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Powerpop Kid
Powerpop Kid

Power pop (or powerpop) is a popular musical genre that draws its inspiration from 1960s British and American pop and rock music. It typically incorporates a combination of musical devices such as strong melodies, crisp vocal harmonies, economical arrangements, and prominent guitar riffs. Instrumental solos are usually kept to a minimum, and blues elements are largely downplayed. Recordings tend to display production values that lean toward compression and a forceful drum beat. Instruments usually include one or more electric guitars, an electric bass guitar, a drum kit, and sometimes electric keyboards or synthesizers. While its cultural impact has waxed and waned over the decades, power pop is among rock's most enduring subgenres.

Writing for Allmusic, John Dougan described the genre's origins:

"The musical sourcepoint for nearly all power-pop is The Beatles. Virtually all stylistic appropriations begin with them: distinctive harmony singing, strong melodiclines, unforgettable guitar riffs, lyrics about boys and girls in love; they created the model that other power-poppers copied for the next couple of decades. Other profound influences include The Who, The Kinks, and The Move, bands whose aggressive melodies and loud distorted guitars put the "power" in power-pop."

Pete Townshend of The Who coined the term "power pop" in a 1967 interview in which he said "Power pop is what we play." As early as 1965, the Everly Brothers were playing music that can be called power pop. The duo's "I'll See Your Light" and "It Only Costs A Dime" displayed jangling guitars and an oblique harmonic approach that built upon the innovations of The Beatles and The Byrds. Those groups, along with The Who, The Small Faces and the Beach Boys, are often cited as the progenitors of power pop.

The Who, inspired by the melodicism of The Beatles and the driving rhythms of American R&B, released several songs — "I Can't Explain", "The Kids Are Alright", "Substitute", "I'm a Boy", "Happy Jack", "So Sad About Us", and in 1967, "Pictures of Lily" — in their early mod phase (1965–1966) that can be considered the first true power pop songs. These songs are propelled by Keith Moon's aggressive drumming and Pete Townshend's distinctive power chords, and have strong melodies and euphonic harmonies.

Pete Townshend of The Who coined the term "power pop" in a 1967 interview in which he said "Power pop is what we play." As early as 1965, the Everly Brothers were playing music that can be called power pop. The duo's "I'll See Your Light" and "It Only Costs A Dime" displayed jangling guitars and an oblique harmonic approach that built upon the innovations of The Beatles and The Byrds. Those groups, along with The Who, The Small Faces and the Beach Boys, are often cited as the progenitors of power pop.

The Beatles released harder-edged, yet melodic, singles such as "Paperback Writer" and "Day Tripper" in 1965–66, as well as album tracks such as "And Your Bird Can Sing". However, four years before the term "power pop" was coined, The Beatles were already recording a series of influential hits that some have retroactively classified as power pop, including "From Me to You", "She Loves You", "I Want to Hold Your Hand", and "Can't Buy Me Love".

Several groups that arose in the wake of The Beatles' success were important in the evolution and expansion of the power pop style, such as The Hollies and The Monkees, as well as "softer" acts such as The Beau Brummels, The Cowsills, The Zombies, The Easybeats and the "bubblegum" singles of the Kasenetz-Katz production team. Other acts such as the Knickerbockers, and the Outsiders contributed iconic singles.

Modern power pop gained momentum in 1970 with recordings by the British group Badfinger (although at this time, the musical style was not yet classified as power pop). Badfinger singles such as "No Matter What", "Baby Blue", and "Day After Day" (all recorded in 1970 and 1971), were the template for the power pop sound that followed in the late 1970s. In the early 1970s, the form was further codified by the work of The Raspberries (who may have been the first band to earn the power pop appellation, in a mid-1970s article in Rolling Stone).

At this stage, British pop had taken a stylistic turn (notably, with the rise of glam). The bands performing music that was later to be labeled power pop were nearly all American. The first albums by Big Star and the Raspberries are considered among the genre's essential recordings. Some of Todd Rundgren's early and mid 1970s solo work also touched upon the emerging genre, as did the recordings of Blue Ash, The Flamin' Groovies, Artful Dodger, and The Dwight Twilley Band.

Rundgren, The Raspberries, and The Dwight Twilley Band achieved sporadic chart success during the period. However, the most influential of all the early-to-mid 1970s "pre" power pop-era groups was arguably Big Star, who released two unsuccessful albums and spent years relegated to cult status. Big Star's reputation rose in the early 1980s, after bands like R.E.M. and The Replacements spoke enthusiastically of their work. The Replacements even recorded a song entitled "Alex Chilton" in honor of Big Star's frontman.

In the late 1970s and early 1980s, spurred on by the emergence of punk rock and new wave (music which was similarly driving and stripped-down), power pop enjoyed its most prolific period. The term "power pop" first came into widespread use in 1978. It was often used in reference to critics' favorites Elvis Costello and Nick Lowe, whose style was viewed as a less-threatening version of punk rock. Los Angeles-based Bomp! magazine championed power pop in its March 1978 issue, tying the genre's roots to 1960s groups like The Who and The Easybeats through the Raspberries of the early 1970s. The associated Bomp! Records label also released singles by 20/20 ("Giving It All"), Shoes ("Tomorrow Night") and The Romantics ("Tell It to Carrie"). Major label groups like Cheap Trick, The Cars and Blondie, who merged power pop influences with other styles, also achieved their first mainstream success with albums released in 1977-1978.

In general, these new power pop groups favored a leaner, punchier, more punkish attack than their early–1970s predecessors. Some, such as 20/20, the dB's, and Shoes, occasionally incorporated synthesizers into their music, though not to the same degree as did their new wave counterparts.

Visually, taking their cue from the tie-wearing, matching white-suited Raspberries (who had taken their own visual cues from the early 1960s British Invasion groups), some of the young power poppers decked themselves out in skinny ties, matching shirts, or, in the case of the Romantics, matching red leather outfits.

The biggest chart hit by a pure power pop band was the Knack's debut single, "My Sharona", which topped the Billboard Hot 100 chart for six weeks in the summer of 1979. The accompanying platinum-selling album, Get the Knack, paved the way for major label debuts that fall by The Pop, Shoes, 20/20 and The Beat. However, "My Sharona"'s ubiquitous radio presence that summer spawned a popular and critical backlash against the band, which in turn led to a backlash against the power pop genre in general. Few of the power pop albums which followed Get The Knack charted at all, and those that did attained only middling positions on the Billboard 200. The Romantics had a minor hit with "What I Like About You" in early 1980, but, by then, power pop was seen as a passing fad by many critics. Most of this crop of bands continued to release albums throughout the early 1980s, but with the exception of The Romantics' In Heat (1983), none garnered much attention. Other groups such as The Plimsouls and the dB's found a home on college radio, where power pop would endure for the remainder of the decade.

The term power pop, as used in the United Kingdom, referred to a somewhat different style of music than that of the United States. The Evening Standard used the term in January 1978 while writing about The Rich Kids and Tonight. Other British bands labelled as power pop included The Jam, Squeeze, Buzzcocks, The Vapors, and The Chords. The term became something of a catchall, as many of these groups have also been described as mod revival, punk rock, or new wave. Lacking the influence of American pioneers such as Big Star and The Raspberries, these bands were more directly inspired by 1960s beat music bands, particularly The Who, The Kinks and The Beatles. They also took a cue from the energy and aesthetics of the contemporary punk movement, speeding up the tempo of their music.

Other UK artists of the late 1970s commonly identified as power pop were the new wave bands XTC and Elvis Costello & The Attractions. They played driving, melodic music, but neither group sported the mod image or overt 1960s influence of The Jam and their followers.

A handful of successful bands in the United Kingdom did boast the traditional power pop sound as inspired by The Raspberries and Big Star. Singles from such groups, such as The Records' "Starry Eyes", Nick Lowe's "Cruel To Be Kind", and Bram Tchaikovsky's "Girl Of My Dreams", rivaled or even surpassed their American counterparts in capturing the essential elements of power pop. Perhaps as a consequence, these bands were more commercially successful in the United States than in their homeland.

Additionally, the American New Wave group Blondie was often labelled as "power pop" by the UK press. The band's cover of The Nerves' "Hanging on the Telephone," demonstrated Blondie's power pop side.

In the 1980s and 1990s, power pop continued as a commercially modest genre. Artists such as the Spongetones, Marshall Crenshaw, The Smithereens, Matthew Sweet, Tommy Keene, Redd Kross, Material Issue, and The Posies drew inspiration from Big Star, the Beatles, and glam rock groups of the early 1970s like T. Rex and Sweet. Albums such as Jellyfish's Bellybutton (1990) and Teenage Fanclub's Bandwagonesque (1991) would be greatly influential within the genre, but few translated to mainstream success.

In the mid-1990s through the 2000s, power pop flourished in the underground with acts such as The Shazam and Sloan. Independent record labels such as Not Lame Recordings, Parasol, Kool Kat Musik and Jam Recordings specialized in the genre. The sound made a mainstream appearance in 1994 with Weezer's commercially successful Blue Album and hit single "Buddy Holly". In the late 1990s, several Scandinavian power pop groups such as the Cardigans, Merrymakers, and Wannadies enjoyed a modicum of critical favor.

Modern Powerpop kids dress in band shirts, bright colors, funky dresses (think Amy-Rose) and in general is like Pop but a bit bolder. Powerpop kids personality is pretty much hyper, bubbly, and a little ditzy.

Image from deviantart, info -save for the last paragraph, which is mine- from wikipedia.

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