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Thread: In praise of straight up Pop

  1. #1

    In praise of straight up Pop

    Yeah yeah we’re all invested in ‘sophisticated’ and ‘complex’ here but cmon, fess up, sometimes some straight up smart, tight pop fills the prescription.

    I’m talking about people who could never, ever be considered ‘prog’, even when stretching the boundaries. Elvis Costello would be a prime example. Belle and Sebastien anyone? Who scratches your (smart) pop itch?

    This thread comes to mind because 1) I just noticed the unfortunate and sadly unlamented Covid-19 death of Fountains of Wayne songwriter deluxe, Adam Schlesinger, back in April - a man who could pen a pop tune with the best of them - and 2) - on a very different note - the deserved resurgence of Sparks, whose A Steady Drip Drip Drip might just be the best album of 2020.

  2. #2
    Member thedunno's Avatar
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    I am a sucker for Abba. No defence whatsoever against it.

    Also like Crowded House quite a bit.

    ...... there goes my elite image as a RIO-nerd.

  3. #3
    A whole lot:
    Joe Jackson
    And a lot of German stuff, like
    Bap
    Herbert Grönemeyer
    Udo Jürgens
    Karat
    Heinz Rudolf Kunze
    Udo Lindenberg
    Ulla Meinecke
    Puhdys
    Pur
    Die Prinzen
    Santiano
    Pe Werner
    To name a few.

    And yes, I also like Magma and some Frank Zappa. And don't forget Van der Graaf Generator.

  4. #4
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    Definitely a fan of ABBA, Carpenters, Bee Gees, Bacharach etc. I also am a big fan of a lot of that 'Brill Building' pop from the late 50s/early 60s. I could imagine The Beatles learning a lot from the construction and discipline of these songs, and of course they covered a fair few of them.

  5. #5
    Mmm yes. I love me some pop. Most of the folks already mentioned (except I can't really get myself into the Bee Gees, largely because I first ran into them during the disco era), plus Monkees, Turtles, Strawberry Alarm Clock (bordering on psych there), Herman's Hermits, Everly Brothers, Dave Clark Five... hell, the original Manfred Mann, Paul Revere and the Raiders.

    I even love the dumb stuff (Yes, the Archies).

    I have a whole CD of "pop that takes itself waaaay too seriously". Things like "Billy, Don't Be A Hero"; "One Tin Soldier"; "Dirty Laundry"; "Signs"; "We Didn't Start the Fire". Honestly, half of Bruce Springsteen's songs, and most of U2's, could go on that list if they weren't so humorless.
    Maka ki ecela tehani yanke lo!

  6. #6
    I like the sound of that new upcoming pop chap, Steven Wislon

  7. #7
    Definitions are wide and varied, but my tastes go everywhere and some of my absolutely favourite artists have spent many a time in the singles charts., many coming from the post punk / new wave scene... Elvis Costello, Joe Jackson, XTC, The Cure ...

  8. #8
    Man of repute progmatist's Avatar
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    I've always had a soft spot for CSN(Y), Heart, and Buckingham/Nicks era Fleetwood Mac.
    "Well my son, life is like a beanstalk, isn't it?"--Dalai Lama

  9. #9
    I love The Divine Comedy (Neil Hannon). Well crafted witty songs that don't take themselves seriously.

    Always a soft spot for Joe Jackson (although he's such a versatile artist that he doesn't quite fit in the "straight up pop" category).

  10. #10
    Member since March 2004 mozo-pg's Avatar
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    I can honestly say that I can enjoy almost every musical form if the artist has true talent.
    What can this strange device be? When I touch it, it brings forth a sound.

  11. #11
    Member Vic2012's Avatar
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    Probably not straight up but I like some Yacht rock like Steely Dan. It's fofiffticated pop.

  12. #12
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    I like a lot of pop if it is well done. Squeeze was a band that comes to mind.

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    Man can't live by prog alone! Huge fan of Elton John, Doobie Brothers. Grew up on The Dave Clark Five and the Beatles. Now if I want some straight up pop, I'll spin the a cappella group Pentatonix. I know, I know but when I want some good vocals, they work for me. I have most all their CDs. There I said it, do I have to turn in my prog card? And after I say this it's definitely gone, I like Mike and The Mechanics. Carrack and Young are excellent singers.

  14. #14
    Member Vic2012's Avatar
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    I was listening earlier to CSN....Daylight Again. It's melodic, great vocal harmonies, light rock. I like it, but compared to the first two albums its Yacht pop. I like it. I like melodic rock.

  15. #15
    Member Burley Wright's Avatar
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    Stewart/Gaskin
    Prefab Sprout
    Kevin Gilbert/Giraffe/Toy Matinee
    Swing Out Sister
    Jellyfish
    XTC
    Tom Brislin/Spiraling
    Producers (Atlanta)
    Eye to Eye
    Crowded House
    Oingo Boingo
    Fleet Foxes
    Carpenters
    Rascals
    Paul Simon/Simon and Garfunkel
    Headboys
    Jesse Colin Young/Youngbloods

    and many, many more...

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by Burley Wright View Post
    Prefab Sprout
    Their album Two Wheels Good (aka Steve McQueen) might be the greatest pop album ever produced. McAloon is/was a master craftsman.

  17. #17
    All Things Must Pass spellbound's Avatar
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    There are a lot of catchy pop tunes from the '70s, as are highlighted on the soundtracks for the two Guardians of the Galaxy movies. If you're old enough to remember that music, you, like me, are probably old enough to not care what people think of your taste in music.

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    Little River Band, Steve Winwood, Squeeze, Dan Fogelberg, Chris De Burg, Boston, Foreigner, Tears For Fears

  19. #19
    Member since March 2004 mozo-pg's Avatar
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    For one example (that I don't think many here would agree) is Adele's Hometown Glory. I think the vocal is wonderful and very poetic/emotional:



    It has over 110 million views so there are lots in the general public who like it.
    Last edited by mozo-pg; 12-02-2020 at 02:06 AM.
    What can this strange device be? When I touch it, it brings forth a sound.

  20. #20
    Outraged bystander markwoll's Avatar
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    I enjoy pop music. A well crafted and produced pop song is a gem.
    Most of the time even a good pop song is ruined by over play, but the real gems survive even that.
    I got hooked on prog when it was pop music, American Top 40. Gems that have survived.
    "It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it."
    -- Aristotle
    Nostalgia, you know, ain't what it used to be. Furthermore, they tells me, it never was.
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  21. #21
    Member Camelogue's Avatar
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    Most of the "pop" artists listed are no longer popular.

  22. #22
    Member moecurlythanu's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Camelogue View Post
    Most of the "pop" artists listed are no longer popular.
    Most of them aren't "straight pop" either.
    He did not know that the sword he'd hold, would turn his priceless empire into fool's gold...

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  23. #23
    Man of repute progmatist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tangram View Post
    Man can't live by prog alone! Huge fan of Elton John, Doobie Brothers. Grew up on The Dave Clark Five and the Beatles. Now if I want some straight up pop, I'll spin the a cappella group Pentatonix. I know, I know but when I want some good vocals, they work for me. I have most all their CDs. There I said it, do I have to turn in my prog card? And after I say this it's definitely gone, I like Mike and The Mechanics. Carrack and Young are excellent singers.
    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.
    "Well my son, life is like a beanstalk, isn't it?"--Dalai Lama

  24. #24
    Member Mythos's Avatar
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    So New Wave was pop?

  25. #25
    Member thedunno's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mythos View Post
    So New Wave was pop?
    I think most of it is pop, just not the 'straight up' pop the op is referring to.

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