Friday, April 27, 2007

Perfect Pop Pantheon: Song #1

*There are many songs out there that aren't immediately thought of as great pop songs. What I'm hoping to achieve is mention some of these great songs or, as I'm calling it, join the Perfect Pop Pantheon.*

"I Love LA" by Randy Newman

Although the song begins by knocking New York City, I can’t help but love this delightfully catchy track, which originally appeared on his 1983 album Trouble in Paradise.

For Paradise, Newman decided to ditch his typical, simple sound in favor of a more commercial pop feel. This included use of, among other instruments, the synthesizer. But while I normally loathe the synth (although The Who always seem to use it effectively), it’s a strong fit for the album—and this song.

Like much of Newman’s material, it’s an ode to something he loves (L.A.) while also dismissing lots of thing he doesn’t like—New York and Chicago, for instance. He also does a great job of listing places in LA (Imperial Highway, South Bay, the Valley, the West Side and the East Side) that along them contain some of the highest income in LA and also some of the lowest.

Much of Newman’s best album, Sail Away, is filled with great, ironic political songs and even in something as easy to listen to as “I Love LA,” Newman cleverly finds a way to get his message across.

And that’s why it’s the first song inducted into the Perfect Pop Pantheon.

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