powerpop

Release Date: 5/13

Album: THE OWL AND THE FULL MOON

Writer: ADAM MARSLAND

Video:

studio version

 

live version

 

 

Lyrics:

I'm not one to wish for a frozen moment
Every time has its good and bad components
There was that time when I got strangled by a skinny tie
Do you remember the power pop days?

Misfits, misanthropes
Here we are now, entertain ya
Cut our teeth on hipster grief and lonely Beatlemania
Now that it has bit the dust
Laugh at it if you must
Do you remember the power pop days?

Can't move on if you can't let go
But if you don't look back
Then what you've gained you'll never know

I learned my trade from each and every one of you
No regrets, just a happy sadness that I renew
Long may your 12-strings chime
Dorky coolness, sweet sublime
Do you remember the power pop days?
Do you remember the power pop days?

Ooh Davey go all the way...

Musicians:

Adam - all vocals and instruments

Adam sez:

My relationship with the phrase and genre "power pop" is a long and fractious one. It's true I was one of the main boosters of the "pop scene" in Los Angeles in the mid '90s, but my whole idea at the time was to rebrand the word "pop" to mean "any cool music that is melodic" as opposed to something that fits into a rigid tradition that follows in the footsteps of bands like Raspberries or the Knack or something like that. It worked for awhile, but by the end of the '90s the traditional idea of "power pop" was back, and I found myself defined as being a "power pop" artist. I couldn't really complain about that TOO much, since I was the one throwing the word "pop" around all the time trying to help build a scene (and succeeding at it, too), but it was a drag because the real power pop fanatics mostly did not care for Cockeyed Ghost because we went out of our way to not be a traditional band, but to do something different musically (e.g. combining Beach Boys vocal styles with the aggro style that was popular then) and lyrically (by having some depth and unusual emotional viewpoint to the lyrics). It was a bummer to have those aspects not appreciated because we didn't sound like the way people expected us to. It was also a bummer when the cool kids wouldn't give us a shot because they thought we were "too pop." And that's what killed Cockeyed Ghost just as much as the collapse of our record label. It's what eventually drove me on the road full time, because I didn't feel like there was anything for me in Los Angeles anymore. Ironically, when I did find a new audience, it was through my association with the Beach Boys, and I found their fans to be much less rigid and much more accepting than the power pop crowd that was supposedly my home. And listen, I'm not trying to diss anyone's musical taste. This is just what happened from where I was standing, and this was very much on my mind when I made YOU DON'T KNOW ME back in 2004, the title track in particular.

Now, the lovely thing about time is as you get older, you realize how much of this cliquey political music ego stuff is just total bullshit. I'd never written a traditional power pop song per se (though a few tunes, "Grateful for the Rain," "Like Other Men" came close), and one night I thought, why the heck not? I owned a 12-string electric, and these were the jangly tones I was more and more beginning to enjoy.

This song came about one night after I came home from producing a vocal session for another artist at another studio. The session went fine, but I was so impatient after a long night having to filter my ideas through a bunch of other people that I pulled up a mic, and after banging out a basic track, I just went crazy singing as many vocal parts as I could think of. I've gotten pretty good at this kind of thing and I think it took maybe an hour in total. I think I cut the drum track in my room, too -- just a bass drum and a snare -- and then I was off and running overdubbing as many instruments as I could fit. I snuck in little tributes to some of my old compatriots: "Davey go all the way" is a reference to International Pop Overthrow compére David Bash (as well as to Eric Carmen), and the bass track was a deliberate tip of the hat to Robbie Rist. He and I had unfortunately been estranged for some time, and I briefly considered sending along this track as an olive branch, but some stuff got back to me that made me think I'd better not! It didn't matter, anyway -- the point of the song is that whatever bitterness I had about how things went down in the '90s, I'm over it. It was a beautiful time in my life, probably the best time in my life (although I have high hopes for the future). One of the great things about traditional power pop is how it can mingle joy with a sense of loss of a certain time. And I'm all about that. So I'm cool with the power pop thing, even if I don't ever really fit the mold of that genre, or any other for that matter.

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