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5 Power Pop picks for Record Store Day Black Friday

Marshall Crenshaw, Todd Rundgren, Rubinoos and others top John M. Borack's Power Pop Plus column.
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A few power pop (and one power pop-adjacent) Record Store Day Black Friday picks:

Todd Rundgren - Something/Anything (Rhino Records; RSD Exclusive)  

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Rundgren seems to be a darling of the RSD set, as much of his music (solo, with the Nazz, and with Utopia) has been repackaged and/or re-released on Record Store Day over the years. As a matter of fact, his magnum opus, 1972's sprawling, inventive Something/Anything, was released as a double album set (on blue and red vinyl) with a bonus 7" on Black Friday 2018. It shows up once again this year in a different, somewhat intriguing configuration: four LPs (pressed on ruby, grape, cobalt, and light-blue vinyl), remastered from the original tapes at 45RPM. With new liner notes by Rundgren historian/biographer Paul Myers, it's billed as a 50th Anniversary Edition. "Hello It's Me," "I Saw the Light," and "Couldn't I Just Tell You"—three of the finest pop singles of the '70s—highlight the collection.

Marshall Crenshaw - Marshall Crenshaw (Yep Roc Records: RSD Exclusive)

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Another anniversary reissue, this time celebrating 40 years since the original release of Marshall Crenshaw's self-titled, low-key pop masterpiece. Limited to 1200 copies, this version of the album includes a second disc with seven additional tunes, a handful of which are previously unreleased. (The double LP version will only be available at record stores for RSD Black Friday.) The LP proper contains Crenshaw classics such as the poppy, neo-rockabilly "Someday, Someway," the glistening "Cynical Girl," and his Arthur Alexander-by-way-of-the-Beatles cover of "Soldier of Love." Slightly different cover art, too.

Fountains of Wayne - Traffic and Weather (Real Gone Music; RSD First)

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While Traffic and Weather is technically an "RSD First" release, a gold with black swirl pressing (limited to 5000 copies worldwide) is exclusively available on RSD Black Friday. Originally released in 2007, Fountains of Wayne's fourth full-length effort was a commercial disappointment (coming as it did after the omnipresent hit "Stacy's Mom"), but still contained plenty of the lyrical slices of life and melodic musings that FoW became well-loved for. Hilarious musical vignettes such as "'92 Subaru" and "Planet of Weed" deftly alternate between snarkiness and pathos, but the top-of-class track here is the winsome "I-95," a sweetly sung love song of the highest order. First time on vinyl for Traffic and Weather, by the way.

The Rubinoos - Back to the Drawing Board (Yep Roc Records; RSD First)

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Limited to 850 copies, this reissue of the Rubinoos' 1979 sophomore LP is presented on ruby and black splatter vinyl and contains the power pop classic "I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend." It's a solid platter, filled with Jon Rubin's boyish lead vocals and teeming with the band's still burgeoning songcraft, led by songwriter/guitarist Tommy Dunbar. This is the album's first release on vinyl in its original configuration since '79. (It was included as part of a hard-to-get 2015 Italian collection of the Rubes' first three records.)

Ringo Starr - Old Wave (Culture Factory USA; RSD Exclusive)

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The erstwhile Beatles drummer could not find a US record label to take a chance on Old Wave back in 1983 and now, nearly 40 years later, it finally makes its premier on vinyl here in the States. (A CD version was released in the US in 1994 and quickly fell out of print.) Produced by Joe Walsh—who had a hand in writing more than half the tracks—and Russ Ballard, it's a typically genial Ringo record that hasn't aged nearly as poorly as some of his late '70s output. (The RSD website's blurb that touts Old Wave as being "critically known as...'Ringo's solo masterpiece'" is pretty laughable, though.) This new release comes on brown and white smoke-colored vinyl and includes an early version of "As Far as We Can Go" as a bonus track. It also features a somewhat bizarre OBI strip that reminds buyers that the album was released in "1983—After the Beatles." (There is a limited run of 500 Old Wave CDs being released on RSD Black Friday as well.)