Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Drama Rama

I heard a song on the radio the other day that reminded me how much I love schmaltz. Schmaltz is so underrated. You know those songs that are so melodramatic that they border on being hilarious...yet something about them pulls them back from the brink of campiness, leaving just a really great song that begs to be belted out? I love those songs. So, in honor of schmaltzophiles everywhere, I give you my Top 15* Overly Dramatic Songs:

1. Making Love Out Of Nothing At All, Air Supply
Everyone loves Air Supply but it is rare to find those brave enough to admit it. Well, I am brave. These two Aussies are like oxygen to me. Ok, maybe I'm exaggerating a bit now. Whatever. I like them a lot. This is their best song, and I defy anyone not to sing along with it. You all know the words, you know you do! They can make every tackle at the sound of the whistle and they can make all the stadiums ROCK, dammit!!

2. Heaven Can Wait, Meat Loaf
I was really going back and forth between this song and "For Crying Out Loud," which is probably a little more over the top, but I really think this song is beautiful. And then I laugh at myself for thinking that. And then I say to myself, "What the hell are you laughing at? This song kicks ass!" It was so hard to pick just one Meat Loaf song. He has a flair for the dramatic. Actually, I should say that Jim Steinman, who wrote all of Mr. Loaf's songs, is the dramatic one. He will be heavily featured on this list. He already has been twice. Yep, he wrote the above Air Supply song too!

3. Tonight Is What It Means To Be Young, Fire Inc.
Any '80s child should remember this song being performed at the end of Streets of Fire. Everyone should be forced to see that movie at least once. Oh that Michael Pare, what a treasure of the American cinema. As supremely cheesetastic as that movie was, it had quite an awesome soundtrack with some cool tunes by The Blasters and Ry Cooder, as well as one of my favorite gals, Maria McKee. The big hit from it was "I Can Dream About You" by Dan Hartman. However, if you watch the movie, I guarantee this is the song that will get stuck in your head for days, weeks, maybe months. It's in my head now because I'm writing about it. Diane Lane didn't actually sing it, but let's pretend that she did because it's more fun and I can't think of the girl's name who provided Diane's voice. And guess who wrote it? If you said Jim Steinman, you are absolutely correct! I wish I had a Streets of Fire DVD to give you as a prize.

4. Amanda, Boston
I'm not really sure that this song belongs in with all this schmaltz because it's just '80s Arena Rock at its best. Hmm, I really don't think I made a good case for it with that description. This really is a great love song either way. I wished my name was Amanda for quite some time after this first came out. Brad Delp just has one of those awesome rock voices that can give you goosebumps, especially when he hits the high notes, which he does often. The best part is when he sings, "YOU, you and I, girl...we can share a life together, it's now or never...and tomorrow may be too laaaaaaaay-aaaaate...whoa oooh whoa ooh woah..." When he hits those "whoas" I swear his voice reaches the exact same pitch and tone as the guitar and they become one. Definitely a lighter-worthy moment.

5. It's All Coming Back To Me Now, Celine Dion
All you Celine haters out there, cram a croissant in it. I don't care if she does dance like a spaz and contorts her face into mock expressions of sincerity. The woman is a complete cheeseball, but she believes it. And the woman can sang. Who doesn't hear this song and try to hit those notes, usually resulting in severe coughing fits? Who doesn't at least scream along to the "baby baby BABY" part? Paired with the video, this song reached new heights in drama...even if it was rather similar to Meat Loaf's video for "I Would Do Anything For Love." Why not? The songs are similar. Wonder why...they were both written by that Steinman dude.

6. Weekend In New England, Barry Manilow
For those of you who don't recognize this song by the title, here goes. "When will our eyes meet/When can I touch you/When will this strong yearning end/And when will I hold you again." You know it. Barry writes the songs that make the whole world sing. Did you really think he wouldn't be on this list?

7. Total Eclipse Of The Heart, Bonnie Tyler
Jim Steinman....again. All his songs have basically the same style. And like this one, the original versions are usually too damn long for radio, so when you actually buy the record you find out there are about 3 other verses that you never knew existed. I've heard other people try to sing this song and it just never quite cuts it. Bonnie and her sandpaper voice were a perfect match for the lyrics, especially when she rasps, "we're living in a powder keg and giving off sparks."

8. The Winner Takes It All, ABBA
I think Agnetha's accent added to the dramatic quality of this song. There's something about hearing foreign women telling tales of heartbreak that sounds so much more tragic. The video was great too. There was poor little blondie, looking sad, weighed down by tons of blue eyeshadow, sitting at her piano emoting. It looked as if she might never dance and have the time of her life again. But she carried on to disco another day.

9. Without You, Harry Nilson
Nothing like a song about wanting to lay down and die after your sweetie leaves you! And Nilson's delivery is priceless. Mariah Carey totally slutted, er screwed this song up.

10. All By Myself, Eric Carmen
Another ode to the hell that is being single. Except that the best part of this song is that the lyrics spell out that the guy is alone because he screwed around too much and now no one's available when he wants to settle down. Ah, funny how life so often imitates art or vice versa. Celine Dion (the drama queen) covered this song and did a pretty good job with it. She hit notes that Eric didn't even know existed...and he has a pretty high voice.

11. Superstar, The Carpenters
Gen Y and younger will remember this song as being belted out by David Spade and Chris Farley in Tommy Boy, right before their hood flew up. (Waiting while all the youngsters have a moment of acknowledgment.) Or, they may remember it as being sung by Ruben Studdard every day the year he won American Idol. But he was doing the Luther Vandross version of it. I dug Luther, but the original will always be the best. The Carpenters are another band, like Air Supply, who everyone makes fun of but secretly adores.

12. One Year Of Love, Queen
This is not really a very well-known Queen song, but if you have the Classic Queen CDs, I'm sure you've heard it. Freddie Mercury's voice was just made for theatrical songs. "Bohemian Rhapsody" doesn't qualify for this list because it's a damn classic and it rocks. (It still is pretty dramatic though.) This song belongs here because the first time I heard it I snickered and thought, "what the hell is this??" But after another listen, it really grew on me. It's such a fun song to sing along with. The lyrics are actually quite nice.

13. I'll Never Love This Way Again, Dionne Warwick
You'll never love this way again, Dionne? Wow, that's a pretty bold statement. Dionne stands by it, though. She is so loud in this song. She's not gonna love this way again. Ever. Bitches. And she wants everyone to know. On a personal note, this was a favorite song of mine from childhood and I have a really stupid association with it. We had a huge basement with just a concrete floor, so my friend Donna and I would always rollerskate down there. Well, my Dad would always yell at us if we tried to walk up the steps in our skates, like if we needed to go to the kitchen or something. We always did anyway. So, thinking that we were really clever, we decided that we would sing loudly on our way up so he wouldn't hear our wheels hitting the steps. For some reason we always sang this song. And for the record, no my Dad wasn't that stupid.

14. I'm Gonna Be Strong, Juice Newton
This wasn't written by Juice but I have no idea who wrote it or who may have performed it originally. I'm fairly certain that Cyndi Lauper covered this at some point. But I like to say the name Juice. And she really does have a great voice. This song is on her Greatest Hits CD, which I confiscated from my brother, after making fun of him for having it in the first place. The song is basically about someone pretending to not care that their honey just walked out on them. It builds slowly to the climax, at which point Juice proclaims, "you'll never know darling, after you kiss me I'll break down and cryyyyyyyyyyyy." That last note goes on forever. It's like she's trying to dig through your chest into your heart with a spoon.

15. Unanswered Prayers, Garth Brooks
There are probably an infinite number of country songs that could go on this list. No other genre loves to push the weepy buttons as much as C&W. But, I picked this one because I almost did cry the first time I heard it. It's about Garth running into his high school sweetheart one night when he's out with his wife, and how he starts thanking God that things never worked out with the ex even though he always prayed for it, because if they had worked out he never would've ended up with his wife. When I think about it, it's so contrived. Still, Garth has that all-American, down-home, genuine quality that allows him to pull this off.

I'm sure I missed a few of everyone's emotional favorites, so get cracking on the comments. No doubt some will be mentioned that I'll kick myself for missing.

*I couldn't narrow it down to 10 and I was too lazy to go for 20.


Bailey said...

Gotta throw in
"Love of a Lifetime" by Firehouse.

Sangroncito said...

I'm amazed Agnetha of Abba was able to keep her eyes open with all that blue eyeshadow.

BadGod said...

What about "Wonderful Tonight" by Eric Clapton? I fuckin have to stop driving and weep gently when that comes on.

Not really, but I think it fits.

Or---"Must've been Love" Roxette.

I will admit, I like that song.

Doggie Extraordinaire's Mom said...

While my music collection consists mainly of heavy metal/hard rock albums (yes "ALBUMS" -- I still use that word and probably always will!) from the likes of Bush, Pantera, Seether and Breaking Benjamin, there will always be a soft spot in my heart for Bryan Adams. Everything he ever wrote made me swoon. While my headbanging friends would've lynched me, I could belt it out when "Heaven" came on like nobody's business. Perhaps Air Supply and Abba are, naturally, more cheese-arific, for someone like myself, Bryan Adams is the cheesemaster. And sometimes, that cuts like a knife.

Serena said...

What about Whitney? Girl, no you di'nt leave her off your list.
It's true she doesn't actually write her own music-- but that's never stopped anyone before (Celine Dion?). I vote One Moment In Time and I Will Always Love You. I am embarassed to admit I know them both by heart.

JC said...

Wow, you got a bunch of my old favorites in. My new favorite is the one that makes you cry by mercy me....why can't I think of the name?!? Ah yes, "imagine." We also can't forget my all time favorite song-unchained melody by the righteous brothers.

BeckEye said...

Bailey - most hair band power ballads could fit in this category. I'll have to devote an entire post to big hair at some point.

Sangroncito - You should've seen the blue mess I used to wear!

Badgod - But "Wonderful Tonight" isn't overly theatrical. That was the prerequisite. I tend to agree with the Roxette tune.

Librarian - I can't think of any Bryan songs that exactly fit the bill, although "Thought I'd Died and Gone to Heaven" is pretty close. Not surprising that's one of my favorite songs of his.

Serena - I think Dolly's original version of "I Will Always Love You" was a little more dramatic. She sounded like she was gonna start bawling at any moment. I do like Whitney's "I Have Nothing". That's pretty theatrical.

JC - The Righteous Brothers are right on the border. I don't think they have the right amount of cheese.

Lee Ann said...

Good summary! "December, 1963 (Oh What a Night)" by Frankie Valli & the Four Seasons. Gotta love it:)

Melanie said...

I admit, I LOVE makes me think of poor, pathetic Karen Carpenter, all clingy and jealous of her dear brother's relationship with a -gasp-GIRL!

The Everglades said...

I knew Barry Manilow would make the list--hilarous as always.


Darth Daddy said...

And here I thought I was the only person in the world that thought Tonight Is What It Means To Be Young would be on their top 10 songs.

Total Eclipse of the Heart is my all time favorite, though.

And BTW--Just One Year of Love by Queen was used in the movie Highlander. I think there may be a piano only version on the Queen cd as well.


Layla said...

Please do devote a post to big hair bands and when you do you can link to my spot for photos of about ten of them that I posted recently for fun. They are HYSTERICAL if you ask me!!!!

You are one helluva fun person to read.

check out the bands on my blog - you have to find the link for the 80's Hair Bands. Let me know if I forgot anyone!!!

Zanderlilly said...

I have Air Supply's greatest hits. I'll admit it. I jam out in my car to them.

Mybrid said...

I LOVE your taste in music. Almost every song you mentioned would be included in my own list of top 20. And I bought the Best Of Air Supply only a month ago and been listening since. I sure missed them! One day I'll have to write my own top 20 list.

cmhl said...

llwThis is one of the bests posts, ever, hands down. All emotions go racing through me, laughter, sadness, exhiliration when they "make all the stadium rock!!" good times.

I'd like to add in "beth"...

Coaster Punchman said...

Ooff, mein Gott! You have some real shiners in here.

1. Air Supply. Are you kidding me with this? I'll admit to having tapped a toe at "Making Love Out of Nothing at All" a few times, but sheesh!

2. The Meat. Always good for a laugh. RHPS just would not have been the same sans the Meat.

3. Fire, Inc. I will have to YouTube this one. Sorry.

4. Boston. Always hated 'em. Sorry.

5. I like me some Celine at times. I really like "The Way It Is." Not sure I know this song though. I don't know why people make so much fun of her (beyond her Barbra-like dramatics.) She always seemed like a nice gal to me.

6. Barry. Did you see Jennifer Hudson's version of this on AI? She rocked the house. It was also the week she was kicked off. Blasphemy!

7. Bonnie Tyler. With ya here. I LOVE this song!

8. ABBA. 'Nuff said.

9. I not so respectfully disagree on you with Mariah's version. I love her take on this song. Mariah is another easy target, but come on, you must admit that girl has the pipes. She is one in a million, crazy as she is.

10. I HATE this song. Always have, always will. No matter who sings it. Rachael Ray could sing this and I would still hate it. The only good thing about this song is Jackie Beat's cover of it, called "Go Fuck Yourself." (Jackie is the best drag queen ever and you ARE coming with me to see her in a few weeks.)

11. I thought you had sunk to your lowest with #10, but now the Carpenters?? What in God's name did we do to deserve this?

12. Queen. Need to YouTube this one. Sorry.

13. Dionne. My sweetie. I'll admit this is probably my least favorite of hers though. Blogging is for the brutally honest if you haven't figured that out.

14. Juice. I only know one song of hers and this isn't it. I'll YouTube it.

15. Garth. My baby. I don't really listen to him much or know this song, but I love this man. He is a good egg.



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