What makes a popsong perfect? First of all it has to be short. Too short. Too DAMN short! When it ends, your heart and belly ache for it to keep going. Is that all there is? How dare they?! It can’t just end like that! It also has to be memorable and catchy, so that you are humming it for hours afterward. Addictive would be another good word to describe it. Immediate would be another. It’s like candy when you were 7 years old. You could describe it as deceptively simple but not simplistic.
What my two perfect two popsongs?
1. “Pack Yr Romantic Mind” by Stereolab. From the highly regarded album Transient Random-Noise Bursts With Announcements (one of the best titles of all time), the song comes sauntering in as relief from the first two noise-laden tracks, like some European 1960’s easy listening lounge music with French-accented smooth female vocals. It’s booby-trapped though. Oh, is it ever! I’ll let you discover that.
2. “Outdoor Miner” by Wire. From the album Chairs Missing. There is a reason why something like a hundred different bands have covered this song. Colin Newman and company put their collective genius together just right and got away ever so briefly from the more inaccessible “post-punk” they’re famous for and crafted this sparkling gem. The album version is a short 2 minute number, while the hard-to-find EP version doubles that for a more satisfying experience. “No blind spots in the leopard’s eyes can only help to jeopardize the lives of lambs the shepherd cries.” How can you go wrong with lyrics like that? It only gets better.
Sure, I might be willing to add “Benway” by Tortoise, “Kite” by Kate Bush, some OMD track, something from the Stars on ESP album by His Name Is Alive, a Beatles track or a Beach Boys track at some point. But not yet. These two songs remain in a class by themselves.