Can”t anyone just do a straight up good pop album anymore?

Paul Wong
Kate Clinton yuks it up at The Ark.<br><br>Courtesy of Jonas PR

I”m not talking about the “I”m-A-Pitch-Controlled-Teenage-Blonde” pop album or the “Five-Washboard-Stomach-Harmonizing-R&ampB-Guys” pop album or the “Hard-Edge-Rap-And-Power-Chord” pop album. What I mean is pop in its essence. I mean pop like what The Beatles were going after in “I Want to Hold Your Hand” or pop like Culture Club”s “Karma Chameleon” or pop like any Blondie song in existence.

Just a pop album, a good clean pop album, is all I ask for. A pop album with songs that are fun and lyrics that are somewhat clich but not utterly idiotic. A pop album defined by good vibes but also that little extra bite that makes the guilty pleasure of enjoying pop not all that guilty.

The answer is: Yes, someone is still doing pop the right way. I was losing hope but Leona Naess has calmed my fears with her newest release I Tried To Rock You But You Only Roll.

Where Naess” last stab at pop, Comatised, fell short in its indecision between folk ballad and radio edit, I Tried To Rock You hits the bulls-eye of unabashed melody.

“I wanted this one to be more focused yet adventurous, more of an explosion,” said Naess.

I Tried To Rock You is jangly guitars melded with a retro-chunky disco sound that doesn”t take itself too seriously. On top of this all Naess has an amazingly beautiful voice.

Standouts on the album include the wistful “Mexico,” on which Naess croons, “Come with me to Mexico. I can drive and you can take it slow.” Other tracks of interest include the synth-laden “Mayor Of Your Town,” the longing “Hurricane” and the bitter but hopped up “Blue Eyed Baby.”

Clearly, Naess is a lucid and direct talent for an element of popular music that is missing in the modern scene. All I have to say is keep on filling the void.

Grade: A-

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