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.