A Fistful Of Hair Metal Songs Selected By Power Pop Fans
‘Talk dirty to me’ always struck me as a bubblegummy version of the Johnny Thunders’ Heartbreakers’ LAMF. The Thunders/Dolls influence was obviously big on a lot of this stuff, from Hanoi Rocks thru to the godawful Motley Crüe. Love the Dolls but they were very removed from the Beatles-style folk-country influenced songwriting that I think is the essence of power pop . Speaking of Kiss, Ace and Gene both had power pop moments on their respective solo albums too. Ace’s ‘what’s on your mind?’ Is a bit clunky but PP to a tee, other than his not-mellifluous vocal. Lovely guitars. And his ‘talk to me’ is klassic Kiss PP. also, Gene was a Bomp! reader, and Ace later covered ‘Do Ya’. I love Ken Sharp’s take on PP although Ive yet to hear anything by the Babys that I think qualifies - it’s all too adult and wannabe soulful. At least Kiss had some teenage energy .
Growing up, one of my friends on the block had a little sister who was **all the way** into hair bands. We were constantly subjected to endless plays of Sleez Beez, Y & T, Enuff Znuff, and similar.
I think you can make the case that the latter counts as Power Pop. All the more so if one has only listened to the song and never seen the video.
Nice. I need to read that Paul Stanley piece. My introduction to The Raspberries was through the Motley Crue cover of 'Tonight' on the Too Fast For Love remaster. I still think that's a great glam rock album. Everything changed afterwards but that still holds up. I also can't believe you've convinced to reevaluate Enuff Z'Nuff hahahaha
Also on the hair metal power pop periphery: https://youtu.be/K_Y6ZTQcau0
Would you consider this power pop?
Hair metal as powerpop? To me the screeching vocals kill the thought of it being PP. Now I wouldn't call anyone "hair metal" in 2023 (oh, all right, Steel Panther) but listen to some of the more metallic sounding bands like the Biters? Melody for Lovers rocks insanely and could bring Rick Springfield back to the Top Ten if he covered it! In Hair Metal's glory days? Cinderella had some fine writing that veered in PP territory, but, the vocals wouldn't let it go all the way (although Keifer's voice is still superb for their stuff)
The differences and similarities you mention here are spot on. I think it was the fact of most of the hair metal bands made their marks in the heyday of MTV and so the aquanetted, lipsticked, girls crawling in cages videos were hard to get past for a lot of people. Picking out a smart pop melody beneath all those layers required an openness many a power-popper simply couldn’t achieve. So much of the attitude and look of hair metal was anathema to the nerdy, shy guy (and gal -- but really mostly guy) power-pop fan base.
Wow, the Samantha 7 album's a blast
KISS covered Dave Clark Five song "Any Way You Want It" in Alive II album. In my view, this is one of the first power pop songs https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9czRB2dUlhw
I guess I always thought power pop developed as a reaction to the louche excesses of 70's rock (particularly glam); by placing an emphasis on tightness of look, playing, and composition. I can't really see anyone in "glam metal" ("hair metal" being an amorphous category, with a lot of weird inclusions) besides Enuff Z'nuff really displaying any of that tightness of writing; the likes of Poison and Hanoi Rocks were much better at imitating their glam forebears than anything close to power pop.