Tuesday, March 17, 2015

The Power Ballad

I was in the mood for some feel good 70s  music today as I was spring cleaning and I discovered something.  Two of my favorite power ballads from the 90s are actually 70s originals.  I knew they were remakes, but didn't know the belonged to that wild and wacky decade.  Thus, I feel the need to tally:


You're The Inspiration (When You Love Somebody) by Chicago:  This is nothing more than a feel- good-about-life kind of song.  No unrequited love, no heartbreak.  Just--You. You're it.  It can be applied to any kind of love and its the kind of song that means more the older you get. I like to do the drum riffs and echo back ("when you love some-bo-DAY!")

Without You by Mariah Carey
"No, I. Can't forget this evenin'...."   You know a song brings the drama when it begins with a sigh.  I have a feeling any little girl who got a karoke machine for Christmas 1992 (not to get too specific or anything) may have this one in her repertoire of "Love Gone Wrong."

All By Myself by Celine Dion
Like many other teenaged girls of the mid-90s, I discovered this song from Clueless as Cher walks down the stairs to her pool and realizes, duh, she loves Josh.  I love the theatrics of the song, especially when it gets whispery as sung by Celine.  You just gotta give yourself a chest bump and bring the magic in honor Ms. Dion.

Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me by Gladys Knight
This song, now, makes me think of my kids.  It may or may not be the line I'll inscribe in the forward of my (almost) imaginary memoir.  It's soulful and honest: "If anyone/should ever write/my life story/for whatever reason there might be/you'll be there/ in each line of pain and glory/'cause your the best thing that ever happened to me."

I Dreamed a Dream-- Glee Cast Featuring Lea Michele and Idina Menzel
This song struck a chord with me before I'd seen the musical and knew the larger context of the story. In this version, the actresses are telling the narrative of the story from the perspective of a mother who has given up her daughter and the daughter who wants to be a part of her life, but it's too late.  Idina Menzel sings the part of heartbreak, and Lea Michele sings the hopeful lines.  It's soaring ballad that makes you feel as though you too have been abandoned in revolutionary France. Definitely one to belt out in the shower.

One Day More & Bring Him Home-- From Les Miserables Live 2010 Cast Album

Basically, I wish I could sing every part in this musical.  One Day More has to be (if I had to choose) my stand-alone favorite song.  Everything is in the song: separating lovers, duty to a cause, choosing one's destiny; it's all there.  "One More Dawn, One More Day, One Day More." It's almost a life philosophy.  I love it and like to imagine it's playing somewhere in heaven.

Bring Him Home is about a father's love and the raw emotion and truth in it will bring the hardest cynic to tears.  The song starts out gently, as a prayer and builds to a plea to exchange one life for another.  If this is not downloaded to your device of choice, I implore you.  Give it a listen and rectify the situation.  Humanity demands it of you.

What have I forgotten?  I know I've left off Whitney, and she's one of the best for power ballads.  Let me hear from you!

(Sorry if this gif is giving you  a seizure. Celine's brilliance is overpowering.)

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