Tuesday, October 8, 2013

The Nights Go On and On

In the vein of great riff-based songs such as Pleasant Valley Sunday and Day Tripper, here is a tasty nugget from the Raspberries final LP Starting Over.   Play On has all the requisite components of a great power pop song - riff, a driving beat, and heavenly vocal harmonies in the chorus.   This is the one song on the LP that is a throwback to their early hits.   This album has always been way up there on my list of favorites, and is the most consistent long player released by the Raspberries.  That they came apart soon afterwards is a real shame.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Guide Me With Your Body Light

From the opening other-worldly guitar chords and drumming salvo, No One Knows announces that Badfinger ain't some Beatles-lite band riding on the Apple wagon.   From their second Warner Brothers LP Wish You Were Here, genius popmeister Pete Hamm provided perhaps the finest power pop ever produced by a band that already had a fine track record in that genre.  The story behind the album and its limited release is part of a story too sad for me to tell here.  Look up the details in Wikipedia if you are not already familiar.   Today I just want to bask in the glory of this amazing tune and the super album from which it comes.

Producer Chris Thomas helped the band achieve a mature sound - that along with the stellar songwriting - makes this record their finest long play issue.  He was initially brought in to salvage their last Apple release, Ass, then stayed on for their first two Warner's releases.  From start to finish this is a fine piece of work.  All four members contributed songwriting chores.

As for No One Knows, the guitar chords that I mentioned up top are difficult to describe.   Rhythmically widely spaced, they ring out and barely fade before the next one comes.  A piano riff comes in then the drums build as the chords repeat.   Leading directly to that glorious chorus with the slow guitar arpeggios injecting their counterpoint.

"No one knows how good I feel, when you let it glow"

The middle eight uses the opening mega-chords to punctuate Pete's glorious happy vocal.

"Come in closer with each sigh,
Knowing soon that we will fly"

Even the odd Japanese soliloquy over the instrumental version of the chorus seems just right.  Then those great Badfinger harmonies join in for another pass through the middle eight.

Power Pop does not get any better than this.