NPR logo An Instant Power-Pop Classic, in Twice the Time

An Instant Power-Pop Classic, in Twice the Time

I Understand

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Sloan has a talent for brevity, but it knows its way around a rocking epic, too. hide caption

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Wednesday's Pick

  • Song: "I Understand"
  • Artist: Sloan
  • CD: Never Hear the End of It
  • Genre: Power-Pop

Nestled smack in the middle of Sloan's marvelously overstuffed Never Hear the End of It, "I Understand" practically begs to be ignored. It clocks in at nearly five and a half minutes when the average length of the remaining 29 tracks is a cozy 2:27, and its counterparts are often cleverer, to say nothing of rocking harder.

Power-pop has a way of taking care of itself, however, and "I Understand" possesses all the earmarks of an instant light classic. Starting with a sweet and wide-eyed electric piano, it throws itself headlong into a bopping thump as acoustic guitars undergird the sugary, AM-radio-ready lines about the discoveries and promises of innocent, adolescent love.

But "I Understand" changes as it moves along, picking up cymbals, harmonies and wah-wah electrics as it pushes its way to a perfect false ending. The drums stutter their way to a reprise, but the song never loses momentum. Instead, Sloan rides out a squalling guitar solo that gives way to a horn section, which in turn yields to a return of the chorus' harmonies, all over simple chords, in search of power-pop bliss.

Listen to yesterday's 'Song of the Day.'

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