Friday, January 13, 2006

This Week's Music Biz-tch: "The Flame"

And no, I'm not talking about the cheesy-assed pop song by Duran Duran knock-off group Arcadia, I'm talkng about the cheesy-assed rock ballad by the once rockin' group Cheap Trick.

Well, I guess they were never really that rockin', aside from "I Want You To Want Me." I mean, "Dream Police" is ridiculously lame. And "Surrender..." well, that rocks out a bit. Kind of.

Okay, so except for their hit songs, they were rockin'. Whatever.

Regardless, in the late 80's, they had a comeback with a ballad called "The Flame." It's an exceptionally cliched song, in all honesty; it starts with an acoustic guitar being picked, and the lead vocalist singing quietly, emotionally, the tears welling in his eyes. But then during the bridge, he starts getting louder, and out pops the falsetto, and then it's time for the chorus, signalled by rising drums. And of course, as the chorus finishes out, the drums pound to climax. Let's see, how many rock ballads of the 80's followed this pattern? Hmm... all of them, I think.

Of course, let's not forget the guitar solo in the middle of the song, which basically does nothing except repeat the melody over heavy drums.

So you've got a mediocre ballad that uses all the cliches of the time period. Now the question is, why do I even care?

Answer: Because the song is FUCKING CATCHY!

I cannot get the damned song out of my head this week. It got so bad that I even had to sing it at karaoke one night. And even that didn't help. I downloaded it, burned it, it's part of my DJ collection now, in case I ever need a really bad late 80's prom song to amuse the drunks with late in the evening.

Why is it that the good music never gets stuck in one's head? No one ever finds a Wagner symphony embedded in their mind. It's rare that someone has an experimental Beatles tune floating around in their skull.

No, what we always end up getting impaled with are cheesy, catchy tunes that have nothing new to say, have no innovation or skill involved... they just repeat over and over, and continue repeating in our minds until sleep finally comes.

Perfect example: "Hollaback Girl." Goddamn you, Gwen Stefani.

And goddamn you, Cheap Trick.

For more information on cheesy-assed rock ballads that all follow the same formula, please see:
  1. "Heaven" - Warrant
  2. "Every Rose Has Its Thorn" - Poison
  3. "Hysteria" - Def Leppard
  4. "Is This Love" = Whitesnake
  5. "Home Sweet Home" - Motley Crue (slight formula change in this one, as well as the following two)
  6. "Sister Christian" - Night Ranger
  7. "Open Arms" - Journey

What is that formula change, you ask? The last three songs start with a piano, instead of acoustic guitar. Real innovative.


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