Another blast from the past out of the PoP archives. One of our favourite albums of 2001!

Mission: You

The Rosenbergs have created a bit of brouhaha with their turning down a spot on Jimmy (Iovine) and Doug’s (Morris) Farmclub.com due to unfavorable contractual terms in favor of a more progressive deal with Discipline Global Mobile, the label co-owned by Robert (King Crimson) Fripp and David Singleton.

This publicity has served the Rosenbergs well in their bid to reach a wider audience with their work. However, this entire buzz has been focused on strictly non-musical issues. Which is a pity because, based on 1999 album Ameripop, the pure power pop of The Rosenbergs should be enough to gain the appropriate attention.

Mission: You, The Rosenbergs’ debut album proper carries on where Ameripop left off, and in fact includes a track (“Soaked in Polyester”) that featured on the earlier disc. Which means that the astute pop-rock listener will be treated to eleven tracks of the very best that modern power pop can offer.

I kid you not. Whilst the US power pop underground may be infested with lo-fi, derivative facsimiles of British Invasion (Beatles, Who, Kinks) and early 70s pop-rock (Raspberries, Badfinger, Big Star); The Rosenbergs create perhaps the perfect examples of how power pop should really be delivered: instantly hummable tunes, deft guitar work, dynamic performances and odd tangential instrumentation to keep things always interesting.

Did I forget to mention a sense of humor? Opening track “Sucking on a Plum,” begins with the voice of a little girl singing, – “Ring around the rosies/Pocketful of posies/Ashes ashes we all fall down” – the significance of which I believe is twofold. One, a nod and a wink to their obvious influences, Seattle’s finest powerpop combo The Posies and two, a reference to the nursery rhyme naivety that imbues much of this lively work.

After all, kids love songs with lots of sugar and certainly “Sucking on a Plum,” “Paper and Plastic,” “Little Lie,” “In Pursuit,” “Fast Asleep” and “Soaked in Polyester” could only come from wide-eyed optimism and a youthful perspective. Once those hooks dig deep, there’s no escaping their intoxicating effect – the confirmation of power pop brilliance.

It gets better – oh yeah! On the dreamy “Secret,” the band casts their vigorous pop-rock style with a dash of soft pop (with its vibes and jaunty rhythms), on the tranquil “Drug of Choice,” the ghosts of Jellyfish are raised with confidence and on the slightly rustic “Overboard,” the melancholic tone provides an fitting conclusion to a superb album.

If Mission: You fails to move you, then you must be no lover of melodic excellence and pop precision. Suffice to say, this is an essential purchase for all true pop fans. (9)


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