There are some really dark Christmas songs out there, man
There are some really dark Christmas songs out there, man
Kenny Rogers talks to Popdose about his reunion with Dolly and a planned duet with George Jones that unfortunately didn't happen.
The next time someone complains that album covers aren't big enough anymore thanks to CDs and digital music, show them this gallery.
Matt and Jeff talk with Billy Vera about his new big band album.
Still on Disc One of this compilation, and get a load of this line-up! This may, in fact, be the single Mellow Gold-iest article we’ve ever done or will ever do on Popdose. #11 Air Supply, “Lost In Love” (1980) #3 in the Hot 100, #1 Adult
A new series in which we look at once common curiosities of pop culture that don't exist anymore, be it because of changing tastes, the fragmentation of culture, or merely the fickle nature of fads. My first memories of pop music are around 1981, 1982, age
A couple years back, I was charging my iPod at work, and had iTunes open on my PC desktop. A colleague wandered into my corner of the cubicle ghetto and, out of curiosity (I suppose), took my mouse and clicked the iTunes “Plays” column to sort my music library by the most-played songs. At the top of the sorted list was Miley Cyrus’ “The Climb.” It was Number One by a long, long way—several dozen plays, maybe a dozen dozen. He looked at me with raised eyebrow, as if to say, “Explain yourself.”
So I did.
That's a wrap on AM Gold: 1978, friends. That means we have just one more year of Time-Life treasures to explore before our little experiment comes to an end. But as a wise man once said, all mellow things must come to an end. Or
Good golly, Ms. Dolly, rock our date night right into Preservation Hall. Have a ball.
In which this washed-up group of ding dongs lures Dolly Parton into the studio for Mellowmas misery
Oh hi. Do you like our new look? We feel this one is more accurate, mainly because we do all actually have that much chest hair (yes, even Jason) and Jeff actually sported that haircut a couple of summers ago (humidity is not his friend). Special thanks to Dw. Dunphy for creating it for us!
So it’s been a few months, and we sincerely apologize. We recorded a kick-ass episode last month, but unfortunately, technical difficulties prevented us from being able to post it. We’re especially sad because it featured the phenomenal author (and Popdose contributor!) Brian Boone, who has written a fantastic new book entitled I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll (Except When I Hate It): Extremely Important Stuff About the Songs and Bands You Love, Hate, Love to Hate, and Hate to Love. Go out and buy this book today, people. You know when you look up an artist on Wikipedia and forty minutes later, you’ve disappeared down the Wikipedia Rabbit Hole? That’s what it’s like to read this book. You’ll finish it in about an hour and you will be desperately clamoring for a sequel the minute it’s done. It makes a perfect holiday gift for the music nerd in your life, or even just the casual music fan — they’ll be a music geek like the rest of it by the end!
Anyway, we’re back, and we thought it’d be fun to tackle another Billboard Top 10. Please join us for another episode of:
Someone asked for this. We need to find and punish them.
Like sands through the hourglass, time marches inexorably on in our look back at Time-Life’s AM Gold series. And like sand in your swimsuit, you won’t be able to completely get rid of this next batch of tunes from 1963. We’ll let you decide if that’s a good thing or not.
(For those with Spotify accounts, feel free to subscribe to our Best of AM Gold playlist, which is updated regularly.)
#6: Skeeter Davis, “The End of the World” – #2 U.S. Hot 100, #2 U.S. Country, #1 U.S. Adult Contemporary
Jack Feerick – While celebrated in country circles, Skeeter is unjustly neglected in the broader pop scene. That’s a pity, and not just because of the quality of her individual performances—although man, did she know how to sell a weeper like this one!—but because of how she changed the sound of country and pop music. Dolly Parton and Tammy Wynette took her vocal style and rode it to tremendous crossover success.
As for the song itself: sometimes, the reason clichés become clichés is because they work, dammit. This is about as sturdy a piece of songcraft as ever came out of Nashville. Sweet production by Chet Atkins, too—that discreet pedal steel is just lovely. And while Skeeter certainly didn’t originate the idea of stacking her vocals through layers of overdubbing (that would be Les Paul and Mary Ford), the imagination and sophistication of her harmonies can still raise the hair on my arms. When the bridge comes in on this one, I get tingles.
Dw. Dunphy – I have a fascination with this song. It is exactly the kind of desperate, tear-jerk, love-has-gone sort of track that’s lived forever in pop music, but it sounds innocent in this song. Later examples of this lyrical bent have ranged from near suicidal to obsessive (I’m thinking Dido’s “White Flag”). I don’t know if it is because the song is older or that people were more sensible, but in this case, innocence equals maturity.
It is very much a product of the studio. Here’s a clip of Davis singing it live and it is kind of raw in this state.
Matt Springer – Like Dw, I’m drawn in by the pedigree on this one, such an early “if you don’t love me, I’ll die” track. I love the desperate gulf between reality and the mental state of the singer–it’s not just bad to be dumped, it’s not just painful. IT’S THE END OF THE WORLD. All wrapped up in a deceptively sweet package.
David Lifton – Right, and we’re about to see the first Burt Bacharach/Hal David songs of this series pretty soon, and that was kind of their trademark. Between all that and stuff like Little Anthony & The Imperials we’re beginning this idea that American pop was already maturing and becoming more complex.
But I disagree with Jack’s love of the harmonies. Yes, they’re gorgeous, but if she’s all desolate and alone, why bring another voice into it?
Jon Cummings – This is one of the greatest heartbreak ballads ever, and I like that it doesn’t toil in metaphor or euphemism but gets right to the point. Its use in the JFK assassination episode of Mad Men was just perfect. Davis’ recording topped the country chart, went to #2 on the pop chart (as Jack noted), AND went top-five on the R&B chart — an extremely rare accomplishment for a white artist, never mind a country artist. But I have to say that I get the giggles whenever I hear this track, because the way Skeeter says “end” more like “ind” always reminds me of Jean Hagen as Lina Lamont in Singin’ in the Rain, and her awful diction (“I ciiiiiiiin’t stind ‘im!”).
If you are a woman, the relationship you have with your best girlfriends is special. It’s different than any you have with your parents, siblings, romantic partners or even other friends. Your best girlfriend almost always knows you better than anyone else. You trust her with your secrets and you know that she is someone you can turn to no matter what. She’s someone who will listen to your problems and be honest with you, even it if it hurts.
A best girlfriend will be there to console you when you get dumped at 1 A.M. by that asshole you’ve been sleeping with who’s been stringing you along for months. And even though she insisted you could do better and you should stop seeing him a long time ago, but you didn’t listen to her, she’ll take you to an all-night diner and buy you pancakes and coffee and let you cry and bitch and moan without judging you or telling you she told you so.
A true best friend will go shopping with you and tell you when a dress you’ve chosen is totally fug and will help you pick out clothes that hide your fat rolls and make your boobs and ass look amazing. She will talk you out of buying those boots you love that cost almost as much as your rent because she knows you can’t afford them and she doesn’t want you selling any of your other possessions to make ends meet — or asking her for money that she doesn’t have but wouldn’t refuse you.
A BFF will gladly judge horrible skanks that your ex is now sleeping with, but will stop you from making an ass out of yourself when you drunkenly decide to approach the bitch and tell her what you think of her. She won’t judge you when you show up to brunch with greasy bangs and mascara smudged under your eyes, wearing the same clothes you had on the night before.
She will talk to you on the phone for hours about nothing in particular, but won’t be offended if you don’t call her for two weeks. She will organize your wedding and/or baby shower, even if she hates weddings and babies. She will throw you a surprise party when you think everyone has forgotten your birthday. And if something unfortunate happens, like a death in the family or a bout of depression, she will be there with a fresh box of tissues, your favorite ice cream and many, many hugs.
She will tell you when you’re being a bitch and will expect you to do the same for her. And she will always remind you that, no matter what happens, you’re awesome and fuck anyone who doesn’t think so.
Wow. That all sounded like one of those awful “In honor of women” forwards your crazy aunt who barely knows how to use her Hotmail account sends you every other week, doesn’t it? Well, whatever. I love my friends and I’m lucky to have such fierce ladies in my life.
Inspired by a recent viewing of one of my favorite films, Walking and Talking, and the success of the hit female buddy comedy Bridesmaids (which I still haven’t seen because I’m terrible), I thought I’d revisit some of my favorite female BFFs in film. Whether they’re laughing, crying, talking about sex or plotting murder, these ladies all share a strong bond that (for the most part) can’t be broken. And that’s why I love them.
My list was originally a lot longer than this, but then I noticed that several of the ladies I had listed were BFFs who happened to also be co-workers, so I decided they’d become their own Filminism post later on.
Who are your favorite female friendships in film? Tell me in the comments!
Warning: some of the clips below might be a little spoilery.
This morning were the preliminaries for the 2011 Scripps National Spelling Bee, with the semifinals and finals tomorrow. In honor of this occasion, we’re presenting a mixtape featuring songs that spell out the song title (or other words) in the lyrics. When I suggested this idea to my fellow Popdose compadres, I found out two things. Firstly, there are a lot more songs that work for this than I thought, and secondly, some of these songs are pretty filthy. (I’m looking at you, Wu Tang Clan!) I was originally going for spelled out song titles, but too many artists cheated on this. (Hall and Oates refusing to spell the word “modern,” the Ames Brothers spelling “Rag Mop” with two g’s and two p’s, even though Rag Mop isn’t that difficult to spell.) Note: this mixtape should be mostly safe for work, except for XTC’s “Your Dictionary,” which does have a couple of bad words. However, they get a free ride because, in the spirit of the mixtape, the bad words are spelled. Enjoy, and best of luck to all the spellers!
Hello again, everyone! Welcome to week three of revisiting past Best Original Song nominees! I hope you had as much fun reading last week’s post about the 1985 nominees as I did writing it. What a crazy year for Best Original Song, right?
This week, I’ve decided to move on to the ’90s and discuss what I call a “downer” year. I call it that because when you look at the nominees for most of the major categories, they’re, for the most part, pretty heavy, serious films. Not that most Oscar nominees don’t tend to lean toward the serious, but this seemed to be a year in which that was especially prevalent.
The 66th Academy Awards were full of firsts. They featured the first African-American host, saw Steven Spielberg win his first Oscar for Best Director and the Best Picture tropy went to a black and white film for the first time since 1933. It also was a year of momentous seconds: Anna Paquin became the second youngest to win the Best Supporting Actress Oscar and Jane Campion became the second woman in history to be nominated for Best Director.
The 66th Academy Awards
Date of telecast: March 21, 1994
Host: Whoopi Goldberg
(Per Academy rules, all nominated films were released between January 1 and December 31, 1993, in Los Angeles County, California.)
Best Picture: Schindler’s List
Best Actor: Tom Hanks, Philadelphia
Best Actress: Holly Hunter, The Piano
Best Supporting Actor: Tommy Lee Jones, The Fugitive
Best Supporting Actress: Anna Paquin, The Piano
Best Director: Steven Spielberg, Schindler’s List
Who could forget Tom Hanks’s heartfelt acceptance speech, which inspired the 1997 film In & Out?
Jeff: So, Jason, it just occurred to me that I think we made a mistake last year.
Jason: By “last year,” do you mean “the past five years”?
Jeff: Ahem. What I mean is that it’s become sort of an unintentional tradition for us to cover Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton every year. Which kind of makes sense, given that they’ve released, like, six Christmas records, but whatever.
Jeff: At this point, all I remember is Dollytoe.
Jeff: And something about a really creepy holiday mannequin.
Jason: One featured Kenny as Santa, and the other one featured them making out in a chalet filled with mannequins. (Which, now that we’ve talked about Annie Lennox, I realize must have totally freaked you the fuck out.)
My point is this: I think we only covered Dolly last year. No Kenny! What the fuck, Jason?
Jason: We covered Dolly on her own last year? I’m so tired. I don’t remember.
Jeff: I think last year was the return of Dollytoe or something, wasn’t it? I don’t remember either. My real point is this: KENNY ROGERS JUST RELEASED A LIVE CHRISTMAS ALBUM.
I love awards season. It’s my version of the playoffs in sports. The first big game is the Golden Globes, and the Super Bowl or World Series or whatever the fuck other big championship-game analogy you want to come up with is the Academy Awards.
I take awards season very seriously. I see as many nominated films as I can. I keep track of all the winners at the different awards ceremonies and use that information to hone my Oscar predictions, because I often participate in Oscar pools. Some involve money, some don’t.
I get into heated discussions with fellow film buffs about the nominees and our projections for the winners. And I make a special dinner for Oscar night, complete with a bottle of champagne. As my friend Stacey would say, “This is not a game.” OK, maybe it is, but it’s a far more entertaining game for me than any sport.
In honor of my favorite time of year, I decided to do a special series of Soundtrack Saturday posts centered on one of my favorite — and one of the most frustrating — Oscar categories: Best Original Song.
Jeff: I do want to say that I think it’s funny how often we keep coming back to Dolly. Is this the second or third time we’ve covered something Parton-related? I think it’s the third.
Jason: I thought it was the second! Did I forget the other one?
Jeff: Didn’t we cover two of her duets with Chicken Beard?
Jason: I only remember doing “I Believe in Santa Claus.” Did I block the other one out of my memory?
Jeff: I think you might have. Was “I Believe in Santa Claus” the one with the terrifying ski lodge video? Because that would bump a few things out of the memory banks.
Jason: No, that was the one in the shopping mall with Kenny dressed as Santa. But now I’m totally remembering what you’re talking about!
Jeff: I feel sort of guilty, because Dolly seems like such a nice person. But she keeps releasing such bad Christmas music.
Jason: Yes! We did “A Christmas To Remember!”
Jason: I wouldn’t feel guilty. Look at that cover.
Jason: I mean, who is that? Is that Dolly Parton?
Jeff: It’s Dolly after she was attacked by an airbrush, I think.
Jason: She looks like The Joker.
Jeff: Is her face frozen like that?
Jason: Look at her lips. Look at that facial expression.
Jeff: And those eyebrows! Holy shit!
EYEBROWS DON’T DO THAT, JASON
Jason: And is that a mole on her face? I thought it was dust on my screen, but then I moved the image and the dust mark stayed where it was.
Jeff: I think it’s butterfly poop.
Jason: Her facial expression, I would imagine, is supposed to say “I wonder what’s in this package?” But all I’m seeing her saying is “Have you ever danced with the devil in the pale moonlight?”
Jeff: Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!
Jason: I supposed we have to listen sooner or later, don’t we?
Jeff: I suppose we must. This is just a single, right? I mean, you aren’t going to spring another track on me after this is over, are you?
Jason: As far as I know, this is just a single. But even if it’s not, I promise you: no more Dollytoe after today.
Jeff: That’s a promise you may not be able to keep, but okay. I feel better. You can’t see me crossing my fingers and hoping Dolly covers “Last Christmas” next year.
Jason: SHE HAD BETTER NOT
Jeff: Ready to…uh, comin’ home for Christmas?
Jason: I wonder if there’s any correlation to the title and the fact that she’s surrounded by balls in the picture.
Jeff: Ha! And a box!
Dolly Parton — Comin’ Home for Christmas (download)
Well, here’s another week of the letter P. And while I hate to say it up front, I think this might be the weakest post of the series.
I know that’s not the best way to promote something, but since it’s alphabetical here at Bottom Feeders, it’s all just luck of the draw, and we all know bad weeks are going to come along now and again. I’m curious to see what you’ll think of it. Let’s get started with more of the songs that charted at #41 or lower on the Billboard Hot 100 during the 1980s.
“But You Know I Love You” — 1981, #41 (download)
“The House of the Rising Sun” — 1981, #77 (download)
“I Will Always Love You” — 1982, #53 (download)
“Save the Last Dance for Me” — 1983, #45 (download)
“Downtown” — 1984, #80 (download)
How could you not love Double-D, as I like to call her? Okay, so there are plenty of other ways to look at breasts that might be more interesting than these, but as a kid growing up in the ‘80s, I knew nothing of Dolly Parton’s except for “9 to 5” and ginormous cans. But I have to give respect to Miss Dolly as she’s had a great career and despite making traditional country (something I have no interest in) she made it quite tolerable.
If I’m not mistaken, “The Greatest Gift of All” might be the first Christmas song in this series.
“Tribute (Right On)” — 1989, #52 (download)
It’s not a shocker that the Pasadenas never blew up. Their music is more ‘60s and ‘70s soul than ‘80s. And while this song (thankfully not a mash-up of hits) is actually damn good, it was about 9 years too late to be a major hit for them. If this had been released in ’80 or ’81, I have no doubt this would have gone top 10.
Howdy, everybody!Â Happy Friday and welcome back to another edition of CHART ATTACK! This week’s mix is relatively eclectic, yet — as was often the case in the early ’80s — completely inoffensive.Â And you’ll find references to John Lennon in four of this week’s singles.Â On with the chart — let’s look at February 14, 1981!
10. Hey Nineteen — Steely Dan Amazon iTunes
9. Givin’ it Up for Your Love — Delbert McClinton Amazon iTunes
8. Keep On Loving You — REO Speedwagon Amazon iTunes
7. (Just Like) Starting Over — John Lennon Amazon iTunes
6. Woman — John Lennon Amazon iTunes
5. Passion — Rod Stewart Amazon iTunes
4. The Tide is High — Blondie Amazon iTunes
3. I Love a Rainy Night — Eddie Rabbitt Amazon iTunes
2. 9 to 5 — Dolly Parton Amazon iTunes
1. Celebration — Kool & the Gang Amazon iTunes
10. Hey Nineteen — Steely Dan (download)
I love Steely Dan.Â And I love “Hey Nineteen.”Â And although I’ve never had any misconception about this song’s subject, it was only when listening to this song the other day that I realized: Donald Fagen both looks and sounds like a skeevy, dirty old man, and “Hey Nineteen” is, in fact, not helping his image.Â And despite the fact that Fagen was only 32 when this song was recorded, it’s not a stretch to hear it and imagine him being, say, 50.Â SKETCHY.Â Here’s a picture of Donald Fagen with Japanese musician Juri Panda Jones.Â Look at this while listening to “Hey Nineteen,” willya?
Something else weird happened to me while I was listening to “Hey Nineteen” recently.Â Whenever I sing along with it, I always avoid the lead line (except for “that’s ‘retha Franklin”).Â I just sing the backing vocals.Â And, when I sing them, I sing them like…you guessed it.
Oh, picture of 3 Time Grammy Award Winner Michael McDonald, how I’ve missed you.
Anyway, so yeah, I always sing those backing vocals like McD.Â But when listening to the song the other day, I realized: I don’t hear McD as a prominent voice.Â I mean, I think I hear him in there, and I know he sang backing vocals on Gaucho, but you know that I have a tendency to hear a little bit of McD in everything, so I could just be crazy.
Steely Dan only had a few Top 10 hits ( “Do It Again” and “Rikki Don’t Lose That Number,” and what the hell, we’ll give “Peg” credit for reaching #11, only because of McD), but this was their last one, peaking here at #10 for only two weeks.
If, upon hearing the news that Steve Martin has a banjo album, you have an image of Martin in overalls and a straw hat displaying a novice’s banjo-picking skills while singing about shit and Shinola, you’re not alone. (Conversely, if you have an image of Martin in a suit with an arrow through his head, playing the banjo and singing about grandma, you’re not alone either.)
The joke’s on us, however, because Martin’s appreciation for and mastery of the banjo is deeper than anyone but the most devoted fan might anticipate. Martin originally picked up the banjo to add another talent to his one-man show, and over time added satirical banjo songs. His comedic career took off, but he never set the banjo down. In 2001, he played with Earl Scruggs on the tune “Foggy Mountain Breakdown,” for the album Earl Scruggs and Friends, which won him a Grammy for Best Country Instrumental Performance the following year. In 2007 he played his own tune, “The Crow,” with Tony Trischka on Trischka’s album Double Banjo Bluegrass Spectacular.
Writing “The Crow” served as the jump-off point for Martin’s new bluegrass album, The Crow: New Songs for the Five-String Banjo. 14 of the 15 songs are originals, written by Martin and arranged John McEuen, Martin’s childhood friend and member of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band.
Most of the tunes are instrumental and traditional sounding. Martin’s compositions show an aptitude for tempo, able to switch time signatures on a dime, and melody, with more than a few refrains lingering past the album’s end. He’s also an impressively emotional player, able to convey sentiment and subject, as projected in his titles, like “Words Unspoken” and “Freddie’s Lilt.”
I’m always amazed by the crap that people hold onto. I have a lot of enthusiasms — music, comics, film — but I’ve never had the urge to be a completist about any of it. Every year or so, I sort through the stuff I’ve accumulated and put together a big box of books I know I’ll never re-read and DVDs I’m unlikely to re-watch, and off they go to the Salvation Army. And I don’t buy that many books and videos to begin with; I already invested most of my 1990s Fridays in watching The X-Files — why would I want to watch it again on DVD?
Which is a roundabout way of saying that I started this project baffled as to how anybody might think that Hee Haw was worth preserving for the ages. But sure enough, the good folks at Time-Life Video have an extensive collection of episodes for sale.
Now, admittedly, I’m not the target audience here. I grew up in New England, which was for a long time the one place where country & western couldn’t find a commercial toehold. A middle-class suburban kid like me could watch Hee Haw in syndication, just as with Lawrence Welk and Soul Train, and like them it seemed like a glimpse into a parallel musical universe. Indeed, I thought of Hee Haw as being sort of like Soul Train for rural whites.
But surely Soul Train never condescended to its intended audience as Hee Haw did to its. What I remember of the show is mostly gawping hillbilly stereotypes, popping up amongst plywood cornstalks to deliver jokes that were stale when God was a boy. Who, exactly was meant to be laughing at this, and why?
I’ve since come around on country music, as I have on soul and funk (sorry, Lawrence Welk). It’s still not my favorite genre of pop, but I’ve got a lot of time for the craftsmanship, the professionalism, the care and energy that goes into presentation and branding — so much art to make it all look artless. Roy Clark had some fine instrumental chops to go with those lush sideburns; and Buck Owens — well, not only did Buck help create the Bakersfield Sound, he palled around with Ringo, for cryin’ out loud! Looking at it now, Hee Haw’s musical pedigree looks downright promising.
And the show ran for 24 years in syndication, so obviously somebody thought it was worth watching — and worth preserving on DVD. And there are legion of fans who remember the show with fondness. Had I been wrong, all this time? I have no interest in taking cheap shots, so I decided to revisit the show with an open mind. Was Hee Haw better than I remembered? Were all those frightening teeth for real? Was Junior Samples really some kind of unappreciated deadpan-comic genius? I grabbed a disc at random from The Hee Haw Collection — episode #152, from 1974 — and settled in to see what I’d been missing.
Oh my. Oh, my, my, my.
Valentine’s Day – depending on your walk of life, it’s either a splendid day of warm, romantic thoughts and a gimme so far as “gettin’ some tonight,” or it’s a Hallmark sham of an institution to remind us that all our friends are happily married and having kids, but we’re about to dip our Doritos into another vat of guacamole all alone. Since I’m flying solo this year, guess who’s fattening up on avocado?
You don’t have to be a heartless cynic to see the strings attached to this high holiday of chocolate-covered, heart-shaped, red crepe emotion. Take, for instance, Sony Legacy’s From The Heart collection. Eight CDs cut and pasted together to capitalize celebrate the spirit of l’amour, all representing a different demographic: Billie Holliday and Miles Davis if you love it jazzy, Babyface if you love it smooth and sensitive, The Isley Brothers if you don’t mind a little rugburn with your affection, Dolly Parton if you like doin’ the nasty while the livestock watches, and Air Supply if the woman in your life is actually a dude (sorry, cheap shot.)
But what to make of Frank Sinatra’s From the Heart? It doesn’t seem right to co-opt the Chairman of the Board for such a crass cash-in, and besides, we remember him more for his zingers and sad songs than for mushy love. “The Lady Is a Tramp”? How about “One for My Baby (And One More for the Road)”? Worse, it’s the same album the label released last year under the umbrella of Beautiful Ballads & Love Songs, so not only are they messing around with Ol’ Blue Eyes, they’re regifting him too. Yet there is one saving grace to this: if you are not an aficionado and have been looking to get your feet wet, this is an affordable starter set that’s full of appeal.
Last year, on the Fifteenth Day of Mellowmas, we tortured ourselves by listening to Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton sing "I Believe in Santa Claus." So what better way to celebrate the anniversary of that horrible day by listening to another track from the same
Over the next year Terje Fjelde has agreed to listen to nothing but David Foster on his iPod. He’s loaded the thing with over 1,200 songs produced, arranged, composed, and/or played by David Foster. A deal with the devil? He keeps wondering.
Are you bored? What can I say? My David Foster experience is a breeze. It’s fun. It’s educational. My posts so far are almost snark-free, I’m turning into a blind-eyed David Foster apologist a la the loyal hordes of Trent Reznor. Is this real, or is it a subliminal reaction to my unsound David Foster exposure? It’s too early to tell for sure, but you can rest assured I’ll be keeping a close eye on my condition, and keep you updated on any sign of mental decay.
David Foster collaborated with Dolly Parton on several occasions, but this was probably their most important encounter. You may even say that a little bit of pop music history was made during the recording of this Barry Mann/Cynthia Weil song. Then again, you may not. Anyway, here’s David Foster in 1986:
I love that sound of the Rhodes and the piano together. We stumbled across that when we were doing “Here You Come Again” for Dolly Parton. Gary Klein was the producer, and I was playing keyboards. I don’t remember whether I started on the Rhodes or the acoustic, but after we got the track, I said, “Hey, why don’t try the exact same part again on the other piano?” I did it, and it was this very cool sound. That sound stuck with a lot of people for a few years.
I loved that sound, too. I still do, actually, but I’m embarrassed to admit it, so therefore I speak in the past tense.
Zack: I remember when Lenny Kravitz was first thrust upon the music world by a few cynical record company executives. It seemed like he had been designed by a committee to take advantage of all the latest pop-culture trends. Dreadlocks were in, so they gave him dreads. Tattoos and nose rings were still edgy and cool, so those were included. It was like watching a rock-star version of Poochie. One of the talking points that was pushed was that he was a talented songwriter, and every time I heard that spewing from the mouth of some idiot VJ I felt like I’d been taking crazy pills. Some sample lyrics from Lenny’s quill:
We’ve got to hug and rub-a-dub
We got to dance and be in love
Based on his biography, Lenny doesn’t sound like such a bad guy, and this is actually a well-produced video, but I hate hate hate the song.
Robert: I shouldn’t hate Lenny because he’s beautiful, but I do, and it’s because he knows he’s beautiful. He has a few good songs, but I can’t think of any I’ve liked past the Are You Gonna Go My Way album. The title track is one of his best singles, but I’m sure classic-rock fans could tell me note for note who Lenny’s ripping off in this song.
Dunphy: Y’know, I don’t mind “Are You Gonna Go My Way” much. This and “Believe” made the insurgent grunge brigade a little easier to tolerate. Maybe not by much, but still. “We’ve got to hug and rub-a-dub,” while being a fireable offense, certainly had dynamism against “Kill the pain, oh the pain, heroin? Yes, please …”
Jeff: How do I hate thee, Lenny? Let me count the ways. If I had a dollar for every hour Lenny Kravitz has sucked, I’d be … I’d be even richer than Lenny Kravitz, actually, but not by much. How depressing.