Sunday, October 30, 2016

Better Than Being Addicted To Hate, Right?

But ... hey ... come on, man! That's not even a real band. Those girls can barely even play. This whole thing is a farce, I tell you, a sham!

I wonder what it would actually be like to be "addicted" to love. Is it expensive? Could you OD? Is there a Love-a-holics Anonymous? I just hope it's not as brutal as, say, having a bad case of loving you.

But I digress. If the other members of the Power Station thought their little supergroup was in it for the long haul, Robert Palmer had other ideas. According to Wikipedia, the band booked a tour, but after one performance on Saturday Night Live, Palmer decided that, you know, since he was now such a hot commodity, maybe it was the perfect time to ... record another solo album. And he was right! This may not have bothered the band, but according to Wikipedia, it didn't sit too well with the music press:
When Palmer bailed on the tour, some critics referred to it as "unprofessional behaviour". In Number One magazine, he hit back at the claims he joined the band for money: "Firstly, I didn't need the money and, secondly the cash wasn't exactly a long time coming. It wasn't exactly an experience that set me up for retirement." He was also accused of ripping off the Power Station sound for his own records. He snapped: "Listen, I gave The Power Station that sound. They took it from me, not the other way around."
Don't incite the Palmer! You may not come back in one piece. At any rate, wasn't Palmer the last member to join? Enough of this he said/she said: the bottom line is that, with drumming from Tony Thompson, bass playing from Power Station producer (and, like Thompson, former Chic member) Bernard Edwards, and guitar from Andy Taylor, "Addicted to Love" might as well have been the new Power Station single. Unless you watched the video, that is.

Because in the video for "Addicted to Love," there's no doubt who's in charge here. And, funny enough, the other guys are ... nowhere to be found! Hmmmm, that doesn't look like Andy Taylor on lead guitar there. And you can't seriously convince me that that's Tony Thompson on the skins. Why, these are just a bunch of ... models! What is this, some kind of a ... some kind of a joke? From Wikipedia: "The video features Palmer performing the song with an abstract 'band', being a group of female models whose pale skin, heavy makeup, dark hair and seductive, rather mannequin-like expression follow the style of women in Patrick Nagel paintings."

Patrick Nagel, you say? Think Duran Duran's Rio, or the walls of any neighborhood hair salon. I'm guessing some people find this look "hot," but, personally, I find it slightly disturbing. I mean, I want a guitarist who will keep me warm at night, not eat bats in my attic. I have to say, however, that on another day, I might go for the keyboardist, and maybe the guitarist to Palmer's right. According to VH-1's Pop-Up Video, "a musician was hired to teach the models basic fingering techniques, but 'gave up after about an hour and left'." Oh Lord.

Favorite YouTube comments:
man did he film this in his living room?

I suspect the musicians are not playing their instruments here.

If you watch this video closely, you'll see Robert Palmer.

What makes the video is how serious Palmer is and how he stays in character. That, and the girl licking her lips.

Some say those women are still standing there dancing like that.

Step 1. Look at the drummer in the wide shots
Step 2. Laugh your arse off
Step 3. Repeat
Suffice to say, everyone from Tone Loc to Shania Twain has paid homage to the video, but no one has done it quite the way Sonic Youth side project Ciccone Youth did on 1989's The Whitey Album. Here we have Kim Gordon apparently singing along live to a budget version blasting out of a Macy's karaoke booth, which might explain why the playing sounds more competent than usual, and why the backing vocalist carries a tune better than Thurston Moore. Am I crazy, or is this like, the best thing they ever did?

Less hipster, but equally absurd, would be Weird Al's take. No one can deflate a nonsensical lyrical conceit and a male singer's veneer of suave machismo like Weird Al, who manages to turn the song's dubious metaphor into a tale of literal addiction. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you ... "Addicted to Spuds":
Potato skins, potato cakes
Hash browns, and instant flakes
Baked or boiled, or french fried
There's no kind you haven't tried

You planned a trip to Idaho
Just to watch potatoes grow
I understand how you must feel
I can't deny they've got appeal

You like them whether they are plain or they're stuffed, oh yeah
Better face the facts, it seems you can't get enough
You know, you're gonna have to face it
You're addicted to spuds

Your greasy hands, your salty lips
Looks like you found the chips
Your belly aches, your teeth grind
Some tater tots would blow your mind

And you don't mind if they're not cooked
You need your fix, I guess you're hooked
And late at night you always dream
Of bacon bits and sour cream

You like them even if they're lumpy or tough, oh yeah
Well it's pretty obvious to me you can't get enough
You know you're gonna have to face it
You're addicted to spuds

I'm givin' up, it's just no use
Another case of spud abuse
What can I say, what can I do
Potato bug has got me too

I used to hate them, now they're all that I eat, oh yeah
Well, I've often seen then whipped, but they just can't be beat
Now I'm gonna have to face it
I'm addicted to spuds
Most groan inducing puns: "I can't deny they've got appeal"; "Potato bug has got me too"; "I've often seen them whipped but they just can't be beat." Oy gevalt. Not being a doctor, I can't honestly say whether or not he's truly addicted to spuds, but I will say this: he's definitely addicted to bad puns.


Anonymous said...

Session guitarist Eddie Martinez had as much to do with the sound of ATL (if not more) as much as anyone else. Back in the 80s he recounted his involvement with this song and was also complimentary of Robert Palmer's ability to communicate his desires to musicians in a way that made sense. Contrast this to singers who say things like "could you make the second verse more blue ?". Or what about "the last chorus needs to cry more". Anyway as is usually the case it's the anonymous workhorse musicians who don't get enough credit which almost always go to the marquee names. The same thing happened in David Bowie's relationship with the stellar Carlos Alomar who helped structure much of Bowie's music starting with Young Americans. For both Palmer and Bowie it was always about the groove and rhythm and they had their sources for getting it - too bad not enough people know about those sources.

Little Earl said...

Nice story, but the guitarist on "Addicted to Love" was OBVIOUSLY one of the faceless models swaying gently back and forth in the video. Hell-o! Geez.