Democratic Underground Latest Greatest Lobby Journals Search Options Help Login
Google

pop-punk and power-pop. What's the real difference?

Printer-friendly format Printer-friendly format
Printer-friendly format Email this thread to a friend
Printer-friendly format Bookmark this thread
This topic is archived.
Home » Discuss » The DU Lounge Donate to DU
 
tigereye Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-29-05 04:44 PM
Original message
pop-punk and power-pop. What's the real difference?
When I started going to shows, there was punk, new-wave and hardcore and that was it. Some of what is called pop-punk now seems more like poppy hardcore to me. I always thought of power-pop as more traditional, but it seems like a lot of old- style punk with more than three chords was pretty "poppy" compared to how punk is seen now. Obviously pop is not dead, and that is a good thing. Which raises another question, what is pop?

http://punkmodpop.free.fr /

Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
ZombieNixon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-29-05 04:52 PM
Response to Original message
1. "Pop" is "soda" in the midwest.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
tigereye Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-29-05 05:01 PM
Response to Reply #1
7. ha ha
my New England Grandparents called it tonic
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
ZombieNixon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-29-05 06:54 PM
Response to Reply #7
21. Really? That's a new one.
Haven't heard that before.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Taverner Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-29-05 04:54 PM
Response to Original message
2. Well....As I Understand...
Pop Punk would be bands like Green Day, Blink 182, etc. Punkish bands that have gone quasi mainstream, and get played at frat parties.

Powerpop does not have to be punk, and it's not really pop, just fast melodic music with power chords. I would put Ben Folds in this category.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
St. Jarvitude Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-29-05 04:55 PM
Response to Original message
3. Pop-punk is lame.
That's the difference :)

I can definitely see a difference between pop-punk (Blink 182, Good Charlotte :puke:) and power pop (The Shins, Iron & Wine, Belle & Sebastian, Franz Ferdinand ( :eyes:)), but I can't exactly articulate it into words.

By the way, I generally like power pop.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
tigereye Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-29-05 05:04 PM
Response to Reply #3
8. how about the Queers?
although I would think of them as more punk... NoFx is poppy, but has some bite and some politics. Guess I think that if it has something to say in a Ramones like way, then it might be punk. Green Day would be pop-punk to some, but others might see them as coming out of that in your face DIY punk tradition. Well at least until the millions start rolling in.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
St. Jarvitude Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-29-05 05:20 PM
Response to Reply #8
13. Here's what happens to a lot of punk bands:
They see that the grass is greener ($$$) on the "other side" (pop) and will make the switch either because the money they make is barely enough to survive on, or because they're greedy sunsabitches and want even more money (i.e. Blink 182).

Blink 182 was pretty successful as a punk band (Cheshire Cat, Dude Ranch and Enema of the State to lesser extents), but I guess they saw that the money was better if they wrote crappy whiny emo songs about how pitiful and miserable their millionare lifestyles are.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
sundog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-29-05 04:56 PM
Response to Original message
4. I don't necessarily think pop is a bad word
That's all. :7
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
tigereye Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-29-05 05:05 PM
Response to Reply #4
9. I don't think pop is a bad word at all
I really like it and always have.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
asthmaticeog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-29-05 04:59 PM
Response to Original message
5. I think the difference was that
power-pop wasn't especially punk. I think of power-pop as being the cultural produce of Dwight Twilley, The Shoes, the Records, Translator, 20/20, whoever did that "Starry Eyes" song, that sort of thing. That died out by the early '80s, IIRC. Pop punk didn't really get to be a thing with a name until the mid '80s when the Mr. T Experience came along with that Buzzcocks-but-happier sound that Green Day swiped wholesale and is thus all over the damn place now.

As for what is pop, the foreword and introduction to this book do wonders for both clearing up the answer to that question and muddying the waters all at once. Unconditionally recommended:

http://bookstore.autonomedia.org/index.cgi?cart_id=7513...
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
tigereye Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-29-05 05:07 PM
Response to Reply #5
10. but some of that smart guy alt thing that MTX may epitomize
Edited on Sat Jan-29-05 05:09 PM by tigereye
is a direct offshoot of punk in my mind. And it existed before it was called pop-punk. Maybe all these labels are part of the problem.

hmmm thanks for the book info.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Magrittes Pipe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-29-05 05:18 PM
Response to Reply #5
12. "Buzzcocks-but-happier" -- I like that.
Anything that gets called "pop-punk" these days comes down the pipe laid by the Buzzcocks and the Descendents. Now I've got the image of Pete Shelley "laying pipe" in my head. :scared:

I liked some of the stuff coming out of the Bay area in the early '90s -- the Mr. T Experience, that odd lineage that comprised the Ne'er Do Wells and the Hi-Fives (and the half-dozen or so names that same band recorded under); not to mention the gutter-ass-trash-rock of the Fingers, the Mummies, and Supercharger. But then the teenagers who saw those bands at all-ages skate-punk shows or whatever (I'm talking to YOU, Mr. Armstrong) started bands, and took all the joy out of it.

It was sad. Lookout used to be a good label. :(
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
mitchum Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-29-05 05:01 PM
Response to Original message
6. No difference...
I don't care for either :)
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
tigereye Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-29-05 05:10 PM
Response to Reply #6
11. ok
but it can be an interesting debate
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
NeoTraitors Donating Member (351 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-29-05 05:21 PM
Response to Reply #11
15. I love the
Mr. T Experience!!!!! Big Black Bugs EP- AWESOME!!! I always thought that their songs could be on the radio, but for whatever reason they played clubs their whole career. IMO many of the greatest bands of all-time existed in relative obscurity.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
tigereye Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-29-05 05:23 PM
Response to Reply #15
16. those guys are a lot of fun
I would love to see them. Not sure if they still tour.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Mojambo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-29-05 06:52 PM
Response to Reply #16
20. They're still around
Their latest is "Yesterday Rules" (2004)

It actually borders on indie-pop, but it is still unmistakeably MTX.

The acoustics are cleaner and there is a kind of twangy guitar sound to it, but the same wry and playful songwriting is there.

I like the record myself.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
tigereye Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-30-05 12:36 AM
Response to Reply #20
22. see they remind me very much of the fun, smart indie stuff
friends used to do.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Mojambo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-30-05 02:46 AM
Response to Reply #22
23. You ever listen to Sweet Baby?
Such a great sound. That was pop-punk when it was gooood.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Magrittes Pipe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-29-05 05:20 PM
Response to Original message
14. Power-pop really had form (even if not the name) before punk had form.
Big Star, a lot of glam, even the Beatles and Kinks I would consider power-pop. The subgenre really took off, and got its name, around the same time punk took off in the late-'70s.

Pop-punk is, of course, an offshoot from punk. Power-pop is, ultimately, and offshoot from the British Invasion.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
tigereye Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-29-05 05:24 PM
Response to Reply #14
17. that's a good analysis
The Kinks, early Who, the Mod stuff.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
mitchum Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-29-05 06:38 PM
Response to Reply #17
18. It is a good analysis...
much better than my flip dismissal of both :)
I have to confess that there are some power-pop songs I REALLY like: "A Million Miles Away", "Shake Some Action", "September Gurls", etc...
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Magrittes Pipe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-29-05 06:42 PM
Response to Reply #18
19. God, I love old Flamin' Groovies.
"Shake Some Action," "Teenage Head" -- stuff like that makes me wanna boogie, or whatever the kids are calling it these days.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
RandomKoolzip Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-30-05 03:44 AM
Response to Original message
24. Truth be told, there's not much difference.
Edited on Sun Jan-30-05 03:57 AM by RandomKoolzip
I'd say, howvwer, that pop-punk's roots don't go as deep as power-pop's. Before power-pop was codified, there were bands and artists about who were making the sounds that would coalesce circa 1978 as a legitimate genre.

I'd say that power pop's roots go all the way back to Buddy Holly. "Anyday" and "Well....Allright" sound, to my ears, like power pop without the volume. In any case, it's obvious that the stuff we've come to know as power-pop has roots in Lubbock, Texas and the C+W diaspora thereof. What we're talking about is melodic rock, played in a basic small-rock-band format, with a strong sense of song-structure and a overt tendency to push the vocal hooks forward (as opposed to the riffs, or the textures, or the instrumental abilities of the players, or the rythyms, as is the case with most rock/small band pop formats).

Power pop reaches adolescence with the British Invasion. The fuse on the bomb Buddy Holly and the Beach Boys lit exploded in the UK, and its aftershocks shifted the US's tectonic plates. The Beatles expressly defined and made flesh the small-band-format-as-ideal that the teen idols and individual artists of the 50's and early 60's occsionally hinted at (most small bands before the Beatles were surf instrumental combos or vocal groups). In their wake came a gurootxabajillion bands exploring the same territory; from this wave came a splitting of the road where either bands would crib notes from the Stones and play the (mutant) blues, or drive their lorry down a blind neck of Tin Pan Alley. The Hollies, the Zombies, Gerry and the Pacemakers, The Who, and The Small Faces were the purveyors of that strain (The Kinks initially straddled the fence, then took a ass-first tumble into the pop pasture that also would go a long way towards inventing power pop).

What we have in this development is, in terms of harmonic climate, structure, hooks, and instrumental approach, the skeleton of power pop. What was missing was the "power" that would make the creature walk. For this they would have to wait for Hendrix to come along and invent "guitar holocaust."

I would say that the very first power pop (as opposed to power pop influencing-) song was The Who's "Substitute." Bright, major key melody, sweet harmonies, gusts of guitar distortion, candy-colored hooks hiding serrated incisors and machine-gun drumming. Implicit was also the adherence to the three-minute pop single form (In concert, The Who would abandon such conceits and improvise....a lot.)

Then came the Kinks' "Village Green/Arthur" period (maturation), Badfinger, The Raspberries, Big Star (loss of virginity), the glam years (Slade, Mott ("Honaloochie Boogie!!!!!!" Man, what a fuckin' song!), Gary Glitter), a short fallow period, then adulthood: The Pistols, The Jam, The Chords, The Records (asthmaticeog: they're the dudes who did "Starry Eyes, i.e. "the greatest fucking song in the history of the universe") the 'zzcocks, etc. Out of this collection, the Buzzcocks probably did most to codify the gere qua genre. What punk did was speed up the tempos a bit, streamline the hooks and structure, beef up the guitars (and, possibly unintentionally, enfeeble the rythym section.....but that's another story and deserves a chapter of its own), and bring back the kind of harmonic climate that used to be apparent on the old British Invasion records (obvious separation of verse and chorus, more than three chords (but nothing over-complicated....it ain't prog), more use of major keys and harmonies).

There was also, in LA and elsewhere, a stateside counter-movement to punk that called itself "power pop." Most of the bands who operated in this particular zone were total shit: Earthquake, The Runaways, 20/20, etc. Occasionally a worthwhile tune would escape, but the empahasis here, unfortunately, was in defanging "punk" as they knew it and getting signed while a trend was cresting. It was in the wake of this wave that surf/garage-influenced bands like The Last were spat forth into the world, who in turn influenced the Descendents, who single-handedly invented pop-punk. Thus we see that pop-punk's roots can be traced back to about 1977 or so, while power pop's conception goes deeper, into the 50's (maybe) and the blues/country initial grudgefuck.

How I'd differentiate the two is this: the all-important use of traditional song structures and Tin Pan Alley-derived mellodic tropes in power pop, while in a "hard rock" context, gives the genre a straight foothold in pre-punk songwriting-as-art that came from the Brill Building and such entities, as well as in the blues and R+B borrowings of the Beatles and their ilk, whilst pop-punk self-conciously uses such moves as "moves," as irony or derision-disguised-as-tribute. Pop-punk is self-concious and uncomfortable power pop, emphasizing the cultural (Sociological? Political? Attitude-as-way-of-life?) baggage that punk brought to the table, unlike power pop, which tries to forge a world in which all emotion is displyed without poker faces. In pop-punk, all tongues are in quotes.

Which is not to say that pop-punk hasn't given us some great music. It's just that the tunes which are summoned forth don't have the retroactive resonances in deeper soil that power-pop has....witness the melodies in which Blink-182 or Good Charlotte traffic: they sound like playground taunts sung through a nose full of snot. There is no audible grounding in blues forms or country (I-IV-V progressions are nowhere to be seen, unlike power pop, although the major keys and emphasis on vocals obtain) nor is there any honest affinity with the pre-punk rock approach.

Sometimes the two genres overlap, and sometimes it's almost impossible to tell there is a difference.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
RandomKoolzip Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-30-05 12:04 PM
Response to Reply #24
25. Um...kick?
I hope tigereye reads this. I worked for a long time last night ginning that up.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
tigereye Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-30-05 08:19 PM
Response to Reply #24
26. damn. You should write a book!
Edited on Sun Jan-30-05 08:21 PM by tigereye
Deftly done and explained. Now I know where I should have gone in the first place. :) Thanks RKZ! I knew the Brill Building should fit in there somewhere. SOrry, couldn't get at the computer til now.

"Pop-punk is self-concious and uncomfortable power pop, emphasizing the cultural (Sociological? Political? Attitude-as-way-of-life?) baggage that punk brought to the table, unlike power pop, which tries to forge a world in which all emotion is displyed without poker faces. In pop-punk, all tongues are in quotes."
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
DU AdBot (1000+ posts) Click to send private message to this author Click to view 
this author's profile Click to add 
this author to your buddy list Click to add 
this author to your Ignore list Sat Dec 20th 2014, 08:30 PM
Response to Original message
Advertisements [?]
 Top

Home » Discuss » The DU Lounge Donate to DU

Powered by DCForum+ Version 1.1 Copyright 1997-2002 DCScripts.com
Software has been extensively modified by the DU administrators


Important Notices: By participating on this discussion board, visitors agree to abide by the rules outlined on our Rules page. Messages posted on the Democratic Underground Discussion Forums are the opinions of the individuals who post them, and do not necessarily represent the opinions of Democratic Underground, LLC.

Home  |  Discussion Forums  |  Journals |  Store  |  Donate

About DU  |  Contact Us  |  Privacy Policy

Got a message for Democratic Underground? Click here to send us a message.

© 2001 - 2011 Democratic Underground, LLC