Mikal Cronin MCIII Album Cover

Mikal Cronin’s newest record, MCIII (out 5.5 on Merge), is being billed as his attempt at going big. For power pop artists, like Cronin, big is a relative term: ask Big Star or Sloan or Teenage Fanclub or Matthew Sweet. In terms of money and in terms of exposure, there’s only so big a power-pop singer like Cronin can get, especially in today’s music landscape where rock music has had to learn to accept its second-tier status.

But, as the impeccable melody to “Made My Mind Up,” begins to unfurl, and those wonderful guitar lines sway like a sweet and dreamy summer breeze, one begins to realize that going big doesn’t necessarily mean stardom for Cronin. Rather, we’re listening to the first notes of a man intent on making every number as memorable as his last. Now, that’s a noble goal, in any era.