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Old 05-15-2018, 05:38 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default The Official Sane Psycho Hook Rock Extravaganza!!!

So, I decided to start a legitimate, serious journal in contrast to my more trollish ****posting journal. Now you may be asking yourself "what the **** is hook rock, is that even a real thing?" Well, let me assure you, I'm not being a pretentious twat trying to coin a new genre. Hook rock is just a catch all term I use to describe any rock music which features tasty pop hooks. Power pop, pop rock, pop punk, twee pop, glam metal, etc. I've mentioned before how much I love rock music on the poppier end of the spectrum. They all fit in here, and they all have a place in this journal. Again, hook rock is not an actual genre, just a useful umbrella term. Every album I talk about here is one I personally enjoy, so if you want negativity in your journals, you'll have to look elsewhere. Without further adieu, the first album I want to discuss.



Cheap Trick- At Budokan

This is the definitive live album. You can talk about Live At Leeds, MTV Unplugged In New York, The Last Live, and No Sleep 'Til Hammersmith all day, and those are great albums, but this is the definitive live album. Partially because Cheap Trick was better live than they were in the studio (as great as their LPs are). Partially because it finally made Cheap Trick's power pop greatness resonate in their home country of the good ol' U S of A after oddly becoming megastars in Japan first. Nowhere has their explosive bubblegum rock sounded so essential. Never has their energy been better captured than here. And maybe there are better live tracks than the Budokan version of Surrender, but they're surely few and far between. The tracks went hard enough to appease those who wanted a little edge to their rock music. But it also provided enough sugary sweetness for the pop crowd. It set the template for countless bands with a rock edge and a pop heart. And Cheap Trick has never sounded as good as they do here. Truly iconic in the realm of live albums. No wonder Japanese fans loved them so much.
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Old 05-16-2018, 09:36 AM   #2 (permalink)
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After this post, I'll move onto a lesser known album. Maybe not something totally obscure, maybe something that even enjoyed moderate popularity, but also not an obvious cliche choice. But for now, I want to talk about another indisputable hook rock classic.



The Ramones- Ramones

That iconic black and white cover of the leather clad New Yorkers is enough to get even non-punks fawning over this legendary debut. In the overrated bands thread, a few of the members argued over whether the Ramones count as pop punk or not, myself and elphenor included. I believe they do, but if they don't, they definitely helped set the template.

Pop influences are a sin amongst some punk purists, but the Ramones prove that pop was a welcome addition from the very beginning. The loved the Beach Boys and the Ronettes just as much as they loved the Rolling Stones and the Stooges. Their songs were sweet and melodic. Catchy and infectious. Yet at the same time fast and furious. Kinda like Paul Walker during his last ever car trip. And very rudimentary, often short as my penis, kinda low budget production, and containing three to four chords that any jackoff picking up a guitar for the first time can play. Just goes to show that you don't need to be a technical wizard to make great music, so long as you have the passion and energy.

Lyrically, punk has split off in many directions, from political to permanently pissed off to sadboi music for sadboi people. The Ramones were naive and totally tongue in cheek. Subject matter includes girls, sniffing glue, beating on brats with a baseball bat, and Jackie and Judy joining the Ice Capades. I once brought up the glue sniffing and brat beating to an older gentleman with a Ramones shirt. He replied with "They were so much more than that, man. You weren't there." Um... No they're not. The Ramones may have hinted at something more meaningful in songs like "53rd and 3rd," a tale of Dee Dee's time spent as a male prostitute, but they were mostly just goofy as fuck. And that's why I love 'em. Not all music has to be deep, intellectually stimulating, or emotionally liberating, you know.

It's easy to see why this album is so revered. And it's easy to see why thousands of bands with a knack for ear worm melodies, big hearts, and silly spirits took this as their Rosetta Stone for the music they made. This is a perfect punk album AND a perfect pop album.
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Last edited by The Sane Psycho; 05-16-2018 at 09:43 AM.
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Old 05-16-2018, 05:30 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Cool entries so far. I didn't know Dee Dee used to be a male prostitute.
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Old 05-16-2018, 05:51 PM   #4 (permalink)
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The glue sniffing is a perfect example of how they weren't just goofy. They were poor kids with no options other than sniffing glue in stairwells and dying of a heroin overdose, or starting a band to escape that nihilistic existence, but even when talking about girls and bananas they never sound anything less than desperate people making desperate music that's still nihilistic under the surface.
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Old 05-17-2018, 08:21 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Cool entries so far. I didn't know Dee Dee used to be a male prostitute.
Thanks for the kind words! I hope you keep reading, because I have a hell of a lot more to talk about. We ain't even on the first chapter yet. This is just the prologue. I like all kinds of music, but poppy rock music is my specialty and area of expertise. I'll be including a Surfer Rosa/Come On Pilgrim entry in the future, so I hope you enjoy that. As for the Dee Dee thing, it's officially just a rumor, but it's been heavily implied to be factual by his bandmates, and it's most likely true.

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The glue sniffing is a perfect example of how they weren't just goofy. They were poor kids with no options other than sniffing glue in stairwells and dying of a heroin overdose, or starting a band to escape that nihilistic existence, but even when talking about girls and bananas they never sound anything less than desperate people making desperate music that's still nihilistic under the surface.
Wow, I never thought of it like that. It gave me a new perspective on the band. I always liked their goofiness, but thinking about them being goofy to escape their miserable lives makes it that much more powerful. It makes me appreciate the Ramones even more. Thanks Batlord!

From here on out, I'm going to try to provide full albums so you can listen to the stuff I love so much.



The Get Up Kids- Something To Write Home About

While this album does tend to get overlooked in the glut of great albums released in 1999 (one of the best and most underappreciated years in music history, in my opinion), it has achieved critical acclaim and moderate commercial success. Like its predecessor, The Four Minute Mile, this is rightfully considered a landmark in the emo and pop punk genres. It's an important record in emo's shift from the post-hardcore of bands like Sunny Day Real Estate and Rites Of Spring to the pop punk of My Chemical Romance and Panic At The Disco!. Let me tell you why this is one of my top ten all time favorites.

Every time I listen to this album, I think of it less and less as pop punk. Sure, there are classic pop punk jams like "Holiday," "Action & Action," and "Ten Minutes." But the album as a whole is really too intricate and too layered to be considered straightforward pop punk. First of all is the song lengths, with some songs nearing or exceeding the six minute mark. Some of the songs seem to contain a tiny bit of the post-hardcore complexity of their emo forefathers, as heard in "Valentine" and the I-still-love-you-and-want-to-prove-I've-changed-even-though-you-dumped-me anthem "Out Of Reach." Closing track (on the original version that is, this is the U.K. version that adds two bonus tracks at the end) "I'll Catch You" features piano balladry, guitar crescendoing with both acoustic and electric, and subdued yet effective drumming, defining the term "emo ballad." "I'm A Loner Dottie, A Rebel" even utilizes reggae rhythms to great effect. And while many rock albums with pop influences are described as summer albums, this is most definitely one I would call a winter album. This may be due to the fantastic keyboard playing of then-new bandmember, James Dewees, which adds a haunting melancholy to the whole affair.

Lyrically, this album runs the gamut of emo cliches; relationships, crushes, breakups, and teen angst. But these guys play and sing with such sincerity that you can practically feel the teardrops emanating from the record. The emotions from the band are 100% genuine. You never get the feeling that this is a cynical cash in designed to take money from depressed teenagers. Never once does it sound like manufactured sadness. This as an album with real heart, real conviction. And whether you find the heart-on-sleeve songwriting endearing or cheesy, I feel like it adds to the beauty of the album.

And overall, beauty is the perfect descriptor for this album. It's beautiful. It's gorgeous. It's breathtaking. It's awe inspiring. And above all, it's a sublime experience. I hope if you listen to it, you can see why it's so close to my heart, and why less than a year removed from hearing it for the first time, it blew me away, even if it's not your style. "Masterpiece" is a word I admittedly throw around a lot, but this is one instance in which I'm being 100% literal rather than hyperbolic.

Holy moly ravioli, that might just be the best thing I've ever written. I don't know if that's a good thing or not, but I hope you liked that review, because I poured a lot into it.
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Old 05-17-2018, 09:24 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I know 2 songs from The Get Up kids, Overdue and their cover of Alec Eiffel.



I didn't know they were pop punk tho, i thought they were alternative. Kinda wished i still thought that.
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Old 05-17-2018, 09:46 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I know 2 songs from The Get Up kids, Overdue and their cover of Alec Eiffel.



I didn't know they were pop punk tho, i thought they were alternative. Kinda wished i still thought that.

According to the very reliable Wikipedia, TGUK is emo, pop punk, alternative rock, and indie rock. So I guess you're right about the alternative thing. Personally, I think the pop punk tag was misused on this album, maybe because it was released the same year as pop punk classics like Enema Of The State, Through Being Cool, and Nothing Gold Can Stay. But I feel like this album is too sprawling, too ambitious to simply be pop punk, even if it has pop punk elements. I would describe it as an emo power pop album, kinda like Jimmy Eat World's Clarity (yet another fantastic 1999 release) and Weezer's Pinkerton. You should totally listen to it. I posted it so you don't even have to leave this page. I'll be doing this for every album I can. Maybe you'll be pleasantly surprised.

Even if you don't listen to it, or do listen to it but dislike it, I want to thank you for following my journal. It makes me feel good that at least one person seemingly likes my writing and finds my reviews worthwhile.
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The Official Sane Psycho Hook Rock Extravaganza!!!- My actual legitimate journal where I review rock albums with delicious pop hooks.
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Old 05-17-2018, 10:23 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I skimmed thru like half the album and i didn't like it honestly. Not gonna write them off just cause of that tho. Not to be a dick but as i was hearing it i thought: "Tokyo police club and The Von Bondies are better than this" cause the alternative vibe in it made me draw a comparison to them for some reason. Do you know them?
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Old 05-18-2018, 12:45 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I skimmed thru like half the album and i didn't like it honestly. Not gonna write them off just cause of that tho. Not to be a dick but as i was hearing it i thought: "Tokyo police club and The Von Bondies are better than this" cause the alternative vibe in it made me draw a comparison to them for some reason. Do you know them?

Hey, no worries man! You're not being a dick at all. If we all had the same taste, life would be boring, right? Even though STWHA strayed from the pop punk style of Four Minute Mile, apparently by the time of their third album, On A Wire, they completely eliminated the pop punk formula in favor of a more indie rock style. I haven't listened to anything after Write Home, so I don't know.

I haven't heard of those bands, but I'll have to check them out. Thanks for the recs!
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The Sane Psycho's Shitposting Odyssey- Where I troll like a 16 year old loser.

The Official Sane Psycho Hook Rock Extravaganza!!!- My actual legitimate journal where I review rock albums with delicious pop hooks.
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Old 05-18-2018, 01:34 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Hey, no worries man! You're not being a dick at all. If we all had the same taste, life would be boring, right? Even though STWHA strayed from the pop punk style of Four Minute Mile, apparently by the time of their third album, On A Wire, they completely eliminated the pop punk formula in favor of a more indie rock style. I haven't listened to anything after Write Home, so I don't know.

I haven't heard of those bands, but I'll have to check them out. Thanks for the recs!
If you cover other Get up kids and Jimmy eat World albums I'll check them out too. I can vouch more for Tokyo Police club than The Von Bondies, here's some tracks i like from them.

TPC

https://youtu.be/et6HN2OHP4I

https://youtu.be/f9K25UgweOA

TVB

https://youtu.be/dwT94w48RiM

https://youtu.be/KSZ_xISJAdk

Maybe you'll like something in there worth exploring if not just ignore it and keep doing your thing man.
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You could describe a pile of manure in intense detail and it will still just be bullshit in the end.

Last edited by Black Francis; 05-18-2018 at 01:43 PM.
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