Death by Power Ballad: Alias, “More Than Words Can Say”
My wife, God bless her, loves trashy television, particularly if the shows in question have the words Housewives or Kardashian in their titles. I’m afraid the appeal of such programming escapes me, though any show featuring a woman who looks like this should, in theory, be all right in my book. Perhaps my beloved and I share a taste for attractive women with large, fake breasts—just for different reasons. I’m going to ponder that one for a minute.
I happened to enter the room this afternoon during an episode of the Kardashian program (Meet the Kardashians, or The Kardashian Bunch, or whatever) in which the following happened: Boy Kardashian (I believe that’s his name) wakes up at the crack of noon and pads down to the kitchen, where Mama Kardashian is spiking a cup of coffee intended for Bruce-freakin’-Jenner (or a very shiny replica of Bruce Jenner) with an erectile dysfunction medication. Boy Kardashian enters the kitchen and grunts. A shiny object catches the attention of Mama Kardashian, and she is briefly distracted from her grunting spawn, long enough for Boy to make off with the spiked coffee. Boy drinks said coffee (without knowing it’s … um … tainted) and much hilarity ensues when he sprouts a two-hour erection, without any provocation. Now, most men would simply take a picture of Boy’s sister, a tub of Crisco, a couple Miller Lite tallboys, and a Barry White CD, tromp down to the bathroom, and take care of business. Poor Boy Kardashian can’t do that, cuz he doesn’t own a Barry White CD, so he winds up in the hospital.
The above scenario made me think, naturally, of Alias’ “More than Words Can Say,” the great I need some lovin’ first thing in the mornin’ power ballad from the dawn of the ’90s.
Freddy Curci, the band’s powerful voice, apparently gets up a little earlier than Boy, but he’s no less primed for action. A bed of sleepy keyboard chordage opens the song, as Curci’s eyes open and acclimate to the first rays of sunlight that filter into the boudoir. No alarm clock is needed, for two reasons: 1) Curci is a rock star, and rock stars don’t know how to operate alarm clocks; and 2) one of his appendages has apparently been up for a while and is ready to jog three miles, walk the dog, and have a glass of orange juice. Said appendage has already lifted the blanket up two or three inches and is now demanding the attention of its master and the lovely lass still asleep next to him.
A piano chimes a stately repeated chord as our man rolls over to gaze upon his beloved. He lets us in on his internal monologue:
Here I am at six o’clock in the morning
Still thinking about you
It’s still hard, at six o’clock in the morning [wait for it, wait for it …]
To sleep without you
And I know that it might
Seem too late for love
All I know
Actually, Fred, it’s a little early, but the audience feels your yearning, your tension, the need for release. We need a big, honkin’, morning quickie of a chorus. Alias delivers:
I need you now
More than words can say
I need you now
I’ve got to find a way
I need you now
Before I lose my mind
I need you now
“I need you now / Before I lose my mind.” Guys, how many of us know what he’s talking about? Holla!
Actually, Curci’s bandmates know all about that. See, Alias was a combination of ex-members of two groups—Sheriff (from whence Curci hailed) and Heart. The latter contingent included drummer Mike DeRosier and guitarist Roger Fisher, both of whom had courted Nancy Wilson in the band’s early days (in fact, DeRosier and Fisher had wanted to name the new supergroup the Nancyfuckers, but they were dissuaded when their label revealed there were already three other bands with that name, all containing former Heart members and/or roadies). Few would have likely cared much about such a combo, were it not for Sheriff’s “When I’m with You,” a song that would not die, hitting Number One two years previous. Curci definitely had the voice for big power ballads, as well as the occasional up-tempo ditty (witness “Haunted Heart,” and behold the manly high notes in the chorus and bridge).
Back to the bedroom scene. Curci and his impatient buddy are unable to rouse his lover with the gentle wooing of the first verse. Thus, he turns back over to muse some more on his situation:
Here I am, I’m looking out my window
I’m dreaming about you
Can’t let you go, at six o’clock in the morning
I feel you beside me
Ah, those sleepy, not-quite-awake moments in the early morning that feel like dreams, but are, in reality, engorgement of one’s the corpora cavernosa with venous blood. Unable to take it anymore, Curci flips back over and repeats his previous entreaty (“And I know that it might / Seem too late for love”) in a full-throated bellow that at one time I mistook for mere desire, but which I now understand portends severe discomfort, and possibly a trip to the hospital, should that discomfort last longer than four hours.
Alias never quite scaled such heights again, all but disbanding shortly after their debut album ran its course. Several tracks were apparently stockpiled for a follow-up record, which was finally released last year by EMI Canada, to little notice. Perhaps one day a track from it could find its way onto an episode of that Kardashian program. For Freddy Curci’s sake.