Blame Sally: A Sneaky Slab Of Power Pop

Blame Sally's "Living Without You" could have been  performed by the likes of the dB's or the Nerves three decades ago. i i

Blame Sally's "Living Without You" could have been performed by the likes of the dB's or the Nerves three decades ago. Jay Blakesberg hide caption

itoggle caption Jay Blakesberg
Blame Sally's "Living Without You" could have been  performed by the likes of the dB's or the Nerves three decades ago.

Blame Sally's "Living Without You" could have been performed by the likes of the dB's or the Nerves three decades ago.

Jay Blakesberg

Thursday's Pick

Song: "Living Without You"

Artist: Blame Sally

CD: Speeding Ticket and a Valentine

Genre: Roots-Pop

In the context of Speeding Ticket and a Valentine, Blame Sally's "Living Without You" fits cozily within the tradition of rootsy Americana that informs the rest of the album. There is, for example, a warm ease to the guitar and the drums, not to mention a sense that, while the women forming the group might not be hard-drinking, they're not shy around a bottle, either.

Separate the song from its surroundings, on the other hand, and a strange thing happens: "Living Without You" starts to sound less like a twangless, countrified cruise down a dusty road and more like old-school power pop. The guitars chug along economically without sacrificing hookiness, the drums shift to a twist-worthy beat in the chorus, a crucial tambourine becomes prominent at key points and the singers split, overlap and fold back over one another by the end. It's the sort of song that could easily have been performed by the likes of the dB's or the Nerves three decades ago.

Even so, there's another speed bump in the song's easy categorization as power pop: the fact that it features women singing. With rare exceptions like The Bangles and Holly Beth Vincent, the subgenre hasn't traditionally had much use for female voices, especially ones as robust as what Blame Sally has to offer. Of course, whether "Living Without You" is roots-pop or power pop is ultimately just a matter of labels. But it feels like a minor victory that the song sneaks up and grabs one of them unawares.

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Speeding Ticket and a Valentine

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Album
Speeding Ticket and a Valentine
Artist
Blame Sally
Label
Ninth Street Opus
Released
2011

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