Friday, May 13, 2011

my power pop addiction, no. 23 (95)

Through no fault of my own, my Cal Ripkenesque streak ended yesterday at 94 blog posts in 94 days. The blogging site seems to have undergone a major meltdown because the thing was offline for almost 24 hours. My incredibly thoughtful 94th post - the one chronicling my onanistic adventures down in the Dalton boiler room - was a casualty of the disaster, along with the follow-up post I was writing on Nick Gilder. My first impulse was to be pissed off about it, but the blogging platform is entirely free and system breakdowns are all part of this brave new world we’re living in. So onwards we go… There’s really not much for me to say about Nick Gilder anyway. He’s another in a long line of canuck pop stars stretching from at least Rick Neufeld and the Bells, to Gordon Lightfoot and Burton Cummings, to overwrought Alanis, to foxy Avril Lavigne (nee Levine?), and all the way up to the helmeted one himself, Justin Beiber. …I’m actually Facebook friends with Gilder, along with a few hundred other balding children of the 70s, and the impression I have of him is that he’s maybe not the sharpest tool in the shed, though this isn’t relevant to anything other than my own need to indulge my inner bitch. He also seems like a lovely dude and deserves credit for remaining accessible to his fans. When Hot Child in the City came out in 1978 and went into heavy rotation on Top 40 radio, I remember being surprised when I learned that a guy was doing the singing. I think a lot of kids had the same reaction. Androgyny is a big part of power pop. The effect is similar to what happens with glam, where conventional male sexuality is subverted only to be repackaged in a form that’s more potent precisely because it's more complex and subtle. I dig it. It makes me feel less self-conscious about identifying on a deep level with the sound of Eric Carmen’s voice. ...Gender bending also helped power pop bands distance themselves from the more the more traditionally laddy approach taken in a lot of hesher rock. In fact, the more I think about it, the more I hear power pop as a reaction against rock, though in some cases, like with the Cars, Cheap Trick, Tom Petty, and even Todd Rundgren, the relationship to rock is complicated. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve gravitated much more towards pop and away from rock. My taste is as sugar coated as ever. Give it to me in quick, concise bursts of pleasure, nothing too heavy or elongated. Three minutes or less is more than enough time to completely change my perspective on the day, usually for the better…

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