Who is Adam Schlesinger? Find out this week, as I explore some of my favorite tracks by the power pop savant.
The Click Five was a failed boy band from the mid 2000’s. They notched one minor hit before The Jonas Brothers swooped into capture the preteen girls demo. The Click Five’s debut album, Greetings from Imrie House, was widely panned. Generous critics gave it three stars out of five, bestowing backhanded compliments like “disposable fun.”
Others were less kind: A 0.2 out 10 rating from IGN? Yikes!
Who can blame them, though? This is empty, polished music. Engineered and crafted to maximize its appeal despite lacking a singular original thought. To quote IGN: “But hey, what the hell, if it’ll make young girls scream.” It’s an easy target.
It’s also one of my favorite guilty pleasure albums ever.
The haters entirely miss the point of this kind of music. They’re 100% right and 100% wrong. By its very nature, power pop is ephemeral music. It thrives on on the sugar rush. Slick rock and roll instruments with pop tunes as the cream filling.
“Just the Girl” by The Click Five is the epitome of that mindset. It has one of the 25 or so greatest pop hooks ever. It leans into everything that makes power pop great — dynamic, traditional harmonies; airtight pop structure; slick production; a clear vocal part; punchy guitar and rhythm part. Most important of all are the soaring tune and heavenly chorus.
The lyrics are unoriginal but perfectly adequate high school longing, with a few memorable lines: “The more she ignores me, the more I adore her.”
My two favorite songs on the album, “Just the Girl” and “I’ll Take My Chances,” are written by Adam Schlesinger, the man with the Midas power pop touch. When I figured this out, it was a forehead-smacking revelation. Of course my favorite “guilty pleasure” song was written by my favorite pop tune composer.