Monday, September 22, 2008

I've Been Thinking About What I've Given to the World

I've been silently enjoying the hell out The Pop Project's Stars of Stage and Screen for several months now. I can no longer remain silent.

I am absolutely convinced this album epitomizes the pop renaissance we are currently reveling in. It is full of expert musicianship, outstanding songwriting, unforgettable hooks, historically reverent yet wholly original tunes, adventurous detours, and enough variety to sustain a full album with no filler. It is a stunning representation of why Too Poppy exists.

Stars of Stage and Screen is an album that was a long time coming but never feels overworked. Five years after their second release Life is Life, The Pop Project has given us a pop masterpiece.

I was immediately struck by the sonic similarity to Squeeze, most notably on Coerce (probably the strongest single tune on an album chock-full of them that I convinced myself had to be a Squeeze outtake.) Next, I sensed a strong rhythm of alternating songwriters (just like The Grays.) Indeed, the "three-headed songwriting beast" manages the difficult task of single song identity within an album context that absolutely works every time. Finally, after basking in the album several times over, I realized the obvious Squeeze comparison was far too simplistic. Adding comparisons to other pop luminaries like Split Enz, Brendan Benson, Sugar, Bryan Scary, and Jellyfish also fails to completely describe the project. The Pop Project is The Pop Project - and I can't subscribe to a more appropriate description.

Even a song as totally trite as Totally Awesome is totally fun in the hands of The Pop Project. Totally. And I'm not at all surprised to read that Andy Thompson, who has worked with Andy Sturmer and Dan Wilson to name a couple, was an influential producer of the album. Stars of Stage and Screen is as satisfying as it gets. If only one of you downloads it and spends half the time with it as I have, then I will feel Too Poppy has served its purpose. This recommendation is my gift to you. I project The Pop Project will land in my pop top three in 2008 and probably yours as well.

Official Site
The Pop Project - Stars of Stage and Screen on iTunes

Sample the variety:
MP3: The Pop Project - House of Books
MP3: The Pop Project - Hearts and Flowers
MP3: The Pop Project - Stand In

Yep, totally awesome.

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