Friday, November 20, 2009

Top Songs of 1989: #14: "Don't Wanna Lose You Now" by Gloria Estefan

It seems like in the late 80s/early 90s, there were a lot more songs in the charts that were definitely "soft rock". The #14 song falls under that category. Gloria Estefan's "Don't Wanna Lose You Now" is made of butter, cream, and silk ribbons.

Gloria Estefan wrote both the music and lyrics.

Gloria was part of Miami Sound Machine. "Cuts Both Ways" was the first album that is credited to both her and Miami Sound Machine; so many consider it her first solo album.

Not sure what is up with songs without bridges from this era of music ..but this is another example. Just two verses, two choruses, no bridge. I'm a sucker for a good bridge...alas.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Top Songs of 1989: #15: "Heaven" by Warrant

Warrant. Wow. What was THAT??

The #15 Billboard hit of 1989 was "Heaven" by Warrant. If you'd like to get a sense of really how MUCH Warrant was, please look at the actual video to this song:

I mean, let's just talk about the excess! Pyrotechnics! Hair! German model! Spandex! It was a fascinating time....

I felt a little icky reading about Warrant because of this little factoid I read: "The song "Heaven" was not written by any of the members of Warrant and it is alleged that Jani Lane stole the song from another musician who had already been shopping the song to various labels. This mistake cost the band a fair amount of money when suit was brought against them." The fact that they are a band of 5 people and NONE of them took part in the songwriting credits?? And what's more, they sort of stole the song away from someone? Eek. Not good.

Despite that, huge power ballad. I can remember this song being played at school dances. SLOW SONGS. It was a song where you went to find the guy you REALLY LIKED.

My favorite line is comparing this lady's eyes to "blue suburban skies". The "suburban" part kind of cracks me up. Why's it gotta be suburban??

Monday, November 16, 2009

Top Songs of 1989: #16: "Girl I'm Gonna Miss You" by Milli Vanilli

Milli Vanilli, as we all know, are a sad tale. Caught red-handed...two good looking German guys hired to lip synch songs and then they become an international sensation, selling millions of albums and even winning a Grammy. (!). But they got busted for not writing or singing any of their songs. And as we all know from "Behind The Music", the pressure was so great for one member of Milli, that he commit suicide. Very sad.

But, whoever was singing those songs from their mega-smash albums....they definitely had an impact on pop music in 1989....Milli Vanilli were everywhere. Frank Farian had the idea for the group and assembled a bunch of singers but "he felt that those singers lacked a marketable image" and brought in Fab and Rob.

The #16 song of 1989 was "Girl I'm Gonna Miss You". The song is super simple in it's structure. It doesn't even have a bridge. There is a Kenny G-esque solo in the middle of the song, but otherwise it's pretty much verse-chorus, verse-chorus.

I do remember what a scandal it was when Milli Vanilli was "found out". Somehow, I feel like that type of thing would NOT be so surprising now-a-days. I don't think people would find it that shocking anymore.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Top Songs of 1989: #17: "The Look" by Roxette

I definitely have good memories of the #17 Billboard hit of 1989. Hunter and I were always singing the boy and girl parts to the whole "Look Sharp!" album. Screaming the songs at the top of our lungs! Hysterical.

Were it not for the song "The Look", Roxette might have not broken in the US market. This little blurb from Wikipedia caught my attention....
"Everything changed when the third single The Look was released in Sweden. It was while studying in Sweden, that an American exchange student from Minneapolis, Dean Cushman[1], heard "The Look", and brought a copy of Look Sharp! home for the 1988 holiday break.[2][3] He gave the album to a Minneapolis radio station[2][3], KDWB 101.3 FM.[4] The station started playing "The Look" and based on positive caller feedback, the song became very popular[3][4], and quickly spread to other radio stations.[3] The song became a radio hit before any Roxette product had been commercially released or promoted in the US market.[3] The story was covered by radio, newspapers and TV in the US and in Sweden, making for good press for many years, with Gessle telling this as the story which highlighted the beginning of their international success."

I love that! I wish some Italian exchange student would do that with my music! Spread the word around Europe or something!

These lyrics make absolutely no sense! "Walking like a man/ hitting like a hammer/ she's a juvenile scam/ never was a quitter/ tasty like a raindrop"....what?!! But maybe they were translating their lyrics from Swedish to English, who knows. The best part of the song, for me, by far, is the NA NA NA NA NA NANANA....and especially when everything cuts out of the song and there is this pregnant pause. The listener wonders--is the song over?? Has Roxette abandoned me?? But no--they come right back with more "nana".

The song was written by the male member of Roxette, Per Gessle. Even he, apparently, knew the lyrics were a little sub par: " 'Walking like a man, hitting like a hammer'.. the first two verses are guide lyrics, words just scribbled down to have something to sing. Couldn't come up with anything better, so we kept them. Everybody gets lucky sometimes..."

Thank you to my boyfriend Ben, who kindly learned this song (he had never heard it before)and even put on a headband and costume! I am a lucky girl!!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Top Songs of 1989: #18: "She Drives Me Crazy" by Fine Young Cannibals

I finally figured out how to make my little videos in color. Wow, this is like the equivalent of when Dorothy comes out of her tornado-ed house into Munchkin Land in 1939. Big technological breakthrough!

So the #18 song of 1989 was "She Drives Me Crazy" by Fine Young Cannibals. I think this song sort of stands the test of time--I didn't realize the lyrics were so...kind of cookie-cutter....but whatever--the riff of this song on the guitar is so great. I feel like it still gets played a lot. And the chorus is such an explosion of melody--I love how it contrasts with the percussive nature of the verses.

I would qualify Fine Young Cannibals as a One Hit Wonder Band. But if anyone begs to differ, please let me know. The lead singer has this great falsetto and it's kind of what makes this song memorable and a hit. How many hit songs can you think of where a man is singing that high?? The video was also pretty cool--dancers in sort of clown-ish costumes jumping forward and back to that great guitar riff.

I was saddened to learn that Rush Limbaugh used this song as opening music to his show. What can you do.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Top Songs of 1989: #19: "On Our Own" by Bobby Brown

The number 19 biggest hit in 1989 was "On Our Own" by Bobby Brown. Not to be confused with "On My Own" from "Les Miserables". Although, I would pay big money to see Bobby Brown do a cover of that song.

"On Our Own" was from the "Ghostbusters II" soundtrack. Bobby was definitely in his prime as a solo artist around this time. "Don't Be Cruel", his mega-hit album was chock-full of singles.

L.A. Reid ("L.A. said 'you'll be a pop star/ just change everything you are'--yes, i'm quoting Pink), Baby Face and Daryl Simmons penned the song. The song definitely has this quality that seems SO of that late 80s/early 90's era. I can't quite put my finger on what it is, production-wise, but I know it when I hear it.

My favorite part of the song is the "oh-wee-oh / ya ya ya know it". That is totally the hook of the song.

I have been sick so my voice is super hoarse. It is the flu version of the song! "On Our Own: The Flu Re-Mix 2.0". Yeah!!!