Saturday, November 24, 2007
Shake Some Action
Generally, I like vacations because I like to nap. I lay down with a book and after five minutes fall asleep and wake an hour or two later, rejuvenated.
Today, I laid down with my new book: John M. Borack's Shake Some Action: The Ultimate Power Pop Guide. (Available from Not Lame Records, here.)* I missed my nap, because I read it, cover to cover. And I have some small complaints, but on the whole, it's a terrific achievement of a lot of different writers. It's rather "list"-y--lots of 100 best this and ten best that, but the analyses defending the choices are fascinating and there are some very solid essays. Perspectives vary widely, as there are a lot of contributors here. But they all live pretty much in our neighborhood.
The centerpiece of the book is Borack's top 200 Power Pop albums. I was ready to rip this one apart, I was... but I can't. Oh, I might place some things higher or lower, but the top ten (Raspberries, Big Star, Shoes, Cheap Trick, 20/20, Chris von Sneidern, Tommy Keene, The Orange Humble Band, Adam Schmitt, and The Beat (that's Paul Collins' Beat, not the British ska band)) seems about right to me. Matthew Sweet, Nick Lowe, Game Theory, Material Issue and FOW clock in in the top 20, The Spongetones, the Knack, Velvet Crush, and The Records well above 50, and even Red Kross makes the top 100.
As with any best of list, there's bound to be some debate (and Borack explains, though not wholly to my satisfaction, the exclusion of The Lemonheads and the New Pornographers), and my eyebrows did go up at the omission of steve's fave Rob Laufer, for example.
Other weird things in other sections: I'm not convinced that if you give yourself a strict one record per artist rule, you can count both XTC and the Dukes of the Stratosphear, and calling Elvis Costello's "Veronica" McCartney-influenced seems a little weird, since Sir Paul cowrote the tune.
Mostly, I was awed by my own ignorance: what I know, I know pretty well, but clearly I'm an amateur here. For example: I admit that I didn't know that ubiquitous LA Power Popper Robbie Rist was this guy. Weird, eh? So I invite my cobloggers and our commenters to help me review this book over the next couple of weeks. What do we think of it?
(And yes, we're mentioned in it, as are many of the folks on our blogroll, including the delightful Spike Priggen at Bedazzled and my darling Mike at Powerpopulist.)
Ans so, no nap, but still rejuvenated. Thanks!
Oh, let's shake some action for the hell of it.
*(steve, don't you dare. I know Hanukkah is 2 weeks away, but I bought you one and it's in the mail, so no sense bitching now.)