I have been finding a huge amount of great bubble gum pop lately. Of course, I am not speaking of Britney Spears when I sing the praises of bubble gum. I am singing the praises of the most difficult music to do well (besides classical and jazz) that exists.
The writing of a great hook, smart lyrics and a great chorus is the holy grail of good songwriters. The ones that leave a good pop song behind for the "pretentious art" of folk or ____ (fill in the blank) are just jaded wannabes that cannot write a good hook. They are jealous and move towards something easier (radio pop or hard rock).
By good, intelligent pop I am speaking of the lineage beginning with the Beatles, Beach Boys, Kinks and Zombies through Big Star, ELO, The Cars, Duran Duran, Husker Du, Jellyfish, Matthew Sweet, to modern masters like The Format and Badly Drawn Boy. Some call it power pop. I just call it the greatest music the world has ever seen.
If you do not attempt to steal from The Beatles and The Beach Boys, you are wasting every one's time. Seriously, if you don't see Pet Sounds and Revolver or Abbey Road as The Bill of Rights and Constitution don't record anything for others (besides your mom) to listen to.
Today there so many good POP bands out there. Dr. Dog, Apples in Stereo, The Broken West, Snowden, Youth Group and Of Montreal (heck, even The Shins album is good, just not "that good") have all released gems during the past few months. While some are superior to the others, none of these bands is a waste of space on an iPod.
If I get around to it, I will be telling you my opinions on a number of these albums, along with the latest by Arcade Fire, Explosions in the Sky and Elvis Perkins among others.