A Power Pop Primer: 10 Gateway Songs to a Lifelong Addiction

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5. Matthew Sweet - "Sick of Myself"
100% Fun (1995)

The only thing more fun than singing along to this bittersweet track is listening to Sweet shred and shred again at the end. He performed an acoustic version (video of which I'm told will be on the site in the next week or so) when he visited Paste in early November, and it totally made my day.

6. The Raspberries - "Go All the Way"
The Raspberries (1972)

Many* will never forgive Eric Carmen for foisting "All By Myself" onto the world, and yes, this song has some of those softer tendencies, but come on (come on)! That guitar riff is unimpeachable and the bridge rules and, well, come on (come on)!

* Including this guy.

7. The Nerves - "Hanging On the Telephone"
The Nerves EP (1976)

This spot could've gone to any of several tracks on the recently-released essential compilation One Way Ticket, but I chose the one perhaps best known as a Blondie song. (Cat Power and Def Leppard have also covered it.) Sing it with me: "Don't leave me haaaaangin' on the tellllephooooone."

8. The Buzzcocks - "Ever Fallen in Love (With Someone You Shouldn't've)"
Love Bites (1978)

Another oft-covered gem best purchased on an fantastic comp (Singles Going Steady), this track showcases the poppiest side of one of punk's finest acts.

9. Todd Rundgren - "Slut"
Something/Anything? (1972)

Come for the rambling introduction, stay for the horns, the female backing vocals and the sleazy good time. This is one of Rundgren's best, bar none. I was introduced to the song by an excellent, seemingly-now-defunct cover band known as the Missouri Sex Offenders.

10. Squeeze - "Pulling Mussels (From the Shell)"
Argybargy (1980)

A point I had to argue vehemently with a co-worker who shall remain nameless, Squeeze is not merely the band that wrote "Tempted." Squeeze is also the band that crafted pop-perfect, less-heralded jams one after another throughout the late '70s/early '80s. Don't get it twisted, haters.