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Powerpop Bounces On...

When I first discovered and got into the genre 4 years ago, I thought Powerpop had more or less been dead for 10-15 years. I bought and downloaded every compilation I could find: the D.I.Y. series, the Children of Nuggets 4-disc set, anything that included "Yellow Pills" in its title, etc... There were plenty of compilations to find if you looked hard enough. And there was a reason why the sound quality sounded so poor: Everything was recorded in the 70s and 80s. Every now and then I'd discover a song from the early 90s, but generally I couldn't find anything substantial "powerpop" later than 1993. What happened to this once magical genre?

Yellow Pills




The Records, 20/20, Badfinger, Cheap Trick, The Motors, The Bats, the dB's, etc...



Their sound was seemingly terminated somewhere in the late 80s...

Rather than continue on about my frustrations... I'll get to the point. Powerpop got lost amid the punk movement and the MTV generation. Much of early punk was an outlash almost directly at the suburban spheres where Powerpop bands flourished. The two hated each other. Neither got much public attention and skinny guys in skinny ties were easy targets for the punks. Where does MTV fit in? I was a tyke when it started up in the 80s, but anyone from that era can tell you the music they featured was mainstream and still is. They weren't revolutionary because they featured music videos from underground bands, they were revolutionary because they played music videos (I'll give them credit for championing pseudo/post-powerpop bands, however. Read up and R.E.M., if you are interested).

There's no clear boundary in my mind it was more or less a gradual decrease in the number of bands cranking out jangly guitar-licks and straightforward lyrics about girls they are hopelessly in love with. The day came sometime last summer. I moved back to my hometown for 3 months to wash dished at a local restaurant and enjoy the scenery and culture of the Deep South. I think it was a dream I had or a hallucination... whatever it was it finally made all the elements crystal clear to me.

Theory:
Powerpop from the 70s/80s never fully died out. It simply became gradually less accessible to the public therefore limiting expose to the thousands of teens that form bands everyday and emulate their favorite groups.

It's not a nobel-winning theory, but I think it works. I realized this after coming across bands like Gentleman Jesse and His Men, Cause Co-motion, True Love, and The Nice Boys. All contemporary groups with sounds straight out of the late 70s. But why all of a sudden are they popping their heads up? Why not in 1995? Why not in 2000? It's my belief that downloading, blogs, and music forums have all enabled a new generation of impressionable teens to stumble across the genre that would have otherwise been forgotten. I mean... how did I find out about the genre? I read a thread about it on a music forum. Thank technology for allowing the cycle to continue.


The Nice Boys - Johnny Guitar