Giant – I’ll See You in My Dreams (1990)
Well, this is awkward. What are the odds that a Cassingle Vault entry during Power Ballad Month would wind up being a power ballad?
Pretty high, actually. Even before the influx of the 160 or so free cassingles that showed up here last month, the power ballad quotient in the Vault was probably pretty high; now, it’s just embarrassing. (I’ve seen the names Firehouse and Saigon Kick in there more than once.) So we’ve got back-to-back power ballads today, which is pretty horrible, but I close my eyes when I reach into the Vault and take whatever comes out, so don’t blame me for this. It’s the forces of the universe at work. Clearly, those forces hate us all.
“I’ll See You in My Dreams” (download) is a new addition to the Vault, from one of the donation boxes. I didn’t hate Giant when they were around, but I never gave them much more than a passing thought before the release of their second album, 1992’s Time to Burn, and that probably had more to do with reflexive nostalgia for hair metal in the early grunge era than anything else.
Still, it’s hard to bag on Giant too much. The band was led by the Huffs, guitarist Dann and his drummer brother whose name I can’t remember, and filled out by bassist Mike Brignardello and keyboardist Alan Pasqua. Though Giant never made much of a dent in the marketplace, the names of everyone in the band should be instantly recognizable to anyone who ever spent too much time poring over liner notes; these guys were all in-demand session cats who played on a ton of records in the ’80s (and, to some extent, still do today â€” especially Dann, who made the obligatory ass-saving migration from L.A. to Nashville in the ’90s, and is now a popular producer).
Dann was always the best-known of the bunch â€” his distinctively round, chunky guitar work popped up all over the damn place during the ’80s, and if you were around at the time, you know its sound, even if you aren’t aware of it. (Witness: Richard Marx’s “Endless Summer Nights” [download].) Everyone in the band had a solid pedigree, though; Pasqua, for instance, is a jazz-trained pianist whose synth and organ fills for Giant didn’t even hint at the work he’d previously done for artists such as Dylan and Tony Williams.
What does all this say about “I’ll See You in My Dreams”? Not much. The most interesting thing about the song, I think, is how much of an earworm it is, given that it plods along like my great-grandmother pushing a full shopping cart through the grocery store parking lot; I doubt anyone ever got too worked up while they were listening to “Dreams,” but after I transferred it to the hard drive, I found my brain repeating the chorus for the rest of the day. Which is probably why it was Giant’s only hit.
The B-side, “Stranger to Me” (download), is totally unremarkable in a perfectly 1989 way. The band still has its fans â€” in fact, I think it’s still together, minus Pasqua â€” and Giant was far from the worst thing to happen to the charts during the era. Far from the best thing, too.