Considering that the first song John Brodeur learned on electric guitar was Poison’s “Talk Dirty to Me,” it’s not surprising that he knows his way around a hook. And while the music that fills the debut from his latest project, Bird Streets, veers a lot more toward power pop than hair metal, it still embeds itself in your brain and stays there, and that’s a good thing for an artist who may be hitting his stride after nearly two decades in the business.
“This one definitely feels different,” said Brodeur, who worked on Bird Streets with his friend and power pop icon Jason Falkner. “It’s higher profile and it feels like something more. I’ve made a lot of DIY solo things and put them out on my own little label, but this one feels like it’s got a lot more weight to it. We’ve got the balls rolling in the right direction, so we’ve just got to go with it at this point.”
Sometimes it takes the right situation, the right alignment of planets and the right timing to take a musician from the starving artist stage to the “big time,” whatever that term means these days. And while Brodeur has always delivered quality work, with Falkner on board and Omnivore Recordings putting some muscle behind it, he just might get the audience he’s always deserved for this one. And early indications are that everything will be coming up aces for him.
“Jason and I both think this is a really good record, and he’s made a million records and they’re all good, but he believes in this one,” said Brodeur. “It’s the best thing I’ve had my name on, so the fact that everything’s coalescing and people are responding to it is really encouraging.”
With everything moving in a positive direction, you have to wonder what used to keep Brodeur going when he would record an album, release it, and not get the response he wanted.
“Okay, it this doesn’t stick, make another one,” he laughs. “In the past, that’s always kind of been the thing rather than get too bogged down in why people aren’t hearing something. All right, make more stuff and eventually people will come around.”
That time may be here, and he admits that it’s perfect timing because while past albums had things he would have redone if he had the chance, he’s all-in on Bird Streets.
“Every record I make, I like at the time and I think we’re pretty close,” Brodeur said. “And then there’s always something on every one of my solo records that I would love to go back and tweak or change. This one, I feel like we got it right. That’s kind of a new feeling almost. I feel really strongly about putting this in front of people. There’s no shame at all. This is good, we can put our names behind it.”
So with Bird Streets, Roger Joseph Manning’s recent return and Falkner’s continuing presence, are we seeing a return to prominence of power pop?
“I guess I’ve just been hanging around doing the same thing long enough and eventually it would come back around,” Brodeur laughts. “But I do hope there’s a return to songs.”
Guitars. Hooks. Lyrics that make sense. I’m in.
“I’ve always eaten it all up,” he said. “I like a little bit of everything and I think a lot of musicians would probably say that. But the music I write is pretty much a product of the 90s when it comes down to it. When I was first really writing songs back in high school, my band back in ’94 was basically a grunge band and that was where it all sort of came from — simple guitar parts, good melodies and that’s a song. That’s what gets you in the room.”
Amen. And it’s what has kept Brodeur here all these years.
“I don’t know if I need to write songs all the time,” he said. “Most days, I just need to get something out; maybe that’s just playing guitar or whatever. But songwriting is just how I process things a lot of times, so if I didn’t do that, I guess I would have to hire a therapist or something, and that’s expensive. (Laughs) It’s a lot easier to write songs. Songwriting is cheap. And it’s a good way to spend the day.”
For more information on Bird Streets, click here