Diehard fans of the legendary Neil Young will be more than keenly aware of the vast number of unreleased material that the singer-songwriter still holds in his vaults even after over 50 years of recording and releasing music. Thus, Neil Young Archives II is a much-anticipated release after the well-received first volume came out over a decade ago in 2009.(more…)
Every kind of music under the sun
Queen – News of the World is the next to be featured in our regular feature of classic album reviews. Of course, as usual, what qualifies as a classic album is a matter of opinion and typically, I will highlight albums that I have listened to quite a fair bit in order to ultimately arrive at this particular specific assessment.(more…)
XTC – Apple Venus Volume 1 is the next to be featured in our new (hopefully) regular feature of classic album reviews. Of course, as usual, what qualifies as a classic album is a matter of opinion and typically, I will highlight albums that I have listened to quite a fair bit in order to ultimately arrive at this particular specific assessment.(more…)
U2 – Achtung Baby is the next to be featured in our new (hopefully) regular feature of classic album reviews. Of course, as usual, what qualifies as a classic album is a matter of opinion and typically, I will highlight albums that I have listened to quite a fair bit in order to ultimately arrive at this particular specific assessment.(more…)
Steely Dan – Aja is the first to be featured in our new (hopefully) regular feature of classic album reviews. Of course, as usual, what qualifies as a classic album is a matter of opinion and typically, I will highlight albums that I have listened to quite a fair bit in order to ultimately arrive at this particular specific assessment.(more…)
Elton John Jewel Box is the latest retrospective collection to be released in recent times. As with other similar products, Elton John Jewel Box is not for casual music fans but for the diehard Elton John fans out there.(more…)
Neil Young has turned 75! So it’s probably the best day to present to you the click baiting listicle I call The Best Neil Young Songs Of All Time! AND… I have given myself the nigh impossible task of just naming TEN songs! But I think I am well satisfied with this list, keeping my selections to the less obvious and focusing on deep cuts. Without further ado, The Best Neil Young Songs Of All Time (in alphabetical order, natch!)(more…)
For The Best Police Songs Of All Time list, I decided to feature an article that I wrote a long time ago. This piece details the history of The Police first time round, without really discussing the reunion. After that you will find an Apple Music playlist of The Best Police Songs Of All Time.(more…)
It is the 50th anniversary of the release of David Bowie’s second album, The Man Who Sold the World. To celebrate this landmark, Parlophone have released a new remix of the album by Tony Visconti. David Bowie – Metrobolist was in fact the original title of the album till it was changed at the last minute to The Man Who Sold the World.(more…)
Elvis Costello – The Complete Armed Forces is a retrospective collection curated by Elvis Costello himself centred on Costello’s 1979 album with The Attractions, Armed Forces. If nothing else, Armed Forces is a personal landmark as the LP was the first Elvis Costello LP I picked up all those years ago.(more…)
The Style Council. A stylish experiment sandwiched in the middle of The Jam and Paul Weller. Or a huge misstep in the career of a music icon. There as many opinions about this as there are Jam and Weller fans. Somehow, The Style Council has never been taken as seriously as Weller’s other two incarnations.(more…)
Since I rebooted Power of Pop in late July, I have been moved to focus on movie and TV reviews with hardly any music reviews featured. This change in direction might be somewhat bewildering to anyone who has followed Power of Pop in the decades that it has been around.(more…)
Urgh A Music War is a 1981 British film featuring performances by punk rock, new wave, and post-punk acts, filmed in 1980. For me personally, the movie holds a special place in my heart as it provided me with a gateway to the new music that was sweeping over the UK and the USA, in the wake of punk.
Back in the early 70s, the Singapore government clamped down on the arts, labelling it “yellow culture” and therefore undesirable. Live rock music was banned in 1974 and the Ministry of Culture practiced an active censorship of pop culture. When punk emerged in the mid-70s, the authorities blocked releases by punk bands in Singapore. Suffice to say there was no rock music on TV either.
Thus, when I saw in the newspapers that Urgh A Music War was playing at the Rex Cinema, a relatively small theatre, I did not hesitate. The main attraction to me back then were The Police. Sting and company were one of the first newly styled rock bands that I had latched on too, together with the likes of The Jam and The Knack in 1979/80.
The movie was about two hours long and featured bands that I mostly had no clue about and styles of music that I was unfamiliar with. The Police opened the movie with “Driven to Tears” and it was a treat to finally watch them live, even if it was only on a movie screen.
The bands that followed made little impression until Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark. That performance of “Enola Gay” blew my mind. I had not yet heard of synth-pop yet and it was a mind-ending experience.
This first exposure to electronic pop was cemented by the highlight of the movie – Gary Numan’s performance of “Down in the Park” with him seated in a moving chair! Both OMD and Numan certainly opened my mind (and ears) to brand new musical possibilities.
Strangely enough, I never quite felt any affinity with the out and out punk bands in the movie – they seemed somewhat insubstantial to me. But what did get my attention were the guitar bands that demonstrated more sophistication like Echo and the Bunnymen and XTC.
Naturally, considering my obsession with The Police, I was also drawn to the reggae outfits like Steel Pulse and UB40. It would be a rich vein that I would definitely tap in the coming years.
I realise now almost 4 decades later that there were probably numerous bands that were cut out of the Singapore release – I am sure I would have remember watching Dead Kennedys and Devo. I wonder how my musical habits might have changed if both were never excised. Would I have leant more towards the American punk scene than the British in the 80s? Who knows??
In the final analysis, I owe much to Urgh A Music War – the movie changed my life! 1982 would be a big year for music discovery.
… still there’s more …
In my recent opinion piece on music appreciation, I opined that music has become less time sensitive in the new media age. So I am starting a new music feature to highlight recommended new (mainly) pop-rock albums on a post-monthly basis. So here it is – Recommended Albums (September 2020). Check them out!(more…)
Global pandemic aside, the last 20 years have been horrendous for music and the music industry. The music culture that I have grown with from the 60s to the 90s has been utterly devastated for reasons I have enumerated in two articles viz. music is dead and the music industry is dead. However, despite all this, I can still defiantly proclaim : LONG LIVE ROCK!(more…)
Album covers are relics from an ancient age. When a 12.375 inch (31.43 cm) square cardboard sleeve provided the canvas for designers to come up with an eye-catching piece of artwork to persuade the viewer to part with his or her hard earned money. We want to celebrate these art designers by spotlighting the best rock album covers of all time! (In alphabetical order!!)(more…)
Here we go. No sooner than I declare that I will be writing less about music here at the Power of Pop, then the Stephen Clair Small Hours album drops into my lap! Figures. And after a couple of listens, I just have to say something about his punk n’ roll spirit no matter how much it hurts!(more…)
Regular visitors to the Power of Pop would have noticed a shift in content focus, from music to film and TV. Bottom line, I really believe that the music industry is dead and it gets really depressing to write about music nowadays. So I try not to.(more…)
John Lennon would have been 80 today. Of course, it’s almost 40 years since Lennon’s murder in 1980. I have always felt that Lennon’s solo output was under-appreciated. Perhaps that has something to do with the fact that he actually went on hiatus for five years to be a house-husband! But that’s Lennon – ever the iconoclast. Let’s celebrate the 80th anniversary of his birth with a list of the best John Lennon songs of all time. (In alphabetical order)(more…)
“We can’t rewind, we’ve gone too far” is a lyric from “Video Killed the Radio Star” and perfectly encapsulates my opinion that music is dead. But music is everywhere you protest, how can music be dead? Let me explain.(more…)
Ryan Hamilton & the Harlequin Ghosts is a transatlantic collaboration, with frontman Ryan Hamilton hailing from just outside of Fort Worth, TX, while his backing band The Harlequin Ghosts are based in the U.K. The follow up to 2019’s This Is The Sound (which won an Independent Music Award for Best Indie Album’), Nowhere To Go But Everywhere was written by Ryan during a long road trip across the USA with his dog Peaches, while coming to terms with his recent divorce.(more…)
The Fast Colors began as an idea discussed between Chris Toh and myself over a meal – forming a classic rock tribute band. We roped Patrick Chng into the band as well and before you know it we were playing gigs, together with Chee Wah Yong and Tan Boon Gee on bass and drums respectively.(more…)
Since I reviewed his 2017 album, Something/Nothing, English singer-songwriter Nick Frater has been keeping up a steady yearly release schedule with Goodbye Kayfabe (2018), Full Fathom Freight-Train (2019) and his latest Fast & Loose this year. The self-described ‘60s/70s inspired power-pop’ specialist is determinedly prolific, by all accounts.(more…)
It’s hard to imagine classic rock – the music genre that defined the seventies and birthed punk and metal – even existing without the significant contributions of the Rolling Stones. Thus, it’s appropriate to look at the best Rolling Stones songs of all time!(more…)
I’ll be honest. This new album from The Neighbourhood shook me to the core. Now, this is a proper pop album. Not the shitty 2nd-rate lazy hip-pop that is popular nowadays but an old-school pop album. But with 2020 pop sensibilities. How did this happen?(more…)