Thursday, 8 November 2012

It's All Coming Back To Me Now - A Love Letter To The 80s Rock Ballad

Poison: Because every cowboy sings a sad, sad song. Or something.

A Love Letter To The 80s Rock Ballad
by Jo Michelmore

Every week it’s just another little insight into the life of me, isn’t it? We’re such interesting characters, us blog writing types. I mean, so far this year you’ve learnt how I saw the world as a small girl, songs I like to hear when I’m angry, how much I dislike the Olympics, how much I like the harmonica, what I like to do and discuss and sing over lunch, how much I love live music (lots!), what cars my ex-boyfriend's drive and how much I love the clap. See? You’ve learnt all sorts of interesting things. For those of you who are a little creepy and building some kind of profile on me, here’s another thing to add to the list. The 80’s rock power ballad. Yeah. Rock! Ballad! I kind of love them, sometimes. I was reminded of my love of the rock power ballad twice this week; once over a conversation about Bret Michaels (don’t ask how or why, just accept) and once over a conversation I had about the 80’s. The person I was talking to said the greatest thing to come out of the 80’s was the rock power ballad. Although I’m sure there were a bunch of other things as well, I thought they had a good point. Some I love ‘cause I love them and some I love ‘cause the worst-cheesy-sometimes-creepy songs are often the best.

by Journey, 1983

Ooh, I’m starting on a favourite. This is a gooooood one. The keyboards. The guitar. The heartbreak. The “joy of rediscovering you”; oh, is that lyric creepy much? That just makes it so good. The standing by me, faithfully. The strained vocal. The guitar at around the traditional three minute mark and the “whoa oh oh oh I’m still yours” toward the end. The love, love, love this song, unashamedly. The fact that I know someone who absolutely kills this one at karaoke, in a really, really, spine tingling good way. All of these things equal love.

We Belong
by Pat Benetar, 1984

The song is amazing, the clip is amazing. The lyrics don’t make even make sense; “We belong to the light, we belong to the thunder, we belong to the sound of the words we've both fallen under” what Pat? Then the clip, which contains everything I love about 80’s clips. Ill-fitting clothing, a weird soft focus, strange bits of fabric flailing about, an unexplained waterfall, green neon gloves; it’s so good. Even though this one doesn’t have that magical guitar solo at about three minutes it has something possibly even better. The choir. If you can’t have guitar, the next best emotion inducing sound is the choir and just when I thought the clip couldn’t possibly be better, we get to see the disinterested and slightly confused faces on the small, slightly terrified children singing in said choir. This is hilarious and this is brilliant. If this doesn’t make you happy you have no soul, or something. Maybe.

I Want To Know What Love Is
by Foreigner, 1984

There is possibly no song that screams “80’s! Rock! Ballad!!!!” louder than this one. This is a song that makes me so unbearably uncomfortable, so much so that I absolutely love it. You can’t possibly hear the chorus without cringing, it’s amazing. “I wanna know what love is, I want you to show me, I wanna feel what love is, I know you can show me, I wanna know what love is, I want you to show me and I wanna feel, I want to feel what love is, and I know, I know you can show me….” the horror, the words they just keep going on and on. Then at three minutes they start getting sung by a choir. Uuurgh, it’s awful, it’s awesome. I’ve just realised, I should try this one at karaoke and make a room full of other people uncomfortable. Yes! Awesome.

Never Tear Us Apart
by INXS, 1988

Here you go, another thing to add to the list of things you know about me. I have a not so secret (I know he’s dead but he was still kind of hot in a 80’s rock star kind of way) infatuation with Michael Hutchence. Yeah, me and a bazillion other people. How can you not love him when you hear that voice singing “I was standing, you were there” line? Then there’s the saxophone solo at three minutes, no guitars. INXS were always a bit different, weren’t they? All six of them. Six!?! Way to split the royalties guys, no wonder you’re still trying to play, sans Hutchence.

Every Rose Has It’s Thorn
by Poison, 1988

It starts with that hairy chest and the long, long blonde hair and you know you’re in for some real 80’s goodness. It’s all sweat and slow motion and a cheesy guitar solo three minutes in and how heartbreaking is being on the road as a super huge rock star? Quite heartbreaking, apparently. After all, every rose has its thorn. They told us. I love it. Cheesy at it’s best.

I Remember You
by Skid Row, 1989

I know someone who loved Sebastian Bach, back in the day. If you were to throw them in a time machine and told them to pick a destination and a time, they may choose 1989 and they may choose Sebastian’s dressing room, after a gig. This makes me slightly ill. Like the lyrics in the chorus; “Remember yesterday - walking hand in hand, love letters in the sand - I remember you”, that’s high school rhyming at its best. Like all the best rock ballads, there’s a dramatic guitar solo at about the three minute mark and a mention of rain. It’s just too good. The ones I love because they’re so bad? Put this near the top of that list.

by Guns N Roses, 1989

Look, I think Axl is as much of a jerk as the next person, but that doesn’t take away from the fact he sang one of the most famous ballads of the late 80’s (no, not November Rain, which goes for waaaaaayyy too long and was released in the early 90’s anyway). In this one he whistles and I know you know how much I love the whistling, ‘cause you read everything I write, right? Hey, guess what happens at about the three minute mark? Beside the guitar solo? Not much. If you watch the clip long enough though, you get to see Axl wearing the world’s largest belt buckle and skinniest pants. How lucky for you.

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