20/20 & Look Out
As for the albums themselves, 1979’s 20/20 and ‘81’s Look Out!” combine to form a textbook case of a breezy, clever, classic power pop album—a standout even in an era where albums like this came out on what feels like a near-weekly basis—and its difficult, belabored follow-up. 20/20’s reputation in power pop circles rests almost solely on their eponymous debut, and, specifically, on their gem of a track “Yellow Pills” (which, of course, Jordan Oakes used to title his power pop fanzine/album compilations), a four-minute ode to uppers and top-of-the-world youth, augmented by a nervy guitar lead and glints of synthesizer. If you haven’t listened to the tune in a while, it’s tougher-edged than you remember. That said, there’s hardly a duff track on the debut: “Tonight We Fly” flirts with boogie rock; the jangly (of course!) “Remember the Lightning” captures that first moment a girl strikes your fancy, and a few darker tunes—the (admittedly stalker-ish) “She’s An Obsession” and “Leaving Your World Behind”—leaven the saccharine rush-of-love-and-youth jams. It’s easy to forget from the vantage point of 2012-13, that power pop wasn’t always frozen in amber, that flesh and blood young guys were out there making it up as they went along, and 20/20 is one of the genre’s finest examples of that.
The darker lyrical turn and tougher sound rarely plays to the band’s strengths: charming power pop with some New Wave keyboards. That said, the Springsteenian (or Springsteen-parody) “Life in the USA” and the closing “American Dream”, ticking off the isolation of freeways, microwaves and “television suicide”, as well as asking the prickly question, “Don’t you want to be a part of anything?”, offer an interesting Third Way for the band: the sardonic power pop song—and it’s funny to think that Black Flag, just a few miles down the road, were also playing the American Disillusionment card… and that both bands stole it from Creedence’s “Ramble Tamble”.
Second post of power pop from the change of the decades from the 70's to the 80's.
I remember this time i was quite disatisfied with the music in these days. Sure, some good things was around but where were all the good things punk had promised a few years ago? The save of my (musical) soul came with a sound i listened more and more in these days...power pop. But enough of old stories from the past lol, enjoy these two albums, for me they are the strongest the band ever did