Monday, October 02, 2006

Pop Perfection

Whether created among four musicians or by the Harrington 1200, the perfect pop song is a topic I've brought up with friends before, discussing in length not only about what defines "pop perfection," but also what songs should fall into said category. This can be a very subjective topic.

First, a song need not be "pop" to be pop perfect, but this is generally where most of these songs come from, since the strength of a pop song lies in its radio playability and mass appeal. Pop perfection means you've reached this apex of the two. Pop songs are catchy, and can't be too complex. The chorus, the rhythm, the sound, all of it together to make a song that can be listened anywhere and enjoyed by all when played. And those who don't enjoy it, you're still going to have the song stuck in your head for half the day. The song doesn't need to be famous; a major label is no prereq for pop perfection. But be careful in making the list. Look past your love of a song and decide carefully if it meets the standards. A perfect song may not be pop perfect. I know, I'm confusing myself here, too; I can verbally explain myself better, but it's a little harder writing this without sounding like a rambling idiot (too late).

Of course, there are many different eras of pop music to be considered. There's the old standard singers (Sinatra, Bobby Darin), Motown (Diana Ross, The Temptations), old school rock & roll (Beach Boys, Little Richard, etc.), that whole 80s pop thing (Madonna, Duran Duran), boy/girl bands (NKOTB, Spice Girls), indie pop, ranging from the saccharine (Boy Least Likely To, Sondre Lerche) to the more...not saccharine (The Shins, Luna), and then just the general menagerie of Top 40 and popular music from the last fifty years. The potential list can be staggering. And so far, all I've done is just ramble off some artists.

But enough talk, I want to know what you think, fooligans. What songs do you consider pop perfect? Tell you what, I'll show you mine, but you gotta show me yours. Deal? Cool.

The Cardigans - Lovefool
The Archies - Sugar Sugar
A-Ha - Take On Me
Third Eye Blind - Semi-Charmed Life
Weezer - Buddy Holly
James Brown - I Feel Good
The dBs - Big Brown Eyes

Editor's Note: This list is in no way comprehensive, but several songs that soundly represent the feeling of pop perfection. There are many other songs swimming around in my head, but this has taken far too long and the post hasn't come out as good as I thought it would. C'est la vie.


P-Town said...

WOW! What a great post idea! You really got my brain gears grinding, Greggo. I actually went through my entire iTunes music library and found 11 songs that might be considered "pop" to some. Tell me what you think:

Better Than Ezra - Good
Cheap Trick - Surrender (where were you on this, Klein?)
Crowded House - Don't Dream It's Over (a guilty-pleasure choice)
The Cure - Friday I'm In Love
Deep Blue Something - Breakfast At Tiffany's
Goo Goo Dolls - Slide
Modern English - Melt With You
Jackie Wilson - Higher and Higher
The Sounds - Dance With Me
Spin Doctors - Two Princes (shudder)
Weezer - The Good Life (had to get one in there from Rivers & co)

Grego said...

Good stuff, my friend. It was tough for me to draw the line at the 8, the wheels were spinning far too fast.

Yes, Weezer has to be mentioned, and I'm envious of the Modern English pick. But no need to shudder about Two Princes; I heart that song. It's that same kind of love I have for Hootie.

Als said...

Hmm...I had to think about this one for a while. I would have to say the following songs are pop-perfect to me:

Aha - Take On Me (I totally agree with you on that one. Dammit it's a good song!)
Modest Mouse - Float On
Cake - I Will Survive
sundayrunners - Elected (check out their myspace, believe me)
OK Go - Here It Goes Again
Madness - Our House
Gwen Stefani - Hollaback Girl
Etta James - At Last
Sujfan Stevens - Chicago
Mike Doughty - 27 Jennifers
Journey - Don't Stop Believin' (the White Sox ruined any bit of guilty pleasure I could get out of this song.)

Obligatory Weezer pick: "Pink Triangle" for putting the poppy-est spin on finding out a chick you're digging is actually a lesbian, ever.

Grego said...

Very nice, especially the Cake cover; that's such an awesome version of that song. And I heart "Pink Triangle." "If everyone's a little queer, can't she be a little straight?" Amazing line.

P.S. Take On Me is one of my favorites: I once owned nine versions of that song (I know, I'm a geek).

The Security Chicken said...

Wolf Eyes - "Stabbed in the Face"

That's it.