Sunday, September 11, 2011

Revenge of the 30 Day Song Challenge - Day 14

Day 14 - An 10's Song

In our two year old decade, girl groups haven't had much of a chance to reinvent themselves or flourish. I think they're looking for a new crop of Pussycat Dolls...but that's about it. So, I have to cheat and skip on over to the country.

"Hell On Heels" - Pistol Annies, Hell On Heels (2011)

Now, technically, Pistol Annies isn't a girl group in the traditional sense because at least two of the girls can play the guitar, but whatever. The group is made up of Ashley Monroe, Angaleena Presley and the already famous Miranda Lambert.

Their lead off single, "Hell on Heels", is a gold-digger's dream. Each of the women sings unapologetically of the mens they've sucked dry and the booty they've acquired from the poor suckers. Haha, gold-digging is funny.

Musically, it's a pretty good song. Nothing that will get stuck in your head or offend the senses. But lyrically, the song doesn't sit right with me. But I know there will be a million country gurrls in their pink John Deere merch that will adopt this as their mantra. Thank you, ladies. Just what we need; more materialistic hoes.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Revenge of the 30 Day Song Challenge - Day 13

Day 13 - An 2000's Song

By the end of 1998, the world was pretty much Spiced out. The world, however, was not tired of the energetic pop sound. Boy bands and pop princesses gladly took the reins. While it makes sense for girl groups to flourish in this era, most did not. Anyone remember All Saints, Eden's Crush, or No Secrets? Didn't think so. The one exception is Destiny's Child, who's lead singer is some kind of superstar now. But since that group got their start in the midst of the Britney/Christina/Jessica/Mandy phenomenon, I've decided to go with another bootylicious girl group who didn't have the teen pop revolution as a spring board.

"Don't Cha" - The Pussycat Dolls (feat. Busta Rhymes), PCD (2005)

Even though I lived through the 00's, I did a pretty good job of ignoring what music was popular while I was in high school. As I've said many times and will say many times again, I don't really care for rap/hip-hop. And for about three solid years the Top 40 consisted of nothing but hip-hop. Continually, artists that are no use to me such as Ja Rule, Chingy, and Ashanti climbed the charts.

The Pussycat Dolls, formerly a burlesque dance troupe, mixed this hip-hop sound with pop and sexually suggestive lyrics about "loosening up buttons" and "not giving a [beep], keep looking at their [beep]". Often their songs would feature some established hip-hop artist like Snoop Dogg to show that they're, I don't know, legit? The original six members were Carmit Bachar, Ashley Roberts, Jessica Sutta, Melody Thornton, Kimberly Wyatt, and lead singer Nicole Scherzinger, but God knows who's in the group now. One skank could be slipped in for another without anyone noticing.

"Don't Cha" is the group's highest charting single to date. "I'm hotter than your girlfriend. Come over to the dark side. We give blow jobs," is the basic premise. Considering how many Goddamn girlfriends there are in the world, my mind is blown at the popularity of this song. I bet a whole lot of cheating victims hate this song. And mistresses love it.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Revenge of the 30 Day Song Challenge - Day 12

Day 12 - An 90's Song

By the early 90's, girl groups made a comeback. And I have no fucking idea why! Wilson Phillips, En Vogue, Expose, and Sweet Sensation dominated the early decade which lead the way for TLC and their juggernaut album Crazysexycool. In terms of musical importance, I should probably write about "Waterfalls".  But it would be blasphemous not to go with the most popular and highest grossing girl group of all time. Are you ready to spice up your life?

"Wannabe" - The Spice Girls, Spice (1996)

I propose a social experiment. Walk up to any woman born in the late 80's or very early 90's and ask her the simple question: "Which Spice Girl were you?" Nine times out of ten that woman's face will light up with nostalgia tinged memories of butchering harmonies at sleepovers or on the playground.

I think the readers of this blog are old enough to remember the era of Spicemania when five English girls--Victoria Adams Beckham (Posh), Melanie Brown (Scary), Emma Bunton (Baby), Melanie Chisholm (Sporty) and Geri Halliwell (Ginger)--ruled the world with their insanely stupid lyrics, giant platform shoes, and inyoface GIRL POWER.

Their breakout hit was "Wannabe" a song about a guy who must "get with" the singer's friends before the relationship can continue. Yeah. Even if the lyrics are shit, The Spice Girls are responsible for (thankfully) shifting the hot musical sound from angsty wailing (Grunge, Alanis Morissette) back to airheaded pop. 

No one can deny that The Spice Girls were a cultural phenomenon. With 90's Nostalgia chasing our ass like a mob of angry villagers, mark my words, The Spice Girls will be popular again. And actually, it's one trend I'm looking forward to making a comeback. Scrunchies not so much.

For the record, I was Scary Spice. [Pause for laughter]. Like every trend, I was late in the game, so I got stuck being the black one.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Carpenters Discography: Offering/Ticket to Ride (1969/1970)

Popped Density is a blog about favorites. And yet, I have never fully delved into my favorite band: The Carpenters. Well, folks, that's about to change. For the next few weeks (or let's face it, however long it takes...) I'll be analyzing the discography of the 70's most famous brother-sister soft rock duo. (And if you mention Donny and Marie to me, I'll shank you.)

First, a little history. Richard and Karen Carpenter were born in New Haven, Connecticut in 1946 and 1950, respectively. In 1963, the family moved to Downey, California. Richard had been playing the piano for years and went on to study music in college. While Karen was still in high school, she began playing drums in the school band. By 1966 Richard and Karen, along with a third man, formed a jazz trio that went on to win the Hollywood Battle of the Bands. The Richard Carpenter Trio, as they were then known, were signed to a small record label where Karen's voice was finally "discovered". The record label went kaput, but the Carpenters were allowed to use the studio to record demos which they sent to many record labels. Herb Alpert, one of the owners of A&M Records, liked the duo's unique sound and signed them.

In 1969, the Carpenters released their first album entitled Offering; a sometimes awkward collection of original easy listening ballads, experimental jazzy tunes, and a few covers of golden oldies (although not considered oldies quite yet). Needless to say, the album did quite poorly and the lone single, a cover of the Beatles' "Ticket to Ride" failed to crack the Top 50. However, after the booming success of their next album, Offering was re-released with a new cover and new title: Ticket to Ride.

1. Invocation
At first listen, the 1:02 opening track is far too religious for a pop/rock album. Karen Carpenter sings us a Messianic hymn beginning with: For those whose eyes would see/ Render them in faith to me... I must admit if I was a record buyer in 1969, I don't know if I would continue listening. (Plus, Karen looks sort of like a nun on the album cover). The melody and multi-track harmonies are gorgeous, though and "Invocation" breezes by so fast, you're already into the next song before the holy notions get to you.

2. Your Wonderful Parade
Um....about Richard's singing...on the earlier Carpenters' albums, Richard sang the lead on a few tracks. Given the fact that Karen Carpenter has the world's most beautiful voice*, this is seems ri-goddamn-diculous, but Richard wanted a piece of the pie. Regardless of the vocals "Your Wonderful Parade" is bitingly condescending take on suburban life replete with a marching band drum solo at the close.

3. Someday
"Your Wonderful Parade" fades into "Someday", the first ballad to showcase Karen's haunting and mournful voice. Bombastic and somewhat lush, this melodramatic song has Karen begging some guy to wait for her when she is ready to love.

4. Get Together
The first in long line of Carpenters cover songs. "Get Together" was originally a hit for The Youngbloods in 1969. You've probably heard it before during a "hippie montage" in some movie or TV show. Another Richard sings the lead songs but with a weird wavy pre-Autotune thing.

5. All of My Life
This is easily one of my favorite tracks off of Offering. It's a sweet little ballad, not too showy but not too throw-away. I think it would have been a great choice for a follow up single.

6. Turn Away
Richard sings a "I will let you go, but I'll be here waiting for you" song. Not a bad melody, but it needs Karen's lead.

7. Ticket to Ride
Out of all the Beatles songs to cover, I cannot fathom why Richard chose "Ticket to Ride". Nor can I fathom why he chose "Ticket to Ride" as their one and only single form this album. The song isn't terrible, but it pretty much sucks the life out of the far superior original. While The Beatles' version is fun and, for lack of a better word, rockin', this one takes itself far too seriously and is treated with the grandiloquence of chamber music.

8. Don't Be Afraid
" is a groovy thing/It knows how to make you sing/And it fills up your life with sunshine and joy..." Why can't they make songs like this anymore? Oh yeah...the cynicism.

9. What's the Use
A Richard song about being lazy and why that's okay.

10. All I Can Do
Ehhhhhh...jazz infused song about a dumped woman. Ehhhhhh....they can't all be winners.

11. Eve
Yes, yes, yes! Love this song! Apparently, it was inspired by an episode of Journey to the Unknown (a sort of Twilight Zone show) about a man who falls in love with a mannequin. The lyrics aren't as specific as all that and could be interpreted several ways; I choose to see it as a song about a famous young woman leading one life to the cameras and another in private. But that's just me...

12. Nowadays Clancy Can't Even Sing
Another cover. This time the Carpenters do Neil Young. And with all due respect to Neil, still I ask WTF? WHY THIS SONG, RICHARD, WHY?!? Don't get me wrong, the instrumentation is on par with the rest of the album, but seriously, WTF, RICHARD?

13. Benediction
"Unto you in the voice of love through the song we sing an offering..." and so bookends the Carpenters' first album.

Final Thoughts
It's a weird album. There's no way around it. It does not surprise me at all that Offering was a huge flop. The few Top 40 ready tracks were either ignored or unrecognized and only one single? Is that how they did it then? I mean, no wonder...

As a Carpenters fan, I can appreciate it for what it is, but while listening to the discography (as one often does for their favorite band) I can't help but rejoice after I get past this one. The good news is, it gets better. After Offering's disappointing sales, A&M was ready to pull the plug on the brother-sister duo. Luckily Herb Alpert decided to give them another chance.

Favorite Tracks: "Eve"; "Don't Be Afraid"; "All of My Life"

Okay Tracks: Everything else.

Not So Favorite Tracks: "Nowadays Clancy Can't Even Sing"

1970 re-release with new album art.
* It's true.

Fairy Tales for Every Child: The Snow Queen (2000)

Year Released: 2000
Country of Origin: United States
Run Time: 23 minutes.

How I Watched It: HBO.

Adaptation Accuracy: First a word about Happily Ever After: Fairy Tales for Every Child: Are you tired of European based fairy tales featuring nothing but honkies? Well, do I have an animated series for you! From 1995 to 2000, HBO aired a series of fairy tales with an ethnic twist or sometimes a feminist twist. Their Cinderella was Latina, their Little Mermaid was Asian, their Goldilocks was get the picture. Much like Faerie Tale Theatre, famous personalities voiced the characters.

Third from their last episode, HEA transplanted "The Snow Queen" from Scandinavia to Arctic Canada making Kai and Gerda Inuit children. Robert Guillaume (who narrates all the HEA episode) tells us the beautiful and mysterious Snow Queen (Eartha Kitt, basically doing Yzma) made an evil mirror for her own amusement then she lost it, it broke, yadda, yadda, yadda...

Kai (Brandon Hammond) and Gerda (Taska Cleveland) are best friends and live in neighboring igloos. Gerda's Grandmother (T'Keyah Crystal Keymah) warns them about the Snow Queen who kidnaps naughty children. Partly from the mirror and partly from his adolescent need to prove himself, Kai goes sledding to impress the older boys and gets caught by the Snow Queen. She seduces him with her sweet siren song "Cool to Be Cold"...ugh.

Gerda doesn't meet a Witch or a Princess, but by God she does get an irritating Raven friend (Doug E. Doug). Then she's kidnapped by robbers, which plays out pretty average. Kai is working on the Eternity puzzle (Why? Because the original story calls for it, I suppose). After the tears and the forming of the puzzle Gerda and Kai attempt to leave. The Snow Queen throws an icicle at Gerda who then throws it back STABBING THE SNOW QUEEN IN THE CHEST! SHE DIES! Hands down, coolest moment.

Overall Likes: Inuit setting; Canoe; Stabbing.

Overall Dislikes: Lack of Snow Queen; No witch; No princess; Why is the crow always irritating?; "Cool To Be Cold"; Sassy Robber Girl.

Final Thoughts: Fairy Tales for Every Child continue to air on HBO every morning at 4:00 and 4:30. One Christmas break I watched them all for the hell of it. This one stacks up pretty good. I like the Inuit setting since 75% of the adaptations are African-American or Latino tinged. It's good for what it is, but quite incomplete. Seriously, they could have cut the song and added in either the Witch or the Princess.

The Snow Queen (1995)

Year Released: 1995
Country of Origin: England
Run Time: 78 minutes.

How I Watched It: Netflix. Then I later found out the whole thing was on Youtube. Damn it.

Adaptation Accuracy - I'll be honest with you, dear readers. I had seen this version before and fast forwarded through most of it because it was that fucking awful. It would be cheating to fast forward this time around, so I came prepared. Throughout the film, I drank a mixture of Bacardi Torched Cherry and Lemon-Lime Gatorade, a decidedly unfit pair. And luckily, it made the film far more tolerable. In fact, it wasn't as bad as I remember it to be. Still not good, mind you. But it's not like that awful '86 Russian version.

Way up North lives the Snow Queen (Helen Mirren. Yes, Oscar winner Helen Mirren) who has an evil magic mirror. She plans to put it on the highest mountain peak so when the sun hits it, it will reflect away and the world will freeze from lack of sun. But since royalty never does its own dirty work, she sends her three inept troll toadies to do the job (Oh yeah. The Snow Queen controls the trolls). But faster you can say unfunny antics, the mirror is broken and a piece flies into the world. The Snow Queen sends her bats to collect all the pieces. (Oh yeah. The Snow Queen has bats in her Arctic home. But I guess if she can have trolls, she can have bats. I digress.)

However, the bats do not collect all the pieces because two are stuck in a little boy named Tom (Damian Hunt). His sister, Ellie (Ellie Beaven), grows worried when he turns mean and goes on a rampage of putting puzzles together. TOM and ELLIE. Because Gerda is the name of a fat old hag and Kay is a girl's name. Moving on...The Snow Queen takes Tom and he generously offers to put the broken mirror together. But after he finishes, she will murder him to remove the last two pieces.

I must pause to give this movie some due respect. We actually see the Snow Queen being evil (or at least having some evil intent). And the evil involves the mirror, making it more than just a reason to fuck up Kai, excuse me, Tom. Of course her plan is ridiculously stupid and reminiscent of Mr. Burn's plan to block the sun from Springfield.

Secondly, we finally have a decent reason for the Snow Queen to take Kai...arg, Tom and an even better reason to keep him alive. Let me tell you, the mirror is fucking huge and she needs someone to put it back together. Someone who isn't bumbling trolls.

All right, back to business.

Ellie's journey is also pretty accurate with little flairs here and there. The whole way she is accompanied by an irritating crow named Peeps (Hugh Laurie. Yes, Dr. House Hugh Laurie). The Witch needs the heart of a little girl to complete her Elixir of Life. Ellie disguises herself as a maid to sneak into the Princess's palace. The robbers are actually giant rats for some reason. And they have a song. (Why the fuck must the robbers always have a song?) Ellie escapes on a Cowardly Lion type reindeer who takes her to Freda (Julia McKenzie) the Lapland Woman who teaches the reindeer to fly. (Okay.)

So Ellie, Peeps, and Freda storm the palace. Ellie tries to get Tom to drink this heart-warming potion. But the bottle breaks, shit happens, a tornado (?) freezes the Snow Queen. Then Ellie and Peeps cry on Tom and he is restored to normal.

All seems well, but there's a sequel, The Snow Queen's Revenge. And no, I'm not reviewing it.

Overall Likes - Snow Queen's plan; Tom's puzzle skills; Snow Queen's plan for Tom; Adapted Witch, Princess, Robbers, and Lapland Woman; Good pacing.

Overall Dislikes - Name changes; Grandmother and other sibling; Fucking Jar Jar trolls; Why doesn't she kill them?; Peeps; That cat; All the songs; Especially the Robber song; Scaredy reindeer; Freda goes with them; Peeps' tears.

Final Thoughts - Please don't be fooled by my review, it really is terrible. Only those who are reviewing versions of The Snow Queen should watch it. Otherwise, it's just crap. It had a very Don Bluth type feel to it and I can't help but wonder what he would do to HCA's story...perish the thought, Jordyn! He's still alive. It could happen.

Through and through this is a kids movie made to entertain the most simple minded rugrat. The songs make you want to puncture your eardrums with a screwdriver. The voice acting and characterization are stereotypical and cardboard. And the animation is what I imagine Glen Keane wipes his ass with. Still, my biggest is beef is making Tom and Ellie siblings. This decision robs The Snow Queen of some of its magic and heart. Not being related to Kai, Gerda is under no obligation to go on a perilous journey to find him. But having the children tied through blood makes the quest necessary instead of just optional.

That and it sucks out romantic possibilities. :-(

Come on! They don't even look related!

Stories to Remember: The Snow Queen (1992)

Year Released: 1982/1992
Country of Origin: Russia/United States
Run Time: 26 minutes.

How I Watched It: Netflix.

Adaptation Accuracy - Stories to Remember was a very short lived direct-to-video series where animated fairy tales were narrated by a famous actor/actress of the time. The animation is Russian in origin and my limited internet research tells me it was made in 1982. But it took ten years for the States get a hold of it.

Interestingly, this version of The Snow Queen is the first to be adapted from another adaptation. All of Sigourney Weaver's narration is from Amy Erhlich's 1982 picture book. Still, things are cut out and changed a bit.

The troll/devil is gone. The mirror belongs to the Snow Queen and it is her only friend. She grows very angry and lonely and smashes her mirror. She wants a friend and since Kai is all fucked up, she takes him.

The princess is cut from Gerda's journey and the crow turns out to be the Witch in disguise who helps her along the way. The Robber Girl has a mullet and is SUPER TOUCHY with Gerda. The Snow Queen lets Kai and Gerda go once she sees how much they love each other. It even melts her heart...and the rest of her. Yeesh.

By the time Gerda and Kai return to The City, they are actually grown up teenagers. And THEY MIGHT EVEN LIKE EACH OTHER!!! OMG! OMG! LOL! OMG!

The DVD I received from Netflix also has a Sigourney Weaver narrated version of The Wild Swans, which was similar in tone and animation to The Snow Queen. And, as a DVD bonus, there were two 23 minute features called What Makes a Good Story? where a middle aged man and two kids discuss basic story elements (like what foreshadowing is) and how they apply to The Snow Queen and The Wild Swans.

Overall Likes - Accuracy; Brevity; Snow Queen's motive; The Witch; Romantic implications.

Overall Dislikes - No Grandmother; No princess; Touchy Robber Girl; I'm melting! MELTING!

Final Thoughts - was okay. Pretty much what I thought. Sigourney Weaver has a pleasant enough voice. However it loses major points for cutting out the Princess and Prince. Seriously, why?

Please forgive my shitty screencaps. :-(

Revenge of the 30 Day Song Challenge - Day 11

Day 11 - An 80's Song

Truly the biggest "girl groups" of the 80's were The Go-Go's and The Bangles, but since we're not dealing with chicks who play their own instruments, we'll have to dig a little deeper. Just as the 70's were barren, the 80's didn't prove to be much better. The Sisters Sledge and The Pointer Sisters had some hits and the Rick James created Mary Jane Girls are certainly a Spice Girls prototype, but were never anything big. Honestly, this blows my mind. In the MTV era it seems like a no-brainer to gather four or five hot chicks who can semi sing and have them prance around in a music video. Alas...we would have to wait another ten years.

"Venus" - Bananarama, True Confessions (1986)

If I'm being honest, I am not remotely familiar with Bananarama. I know they hit number one in 1986 with a cover of the Shocking Blue's "Venus". So that is the song I will be writing about today. The much better version was released in 1970 and also went number one. 

The song about the goddess and her sexy goddessness was much better in 1970's. This version? Meh. What can I say about it? It's synthed to gills and desperately tries to be sexually sexy. Now it's used in razor commercials. Ha.

Bananarama (sorry, I have to go here, but DUMBEST BAND NAME EVER) was made up of three English school friends Siobahn Fahey, Keren Woodward and Sara Dallin. They were actually quite successful throughout the 80's in America and the UK. Perhaps you've heard their other big hit "Cruel Summer"? Anyway Bananarama differs from other girl groups because no one girl sings the lead vocals. All three women sing at the same time without harmonizing. It sounds, uh...okay.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Revenge of the 30 Day Song Challenge - Day 10

Day 10 - A 70's Song

I really struggled with the 70's. After Diana Ross flew the Supreme coop, nobody gave three shits about girl groups. The earlier part of the decade was dominated by the "singer/songwriter" sound. But by the mid 70's, the rise of disco left people wanting glittery outfits and choreographed movements again. Still, there are very few of these acts from this time. Most are one hit wonders so I decided to go with one of the bigger songs vs. a bigger group.

"Lady Marmalade" - Labelle, Nightbirds (1975)

Perhaps known for teaching the most important French phrase to America--Voulez-vous coucher avec moi ce soir?--"Lady Marmalade" is the story of a man seduced by a Creole hooker from New Orleans. Now back to his normal life, he is haunted by memories of the night spent on black satin sheets.

Silly readers, you though this was just a superfluous (but retardedly successful) song from the Moulin Rouge soundtrack, didn't you? No, no it was a number one hit way back in 1975 by the one hit wonder girl group Labelle.

Like several such still-together girl groups of the 70's, Labelle--lead by Patti Labelle and backed by Nona Hendryx and Sarah Dash--got their start in the late 50's. They had but one Top 40 hit in the 60's but still remained together. By the 70's, the group hired a new manager who suggested dropping their "oldies name", The Blue Belles, and adopted a new look of Ziggy Stardust meets The Funk. "Lady Marmalade" was Labelle's only hit and the band broke up shortly after.

Revenge of the 30 Day Song Challenge - Day 9

Day 9 - A 60's Song

The girl group sound exploded in the early 60's. Songs by the The Shirelles, The Chiffons, The Crystals, and miscellaneous other female trios and quartets steadily climbed the charts. It seems people couldn't get enough of sweet hooks and dreamy harmonies. Then a little band called The Beatles flew in from across the pond and changed everything. After the British Invasion, most popular artists from the early rock era fell to the wayside for a harder, more socially relevant sound. The only girl group to survive the changing times was the biggest selling American group of the decade.

"Love Child" - Diana Ross & The Supremes, Love Child (1968)

Out of all the Supremes songs "Love Child" is not the one that usually springs to mind. "Baby Love" and "Stop! In the Name of Love" hold that honor. I chose this one because it's such a freakin' weird song to go number one and to be a hit for group known for catchy little love songs.

"Love Child" is a story song of sorts told from the perspective of a tenement born bastard who wants to hold off on sex with her boyfriend so the vicious cycle doesn't continue. While uptempo, the song has an ominous tone to it. Maybe she's succeeds in saying no this time, but what about tomorrow and the next day?

In the beginning, The Supremes consisted of Diana Ross, Mary Wilson, and Florence Ballard. By 1968, tempers flared over Ross singing all the leads and Ballard quit. She was replaced by Cindy Birdsong and the group was renamed Diana Ross and the Supremes.  The group had a few more hits before Ross exited to start a very successful solo career. The Supremes continued on with several line ups until 1977 when the group finally retired.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Revenge of the 30 Day Song Challenge - Day 8

Day 8 - A 50's Song

Coming up is a week long decade crawl from the 50's (the dawn of the rock 'n' roll era) to the 10's (you know, our two year old decade). Even though any old songs will do, I've decided to be know-it-all twat and add a little twist to my decade run. In the following seven posts, I'll be examining girl groups and their evolution. And to alleviate any confusion, I will only be writing about vocal girl groups, not all-girl bands so The Runaways, The Bangles, The Donnas, etc. will not be eligible. First a little bit of pre-history.

Girl Groups have been around since the 1920's. According to Wikipedia, the concept started as a sort of Vaudevillian joke: "Haha! Look, girls singing together. Yuk, yuk!" Although why this was funny is completely lost to me. By the 30's and 40's, sister acts such as The Boswell Sisters and The Andrews Sisters made people realize that chicks singing harmoniously was not something to be laughed at. This trend of "close harmony" singing continued into the 50's with The Chordettes ("Mr. Sandman", "Lollipop") and The McGuire Sisters ("Sincerely"). It wasn't until 1958 with popularity of "Maybe" by The Chantels that the girl group sound--which consists of one lead singer and backing vocalists--truly began. 

"Born Too Late" - The Poni-Tails (1958)

Yes, I should write about "Maybe" because history makes it out to be the more important song, but damn it, this is my blog and I choose to write about a forgotten B-Side.

I was about seven when I first heard today's song on an oldies compilation tape entitled 32 Original Hits. Apparently, my father ordered it off of the TV one drunken night back in 1980. Fifteen years later, I was going through a bit of a 50's phase, so the cassette was bestowed upon me.

My Side 2 favorite was "Born Too Late", a simple song about being too young for one's object of affection and the pain of knowing it never can be. Being in love with an older guy was the subject of many a 50's song and I can personally say that this one kept me from liking an older guy until I went to college. It just sounded so damn awful!

"Born Too Late" reached #8 on Billboard's Hot 100 in September of 1958. The Poni-Tails--consisting of high school friends, Toni Cistone, Karen Topinka and Patti McCabe--released a few other singles before and after "Born Too Late", but had no other success. Sadly, very few girl groups of this era had more than one hit.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Revenge of the 30 Day Song Challenge - Day 7

Day 7 - A Song From a Movie Trailer

"Going Under" - Evanescence, Fallen (2003)

Perhaps you remember Evanescence*. The band was known for their pseudo-gothic metal/rock/rap songs which differentiated them from the crumbling teen pop movement and the ascension of hip hop to the Popular Music Throne**. They were pretty big in 2003 with their hit "Bring Me to Life" featured in the forgotten comic book movie Daredevil.

In 2006, months before the release of their second album, Evanescence's less popular single, "Going Under", was featured in the trailer for Tristan + Isolde. It was a tragic historical romance loosely based on the Arthurian legend of Tristan and Iseult, two starcross'd lovers externally conflicted by a love potion and Iseult's arranged marriage. The film, starring James Franco (ha) and relative unknown Sophia Myles is sort of a guilty pleasure of mine; a hot mess of historical inaccuracy, bad accents, and unlikable characters. But I luurvvve the trailer.

As far as movie trailers go, it's not that great from a critical standpoint. It commits the cardinal sin of movie advertisement by telling the whole story. Hell, the tagline is: Before Romeo and Juliet, there was Tristan and Isolde. You know that movie ain't ending happily.

Back to the song. "Going Under" is featured in the latter half of the trailer. It meshes the modern with the medieval, building the melodrama probably further than necessary. I liked the song long before 2006. But the song makes Tristan + Isolde's trailer one of my favorites.

* Yes, yes, they just released a new single.

** Something Kanye would be proud of: Between February 2003 to February 2006, only three white artists had number one hits. The songs? "This is the Night" - Clay Aiken. "Hollaback Girl" - Gwen Stefani. "Inside Your Heaven" - Carrie Underwood. Just sayin'. People loved hip hop in the mid aughts.