Various Artists

Right to Chews

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The bubblegum songs of the late '60s and early '70s were (mostly) commercially produced singles, written by professionals and recorded by attractive young acts for the maximum commercial appeal. Much like the teen pop movements of the late '80s or late '90s, this produced a mountain of dreck, but also like those teen pop movements, there were some moments of greatness. Were it not for *NSYNC or the Backstreet Boys or Britney Spears, listeners wouldn't have had "Bye Bye Bye," "I Want It That Way," or "Baby One More Time," which, when viewed objectively, are solid contributions to pop's canon. This makes sense, since they were written by professionals and produced with calculation, and most of Right to Chews recognizes this. The bands in the power pop revival of the late '90s and early '00s are somewhat older -- from their early thirties to their early fifties -- than their more mainstream peers, so the music on Right to Chews is the music of their youth; they're the 45s these kids spent their time spinning after school. And since one of the major flaws of all these originals is that they sound terribly, almost embarrassingly dated today, a tribute record with beefed up instrumentation seems entirely appropriate. Weighing in at a hefty 25 tracks, with most cuts running around two minutes, the collection zooms past with a blur. The artists tackle everything from well-known (the Sparkle*Jets U.K.'s winning take on the Jackson 5's "I Want You Back") to obscure (the Andersons' take on the bizarre "Goodie Good Ice Cream Man") and even a few that were later recycled (the Beatifics do "Superman," which was later turned into a hit by R.E.M.). Of course, this is relentlessly up-tempo stuff, and only one song (Doug Powell's "I Woke Up in Love This Morning") is in a minor key, so it will immediately turn off anyone not in the mood for a sugar high. Yes, everything here is extremely lightweight, but it's not forgettable. And with 25 of the most talented bands that make similarly infectious music today, Right to Chews feels like a perfect fit.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 2:18
2 2:48
3 3:09
5 3:15
6 3:12
7 2:39
8 2:40
9 2:46
10 2:30
11 3:04
12 2:54
13 2:17
14 3:12
16 2:50
17 2:59
18 2:50
19 2:55
20 2:36
21 2:22
22 3:01
23 3:16
24 3:02
25 2:54
blue highlight denotes track pick