To the degree that such inherently qualitative things can be quantified, a key determinant between good and great pop is what the songwriter/performer does beyond the verses and chorus. Yes, a rousing, ringing, memorable chorus is an essential ingredient, and the verses give body and structure to the songs. But sometimes a songwriter – at least one of high merit – can get away with very little in the way of those basic items if the “extras” are especially good. Think of The Raspberries‘ “I Wanna Be With you.” One line of verse, and onto the glorious chorus.
This argument – about those extras – came rushing back to me in the first few seconds of listening to the album Always on the Run by An American Underdog. The opening track, “Your Reign is Over” virtually bursts out of the speakers, daring the listener to not be wholly enveloped by its sweeping sound. A split-second of guitar chord, followed by a cymbal crash, and then it’s into a soaring, wordless intro. And then the song proper starts. It’s quite good, too, full of close vocal harmonies, punchy power chording, hand claps and the like. But that wordless bridge, or (as the Beatles called it) middle-eight: that’s what makes the song more than just very good. excerpt from Bill Kopp - Musicscribe.com
released 16 August 2012