Power pop was (is?) a strange phenomenon. Despite the big hooks, melodic overtones and just enough of a punk edge to keep things interesting, it never really caught on in a huge way. Although it’s made inroads into new wave and, more recently, indie pop, the leaders of the subgenre still remain fairly underground, with a few notable exceptions (Cheap Trick and The Romantics are among the few artists with major radio hits).
It should be no surprise then, that in Christian circles, artists in the style were even fewer. One of the standout artists in faith-oriented power pop was California’s The Holidays. Simultaneously raw and edgy, yet filled with infectious hooks, both of their albums really scratched where I was itching.
Their debut Everything is Now featured a raw, punk-like energy and urgency. Building off of that foundation, the follow-up album Restless Heart added a layer of pop simplicity to the mix. While I could pick just about any song from the band’s all-too-short catalogue, the song that’s been stuck in my head the last few days is “Sunshine.” I suppose what sticks out to me is the way the band weaved their Christian faith into simple lyrics dealing with the struggles of everyday life:
I lay in bed
And questions fill my head
About love, and amazing grace
About mercy, and a smiling face
And I don’t know what to do
You’re the only One that’s true
You’re easy on my mind
You give me sunshine
The band’s lyrics didn’t shy away from heavier questions. It’s just that they knew where and to whom to direct them.
Fortunately, some kind souls have uploaded all of the band’s tracks from their two label releases, so there’s lots of listening to do if you’re not familiar with the band. The guitar solo from “Sunshine” is particularly tasty!