Tuesday, September 20, 2011
CD of the Day, 9/20/11: Meyerman-Who Do You Think You Are?
It's easy for me to become complacent about all the power pop (as broadly as I definite it on the site) I listen to, to the point where it can kind of fade into the background. Don't get me wrong - just about all the music I listen to and review on this site is music I really like, or even love, and is worthy of your listening time (and dollars). But a few times a year I get shaken out of my complacency when I get to hear a record that makes me say to myself "this is why I listen to power pop". Who Do You Think You Are?, the debut album from New Jersey's Meyerman, is one of those records.
This is classic Power Pop with 2 capital P's. It's also very "meta" - a power pop album which is mostly about being in a power pop band and a band's relationship with its audience. So while it has the sound of a number of power pop bands running through it like Cheap Trick, The Raspberries, Butch Walker, The Shazam, it has the looking-at-it-from-the-inside sensibility of The Replacements or Local H. Opener "Intro Tonight" basically thanks you for listening, and rewards the favor with an infectious, melodic tune that all but invites you to handclap along. They continue this "opt-in" request with "Permission to Rock You", another throat-clearer that still rocks, and finally get down to business proper with "Get to You", one killer hook and riff after another that you'll swear you heard before but sounds fresh and new.
Elsewhere, "Seconds" is a tough rocker that's wistful yet crunchy, and if "Immaculate Mansions" gives you a 60s/70s classic rock vibe, it's probably because the album was mixed by The Grip Weeds' Kurt Reil, another feather in its cap. "Tour of Japan" continues the self-referential theme with an ode to how our kind of music is more appreciated overseas than in the USA while its "teenage symphonies" line is a nod to Brian Wilson (and by extension, Velvet Crush). Meanwhile, "New Direction" is a footstomping number that explores the tension that occurs when a band offers a new sound which risks alienating its fans while trying keep from sounding stale, and "Indecision & Inertia" honors its title by being a halting, midtempo number, yet still works.
If anything, Who Do You Think You Are? could be considered the "Community" of power pop albums. Like the TV show, it's very much about itself while still delivering the goods, ironic but not sardonic. On the one hand, it rewards you for being in on the joke while on the other it's still an excellent representative of its genre if you'd rather not think too hard about it.
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