Bands like Sweet and The Cars have long since stopped putting out any new music, but their sound still lives on powerfully strong on Jeff Whalen’s debut, 10 More Rock Super Hits.
Whalen, singer/guitarist for the fantastic, albeit short-lived power pop band Tsar, has not lost a bit of the energy or the pop sensibility that made his last group so infectious. But, while Tsar mixed a bit more punk rock-spiked guitars with their music, Whalen’s solo effort is more power pop and glam-influenced. The themes are not particularly cerebral; think summer crushes, cruising and just goofing around (like on the opening track titled, um, “Goofing Around”). But the beauty of a great pop record is that you can take a break from the fact that the world is crumbling around you and simply get lost in fun lyrics and catchy sing-at-the-top-of-your-voice choruses.
Among the most imaginative and addictive songs here is the ragtime pop number, “Shanghai Surprise,” that manages to best personify the spirit of Whalen’s album: creatively original, smart and simply carefree.