Tag Archives: awesomely bad

LTEV Playlist: 80s Power Ballads

It should be no surprise to anyone reading this that I love the ’80s. And one of the things that I love most about that decade is the cheesy, over-the-top, heavy metal rock ballads. It seems that every ’80s metal band worth their glitter spandex put out at least one of these gems (and of course, there were some repeat offenders — Bon Jovi, I’m looking in your direction). Below, I have gathered together some classic examples from this genre. I’ve assembled them into a handy playlist so that you, too, can rock out. Bonus points if you serenade your lady (or man) friend with an overblown rendition of one of these ballads. “If I could fly high I would give you the skyyyy/Don’t you make that mistake, what does it taaaaake…”

It also goes without saying that music videos from this era were just complete and utter solid gold, filled with so many utterly amazing 80s cliches (big hair, spandex, overwrought guitar solos, modulation) that it makes my head explode with joy. I mean, look, I know that the 80s were no different from any other decade in that people still had problems, lost money, got divorced, got fired, had general angstiness, etc…but honestly, how could things possibly be that bad when you looked like this?

jon bon jovi

If you were feeling down, wouldn’t you be able to look in the mirror and immediately be cheered up by the super rad apparition staring back at you? Of course you would!

So here are my picks for top ’80s power ballads. Take the time to re-watch these videos – I promise it’ll put a smile on your face. And let me know your faves!

1. Alone – Heart

2. Love Bites – Def Leppard

3. I’ll Be There For You – Bon Jovi

4. Here I Go Again – Whitesnake

5. When I’m With You – Sheriff

6. Keep On Loving You – REO Speedwagon

7. Angel – Aerosmith

8. Every Rose Has Its Thorn – Poison

9. Carrie – Europe

10. When I See You Smile – Bad English

11. Home Sweet Home – Motley Crue

12. What Does It Take – Honeymoon Suite

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Remembering the ’90s

You guys. I did something very exciting recently. I went to a ’90s themed dinner party, and it was awesome. The couple who hosted the party are celebrating their 20-YEAR* anniversary this year, so decided on a ’90s throwback theme. Everyone had to prepare a dish that was inspired by that decade, and we rocked out to ’90s tunes and reminisced over old pictures in which people were decked out in baggy jeans, plaid shirts, and Chuck Taylors (some things haven’t changed all that much in 20 years).

*Can we talk about this? Because this seems crazy to me! I mean, crazy in a super awesome way! These two have been dating since George Bush Sr. was president. WTF!!!

Anyway, I threw together a playlist for the event, which was probably the most fun I’ve had in a long time as it gave me a chance to revisit some old classics, including this gem:

Seriously, is this video not THE CHEESIEST THING YOU HAVE EVER SEEN? I remember when this tune was popular — it was always one of the slow songs at our school dances. I really can’t tell you the insane joy that this song brings to my life – it is the ultimate in guilty pleasures, and so much fun to sing along to. The early ’90s were really great for producing this type of song – essentially a continuation of the ’80s power ballad genre.

In fact, I think more young artists today should be producing power ballads. I’d like to start a ‘Bring Back the Power Ballad’ movement, as I feel that there is a considerable dearth of songs these days that allow you to close your eyes and earnestly belt out lines such as “I don’t wanna touch you too much baby/ ‘Cos making love to you might drive me crazy/ I know you think that love is the way you make it/ So I don’t wanna be there when you decide to break it” (Def Leppard, ‘Love Bites’, 1987).

Let’s make this happen, you guys. Who’s with me?


Anything Less Than the Best is a Felony

I hope you are sitting down, because I am about to blow your mind.

Somehow — and I truly, for the life of me cannot fathom how this happened — I managed to make it through the past 22 years without ever having seen this music video:

I know what you’re thinking — how did an oversight of such magnitude occur? The situation is nothing short of tragic. I mean, the song was released in 1990, so for 22 years I could have been reveling in the supreme awesomeness that is this video. And it’s not like I haven’t seen the cinematic gem Cool As Ice (which I will delve into further at a later date, as it obviously deserves it’s own post). Or the live performance of this song on Saturday Night Live, during which Vanilla Ice sported a truly magnificent jacket with ‘WORD TO YOUR MOTHA’ spelled out in diamond studs on the back — possibly the best piece of clothing worn by anyone, anywhere, in the history of time. Sadly, this is the only picture I could find of it:

Vanilla Ice

If you ever come across a jacket like this one, please buy it for me and I will love you forever x infinity

Seriously, I don’t understand why there aren’t multiple web sites devoted to this jacket. If ever there was a garment of clothing deserving of it’s own tumblr, surely it is this one.

Anyway…clearly I am familiar with the man’s oeuvre, is what I’m trying to say. So how the viewing of this video managed to elude me until now is truly a mystery for the ages. Now that I have seen it, it feels like a piece of me that had always been missing has fallen into place.

Also, I have come to an important conclusion. You know how people always daydream about what they would ask for if they could have one wish magically granted? I have decided what mine would be — I would wish for the dance skills necessary to perform the routine in this video from start to finish. Think of how often that ability would come in handy! Like, for example, if you found yourself in the middle of an impromptu dance-off. It is important to be prepared for such things. As a bonus, if you were ever feeling blue you could bust out these moves and instantly cheer yourself up.

As for my love of this video…will it ever stop? Yo, I don’t know. But I certainly hope not, because it is making me pretty happy.


Two Songs, One Name

good vibrations

You know what’s funny? When two very different songs share the same name. Especially when it leads to confusing/embarrasing conversations like this one:

Spencer’s (much cooler) friend: “‘Good Vibrations’ is such a great tune…”
Spencer: “Oh ya, I love Marky Mark!”
Spencer’s friend: “Um…I was talking about the Beach Boys song…”
Awkward silence as both parties realize the extent of Spencer’s lameness.

Don’t get me wrong, the Beach Boys’ version is also awesome, but how can you not love the Funky Bunch’s ridiculous ’90s dance moves? And Marky Mark’s shirtless posing. Not to mention that gold glitter hat…

Here are the two songs, side by side:

Oh man! I’m just gonna say it: they are both great. That’s the beauty of two songs with one name — unlike your typical classic vs. cover scenario, you don’t really have to measure how they stack up to one another, or choose between them. You can instead just enjoy each song for what it is. And although these two couldn’t be more different in some ways, when it comes down to it they are both songs about the thrill of hitting that sweet spot, where everything is just waves and waves and waves of good times.


Classic vs Cover: I Think We’re Alone Now

You guys! For my inaugural ‘Classic vs. Cover’ post I am very excited to be writing about this song! I grew up with the Tiffany version. I remember rocking out to it at sleepovers in grade six while we did each others’ makeup (peach lip gloss was big that year) and gossiped about the boys we liked (Aaron Prosser, in my case)*. Good times.

*Super embarrassing if he is reading this now.

Back then, I was not aware that the song was a cover. The original was done by Tommy James and the Shondells (their other hits included ‘Crimson and Clover’ and ‘Mony Mony’ – which was, of course, later covered by Billy Idol).

Here is the Tommy James version:

Pretty awesome, right? It’s got a great pop-meets-garage vibe, and I love how they do the ‘heartbeat’ part.

Now, the cover by Tiffany:

Right off the top, it’s way more poppy than the original, with those sweet synth beats and the hilarious/awesome ’80s overproduction. Also, I don’t think we can discount the amazingness of this video. I mean…the dance moves! The acid wash denim! Gumby!! Gah…it’s all so good!

So, which version is best? The classic is much more stripped down than the cover, and I would argue that since it’s a really great song to begin with, the original shows that off perfectly with no need for embellishment. On the other hand, Tiffany’s version is a pretty glorious piece of sugary bubblegum perfection.

One thing I really like about this tune in general is the fact that, for a song that’s all about sneaking off to hook up with someone, both versions are pretty innocent. Don’t get me wrong, I’m no prude — but in this day and age of explicit sexuality and raunchy lyrics, it’s kind of refreshing to listen to a song that contains a line like “The beating of our hearts is the only sound” — rather than, say, “Sticks and stones may break my bones but chains and whips excite me” from Rihanna, this generation’s incarnation of a pop princess (possibly being listened to at little girls’ sleepovers as we speak). I dunno, maybe it’s just the romantic in me.

As for these two versions of ‘I Think We’re Alone Now,’ what’s your preference? Classic, or cover?


Song of the Day: ‘Hero’ by Enrique Iglesias

enrique iglesias

Okay. I am about to tell you something that I’ve never told anyone except the Finn. It is kind of embarrassing. Here it is: I love Enrique Iglesias’ music. Like, I totally do. It’s poppy and it’s cheesy and it’s euro and it makes me happy. My song of the day for today was a toss-up between my two Enrique favourites. Option #1 was ‘Escape’ which yes, has lyrics that are slightly stalker-esque, but OMG ENRIQUE AND ANNA KOURNIKOVA MAKING OUT THE BATHROOM THAT IS HOT. I’m sorry, but I would totally watch the two of them having sex. Is that super pervy? I don’t care. I would. Don’t lie, you would too.

However, I ended up going with ‘Hero’ because this song is just amazing on so many levels. And by amazing I mean ridiculous. And by ridiculous I mean fantastic. First of all, I am kind of fascinated by the whole phenomenon of these over-the-top love ballads. There is no irony here. Enrique truly believes that love will conquer all, and when he sings “I can be your hero baby / I can kiss away the pain / I will stand by you forever / You can take my breath away” you know that this is meant as a grand romantic pledge. But what does any of it mean, actually? I had this conversation with some friends a while ago. I was telling them about an ex of mine who once professed to me that I was his “sun, moon and stars”. I was like “well that’s all very nice and good my friend, but WHAT DOES IT MEAN?” Nothing. They’re just empty words. You can say all the pretty things you want, but if there’s nothing backing them up then they are as flimsy as the proverbial house of cards. Anyway, these types of lyrics are used all the time in pop songs, and I know that love is a difficult thing to write about without sounding like an idiot, but surely we can do better than this? And yet…and yet…sometimes there is nothing better in the world than singing along to a ridiculous ballad with hideously cheesy lyrics (see also: Extreme’s ‘More than Words’). Because really, in the end, love IS cheesy. It makes you do stupid things and feel heightened emotions and take foolish leaps of faith. But we all need a little of that in our lives, don’t we? I mean, just to keep things fun? And if unabashedly maudlin love songs help us to connect with that part of ourselves, are they not helping to make the world a better place? Yes they are.

The other thing I love about this song is that the video for it is literally AMAZE x 1,000,000 for so many reasons, including:

  • – Mickey Rourke as the villain
  • – Jennifer Love Hewitt in the only role I’ve ever seen her in that didn’t make me want to punch her in the face
  • – The scenes of them driving with the money flying out of the car. This makes me crazy. Yeah yeah I know, the (not at all subtle) point is that money means nothing compared to their undying love. But every time I see it I want to leap into the screen and run after the money because IT IS A LOT OF MONEY!!!! I need some. Send it over here Enrique!
  • – How everyone in this video is so well lit. J.Lo.Hew looks like a million bucks.
  • – The storyline that has absolutely nothing to do with the lyrics of the song. I mean, how exactly is Enrique being a “hero” in this scenario? I guess if being heroic means stealing money from a shady drug lord (?) and putting the lives of yourself and the woman you love in danger, then yeah…a hero you are, sir. ???? None of it makes any sense.
  • – The best, best, BEST ever dying scene at the end of the video. When I die I hope it is lying on a street in the rain with the Finn clutching at his chest and sobbing like J.Lo.Hew. Probably the most overwrought piece of acting I’ve ever seen. In fact, everything about this video is completely overwrought, which is what makes it SO GOOD.

So that’s my Song of the Day. Happy Friday to you all! Now enjoy one of the best videos of all time:


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