Sunday, October 11, 2009

Exquisite

Borrowed from Merriam-Webster - marked by flawless craftsmanship, or by beautiful, ingenious, delicate, or elaborate execution

For me no power pop song brings this to fruition better than The Raspberries 1974 Overnight Sensation. It was somewhat of a flop upon release - I recall that it barely dented the top 20. Then the band broke up shortly thereafter. We have seen this before. Here is the drill - group hits its stride, produces their best work, then disbands as record sales fizzle. For instance, the Zombies and their magnum opus Odessey and Oracle, all of Big Star's 70s studio albums. Regardless of what should have been, this song lives on in my Power Pop hall of fame.
  • Opening with perhaps the finest piano riff in pop history
  • 0:38 the first appearance of the chorus "(I just ) Want a Hit Record". Just gorgeous.
  • 0:56 the middle eight "well the program director don't pull it..."
  • 1:21 Wally Bryson's guitar is on fire
  • 1:30 as the verse returns, stabbing guitar power chords barely registering in the background
  • 2:08 saxophone solo on a par with anything on a Bruce Springsteen album
  • 2:32 middle eight returns
  • 2:56 "while in my head I hear the record play, hear it play..."
  • 3:05 the bottom drops out and a very tinny mono version appears - a great tribute to the bygone era of listening to the hit parade on a transistor-radio
  • 3:15 gradually the modern stereo version overtakes the mono
  • 3:58 back to the intro piano riff and Eric Carmen's McCartney-esque vocalizations, which fades and fades
  • by 4:18 the sound has dwindled down to just the piano gently rolling through the opening chords
  • 4:24 - bam - fireworks from the drummer, then multi-tracked vocals, guitar pyrotechnics, the overload trailing off in the final for-real fade out

4 comments:

Alex said...

This song is a nearly perfect example of power pop.

In a fairer world, the Raspberries would've been the biggest band in the 70s...

tbrough said...

Oh gawd...one of the best 45's EVER. Easily on my i-pod hall of fame.

Who Am Us Anyway? said...

Well, it's not as if there's a baker's dozen (13!) reasons why anyone should take the time to listen to this. Oh, wait a minute.

:-)

Great post, Mr. Pleasant!

Mister Pleasant said...

Thanks for the comments Alex, Tim, and Who Am. I was not counting the bullet points when I wrote it, but 13 is a really good number, isn't it?