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The New Classics

They do make ’em like they used to. Latter-day landmark discs worth latching on to

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ARTIST Jellyfish ALBUM Bellybutton AMPLE EVIDENCE OF GREATNESS Imagine McCartney at his most melodically ornate, but possessed of his onetime partner’s cynical edges, and you’ve got Bellybutton, the greatest album Wings never made. Before this 1990 tour de force, ”power pop” mostly meant British Invasion-reviving pub-rockers, but this short-lived San Francisco co-op — led by cofounders Andy Sturmer and Roger Manning — made it cool to claim fussier stuff like ”Penny Lane,” Brian Wilson, Badfinger, 10cc, even Queen as pop heritage. AWE-INSPIRING TRACK If Abbey Road had a song about a deadbeat military dad, it would’ve been ”The Man I Used to Be.” LINGERING EFFECTS No use crying over the breakup that followed 1993’s Spilt Milk. Manning went on to form Imperial Drag and retro-spoof band the Moog Cookbook, later playing sideman to Beck and Air; original guitarist Jason Falkner joined post-Bellybutton member Jon Brion in the Grays before going solo. Sadly, singer Andy Sturmer has become one reclusive sea creature, only increasing his legend. The sting of the split remains deeply felt by pop intelligentsia who venerate these vocal-stacking scyphozoa as gods.