Track This: Weston's "Heather Lewis"/"Your Summer Dresses Bore Me"

I've always had a fascination for lesser-known power pop bands and singles. Whether this means singing the praise of 20/20's second album, championing Brendan Benson's pre-Raconteurs efforts, or even calling Pansy Division's Absurd Pop Song Romance the greatest power pop album, I sometimes find myself reaching for that sugary, disposable pop single. Albeit, I generally grab one that won't make the radio or even get noticed in this age of increasing vocoder usage and auto-tuned pop atrocities.

Case in point, these two songs by the pop punk band, Weston off of their 1996 album, Got Beat Up, are so dynamic, poppy, and well-written that they deserve space in the echelon of killer pop tunes. While the rest of the record is an excellent pop punk record with the type of sugary licks that Weezer wishes they used, these two songs stand out due to their maturity. No small feat on a record where most of the songs deal with immature love and the awkwardness of being young and aimless, such as "New Shirt," which deals lyrically with getting a new shirt because "I thought you might like me in it" or the pop punk standout, "No Kind of Superstar" that pleads, "I know I'll never be the number one that everyone wants to talk to / I know I'll always be the fat kid on the bus everybody's a jerk to."

"Heather Lewis" blasts out as an immediate continuation of "New Shirt" ("Heather Lewis when you left for college / I thought you would visit . . . I thought you'd call me / that you would miss me / I guess I understand you're busy") Ultimately, an ode from a nerdy kid for his potential sweetheart, the song has big hooks and cooler back-up vocals. Its naivete is underscored by its insistent drumming and stadium-sized yearning that wouldn't feel out of place if it was played during a Major League Baseball game.

"Your Summer Dresses Bore Me" is a greater statement, recalling the summery feeling of later Beach Boys tracks with a dash of 1990's singer-songwriter regret. A spurned lover deftly reexamines a faulty relationship with a few well-chosen, biting lyrics. He grows as a person, while acknowledging his regret.The vocals are clean, crisp and thoughtful; this could be another response to Heather Lewis after the two dated for awhile. He sings, "I called you up to say I'm sorry / that we deserve a second chance / but you won't pick up the phone / I sat around just thinking about what you never meant to me." The chorus is huge with catchy guitar hooks and well-produced drum fills -- "Your summer dresses bore me / just like everything you do / I could wait around forever / but I won't wait long for you." A perfect addition for a last mix tape or a late summer confessional, the song rewards repeat listens far beyond its three-minute playing time.


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