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Someone else’s musings

Topics/tags: Meta-musings, language, music

When I started writing SamR’s Assorted Musings and Rants, I referred to the pieces I wrote each days as essays. However, as some of my readers liked to point out, many of these works cannot readily be classified as essays. Hence, at some point or other, I started to call them musings and to refer to the action of writing them as musing. That is, I muse. Of course, I also use the term muse to refer to that invisible actor who helps guide me in what to write (muse) about.

It used to be that every time I asked Grammarly to edit my writing, it would criticize my use of those terms [1]. I ignored the suggestions; I’m perfectly comfortable with the nouns and verbs. But I found myself wondering how atypical my usage was.

Today, I received a message that referred to another writer’s works as musings: Download the Great Unreleased Trove of Pop Musings. That made me happy. It’s nice to be reminded that I am not the only person who thinks of some kinds of writings as musings.

What? You want to know what the Great Unreleased Trove of Pop Musings is? As is too often the case, there’s a bit of backstory.

I listen to many genres of music. At some periods of my life, I’ve been particularly fond of a genre that its fans refer to as Power Pop. My shorthand description is the power of the Who with the melody of the Beatles [2]. However, power pop encompasses a much wider range of music than that [3]. In any case, it’s a genre I like and, at times, a genre I’ve collected.

Back when I was in graduate school, I heard on NPR about a book that had just been released that was about power pop [5]. In those pre-Amazon [6] days, if you wanted a book, you went to your local bookstore. So I went to the UofC bookstore to find a copy [7]. Of course, they didn’t have a copy. And they seemed unable to order a copy from anywhere.

Years passed. I started buying CDs from a label called Not Lame, run by Bruce Brodeen, a former resident of Needham, MA. And, once in a while, they released a new book about power pop. They may have even re-released the book I’d missed. But running a music label and mail order catalog is hard, particularly when you get sued for selling an album that you didn’t press [8]. In early 2010 or so, Brodeen stopped running`Not Lame. But the music biz is hard to give up on, and he’s kept releasing the occasional thing.

One of his latest forthcoming releases is the second edition of John Borack’s Shake Some Action, a list of the top power pop releases of all times [10]. When Bruce releases something, he likes to share extras with the people who purchase it even before it is released [11]. One of the extras from Shake Some Action is a collection of things that Borack and others wrote for the first edition of the book but that didn’t meet the cut. Here’s the full statement.

Author John M. Borack has done truly amazing work documenting the history of power pop over the last 25 years and way back in the ’00s, when work was being done on the first Shake Some Action book, he gathered up a huge trove of material to be considered for that volume. Alas, there was only so much room to fit everything in and keep the scope of the core focus on to the Top 200 releases - which meant there was a lot of fascinating, interesting and really good material that was impossible to include. Now, 11 years later, you can enjoy a veritable mini-book of these excerpts as a bonus here and as a reward for your incredibly good taste in all things pop.

Cool, yes? Why yes, actually.

Download the Great Unreleased Trove of Pop Musings [12].

And there you have it. Another use of the word musing to describe a piece of writing. It makes me happy. It also makes me happy that the trove includes a piece on the history of Chicago Power Pop. However, it doesn’t include the Insiders’ Ghost on the Beach, so I’m not sure how trustworthy it is.

Postscript: This musing reminds me that I owe Middle Son another compilation tape. Perhaps I’ll make one that focuses on some of my favorite Power Pop songs. I could start with International Pop Overthrow by Material Issue, even though it’s not my favorite of their songs. I’ll need to include I Want You Back by the Hoodoo Gurus and ….

[1] Surprisingly, it does not seem to do so as much any more.

[2] I suppose that description no longer makes sense to many of my readers.

[3] I tend to list the Plimsouls, the Hoodoo Gurus, the Wishniaks, Material Issue, the Distractions, and the Bad Examples [4] as among my favorite practitioners of the genre. I also appreciate many other power pop bands, from big names like Cheap Trick to more obscure acts like Paul Chastain.

[4] I don’t generally think of the Bad Examples as power pop. But some of their albums get listed in power-pop best of lists, so I’ll include them.

[5] Unfortunately, I don’t recall the name.

[6] And, effectively, per InterWeb

[7] I’m not sure why I didn’t go the Seminary Coop.

[8] I can’t find a link right now. If I recall correctly, Brodeen sold some compilation album, not Yellow Pills [9], but something even more sketchy, and one of the bands on the album objected to the use of their song without their permission. They sued not the people who had made the record, but the mail-order company (Not Lame records) that was selling some copies.

[9] Damn. In searching for Yellow Pills, I see that I missed the publication of a Yellow Pills book. It appears to be out of print.

[10] Or at least from 1970 to 2017.

[11] Yes, that means I pre-ordered a copy. Sorry Micki!

[12] No, I won’t provide a link. That seems unethical.

Version 1.0 of 2018-09-16.