This glorious album from New Jersey’s Somerdale was originally released as Shake It, Maggie, but once it found its way into the hands and ears of Marty Scott, the driving force behind Jem Records, he knew he had to have it and re-release it. With the band going back into the studio and adding newly-recorded tracks, it’s being re-released on Jem as Maggie Says It Again, a gathering of now 15 songs – stunning exercises of precision pop perfection.
“Take It From The Top” opens the collection with a classic pop-ness – acapella harmonies lead into a classic ’60’s track, with a lot of familiar and well-loved elements; if you cross The Who and The Beatles, you’ve got it here. “Waiting For You” has a more early ’70’s vibe – crisp and rockin’ guitars; think Badfinger or Cheap Trick – great vocals and a very Big Star bridge (love the device of using minor chords); “Don’t You Know” is the pure power-pop standout, using all the best elements of mid-’70’s power-pop: catchy, structured with magnificent harmonies (for a moment, I was thinking of Queen!) and keyboards, with an on-the-one guitar solo and “Excuse Me” immediately made me think of Icewater’s “All I See Is You” – the piano; the melody; the tempo – that exquisite pop-love song idea brought to light (and the other highlight of this album, to me). “Feel The Magic” is the stomper; a perfect melding of bubblegum and glam rock; “Coolest Kid In The Room” is the raucous “new wave”-ish pop number with its pounding Vox-sounding organ and “Merry Christmas Time” is probably the best rock-oriented Christmas song since Slade’s “Merry Christmas Everybody” (!).
You want good pop – that’s one thing. You want great pop? Get this album. It’s an instant classic/winner. There are no so-so moments; it’s all meat and potatoes – no filler. Something about New Jersey still manages to produce top notch pop-oriented bands with both the talent and skill to write and deliver amazing songs that you immediately take in. And Somerdale definitely is in that upper echelon.
Maggie Says It Again will be released on Friday, August 11th, 2017