Be True: Power Pop Bruce

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Photo by Frank Stefanko

In last months i’m currently grooving on power pop. it’s the definitive r’n’r sub-genre for me: jangly guitars chiming from the first three byrds records, melodic hooks dating from pre-psychedelic english beat, a steady songcraftmanship rooted on the unbeatable verse-chorus structure, swoony teenybopper lyrics, the hard drive of great american bands like big star, the raspberries, cheap trick.

Bruce Springsteen in Concert

Photo by Frank Stefanko

There was a moment, between 1979 and 1982, when bruce springsteen flirted with the power pop sound that was going big (well, almost…) on the american A.M: the knack, greg kihn band, the beat, etc… For a reason or another all the springsteen’s songs that could have been labelled as “power pop” didn’t made the cut, for eternal disdain of Little Steven, who has always championed those little hard pop nuggets.

But what if bruce springsteen – in the morning of 3rd january 1982, instead closing down in the frightening isolation of his bedroom to cut the manic depressioned Nebraska– still buzzing for a great new year’s eve party would have gathered the e street band in a proper nyc studio to record a hardened but funny, rocking, 41 min. power pop masterpiece?

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Photo by Frank Stefanko

so I have collected and sequenced just 3/4 min. jingle-jangle, 60’s pop glazed songs composed between 1978 and 1982, in the mold of (then) contemporary bands that bruce knew and loved. So forget the hunting talking-blues via Suicide of Nebraska, or the folk rock and sub par rockabilly of the river or the bombastic stuff that forms the backbone of Born in the u.S.A.  here’s what Bruce does best: great pop songs, crafted by a songwriter deeply rooted in 60’s r’n’r and delivered with the fiercy power of the E Street Band in full force.


REndezvous: (yet a power pop classic for the greg Kihn band in 1979).

Be True: the titletrack of my compilation it’s a classy jangling pop gem. The Lovin’ Spoonful should have die for it.

Don’t Look Back: aptly doned to The Knack.

Bring on the Night: a rocker incredibly left out of The River (for what? “Cadillac Ranch”… C’mon Brucie!)

From Small Things: A Rockpile style number rightly given to the great Dave Edmunds.

Where the Bands Are: One of the Greatest r’n’r song in Springsteen’s canon. It could have been a great single back in the days.

Side 2

MY LOVE will not let you down: A song from the Born in the U.S.A. sessions. In a perfect world it would have been the first single out from that mammouth dance-rock album instead of the lame studio version of “Dancing in the Dark”.

Dollhouse: here’s the boss is on the verge of punk rock, hands down. More power than pop.

Cindy: a little romantic ditty in marshall crenshaw/Elvis Costello style. it’s still officially unreleased.

Take’em as They Come: great song. It should have been in ANY Bruce record.

I Wanna be with You: the title and the general feel was clearly ispired by The Raspberries. Springsteen tried to rewrite it as the 2007 hit “Radio Nowhere” that was on its own a rip off from Tommy Tutone 1981 hit “8675309”.

Loose Ends: a 12 string guitars helluva! It could have been on the first two (and better) Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers albums.

Listen to the greatest Power Pop Album that never was HERE.