Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Snap and Crackle's Groovy Revenge, Pt. I


"Stumblin' In"--Suzi Quatro and Chris Norman
An eye-opening love.  A heart-opening love.  A thigh-opening love.  The leather-clad bassist that I recall from her cameo in the "Hospital" episode of AbFab teams up with a guy I recall not at all.  Suzi's predictably fine, but Chrissy is staggering on fumes.  A Neil Diamond impersonator attempting a Joe Cocker impression is all I can tell you.
        Running a hand over the painted brick of their apartment building, almost running a hand over their hair (until they remember all that product in there), waiting for the man.

"Love Will Keep Us Together"--Captain & Tennille
 I want to hate "Love Will Keep Us Together."  I hate myself for not hating "Love Will Keep Us Together."  Nothing here is unexpectedly awkward.  The melody is fairly catchy and mildly sophisticated.  My only real beef here is with the Captain:  who changes their name from Dragon?  "I know I have a last name with the same spelling and pronunciation as a mythical flame-spewing lizard, but babe, check out this hat!"  I would not marry a man like that.  I would not go out on a second date with a man like that.*

"How Do You Do?"--Mouth & MacNeal
Dutch duo farts out a hit.  Every day for one week they ate naught but Play-Doh pancakes sprinkled with lead paint chips and drank naught but bubble bath straight from the bottle.  The only thing more inexplicable than the success of "How Do You Do?" is how it careens from decent attempt at mid-tier Southern rock to polka.  Perfect soundtrack for a one-act play about a one-man band and the OCD pastor's wife he's besotted with.
"A Horse With No Name"--America
Thing about face-melter brownies, you can't scarf down just two.  This still gets mistaken for a Neil Young song on occasion, but the lyrics gather purple moss in a way his never did.  (Twist: the horse is the one experiencing the psychotic break.)  Heat-haze harmonies shine on shine on the hourglass containing regenerating sand.

"I'd Really Love To See You Tonight"--England Dan and John Ford Coley
Sweat-beaded skin stretches on a summer night when love is important, but sex even more so.  Pretty guiltless way to spend a couple minutes of life despite (due to?) sounding as though it was ghost-penned by Joey Scarbury for use as the theme to a success-proof network drama series.
        "There's a warm wind blowin', the stars are out."  For a long while I wondered if the lyric was actually "There's a warm wind blowin' the stars around," which is far more evocative and thus, I really should have known better.

"Summer Breeze"--Seals and Crofts
Oh hello there, big bro of England Dan!  Six hours by the grill, six Bloody Mary's, countless sloppy kisses.  The wind swirls all the sweetness.  The sun feels fine, but sun-kissed skin feels finer.

"Rock and Roll Heaven"--The Righteous Brothers
An ignominious return to glory, but the fault lies not at the feet of either "brother."  The vocals are great.  The band is one hell of a:  distorted guitar, staccato horns, happy keys, solemn strings.  Blame, rather, writers Johnny Stevenson and Alan O'Day, men who managed one decent line ("If you believe in forever, then life is just a one-night stand") then blew it all to hell in the verses.  "Jimi gave us rainbows," oh shut up.  Your mama gave you rainbow suspenders. 

"One Toke Over the Line"--Brewer & Shipley
Amtrak first laid rails a year after the release of this bumpy ride that smells like tweed and weed no matter how many air fresheners are hanging around. 

"Rich Girl"--Hall & Oates
A pop/rock/soul blend that hinted at what the next decade would bring from these Philly flyers.  Every spoiled brat needs a shit sandwich (with just a slip of syrup) served to them. 

No Carpenters on this collection, by the way.  Guess Richard's stingy with the rights. 


In 1975 alone, six songs made it to the top of both the Billboard Hot 100 and Country Singles charts.  Traditionalists bristled, but if only they could have known about the Shania Twain to come!

"Let Your Love Flow"--The Bellamy Brothers
Honest and hypnotic, all bright rays and beams prettifying sparkling streams that you can and should drink from.  Rinse and repeat till rapture...won't take long.  The equivalent of a Buzzfeed list comprised wholly of pictures of dogs gobbling down pies.  YOU WON'T BELIEVE WHICH BREED LOVES KEY LIME!

"Rhinestone Cowboy"--Glen Campbell
One of those dual chart-toppers that also shows and tells how persistence pays off.

"Here You Come Again"--Dolly Parton
The main melody of "Love Will Keep Us Together" rejiggered and entrusted to a much more accomplished vocalist.  I'll keep it one thousand, Dolly could sell a swimming pool to a cat.  (She even requested the presence of steel guitar to keep the song's sound sufficiently "country.")  Her fickle ticker stands no chance against a single soft touch or a single jade look.  Or so the story goes.  Methinks she's got a trick or two to go.

"Take Me Home, Country Roads"--John Denver
The state song of West Virginia, a place it refers to as "almost heaven."  If heaven is a place that makes a person desire death as soon as they wake up, sure.  There is much about Appalachia to admire, believe it or not.  You will find little of it in West Virginia.

"My Maria"--B.W. Stevenson
The company and comfort of well-placed shade should never be overlooked, especially when it appears during life's transitory periods.  Straddling the line between jaunty and junky, between yodeler and the coyote he's being eaten by, "My Maria" makes for a good enough song.  It's place in my heart, however, is inextricably linked to the infomercial.  A long shot of Bee Dub, strummin' and singin' on one end of a bridge.  I sadly haven't seen the entire video, but I hope that it's just one static shot of him snailing it towards the camera on the other end of the bridge.

"Rose Garden"--Lynn Anderson 
One of the decade's biggest crossover hits, thanks in no tiny part to a first line that assures the rest of the track wrote itself.  The band earns theirs and then some.  The Seventies was the decade of many a thing, including The Decade of Discernible Female Country Vocalists.

"Don't Pull Your Love Out"--Hamilton, Joe Frank and Reynolds
A lotta fanfare for what is essentially triple-tracked B.J. Thomas.

"It's a Heartache"--Bonnie Tyler
Listeners must have worried about the state of their speakers.  Not everyday you hear a rusty blade with a three-a-day habit singing at you, after all.  Bonnie's steel wool-lined vocal cords are the only thing here approaching interesting.

"(Hey Won't You Play) Another Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song"--B.J. Thomas
The only thing sadder than a lost love is typing out that title, which remains the longest of any number one song in Billboard history.  At least until Will.I.Am comes along with "Shake It Shake It Shake It (Yeah Girl That Booty)" to share the honor.
        The quest for double vision involves one hand slapping a denim-covered knee and one hand clutching condensation in a plea for oblivion.  Jerks forth more mucus than tears, really.

"I Can Help"--Billy Swan
Another ditty that did double duty atop the pop and country charts.  'Bout as subtle as a hammer's face striking a human's nose.  A Farfisa-powered** declaration of dependability from the anti-Daryl Dragon.


"One Bad Apple"--The Osmonds
Hey, it's the host and his dumb brothers!  So sweet, so innocent, so terrible.  Starts with "yeah yeah," rhymes "girl" with "world," and hinges on one of the more poorly-constructed choruses ever to be.  Intended for the Jackson 5, who had much riper fruits to bite into and instead recorded "ABC."  (Now that was AGC.)

"Puppy Love," Donny Osmond
To quote my man Lenny out in Springfield:  "Stop insisting!"  Music for the overly-precious "females 7-12" demographic who lost hours of life staring at shiny head shots and didn't even move their hands once.  They swooned, but I just wanna go out and roll in some mud.

"Knock Three Times"--Tony Orlando and Dawn
So weird.  Dude, just have her yell real loud, YES or NO.  But, some guys just can't handle hearing "no."  (Hoo boy.)  Well, some girls don't like being told "I can feel your body swayin'" by a stranger who can't even see them.

"The Night Chicago Died"--Paper Lace
Grand opening, grand closing.  British people re-interpret American history (and geography).  The drummer sings lead, but what exactly did he sing?  Crap.  Utter and runny.  If only the Osmonds had recorded a song about that great leader of men, President Churchill.

"Heartbeat (It's a Love Beat)"--The DeFranco Family
Choreographed Canadian claptrap with matching pantsuits.  The Osmonds were a diluted J5, so one might guess the DeFrancos were a diluted Osmonds.  Perish the thought.  A diluted Partridge Family, more like, so they sped up the verse melody of "I Think I Love You" and promised an unforgettable fireworks display they couldn't deliver. 

"Julie, Do You Love Me"--Bobby Sherman
Blue-eyed, yes, but not especially ensouled.  I first saw Sherman on a beach-y episode of The Monkees, but it was years after until I finally heard a full song of the man's.  I promise that I will never voluntarily hear a second one.

"Beach Baby"--First Class
Second-rate...if my guts are rumbling from grub and goon, that is.  And if it's summertime.  British memories of 1950s Americana, all sock hops and soda pops, Chevys and levees, woo the unearned nostalgia just keeps on truckin'.  Remember "oh-oh-oh"?  Remember "whoa-whoa" and "shamma-lamma-ding-dong"?  Remember when shock therapy wasn't so frowned upon?

"Love Grows (Where My Rosemary Goes)"--Edison Lighthouse
Homogenized hippie girl, no traces of rebellion or cannabis to be found, her smile a mile of cotton candy.  Edison didn't even invent the lighthouse, you nitwits.

"(You're) Having My Baby"--Paul Anka and Odia Coates
The recipient of a scathingly sarcastic honor from the National Organization for Women, which is understandable as it represents everything wrong with humanity.  But this was the very first interracial duet to top the Hot 100--wherefore were y'all, NAACP? 
        Of all the sins contained within, the use of "seed" in a non-agrarian context is the most atrocious.  Any other thoughts I have remain inchoate ones.  Fuck me--and please, use protection.

"Shannon"--Henry Gross
Not a lamentation sung in loving memory of a deceased mother, sister, girlfriend, wife, or even niece.  It is, rather, about a dog.  Not Henry's dog; Shannon was Carl Wilson's dog.  I suppose the falsetto was inevitable.  Here's what a sociopath thinks grief sounds like. 

"December, 1963 (Oh, What a Night)"--The Four Seasons
0-2, drummers singing lead!
        Originally titled "December 5, 1933" and concerned with the end of Prohibition.  I find making America legally drunk again a much more entertaining subject than the sexual awakening of some unworldly schmo.  Whoever loves this colossal crapsack needs to avoid speaking to me about it, always. 

"Afternoon Delight"--Starland Vocal Band
Ain't never been a field as corny.  The result of a fiber-rich diet, right here.  Sticks and stones may break my bones, but they will never make me horny.  Is dude trying to make a tackle box/vagina metaphor?  Weirdos.  The least sexy song about sex ever sexed.  (Although "Marvin Gaye" by Charlie Puth and Meghan Trainor is a real close number two.)

*Toni Tennille wouldn't have even gotten the honor of a first date with my ex.  "She is the epitome of the bland Seventies white woman," he opined, as we began what was probably watch ten.  "She's the total opposite of what I find sexy."
        "But she's got the long bob with the immaculate bangs goin' on," I mildly protested.
        "That's not, no, it's not enough.  She just looks like a grasshopper with hair."
        "At least the Captain loved her."
        "The Captain can go fuck himself with his own stupid hat."

**Yes, the instrument that distinguished the burgeoning new wave music of the decade, taken to the top by Billy Swan.

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