Pop That Goes Crunch!

Seven Decades Of Melodic Rock & Roll

Archive for the tag “Elton John”

Toxic Melons Deserve Your Support

Toxic Melons -- Bus ThearpyThe last post on this site discussed five tracks that proved to be quite popular in the inaugural month of Pop That Goes Crunch radio. One of the highlighted tracks is “Diffidence” by Toxic Melons. I’ve now had a chance to listen to the soon-to-be released Bus Therapy by Paul Fairbairn and pals in its entirety. It is one of the most wildly eclectic pop albums you likely will hear this year, or any other year for that matter. A Kickstarter campaign is nearing its conclusion. Here’s why you should happily contribute to this effort, as I did last month.

Fairbairn says on the Kickstarter page “if you’re a fan of The Beatles, Jellyfish, Queen, The Beach Boys, E.L.O and Power Pop in general, I think you might enjoy the album!” Indeed you will as Bus Therapy takes you on a dizzying roadtrip through the last five decades of pop music in just thirty-three minutes.

The festivities begin rather quickly with “More Or Less,” a song about accepting that not everything in life is black or white but enjoying the “bumper ride” anyway, propelled by swirling keyboards and copious harmonies. “Journey” takes us on the first of many wide left turns — a slow instrumental right up front. “Let Me Sleep” is, well, a rather sleepy track about begging to sleep for another ten minutes and features a nicely placed glam flourish here and there.

The two best tracks come soon thereafter.

“Change The World” is sung beautifully throughout by Linus Of Hollywood. Fairbairn’s keyboards and accordion, and the overall waltzing tempo of the track, give the whole thing a wonderfully circus-like feel.

Keith Klingensmith lends his pitch perfect vocals to the rather jaunty “Not In Love?” which, as far as I can tell, must have knocked an Elton John song off of the top spot on Billboard charts back when I was in elementary school. Like “Change The World,” it also has been added to Pop That Goes Crunch radio.

“Getting Old” wraps piano, strings and trumpet around decidedly craggy vocals about fighting the inevitable. Quite naturally, then, the track is followed by the closer, “Take Me Back” a bit of sublime Beach Boys pop nostalgia about days gone by.

You can stream the whole thing right here:

 

 

 

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The Raspberries’ Bright And Shiny Power Pop

K-Tel FantasticThe most recent post on this site discussed the AM rock experience of the late-60s and early-70s. By the early-70s, though, that experience would not have been complete without the frequent appearance of the K-Tel compilation extravaganzas.

The name “K-Tel” was obviously intended to evoke a radio station playing an assortment of “original hits” by the “original artists,” even if some of those “original hits” were severely edited so they could all fit on a single vinyl platter.But at $3.98 for at least 20 songs, you couldn’t really complain about clipped version of some of the tunes. “Radio edits” appeared frequently on 45’s back then, so the practice was hardly novel.

The 1973 release, Fantastic, is the one that most sticks out in my mind. Besides its groovy rainbow cover, the record managed to combine some great moments in pop history with sheer, unabashed garbage. One minute, you’ve got Elton John at the beginning of the peak or his powers doing “Crocodile Rock,” the next minute you’ve got Donny Osmond doing “The Twelfth Of Never.” One minute, you’ve got Bill Withers’ soulful, earnest “Lean On Me,” the next minute you’ve got Focus yodeling their way through “Hocus Pocus.”

The best thing on the disk, however, was “I Wanna Be With You” by The Raspberries. Along with Big Star and Badfinger, The Raspberries comprise the holy triumvirate of early-70s rock bands that influenced all of the Power Pop that came afterward.

“I Wanna Be With You” was not, however, the first song by The Raspberries to grace a K-Tel disk. Their three-minute ode to convincing a certain lady friend to have sex, “Go All The Way,” anchored a prior K-Tel release, Believe In Music. On that one, K-Tel quite nicely displayed its penchant for the yin and the yang and the good and the bad. Believe In Music also included the aforementioned Mr. Osmond doing “Go Away Little Girl” as a kind of counter-perspective to Eric Carmen’s relentless persistence in trying to get his sweetheart to “please, please go all the way.” K-Tel was not about to be accused of bias.

“I Wanna Be With You” is a perfect pop song, with its ringing guitars, pounding beat, simple call-and-response chorus repeated several times and Carmen’s spot-on, expressive vocals. Although treading the same thematic ground as “Go All The Way,” ‘I Wanna Be With You” is a tad less blatant in its declaration of romantic desire. But only a tad:

If we were older we wouldn’t have to be worried tonight
Baby, oh, I wanna be with you so bad
Oh baby I wanna be with you
Oh yeah … well tonight
Tonight we always knew it would feel so right
So come on baby, I just wanna be with you

Perhaps you could say that “I just wanna be with you” is not the same things as “please, please go all the way,” but that might be making a fine line distinction that Carmen probably did not intend. Both are great songs, among the best of the entire decade of the 1970s. Here’s an excellent live performance of “I Wanna Be With You” from 1978:

The Raspberries’ influence on the music discussed on this site was immense, as we shall see in a future post.

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