Pop songs for girls and boys

If they took yearbook pictures for adults out of school ...

If they took yearbook pictures for adults out of school ...

I can’t claim to have the insider’s track on the machinations that occur in the mind of Ellie Greenwich, so I can’t tell you what she thinks about the Portland band, the Parenthetical Girls, and their song entitled “A Song for Ellie Greenwich.” On one hand, Greenwich composed a string of hits in the 60’s along with her husband at the time, Jeff Barry. Some of the fruits of the Greenwich-Barry union include the Ronettes classic “And Then He Kissed Me” and “Today I Met the Boy I’m Gonna Marry.” The songs glimmer with first love tingles, hope, and all those other romantic notions that really got the kids of that era going. It is probably largely thanks to the couples’ musical collaborations that Phil Spector can pay his legal bills for his ongoing murder trial.

So what about the doo-wop namesake attracted the notice of the Parenthetical Girls? It could be the tie-in to the elaborate production techniques that Spector developed and Greenwich used as both a songwriter and a singer. The band loves their string arrangements just as much as their sing-along choruses, especially given that the Ellie Greenwich song blatantly borrows from the Carpenters’ song, “Close to You”. Or it might have to do with Greenwich’s penchant for writing about well-worn adolescent themes, which the group appears to share. Or at least singer, Zac Pennington, belts a little like an extremely confident high school glee club member to the accompaniment of his friends in orchestra. Either way, the level of gratitude the Northwest musicians owe Greenwich as their inspiration is vast. These kids are making intricate, layered pop music for the new millennium, but still pay respect to their precursors.

Parenthetical Girls will play at the Wonder Ballroom on Saturday, April 4. The Thermals and Explode into Colors will also play.

  • Parenthetical Girls ~ Entanglements ~ Tomlab

A Song for Ellie Greenwich


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