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Thread: In praise of straight up Pop

  1. #26
    Member Munster's Avatar
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    I like individual popular performers I hear on the radio/TV etc but I would never buy a full album from any of them. But who knows, today’s ‘popular’ performers may be the trend-setters of tomorrow. Jefferson Airplane’s “White Rabbit” was a hit, “Dark Side of The Moon” was (and still is) a hit – even Van Der Graaf Generator’s “Pawn Hearts” hit the No. 1 slot on the album charts! (in Italy).

    On the subject of Abba (now that the tone has been lowered), there was a movie out decades ago called “ABBA: The Movie”. It was filmed in Australia and revolves around a local reporter trying to get an interview with the band. It was nothing special, except (IMO) for this number, which is rocking: ‘Get on The Carousel’. This song was never released in any form other than in this truncated version from the film as, apparently, the band thought it too monotonous. It works live, though. However, I don’t know if I would have sat through ‘Fernando’, ‘Thank You for The Music’, ‘I Had a Dream’ etc just to hear it.

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  2. #27
    I don’t know why, but lately I’ve been really getting into Tulip, a super commercial pop-rock band from Japan. Their 70s stuff is OK but a bit of a 60s throwback for the most part; they struck me as trying way too hard to be the Japanese Beatles. Weirdly, I prefer their 80s stuff, which sees them going in more of an Alan Parsons Project direction, probably as lead singer and main songwriter Kazuo Zaitsu was getting way into synthesizers, sci-fi concepts and Eric Woolfson-style balladry.

    Confirmed Bachelors: the dramedy hit of 1883...

  3. #28
    Quote Originally Posted by thedunno View Post
    I think most of it is pop, just not the 'straight up' pop the op is referring to.
    There are always grey areas when discussing musical genres, but what I mean by ‘straight up pop’ are those popular musicians who by no stretch could be called ‘prog’.

    I think of a template like Nick Lowe’s Pure Pop for Now People, so we’re talking 3-4 minute verse-chorus, melody fronted stuff. This would include mass-produced fluff of course but for the PE audience I’m thinking more in terms of clever, well-composed and produced song-centered toons, maintaining a certain lightness, where cleverness is not associated with jarring, dissonant, or willfully tricky-time stuff.

    This bypasses arty rockers on the edge of ‘prog’ such as Roxy Music, Bowie, early Eno, John Cale , or The National, etc. all of who added ‘serious’ music elements to their work.

    Jimmy Webb would qualify. So would Blondie. REM. Talking Heads? Sure. Handsome Family? Richard Thompson? Hmmm...
    Hopefully this provides a range...

  4. #29
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    One of my favorite albums of all time is Leo Sayer Just A Boy. It’s straight pop but is fun to listen to.

  5. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by progmatist View Post
    In late 1987, early 88, I was in a friend's car. There was some pretty proggy stuff coming out of the stereo. I asked him who it was, he said it was new Elton John. I said I didn't know Elton John was so creative.
    Elton has done some great albums, and he does even touch on prog on occasion.

  6. #31
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    I love me some 80's English Pop
    XTC
    Thompson Twins
    Howard Jones
    Thomas Dolby

    The last three being 'keyboard-forward', I would like to think that the Prog pioneers of the 70's had to have some influence; I swear I had found something on the 'net where Tom Bailey mentions listening to Emerson ...
    "Normal is just the average of extremes" - Gary Lessor

  7. #32
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    One of my favorite albums of the mid-2000s is Kirsty Maccoll- Tropical Brainstorm.
    I didn't know until much later that she wrote Tracy Ullman's "They Don't Know".

  8. #33
    Quote Originally Posted by Fracktured View Post
    One of my favorite albums of all time is Leo Sayer Just A Boy. It’s straight pop but is fun to listen to.
    His first two or three albums, before he totally sold out with Endless Flight, were actually pretty respectable. I understand he was working closely with Roger Daltrey back in those early days.
    Last edited by Progbear; 12-02-2020 at 08:12 PM.
    Confirmed Bachelors: the dramedy hit of 1883...

  9. #34
    An album from recent ŷears that I like a lot is St Etienne’s Home Counties, pure pop melodies but captivating and there’s even a mention for Hatfield & The North buried in there.

  10. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by progmatist View Post
    In late 1987, early 88, I was in a friend's car. There was some pretty proggy stuff coming out of the stereo. I asked him who it was, he said it was new Elton John. I said I didn't know Elton John was so creative.
    Elton's got a lot to offer if one digs deeper than the greatest hits albums

  11. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gravedigger View Post
    One of my favorite albums of the mid-2000s is Kirsty Maccoll- Tropical Brainstorm.
    I didn't know until much later that she wrote Tracy Ullman's "They Don't Know".
    Yes, that final album of hers contained one of my favorite "Pop" songs of all time, "In These Shoes". Reading the details about her tragic death by boating accident is quite disturbing.

  12. #37
    You know who deserves mention here as reliably good, modern, intelligent pop? The New Pornographers, that's who.

    Are there any better songwriters than A.C. Newman or singers than Neko Case out there right now?

  13. #38
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    Time to catch up to the modern world, folks...


  14. #39
    Quote Originally Posted by Teddy Vengeance View Post
    You know who deserves mention here as reliably good, modern, intelligent pop? The New Pornographers, that's who.
    Yes! I'm glad to see someone mention them, as they're one of my favorite (relatively) modern pop/rock groups. Brill Bruisers is great, but I think In The Morse Code of Brake Lights is even better.

    For some of my favorite pop groups/artists, lemme think... Not sure if these would all qualify, but here goes:

    Level 42
    Steely Dan
    U2
    Tears For Fears
    XTC
    Phil Collins
    Brian Wilson/The Beach Boys
    Simple Minds

  15. #40
    I seemed to have started more liking for Depeche Mode.

  16. #41
    Quote Originally Posted by Rarebird View Post
    A whole lot:
    Joe Jackson
    Oh shoot, I completely forgot about Joe Jackson. I love so much of his music.

  17. #42
    Quote Originally Posted by aith01 View Post
    Oh shoot, I completely forgot about Joe Jackson. I love so much of his music.
    On the other hand, one could say he has some proggy tendencies, making him perhaps less straight up pop.

  18. #43


    This New Pornographers track gets the adrenaline racing.

  19. #44
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    How about Bare Naked Ladies from Canada. Great pop stuff and good musicians.

  20. #45
    I love the love for ABBA I'm seeing here. Truth be known they are my favorite musical "group" (and so much more). They are my #1 favorite. (Olivia Newton-John has been my all-time favorite vocalist since I was a kid. Ane Faltskog , #2. Still have huge crushes on both of them. ) #2 Would be E.L.O., and as much as I love classical YES, they are #3.

    As most of you, and being a product of 70s music, there is so much good stuff and variety out there to love.

  21. #46

  22. #47
    Outraged bystander markwoll's Avatar
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    Tommy Keene or Marshal Crenshaw come to mind. Lloyd Cole and the Commotions too.
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  23. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by luvyesmusic View Post
    I love the love for ABBA I'm seeing here. Truth be known they are my favorite musical "group" (and so much more). They are my #1 favorite. (Olivia Newton-John has been my all-time favorite vocalist since I was a kid. Ane Faltskog , #2. Still have huge crushes on both of them. ) #2 Would be E.L.O., and as much as I love classical YES, they are #3.

    As most of you, and being a product of 70s music, there is so much good stuff and variety out there to love.
    Nothing wrong with Abba. They were great at what they did.

  24. #49
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    Korea is where pop songwriting, vocal harmonies, presentation are happening today. Not only do these guys in this video have some dancing chops, but a couple of em write a lot of Korean pop hits for a variety of artists. Clearly the audience likes singing along, which might even qualify as a "pop" essential. The KPOP industry has been forcing BTS down every American and European throat for the last couple of years, but there's hundreds of groups today in Korea who more "sophisticated" listeners might consider more interesting. If you really like pop, give a listen -- you may dig?...


  25. #50
    Member since March 2004 mozo-pg's Avatar
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    Sorry but that's awful! I like any kind of music with true talent but this just sounds so superficial.
    What can this strange device be? When I touch it, it brings forth a sound.

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