Author Topic: Effortless pop songwriters  (Read 1399 times)

Effortless pop songwriters
« on: August 11, 2019, 10:28:06 PM »
I'm talking about people who just seem to know how to craft a tune, even their filler stuff is still nicely put together and hummable or singalong. With these people, only their very best songs are acknowledged when even the cast offs are very competent and would make any budding songwriter proud:

Carl Newman- New Pornographers
James Mercer- The Shins
Ginger Wildheart
Andy Partridge/Colin Moulding


Re: Effortless pop songwriters
« Reply #1 on: August 11, 2019, 10:37:14 PM »
Holland-Dozier-Holland had a spell of a few years when they were knocking out hit singles for fun.

chveik

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Re: Effortless pop songwriters
« Reply #2 on: August 11, 2019, 10:38:42 PM »
the Brill Building people:

Leiber/Stoller
Pomus/Schuman
King/Goffin
Bacharach/David
Mann/Weil
Barry/Greenwich

etc.

Re: Effortless pop songwriters
« Reply #3 on: August 11, 2019, 10:40:27 PM »
Great thread idea. The late, great Scott Miller (Game Theory/Loud Family) deserves mention in this category, I think (he and Carl Newman had something of a mutual appreciation society going, and "You Tell Me Where" off the NP's Brill Bruisers is Newman's self-confessed attempt at writing a Milleresque number). Dudes such as Kurt Ralske (Ultra Vivid Scene) and Ward Dotson (Liquor Giants) also cranked out pop that popped with consistency. As does/did the Lilys' Kurt Heasley, when he bothered to (Better Can't Make Your Life Better and The 3-Way are both near-perfect pop elpees). And I'm sure I'm forgetting a whole bunch of verse-chorus-verse savants and have readied my open palm to make contact with my forehead repeatedly as this subject progresses.

non capisco

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Re: Effortless pop songwriters
« Reply #4 on: August 11, 2019, 10:53:10 PM »
Around the time of his 'Day Of the Dog' and 'Perpetual Motion People' albums a few years ago Ezra Furman had the ability to seemingly pluck melodies from the ether that already felt like classic standards e.g.. 'My Zero', 'Lousy Connection', 'Teddy I'm Ready', 'Cherry Lane', 'Haunted Head', 'Ordinary Life', 'Love You So Bad', 'Anything Can Happen'. All of those were forceful rebukes to any thought you may have had that all of the best songs have already been written.




Golden E. Pump

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Re: Effortless pop songwriters
« Reply #5 on: August 11, 2019, 10:55:47 PM »
Hall & Oates
Prince
George Michael

non capisco

  • Going through the motions like a champ.
Re: Effortless pop songwriters
« Reply #6 on: August 11, 2019, 10:56:53 PM »
Hall & Oates
Prince

Yes and yes.

EDIT: that makes it seem like I've got something against George Michael. I haven't, but I looooove the other two. Hall and Oates' current live show is a two hour plus non-stop barrage of !!!FUCKING HELL I LOVE THIS ONE!!!

Re: Effortless pop songwriters
« Reply #7 on: August 11, 2019, 11:14:42 PM »
Holland-Dozier-Holland had a spell of a few years when they were knocking out hit singles for fun.

And under pseudonyms outside Motown. One of my favourites is Honey Cone's Take Me With You. Credited to Edith Wayne.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XZKWBkwTQHg

Angrew Lloyg Wegger

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Re: Effortless pop songwriters
« Reply #8 on: August 11, 2019, 11:50:03 PM »

Neil Hannon (only just starting to get into the Divine Comedy so this is something gradually being revealed to me)

Ballad of Ballard Berkley

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Re: Effortless pop songwriters
« Reply #9 on: August 12, 2019, 03:20:45 AM »
Around the time of his 'Day Of the Dog' and 'Perpetual Motion People' albums a few years ago Ezra Furman had the ability to seemingly pluck melodies from the ether that already felt like classic standards e.g.. 'My Zero', 'Lousy Connection', 'Teddy I'm Ready', 'Cherry Lane', 'Haunted Head', 'Ordinary Life', 'Love You So Bad', 'Anything Can Happen'. All of those were forceful rebukes to any thought you may have had that all of the best songs have already been written.

Couldn't agree more. I don't know how he does it, but he manages to write great original songs based on classic pop/rock templates. You can detect his influences, but his songs are never specific rip-offs of anything in particular. He may be some kind of genius.

I'd also add Michael 'Mike' Nesmith to the list. The Girl I Knew Somewhere, You Just May Be The One, Nine Times Blue, Different Drum, he was just so adept at writing instantly memorable pop melodies.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w9qsDgA1q8Y

timebug

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Re: Effortless pop songwriters
« Reply #10 on: August 12, 2019, 09:54:22 AM »
Whilst I despise his blandness and 'professional' personna, there is no getting round the fact that old (and  prematurely ginger!)
McCartney knows how to knock out a good tune.Lyrically,hit and miss, but the music is usually instantly 'whistleable' and sticks in your mind. Love him or hate him, you got to give the bloke credit for that.

Cuellar

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Re: Effortless pop songwriters
« Reply #11 on: August 12, 2019, 10:01:29 AM »
John Darnielle

Re: Effortless pop songwriters
« Reply #12 on: August 12, 2019, 10:59:06 AM »
Whilst I despise his blandness and 'professional' personna, there is no getting round the fact that old (and  prematurely ginger!)
McCartney knows how to knock out a good tune.Lyrically,hit and miss, but the music is usually instantly 'whistleable' and sticks in your mind. Love him or hate him, you got to give the bloke credit for that.

That bloke that wrote those songs for the Beach Boys is quite good too.

Absorb the anus burn

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Re: Effortless pop songwriters
« Reply #13 on: August 12, 2019, 11:04:03 AM »
Jeff Lynne.
Andy Partridge.
Graham Gouldman.
Carole King.

Re: Effortless pop songwriters
« Reply #14 on: August 12, 2019, 11:17:22 AM »
Jimmy Webb obviously
Bacharach and David seconded
Paddy McAloon

purlieu

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Re: Effortless pop songwriters
« Reply #15 on: August 12, 2019, 11:41:09 AM »
Ian Broudie
Neil Hannon
Martin Newell
Andy Partridge

Re: Effortless pop songwriters
« Reply #16 on: August 12, 2019, 11:53:45 AM »
I listened to Jesus of Cool by Nick Lowe for the first time this weekend and I bet my arse that he counts.

Re: Effortless pop songwriters
« Reply #17 on: August 12, 2019, 06:28:46 PM »
Ron Sexsmith. Should-be-classics coming out of his arse for about 25 years now.

alan nagsworth

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Re: Effortless pop songwriters
« Reply #18 on: August 12, 2019, 07:37:25 PM »
The Mael brothers, better known as Sparks. An utterly bonkers and wonderfully flamboyant charm oozes out of a great majority of their music, spanning 23 studio albums across almost 50 years. There might've been a lull in the middle years but the fact that 30 years into the game they can write something as bafflingly odd and brilliant as Li'l Beethoven, and just two years ago come out with an album that stands proud with their greatest work of all time, is mightily impressive. I absolutely fucking love Sparks, they're one of the best bands who ever lived.

I'd also like to mention Kevin Barnes, primary songwriter of pretty much all of the music of the band Of Montreal. Have there been disappointing moments in his career? Without a doubt. But as a transformative whack job who reinvents himself either slightly or drastically for each new release, the ride has been dazzling and fascinating throughout. Hissing Fauna, Are You The Destroyer? is one of those albums where I just can't comprehend how faultless it is as a freak pop album. The hooks are totally bizarre but they're compelling and magical at every turn. Satanic Panic In The Attic is also a firm favourite, total psychedelic masterpiece that often feels so dizzied like you're about to fall off a carousel in a fever dream but, again, just weird hit after weird hit.

Nowhere Man

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Re: Effortless pop songwriters
« Reply #19 on: August 12, 2019, 07:38:12 PM »
70s Stevie Wonder
Hank Williams
Elliott Smith
Elvis Costello wrote an endless sea of great tunes in a four year period.

Lordofthefiles

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Re: Effortless pop songwriters
« Reply #20 on: August 12, 2019, 08:15:35 PM »
No Ray Davies?


Ray Davies then.

Endicott

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Re: Effortless pop songwriters
« Reply #21 on: August 12, 2019, 08:31:28 PM »
Rod Temperton

Re: Effortless pop songwriters
« Reply #22 on: August 13, 2019, 04:18:03 AM »
This will sound to strange to some, even to myself, but Brandon Flowers fits the prompt.

TheMonk

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Re: Effortless pop songwriters
« Reply #23 on: August 13, 2019, 07:55:41 AM »
Neil Finn. No idea why he’s getting around as a Lindsey Buckingham stand in.

Bennett Brauer

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Re: Effortless pop songwriters
« Reply #24 on: August 14, 2019, 12:28:18 AM »
Neil Finn. No idea why he’s getting around as a Lindsey Buckingham stand in.

Half a Buckingham stand-in in fact.

Bennett Brauer

  • I'm not "likeable"
Re: Effortless pop songwriters
« Reply #25 on: August 14, 2019, 12:33:58 AM »
Todd Rundgren might qualify, certainly for his 1970s stuff. I think he still has the chops now, but he seems to have got mostly bogged down in EDM and run-of-the-mill collaborations.

famethrowa

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Re: Effortless pop songwriters
« Reply #26 on: August 14, 2019, 03:50:05 AM »
Neil Finn. No idea why he’s getting around as a Lindsey Buckingham stand in.

Well if you were asked to be the frontman for a huge tour by one of the the world's biggest bands, what can you say?

(I also have a theory he joined to get a break from his large adult son's untalented playing)

sardines

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Re: Effortless pop songwriters
« Reply #27 on: August 14, 2019, 07:42:47 AM »
Alex Chilton. Seemed to spend half his career fighting his natural pop instincts.

Jockice

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Re: Effortless pop songwriters
« Reply #28 on: August 14, 2019, 08:25:51 AM »
Mentioning no names (I think people are already aware of my tastes) but several of those mentioned on here are in my view very effortfull pop writers. It's like they somehow think pure pop is beneath them but attempt to do it in a clever-clever way so people will think they're subversive or something.

But as I said, mentioning no names. Neil Hannon. He's the king of it. But he's not alone. Certainly not on this thread.

Johnny Textface

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Re: Effortless pop songwriters
« Reply #29 on: August 14, 2019, 03:28:47 PM »
Julian Casablancas is up there for me. Effortless while perhaps trying to cover that up a little recently. Also John Maus I think along with Ata Kak.