BEST POP SONGS
My other two genres are more circumscribed, so my definition of Pop is pretty broad. As you shall see…
“JACKIE AND TINA” by MARVELOUS 3
I don’t know why Marvelous 3 stopped recording twenty years ago. And I don’t know how or why Butch Walker got the gang back together in 2023. I’m just glad he did. This is simply glorious power pop. The music is a throwback to the ‘90s, but what puts this song over the top is the Thelma and Louise-like perspective that a lot of years and lot of living gives to the typical “girls gone wild” storyline.
“COOL ABOUT IT” by BOYGENIUS
A lot of writers included “the record” on their best albums list. I didn’t. Too many of its songs devolve into atmospherics which sacrifice the actual song. But not “Cool About It.” It is a brilliantly understated contemplation of break-up and heartache. And it truly shows off all three members of the young indie supergroup to the best effect.
“DUMBEST GIRL ALIVE” by 100 GECS
This is about as far removed from the understated boygenius song as you can get. The instant hyperpop classic begins with a THX Deep Note before launching into pulse-pounding guitar and Laura Les’ witty, ironic lyrics. Once it’s in your head, you’ll have a hard time getting it out.
“WON’T BE SATISFIED” by HARLIS SWEETWATER
And sometimes you just need to hear some old-fashioned rockin’ blues, delivered by a growling voice, and backed by Davis Hidalgo’s guitar and John Doe’s bass. That’s just what Sweetwater delivers.
“BOY’S A LIAR, PT 2” by PINKPANTHERESS (FEATURING ICE SPICE)
“Boy’s a Liar” Pinkpantheress’ 2022 single is a sweet, catchy ode to being in love with a sketchy dude. It’s a good song. It’s not a great song. The remix for her 2023 album adds a verse in the middle from Ice Spice, and the song soars. The rapper toughens the sweetness without breaking the purity of the tune. It’s a brilliant production maneuver.
“LANDMINES” by SUM 41
We’ll have to wait ‘til 2024 to hear Sum 41’s final opus, Heaven and Hell. But the single they have released from the “Heaven” side (old school pop punk) is everything you could want. Blink 182 put out a decent comeback album in 2023. If this track is any indication, Sum 41, who always seemed to be in their shadow, may be going out on top.