Another blast of 90s power pop in my top 100 songs list, “Solar Sister” from the Posies’ brilliant 1993 album “Frosting On The Beater”.
Pseudo-power pop royalty, Posies co-frontman Ken Stringfellow has written about “Solar Sister” that “in the spirit that a healthy lifting from good sources is a legitimate part of the artistic process, we can say that this song represents my attempt to write a Teenage Fanclub song, specifically one of their attempts to write a Big Star song”. Having already rhapsodised about both these other bands (at #3 and #15 on this list), it is perhaps unsurprising that the sheer melodic rush of “Solar Sister” stands out as my favourite Posies song.
But only just…I could have chosen pretty much any of the songs from side one of “Frosting On The Beater” in particular, which for me is up there with “Grand Prix” by the aforementioned Fanclub as one of the greatest first halves to any LP. And if I was picking my favourite albums rather than individual songs, the Posies would be featuring much higher in this list, with “Frosting…” likely in the top 30 due to its goldrush of raucously irresistible tunes.
Formed in Bellingham, Washington (just north of Seattle) in 1986 by Jon Auer along with Ken Stringfellow, the Posies signed to DGC Records in late 1989 – similar timing to another Washington state band, Nirvana. Not quite making the impact of their labelmates with their first major label record, 1990’s John Leckie produced “Dear 23” is however a real gem, second only to “Frosting…” in my affections. “Frosting…” then gained some buzz upon release in 1993 but never really cut through, certainly in the UK where I only really properly grew to love it some years later. Around this time, the Posies were perhaps as well known for Ken and Jon also playing as part of the reformed Big Star together with remaining members Alex Chilton and Jody Stephens, a unit that was active semi-regularly from 1993 until Alex Chilton sadly passed away in 2010.
A final major label album followed for DGC, 1996’s “Amazing Disgrace”, and the Posies have continued to tour and record on and off since, with the core partnership of Stringfellow and Auer augmented by various bassists and drummers. Amongst subsequent records, 2005’s “Every Kind Of Light” and 2016’s “Solid States” are particularly worthy of investigation.
But it’s the magic of “Frosting On The Beater” that I consistently return to – chock full of melodic invention and killer hooks, it’s a sheer delight to listen to. The album’s powerful sound also means that many of its tracks still crop up in unlikely places, especially on UK sports TV here and there. This included opening track “Dream All Day” once soundtracking a montage of Tim Henman failing at the Wimbledon semi-finals in the late 90s/early 2000s…again…
VIDEOS AND OTHER STUFF
- Other great Posies songs include: Dream All Day, Flavor Of The Month, Definite Door, Burn & Shine, Golden Blunders, Apology.
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