In its broadest sense, Power Pop is well-suited to the radio. The songs are short. They’re concise. They’re usually uncluttered. They favor harmony, melody and hooks over everything else. They eschew guitar noodling, drum solos and banshee-like singing. They don’t take themselves too seriously. Their goal is to bash around in your brain for hours and days on end.
Power Pop once was played on the radio, particularly in the early days of the “New Wave” of the late-70s and early-80s. The Knack, The Romantics, Cheap Trick and The Cars had several big hits back in the day.
In early-1981, the late Phil Seymour had his only American Top 40 hit with a brilliant two-minute, fifty-one second pop confection called “Precious To Me.” Its a fairly typical tale of love, hurt and longing. You know, a theme that has been done a gazillion times in pop music. But that, of course, is part of its charm. The other part of its charm is its wonderful, endlessly singable “call-and response” chorus, amid head-swaying drums and rhythm guitar:
That your precious to me (I love you so)
And I can’t let you go (Can’t let you go)
Baby one day you will see (Girl can’t you see)
That you’ll always be (You’ll always be)
So precious to me
The folks in the Southern California band Nushu — Lisa Mychols and Hilary Burton (more on Mychols in a piece to come) — had the extremely good sense and taste to cover “Precious To Me” in 2011, and contribute their version of the song to the 14th installment of the International Pop Overthrow series.
Nushu actually improves on Seymour’s original, which is quite an achievement, by widening the sound and adding a smooth, even-more-sunny-sunshine sheen to the proceedings. Their version will keep you popping and bopping as you drive around town with the top down. You should go get it, but you can listen to it right here: