvious BEST
    record. TRB’s record would have competed
    for Best Record in any year from 1968 on.
    Cirrone? Puh-lease. With respect, of course.
    Classic, pure songwriting, sound, vibe, consistency…
    The Wellington’s?
    There isn’t a single artist in the Top 10 that is even
    remotely in the same league as The Red Button.
    ‘Nuff said.
    Peace and of course, Harmony.
    Plenty of harmonies.

    1. I loved the Wellington’s too but this is a very good list. Three bands consistently rating in all the top tens are Cirrone, Marco Joachim, and the Turnback. Red Button was great, but not as great as their first.

    2. “There isn’t a single artist in the Top 10 that is even remotely in the same league as The Red Button”-really? I loved The Red Button, but have you heard Hidden Symphonies or The Olympus Sound? Those albums have class. I do think that Red Button should have been a few spots higher, though.

  9. Oh, yeah… another point. Tommy Keene is more a rock and roller with power pop tendencies. He’ll be the first one to admit that. This list is very much developed based on power pop criteria.

    1. Loved the Tommy Keene Record, Meyerman and a handful of others that didn’t make my top 25. If I had a top 50 — it would’ve been included.

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