Saturday, March 30, 2013

The Go-Go's On Solid Gold: My Life Is Complete AKA We Got The Beat, But Who's Got The Booze?

If you'll recall, the first time I heard "We Got the Beat," I was not impressed. "What the hell is this?," I said to myself, "Cheerleader rock?" Oh, I was so clever back then.

To be fair, I'd only seen a live clip of the song. I'd never heard the studio version. And, as Belinda so freely admits below, the Go-Go's' live performances could be ... inconsistent. When I eventually heard the studio version, I liked the song a little more, although I still thought it was somewhat silly and not the best example of the Go-Go's' overall talent. Arguably, with its absence of drama and angst, it might be Beauty and the Beat's most atypical track. In a Totally Go-Go's interview segment, Charlotte described the song's origins:
I was sitting at home, it was about midnight, I was watching The Twilight Zone on TV, and I wrote the song, it was like five minutes, it just all came out. I actually had been listening to Smokey Robinson all day, 'cause we were gonna cover that song "Going to a Go-Go," and then I thought, well why do we have to cover someone's song? So I listened to that song all day long, the same song, over and over, and then I came up with "We Got the Beat."

The Twilight Zone and Smokey Robinson: a heady mixture indeed. At any rate, as I became more enamored of the Go-Go's, I listened to the song a little more. Then, one day, I decided that I loved it, couldn't get enough of it, and became just as obsessed with it as I have with every other Go-Go's song. Nowadays, whenever I listen to "We Got the Beat," I can't help but surrender helplessly to the onslaught of hyperactive silliness. By the time Belinda exhorts me to "jump baaack!!!/get down/round and round and round" and the rest of girls join in with a "whoo!" of pure, primal abandonment, I feel like I've just snorted a line of coke and I want to run around the room and dance the pony and do the watusi and do whatever the hell I feel like doing.

Whether or not "We Got the Beat" was one of the two best songs on Beauty and the Beat is really beside the point. "Our Lips Are Sealed" was a good solid hit, but "We Got the Beat" was a monster, peaking at #2 in March of 1982, held off the top spot by Joan Jett and the Blackhearts' "I Love Rock 'N' Roll." Yes, it was a brave new world, and the woman rockers were taking over.

"We Got the Beat" wasn't just a hit; it was an anthem. I've seen a writer refer to it as the "Rock Around the Clock" of the '80s. Well ... sure. All I can say is, you know your song has captured an era when you hear it playing over the opening credits of Fast Times at Ridgemont High.

The Go-Go's had hit the big time, all right, and television came calling:
In November, we guested on Saturday Night Live, along with Bernadette Peters and Billy Joel. The appearance was a significant moment for us. Beauty and the Beat was number 20 on the Billboard 200 chart and climbing; the exposure on a show that defined hot to America's youth was going to keep that momentum going ... But Kathy, Charlotte, and I got ripped. We had sat around in the studio all day, drinking the free booze, and when it was finally time to go on, we gave one of our worst performances ever. We played "We Got the Beat," and we destroyed it. It didn't even sound like a song.
Fortunately for the Go-Go's, but unfortunately for us, the Saturday Night Live clip is nowhere to be found on YouTube. It appears that SNL protects its clips with the zeal of PricewaterhouseCoopers. One day, I will find this clip. I will find this clip and I will watch it. In the meantime, I'll just watch the version of this clip that's playing in my head, in which Belinda accidentally vomits on Gilbert Gottfried's crotch, Gina assaults a security guard with a hi-hat, and Charlotte and Jane slit the throat of a wild boar around a sacrificial bonfire - all on live TV.

But seriously, who needs a clip from Saturday Night Live when you've got something much, much better? Here's how you know the Go-Go's were starting to make it. It's not because they appeared on Saturday Night Live. Oh no. It's because they appeared on Solid Gold.

You won't find any Solid Gold dancers here, but come on. The Go-Go's don't need dancers. There is, however, a funny fellow in a bow tie and a glittery maroon suit, who introduces this clip and is apparently from the future, as he says, "Our next guest made that kind of splash two years ago, and they haven't let up since. Among their several hits in 1982 was the year's #31 song, 'We Got the Beat.' With us tonight to perform it, please welcome ... the Go-Go's!" But the Go-Go's were not "with him tonight," as their performance was almost certainly taped in late 1981/early 1982, and not 1984. Belinda's fashion sense in this era was so mercurial and evolving that I can practically date a Go-Go's clip based on her appearance alone.

As if I needed another reason to stare into those entrancing eyes. I mean, just look at that screen shot. Look at it! She appears to be wearing the same dress she wore in the Totally Go-Go's video, but I have to say that she's wearing it better here. I don't normally go for that much eye shadow and lipstick, but in this case ... yes please. To paraphrase Bananarama (by way of Shocking Blue): a goddess on a mountain top, burning like a silver flame, the summit of beauty and love, and Belinda was her name. Or in the words of one YouTube commentator, "As a teenager in the early 80s, I thought Belinda Carlisle was the Hottest, Coolest chick alive!!! Oh wait a second, At 46 I still do!"

And there's one more advantage to appearing on Solid Gold as opposed to Saturday Night Live: the performer merely has to lip-sync. As a result, the Go-Go's could have gotten as wasted as Richard Harris and Peter O'Toole at a Richard Burton birthday party and still would have sounded terrific.

The Go-Go's, alas, never filmed a proper video for "We Got the Beat." The footage from Totally Go-Go's was sent to MTV, but I like to think of this clip from Solid Gold as the true, genuine video of record. This ain't no Paul Davis or Melissa Manchester, folks. This is some (heavily sanitized) punk rock, kidnapping your TV set and taking your precious suburban living room hostage. This is like if the Powerpuff Girls came to life and formed a New Wave band. I mean, whose clip came on after this? Air Supply? Even the coked-up host in the bow tie doesn't know what to say.

Edit: I didn't mean to give short shrift to the clip of "Our Lips Are Sealed" from the same Solid Gold episode; it's just that I've posted quite a bit on that song already. However, it is even more "Solid Golden" than the clip of "We Got the Beat" is.

First of all, this time, there are dancers, although they're in the background (presumably so that they wouldn't steal any of Belinda's secret stash?). We've also got some great Solid Gold graphics at the start, complete with explosions and flying letters in tacky 3-D font. There's also another priceless interlude where Andy Gibb and Marilyn McCoo lure us in with the promise of "more great music tonight," only to say, "But first, let's listen to the Go-Go's tell us that mum is the word." Yeah, I'll tell you whose lips should be sealed, all right: Andy Fucking Gibb's. The reason I rarely watch this clip is because the audience, like a bunch of imbeciles, claps on the off beat. As one YouTube commentator put it, "ya know... with that off beat clap, kinda gives you an idea of what the disco remix wouldda sounded like."

Monday, March 25, 2013

Here ye, here ye! Steam Sale is about!

I've been proselytizing these videogames to you, dear readers, for years.  Now you have the chance to get some of these games for dirt cheap. As Steam is want to do, it's currently in the midst of its Indie Spring Sale, with most of the following games 50 to 80 percent off. The sale runs through this Friday, March 29th (a certain Zrbo's birthday).  I won't bother you with any more fuss, here's what's available and a link to my opinion:

To the Moon - $3.99
Terraria - $2.49
Limbo - $3.99
Braid - $3.99

And two games I've played but yet to review:

FTL: Faster than Light - $4.99
Dark Souls (sequel to Demon's Souls, my favorite game of 2009) - $19.99

And as a final note, it was recently announced that Fez, a game I adored, will be coming to Steam/PC sometime in May. Enjoy!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

The Pretenders' Debut Album - Kind Of Annoying; Kind Of Growing On Me?

I heard the Pretenders' debut album years ago and I didn't like it very much. It was hard to put my finger on it. I found Chrissie Hynde's voice kind of affected and irritating; she often did these quasi-sexy moans and sighs that rubbed me the wrong way, like she really, really wanted me know how much of a tough, sultry rocker babe with a leather jacket she was. Even the poses on the album cover annoyed me. Mostly I felt like Chrissie Hynde and I wouldn't really have had anything in common. She seemed like the kind of person who was really confident and comfortable with herself. I mean, that's great, but it didn't mean I wanted to listen to her music. I didn't get the sense that Hynde was really struggling with anything. You know what the Pretenders were? They were music for guys with girlfriends.

Not everyone felt the way I did. Stephen Thomas Erlewine, for example, loves this album:
Few rock & roll records rock as hard or with as much originality as the Pretenders' eponymous debut album. A sleek, stylish fusion of Stonesy rock & roll, new wave pop, and pure punk aggression, Pretenders is teeming with sharp hooks and a viciously cool attitude ... Pretenders moves faster and harder than most rock records, delivering an endless series of melodies, hooks, and infectious rhythms in its 12 songs.
Well sure, I guess so, except ... the songs aren't really about anything! Chrissie Hynde had been a rock journalist before forming her own band, and I think it kind of shows. She had the style, but maybe not the substance.

I'll say one thing, at least: the album should not be judged by its biggest hit. "Brass in Pocket," became the first UK #1 hit of the '80s, and also peaked at #14 in the U.S. It is also a candidate for MOST ANNOYING SONG OF ALL TIME.

Gonna use my arms
Gonna use my legs
Gonna use my style
Gonna use my sidestep
Gonna use my fingers
Gonna use my, my, my imagination

'Cause I gonna make you see
There's nobody else here
No one like me
I'm special, so special
I gotta have some of your attention
Give it to me
How does "Brass in Pocket" annoy me? Let me count the ways. 1) The riff reminds me of some other song that uses the same riff, but I can't for the life of me name which song, which annoys me (Edit: I think it's Argent's "Hold Your Head Up"); 2) "Brass" in pocket? What the fuck does that mean? According to Wikipedia, "The song takes its title from an expression Hynde heard from a member of Strangeways, a Yorkshire-based support band, who was looking for his money ("brass", meaning money)." All I get is a picture in my mind of somebody with a miniature tuba in the back of his jeans. 3) Hynde's already irritating singing may be at its most pronounced here. The phrase "gonna make you notice" becomes something more like "guuu mek-yu, mek-yu noh-tehh!" Damn right, you made me notice. You made me notice how annoying your singing is. And the backing vocalists: "Spe-cial!" It's like they walked in from a toothpaste jingle. And why are you special anyway? Look, even Chrissie Hynde didn't like the song very much: "I was embarrassed by it. I hated it so much that if I was in Woolworth's and they started playing it, I'd have to run out of the store." It may have been a big hit, but it's probably my least favorite song on the album.

See, I think the rock critic in me likes this album, but the actual listener in me thinks it's kind of blah. The opening track, "Precious," is a good example of what I mean. It's like a lot of strong elements that don't precisely gel.

I was feeling kind of ethereal 'cause I'm precious
I had my eye on your Imperial you're so precious
Now Howard the Duck and Mr. Stress both stayed
Trapped in a world that they never made
But not me baby I'm too precious I had to fuck off
Ooh, Chrissie, you're cool! You just said "fuck off" in a song! I wish I cared. I like the idea of a punk/new wave cover of "Stop Your Sobbing," a great and somewhat obscure early Kinks song (Hynde was romantically involved with Ray Davies at the time), but I'm not sure the Pretenders quite pulled it off. It's too jangly. It sounds like a Tom Petty b-side. "Private Life" is a six minute quasi- reggae jam that sounds like it wouldn't have made the cut for the fifth side of Sandinista! (which, if you know Sandinista!, is not a compliment).

If anything, my favorite songs on the album might actually be the last two.  "Lovers of Today" has a slow, creepy, grinding quality, which is complemented by some heavy guitar playing that sounds to these ears like vintage Wall-era David Gilmour. Hello, is there anybody in there? Taking a nap? OK, cool, I'll come back later.

But the Pretenders may have saved the best for last with "Mystery Achievement." Before I ever heard this album, I once heard "Mystery Achievement" on classic rock radio, and I thought the song was pretty good, and it made me wonder if the album was going to be better than I thought it would be. When I finally heard the album I realized, "No, that just happened to be the best song, even if it's not the most well-known." As with most of the songs on Pretenders, I have no idea what it's about, but for once, I don't actually care. I'm too busy tapping my feet to the "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" drum beat and swaying to the funky bass line. Starting around 3:15, the band even works up a terrific guitar jam that justifies its length with its awesomeness. Did the Pretenders just pull a Duran Duran/"The Chauffeur" on me? I think they did.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Quarterflash's "Harden My Heart" - The Best Song Pat Benatar Never Made

Many are the fans of '80s rock who bought a Pat Benatar Greatest Hits album and wondered, "Hey, where's 'Harden My Heart'?" It wasn't there. It wasn't there ... because "Harden My Heart" isn't a song by Pat Benatar.

Say what? I could have sworn on Optimus Prime's grave that this song was by Pat Benatar. Quarterflash? Who the hell was Quarterflash?

Quarterflash ... were your worst nightmare.

Quarterflash had a lead singer, Rindy Ross, who not only sounded like Pat Benatar, but she also played the saxophone. Could Pat Benatar play the saxophone? Didn't think so.

On their biggest hit, the band's secret weapon is present right from the get-go. That is some dynamite '80s sax riffage right there. That is saxophone playing so nasty it would make Gerry Rafferty blush. As a singer, Rindy may display some odd vocal ticks, like turning "tears" into "tee-aaars" and "time" into "dime," but I kind of dig it. In the end, "Harden My Heart" always makes me think of a cheap casino in Reno circa 1983. In fact, the video may have very well been filmed outside a cheap casino in Reno.

Allow me, if you will, to describe the video for "Harden My Heart." First of all, we've got Rindy running around in a black leotard, with frizzy hair, in some sort of dark, endless hallway with imitation wood paneling and swaying light bulbs. What is she running from? The saxophone? She steps into a cloud of florescent pink fog, and emerges surrounded by diminutive ladies juggling flaming torches. You know, the usual.

Then she's sitting at a dressing room table in the middle of a rock quarry with a group of ... "child" Rindys? I don't really know how else to describe them. Then she's playing the saxophone in a giant puddle while guys on motorcycles hover around her. At one point, the drummer actually uses the motorcyclists' helmets for drums. I wonder if Tom Waits ever thought of that one. Suddenly she's on the back of a motorcycle in a tux. At the 2:53 mark, arguably the best part of the song, when the guitarist really kicks it into overdrive, the video cuts to the requisite shot of said guitarist stroking the strings with particular force.

Ah, but Quarterflash is just warming up! Literally. Because now there's a guy with a motorcycle helmet and flame thrower. What is this, Fahrenheit 451? Finally, Rindy steps out of the hallway with bad imitation wood paneling, and then a bulldozer comes along and crushes the building that she's supposedly just been running around in, although it is obviously not the same building, because it is much too small. And then the guy in a tux with flame thrower walks up and sets the collapsed remains of the "obviously not the real building" on fire.

What does it mean, Quarterflash? What does it mean??

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Like, Totally The Best Go-Go's Straight-To-Video Concert Release Ever

Picture, if you will, Miles Copeland and the other head honchos at I.R.S. Records in late 1981, sitting around a table. "OK guys, we need to film a Go-Go's concert for the home video market. What venue should we film it in?" "A high school?" "In L.A.?" Miles twiddles his fingers together, Mr. Burns-style: "Excellent."

In December 1981, The Go-Go's performed at Palos Verdes High School in Los Angeles, and the concert was filmed and released as Totally Go-Go's. Here it is, ladies and gentleman - the eye of the hurricane, the heart of the dragon's lair, or, to paraphrase the article that inspired Saturday Night Fever, the tribal rites of the new Palos Verdes night. Check out the joy on the faces of these cheerleaders and football players as they're told that, yes, the Go-Go's will indeed be playing at their school. Courtesy of some resourceful uploaders, the complete video is now on YouTube. Not everyone can handle a full serving of Go-Go, however. What you need to know is that Totally Go-Go's is like totally representative of a typical Go-Go's concert from this era; I have a couple of bootlegs (don't laugh), and the set lists are almost exactly the same. Here are some of the numerous treasures to be found within:
  1. An early version of "Vacation" with alternate lyrics;
  2. A version of "Our Lips Are Sealed" which features the missing third verse (Yes, there is a missing third verse! It goes "Careless talk/Through paper walls/We can't stop them/Only laugh at them/Spreading rumors/So far from true/Dragged up from the underworld/Just like some precious pearl"); 
  3. During particularly long instrumental portions, Belinda attempts   to ... dance? I don't really know what else to call it. If Michael Jackson were white, female, and from L.A., he might have danced like Belinda does in this video;
  4. Every now and then some random high school kid jumps up on the stage, tries to dance like Belinda, and then dives back into the audience.
In a black dress with a little flower print design, black leggings, and high heeled shoes, Belinda is the queen of the fucking hop. Initially she wears a pink ribbon in her hair, but then rips it off dramatically at the start of "London Boys." Meanwhile, Jane is wearing a raccoon around her neck, and Charlotte still thinks she's part of the British Invasion.

Sprinkled throughout the video are little interview segments, here lumped together into one YouTube clip.

This, I suppose, was the public's first extended glimpse into the sad, tortured mind of the Go-Go's' lead singer, seen here lording over her kingdom in full "good girl/bad girl" splendor. Here's Belinda on her childhood (at 3:12):

"...and then I grew up in ... most of my schooling was in Ventura County in Thousand Oaks ... and I was a real good student ... and I was a cheerleader ... does anybody have a cigarette?"

Belinda on her role models (at 5:40):

"I never really had a role model ... when I was in, in high school ... or, you know, all the role models were ... guys, you know, and there was really no female ... girls to like, sort of, look up to and identify with. But it's really funny, like, when I'm on stage and the rest of us are on stage we'll see these girls, about like, you know, 16 or 17, out there like, singing all the lyrics, like all this feeling in their faces, it's really great. I wish I had someone that I could identify with."

In other words, "My childhood was really awful and ... God, I hope nobody call tell how fucked up I feel right now." Belinda on why she ended up being the singer (at 6:45):

"The only thing that was left for me was drums and singing, and I am like ... not ... I'm too lazy to play drums (laughs). So I thought, I might as well sing then."

Here Belinda gets this look on her face of absolute terror, as if the thought of having any sort of responsibility, even the mere responsibility of playing drums, is too much to bear (Warning: if you happen to catch any of the other band members' interviews, brace yourself for Gina's amazingly thick Baltimore accent).

But that's not all! The movie contains a few numbers that the Go-Go's performed with regularity during this period but never recorded in the studio (three of these "concert only" songs eventually appeared on Return to the Valley of the Go-Go's). Here's what Jane says about "London Boys":

" 'London Boys' was the first song I ever wrote and it was just when the band started and it's one of the few surviving songs from our beginnings. At the time it was before I'd ever gone to England and all my life I've been real enamored with English boys and how much cuter they seemed than American boys, and that's how that got written."

Seen your pictures in the 'zines
And you look real good
Pale blank faces, black and white keen
London boys, cigarette lean

London boys
Wish you were here
London boys
Wish we were there
London boys
Seem real cool
London boys
Hey, this one was pretty good! Hell, I can think of at least a couple of songs on Vacation that probably should have been jettisoned in favor of "London Boys," but oh well. Totally Go-Go's also documents the band's superlative taste for early '60s cover material. "Let's Have a Party" was originally recorded by Elvis, and later made famous by feisty country/rockabilly singer Wanda Jackson.

Here, the Go-Go's perform the song in about one minute and thirty seconds.

"Let's Have a Party, and Bring Some Cocaine" is perhaps what this version should have been called. Don't take my word for it:
By the time we returned from a brief end-of-November swing through the East Coast and played a small show at Palos Verdes High School (which was videotaped and released as Totally Go-Go's), I was doing coke regularly and not thinking twice about it.

Well, that's not exactly true. I thought a lot about it - how much I loved it ... it sent me into a happyland, far away from whatever else was on my mind ... A couple of drinks and sometimes a hit of coke was the way I got ready. What was the big deal? A dancer stretched, a rock star partied. That's the way I rationalized my behavior. More than twenty years passed before I faced the fact that I never went onstage sober not because I was a rock star but because deep down I was scared shitless - scared that I wasn't any good and the audience would see me as the fake I feared I might be.
We can see you Belinda! We can see right through you!!

Every punk and New Wave band had at least one "semi-ironic" cover that was meant to be a withering post-modern deconstruction of a rock or pop classic. Devo had "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction," the Sex Pistols had "My Way," the Dead Kennedys had "Viva Las Vegas," etc., etc.

The Go-Go's had "Remember (Walking in the Sand)."

As originally performed by the Shangri-Las in 1964, "Remember (Walking in the Sand)" was a haunting, doom-laden ballad of teenage despair. Following the introductory, ominous piano chords, Mary Weiss sang of desperate longing for her departed, while the other Shangri-Las painted the scene with moody "oohs" and "aahs" in the background.

As performed by the Go-Go's, "Remember (Walking in the Sand)" has been stripped of all its melodrama and angst. If the Shangri-Las' version was the "tough New York biker chick" version, the Go-Go's' version is the "bored, apathetic Valley Girl" version.

Listen to how Belinda bellows the lyrics with deliberately stilted phrasing. Where the Shangri-Las sang "And then this letter ... came for meeeee!" the Go-Go's sing "That's when ... this let-ter it came to ... meh hey." Where the Shangri-Las broke down with a tragic series of "Oh nos," Belinda deadpans "Oh no" in mock horror. After she lets out her patented little growl, Gina starts gently tapping her cymbals as if imitating a lounge act. Belinda sounds like she couldn't care less about the guy, stating dispassionately, "The night was so exciting/His lips were so inviting" in the tone one might use to exclaim that they didn't know what they wanted for dinner.

But then! Then the band kicks it into high gear and the tempo practically doubles! The Go-Go's are taking '60s girl group pop and they're kicking it in the ass! Jane and Charlotte jump in with some frenetic shouts of "Remember" and after another minute or so, the band collapses in a big heap. Belinda manages one last "Bye," grabs her purse, which probably has a couple of grams in it, and walks off the stage.

The girl group is dead. Long live the girl group.

Friday, March 8, 2013

The Fun Boy Three Find A Head That Can Talk

For Waiting, their second and final album, the Fun Boy Three needed a producer - and not just any producer. They needed to find someone capable of making music as simultaneously catchy and off-kilter, as concurrently goofy and disturbing, as they could. Where, oh where, would they find such a man?

Singer, songwriter, guitarist, dancer, performance artist, oversized suit wearer ... producer? Hey, why not. Byrne probably figured, "Well, if I fuck up, who's going to notice? It's only a Fun Boy Three record."

Ah, but fuck up he did not. I hereby nominate Waiting as "most overlooked British Ska Revival album by the Fun Boy Three" ever.  And although Byrne surely brought his skills to the table, the album is essentially an infectious continuation of the lounge jazz/funk/surf rock formula the band had already established so well.

"The More I See (The Less I Believe)" is a nice example of the group's seemingly bottomless ability to create snappy and exuberant pop singles that also have some dark, political bite:
The more that I see, the less I believe
The barbed wire fences have replaced all the trees
The houses of God are full of sinners every week
Praying for forgiveness for those that lead to bleed

And they keep telling me it's not my concern
But when petrol runs dry, when cars overturn
When you see children crying, 'cause their cities are burning
Who's gonna show concern?

The world's going to hell ... but I can dance to it! And, wait a minute, where have I seen that weatherman before?...

Then there's "The Farm Yard Connection," the most cheerful song about the trials and tribulations of growing pot that you're ever likely to come across:
What's your names?
Peter and Bob
What's your age?
We're 23
Where do you live?
We live on the farm
What do you do?
We plant weeds

We got to do what we do
'Cause we can't draw dough
We got to earn a living
But every time the job squad come and intrude
Bang! goes another weeks' wages
Bang! goes another weeks' food

Lousy job squad - they get you every time. The zaniest track of all, however, might be "We're Having All The Fun." "We're Having All The Fun" is like a parody of the sort of provincial, kitchen sink, working class British pop that bands like the Specials and their contemporaries did so well. The verses feel like a sardonic laundry list of stereotypical details, especially the way they fly out of Terry Hall's deceivingly chipper mouth:
I live in a flat, I like Manchester United
I live with my girlfriend and my cat, we're really happy
I like watching television wearing dumbal coats and moccasins
Eating crispy pancakes and having Monday haircuts 

Although I'm pretty sure the band is mocking this sort of songwriting, their mockery almost backfires; the tune has so much zip, it genuinely does sound like the Fun Boy Three are having all the fun. Sadly, for Terry, Lynval, and Neville, the fun was approaching its end, but not without one final hit  - a hit that, like the weatherman, would possess a strange air of familiarity.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Pat Benatar And The Synthesizer: A Love Story

Then one day, Pat Benatar discovered the synthesizer.

It was hot '80s spandex love at first sight. This strange, enigmatic device transformed her already somewhat not very hard rocking hard rock into something even less rocking. But together, Benatar and the synthesizer teamed up to help rescue the Western World from the iron grip of the Nazi menace (as a bomber pilot, as Rosie the Riveter ... does it really matter?).

From the battlefields of '40s Europe to the battlefields of '80s New York, Benatar wasn't going to take this shit lying down. I wouldn't really say that love is a battlefield, though. Love is more like an abstract philosophical concept, but then again, I'm not wearing 40 necklaces and repelling gold-toothed bartenders with my boobs, am I?

"We Belong" sounds like it lifted the "sped-up guitar" trick from KC & The Sunshine Band's "Get Down Tonight," but most people probably can't tell the difference between a sped-up guitar and a synthesizer anyway. In the second half of the video, Benatar finds herself inside the cover of one of your middle school notebooks. Apparently, in the hell that is for children, there are also lots of waterfalls.

But somehow, in the midst of some the most '80s sounding music ever made, Benatar released a song that does not sound like the '80s in any way whatsoever. So puzzled must she have been by its existence, she didn't even know what to call it. She just called it "Ooh Ooh Song."

At first, opening with some crunchy guitar strums, "Ooh Ooh Song" sounds like it's going to be a hard rocking track, but that all goes out the window with the entrance of a retro-sounding keyboard and a snare-driven rockabilly beat. Who did she think she was, the Stray Cats? Did someone mislabel the master tape from the latest Rosanne Cash recording session? There's even a verse in Spanish (!). Remarkably, the video is about as free of '80s elements as the song is. Seriously, the lighting, the camera angles ... she's wearing overalls. Am I crazy in thinking this might be the best thing she ever did?

One final note: it turns out that Pat Benatar happened to publish a memoir of her own, Between A Heart And A Rock Place, in June 2010, at almost exactly the same time as Belinda Carlisle published Lips Unsealed. However tempting it may be, though, I refuse to read it, for fear of developing another unhealthy obsession with an '80s female singer. Sorry Pat, there's only room for one sleazy '80s memoir in this blogger's heart.