In that magic few weeks when springtime is imminent, the days are newly long, and the sun, while not in full effect, is at least making its presence known, I can’t get enough of simple, yummy, classic pop songs. Here in Portland, these days have recently been more frustrating than magical, with rain and even hail upstaging the sunny bits and making it unclear when we can expect the springlike part of spring to arrive. So I’m taking a stand, musically at least, with a playlist that all that bashes you over the head with riff-tastic, seasonally appropriate tunes perfect for blasting from your car or your headphones, or perhaps singing along to in the shower with your sponge mic.
Prince — “When U Were Mine.” Like Jaymee, I feel that Prince has a song perfect for kicking off every possible kind of mix tape.
Todd Rundgren — “Couldn’t I Just Tell You.” Before he was Liv Tyler’s fake dad, he wrote the hell out of a love song. (See also: “Can We Still Be Friends” and “I Saw the Light.”)
Matthew Sweet — “Sick of Myself.” It was a tough call which song to pull from Mr. Sweet’s awe-inspiring catalog of catchy, but this one wins with its combination of unimpeachable guitar hook and deeply pessimistic lyrics.
Call and Response — “The Fool.” In an audio dictionary, the phrase “summer romance” should be illustrated with this wistful little jam.
Belle & Sebastian — “I’m a Cuckoo.” This song gets better and better as it goes on, and by the time the horns kick in you’ll decide it’s maybe the best pop song ever. The fact that Stuart Murdoch pulls off rhyming “Tokyo” with “Thin Lizzy” is just gravy.
The New York Dolls — “Personality Crisis.” Rock critic-y types invented words like “shambolic” to describe songs like this. I prefer to stick with the garden-variety “awesome.” This one’s even better when you see the hairstyles in effect on the band members.
All Girl Summer Fun Band — “Million Things.” Proof positive that handclaps make a song at least 200% more infectious.
The Modern Lovers — “Government Center.” There really aren’t enough pop songs about bureaucracy, are there? Even if there were more, this would still probably be the best.
Buzzcocks — “I Don’t Mind.” If you haven’t cranked your stereo speakers yet, now’s the time. While you’re at it, lose the shoes, too. We’re gonna make this season happen yet!