often attacked as being someone who doesn't like pop music. I don't
know where this comes from. I love pop music. I grew up listening
to Boston and Styx and Journey, graduating to Led Zeppelin and Pink
Floyd, always listening to Omaha's "rock" station -- Z-92.
It wasn't until I was a senior in High School that I began listening
to underground / college / indie music, thanks to a good friend
(now passed, unfortunately) who introduced me to The Butthole Surfers
and The Dead Kennedys and a bunch of West Coast skatecore music.
It continued from there, but I never lost my love for good pop music.
That said, here's the
best straight-up pop-rock CD I've heard so far in this Year of Our
Lord 2003. It has every prerequisite of exquisite pop -- the souring
chorus that begs you to sing along at every listen, the great-big-fat-sweet
guitar parts that pull it all together like a celebration for something
bigger than it ever hoped to be, and the centerpiece crooner with
pitch-perfect tone giving an emotional testimony to every love song
This is, in some regards,
a throwback recording, taking all the best touches from the great
pop that came before it (everything from Todd Rundgren to ELO to
Queen to Semisonic to The Beatles) and molding it into something
new and at the same time, altogether familiar. I liken this to a
collection of songs you'd hear on the radio
if it were 1978.
Unlike the stool samples that today's FM peddles, this would actually
sound good in your car -- it's something you and your friends can
scream out the windows without sounding like you're on the way to
a drive-by or a ritualistic sacrifice.
Boston-born Bleu McAuley
(the Bleu of Bleu) knows his way around a rock anthem, and surrounds
himself with some familiar faces, including background vocalists
Dan Wilson (Semisonic) and Andy Sturmer (Jellyfish), soloist Phil
Solem (The Rembrandts), and engineer Dave Richards (David Bowie's
Heroes), to name a few. But not every song is a fist-pumping,
hand-waving anthem. There's a couple pretty ballads thrown in for
good measure, all of it appropriate for use in your run-of-the-mill
blockbuster movie (in fact, track "Somebody Else" was
used in the Spiderman soundtrack).
The best thing I can
say about Redhead is that I've been listening to it on and
off for more than a month and I'm still not tired of it, I still
reach for it when I want to hear something that'll make me smile.
What more do you want from your pop music?
Posted Oct. 9, 2003.
Copyright © 2003 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.
liken this to a collection of songs you'd hear on the radio
if it were 1978."