Share POPTOPIA! POWER POP HITS OF THE '70S - Various Artists (Rhino)
With its Warhol-esque cover art, "Poptopia" is, as a friend of mine put it, "Power-Pop 101". Quite frankly, you aren't getting a better introduction to this genre of music than this LP. Power-pop's genre conventions are pretty straight-forward: a clean, chorus-driven guitar sound, usually with a bit of a victory guitar solo, and two-or-three part harmonies on transcendent choruses. "Poptopia" revels in the glory of this genre, and gives us nearly all the best of the 1970s power-pop's most beautiful moments. It's a shame (as the compilers of this…umm..compilation point out in the liner notes) that Badfinger aren't represented by their brain-fuckingly awesome pop-tastic mega-hit "No Matter What". The replacement track "Just A Chance" is not bad by any stretch of the imagination, but it's no real equal to "No Dice"'s finest moment.

The Poptopia series (there are three of these compilations) has encapsulated the decades of the '70s,' 80s and '90s – but it's this first compilation that really shows you what the Power-Pop genre was capable of – in some regards a kind of proto-punk. The one-two-three-four combo of The Raspberries' "Go All The Way" (bubble-gum-pop perfection), Todd Rundgren's "Couldn't I Just Tell You?" (achingly beautiful in its composition), Blue Ash's "Abracadabra (Have You Seen Her?)" (featuring a future member of the Dead Boys!), and Big Star's "September Gurls" (possibly the best power-pop song of all time – Alex Chilton R.I.P.) give you all of the essential pop that you need. But then you get another fourteen power-pop slices of awesomeness that will further rock your world. It's a win-win scenario, people – you simply cannot lose when you buy this record. Every track is a winner. And you will be too, after you buy it.

Alongside such genre classics as the Flamin' Groovies' ridiculously brilliant "Shake Some Action", The Rubinoos' blue-eyed pop sensation, "I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend", The Records' fuck-off to bad management "Starry Eyes", Bram Tchaikovsky's one-off pop-hit "Girl Of My Dreams" and Nick Lowe's effortlessly cool "Cruel To Be Kind", there are lesser known classics, too, among the best of which is Cheap Trick's superlative "Come On, Come On", which I'm currently trying to convince my band to cover – hey, I've learned how to play it – why shouldn't they? No-one ever listens to the bass player. This album is a balls-out 100% no holds barred ironclad Power-Pop sensation.

If you like to sing along with things, then this is the album for you. And 18 tracks of Power-Pop goodness provides a great deal of sing-a-long awesome. Sit back and enjoy.

You're welcome.- Mr Intolerance

 

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