Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Footloose Soundtrack: George Orwell Never Imagined 1984 Would Be Quite This Scary

Now, I will admit an area of weakness when it appears before me. Granted, I have not heard every cheesy '80s soundtrack that there is to hear. But I would be impressed if there were an '80s soundtrack both as cheesy and as impressive as the Footloose soundtrack.

Sadly, my newfound passion for '80s music has not extended into '80s cinema - yet. Thus, my appreciation for the Footloose soundtrack has not filled me with the overwhelming desire to actually go and watch Footloose. But I imagine I'm not the only person to have ever felt this way. How else do you explain the Footloose soundtrack topping the US Billboard album chart for 10 weeks in the summer of 1984 - a time when actual, you know, "real" albums like Thriller, Born In The U.S.A., and Purple Rain were also available for purchase? Surely not all of those listeners went and saw Footloose. Maybe they figured, hey, why buy a bunch of unrelated hit singles when six of them - that's right, six - are all on the same album!

Surprisingly, the album contains not one, but two hits from Kenny Loggins. While the aforementioned title cut continues to live and breathe within the hearts of all God fearing Americans, "I'm Free (Heaven Helps The Man)" has been relegated to the dustbins of shitty '80s pop music history. If your idea of a great music video is Kenny Loggins breaking out of prison, hot-wiring cars, jumping from rooftops, and rescuing teenage girls, then ladies and gentlemen, "I'm Free" may be your Citizen Kane.

Not that Shamalar's "Dancing In The Streets," Sammy Hagar's "The Girl Gets Around," and Moving Pictures' "Never" are lacking in any noticeable way, but let's be honest, it's the first four tracks that really put the Footloose soundtrack ahead of the pack.

"Footloose" was neither the album's only Kenny Loggins hit single nor the album's only US #1 single. Let's hear it for Deniece Williams' "Let's Hear It For The Boy," one of the cornerstones of a genre to be featured in an upcoming series of mine: Aerobic Rock.

What would an '80s soundtrack be without a terrific power ballad? Here we get "Almost Paradise," a duet between Heart's Ann Wilson and Loverboy's Mike Reno. I'll tell you what almost paradise is. Almost paradise is listening to this song.

Finally, Bonnie Tyler and songwriter Jim Steinman re-team after "Total Eclipse of the Heart" to contribute the frantic "Holding Out For A Hero." According to Wikipedia, "The opening couplet - 'Where have all the good men gone and where are all the gods?/ Where's the street-wise Hercules to fight the rising odds?' - could be seen as an example of the Ubi Sunt motif in literature." See Paula Cole, you're not the only one who can pull off that Latin shit.

I guess she really needs a hero. Somebody just get her a damn hero already.


Herr Zrbo said...

That Bonnie Tyler song was AWESOME in the way that only Bonnie Tyler/Jim Steinman productions can be.

Speaking of which, have you ever seen the literal version of Total Eclipse of the Heart? If you haven't you need to go visit youtube and watch it.

Herr Zrbo said...

Or just click

Little Earl said...

Hmm, I wonder where I saw that literal version of "Total Eclipse of the Heart" before? Oh, that's right, I saw it ON MY OWN BLOG TWO YEARS AGO.

You need to get an intern to check this stuff.

But yes, I thought you'd enjoy "Holding Out For A Hero," assuming you hadn't already heard or seen it before. I'd heard it but not seen the video, in which they throw everything but the kitchen sink: exploding flames, glowing neon cowboy whips, the Grand Canyon - what didn't they throw in there?

The song was also used to great effect in Short Circuit.

Herr Zrbo said...

You know, I actually thought we had discussed in on this blog, and I did a quick search up in the little box up top and came up with nothing. I blame google.

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