Monday, June 16, 2008

The Power Of....Escaping Gangsters?

I was on a You Tube binge recently (I call it "binge" since, like all the finer things, junk food, alcohol, etc., I don't realize I've had too much till I'm passed out on the floor.) Anyhow, searching out Laura Branigan videos led me to remember her soaring rendition of the ballad The Power Of Love. My parents weaned me on this version, as they loved Laura and I heard her a lot when I was a kid. I came to think of her version as being vastly superior to Celine Dion's later cover. But I was also interested in checking out the original Jennifer Rush version, since I'd never heard it. But when I checked out the videos, they were all so different, so diva, so....bizarre? So here, my Frothy friends, is a DIVA SHOWDOWN between Jennifer, Laura and Celine!

May the Power Of Love unite us in dissecting these three video treats:


The video opens with what appear to be "shady characters" doing Then - wait for it - the male love interest in the video just happens to be spying on the "shady characters" who are peering out the window as police sirens blare. Cut to a very 80s glam looking Jennifer beginning the ballad as she strolls away from Madison Square Garden. At the 1:16 mark, watch Jennifer sing in the kitchen while streams of glittering fringe cascade from her shoulders! Soon enough she Rushes into an elevator to continue her love ode. Nothing wrong so far, until [cue ominous music] it's the return of the "shady characters". As soon as Jennifer sings "there may be times when I'm far away," the gangsters drag her man into the adjacent elevator to torture him! I guess bad things happen when she's far away. While she's going up, they're going down (and not in the fun way). Yet, she keeps singing in the elevator next door in glamourous oblivion. As he's being taken away to be tortured, maimed, or hurt she coos, "never wonder where I am, cause I am always by your side!" Sure, she's right there beside the next elevator....singing. Then the beat kicks in, she starts waving her arms with that 80s "oomph", all shoulderpads in-your-face! Cut to Jennifer arguing with an old man and then donning sunglasses. mafia! She's involved with the "shady characters" too? They show a pier, just as they did at the start of the video, so I guess that's where the "shady" happens. Then, shadowy figures, deals get made, and BOOM the call gets put out for one of the gangsters to run down Jennifer's man. Check out the 3:38 climax where the guy's all dramatically "Whooaaa" and then gets hit. But watch when he hits the looks like he's lipsynching to the high note Jennifer's singing. Even in his pain, their love still connects them when they're light years away from each other. Then, it's all Jennifer left to finish out the song! No more man, no more "shady", just Jennifer belting out the final chorus. I was all, "That's it??? Where's the ending?" I wanted the full Lifetime Movie Of The Week deal where I find out that Jennifer escaped the mob, joined witness protection and has an adorable tyke to look after, all the while maintaining her glamourous kitchen attire. (See: streams of glittering fringe mentioned earlier.) I wondered if this was from a movie soundtrack because of the bizarre plot tied to the song and video, but it appears this actually was the video's own original plot. So be careful if Jennifer Rush sings a soaring love ballad to you, because while she gets a hit, you'll just get hit by a car.


Solid Gold! Laura Branigan! And an intro from Alan Thicke! Whooo! Since there's no actual video for this that I'm aware of, this will have to do. This is a lipsynch (as seemed customary for Solid Gold), but as Laura tears into this song as if it were a big juicy musical steak! There isn't much to say since it's one of the standard "in the middle of a stage" performances. (Though it is a bit cute to see Laura lipsynch with such overemotion towards the end. She really gets into it, with nearly as much abandon as the "shady characters" did in torturing Jennifer Rush's boyfriend.) But just listen to the vocals.....WOW! Even when Laura pushes her voice to the limit after the key change in the middle, the strain adds grit and character to the song's urgency. Just listen to her belt "Somewhere AAAAIIIIIII'VE never been!" Although I'm biased, this interpretation is my pick of the three. Not as smooth as the Jennifer Rush version, but far more depth and emotion than the version by....


Hmmmm.....this can be summed up much more quickly than Jennifer Rush's interestingly misguided video. Picture Celine. See her eyes. See her in a fluffy white dress. See the soft focus envelope her tiny, tiny body as she runs around in a slip. See her roll around on a bed. See her caress her own hands and touch herself as she sings about how much she's in love. Wait a minute, I get the plot of this video. It's Celine's love ballad to herself! The camera just eats her up with emphasis on her flowing poses, while she strolls around and proclaims her love. But this is where things get sticky. I really don't like this version of the song much. I think Celine has a fabulous voice, but on this particular track she sounds totally whiny. Compare this with either of the above versions. It's more or less gutted of any of the grit in Branigan's version, or the heartfelt tone of Rush's (ignore the gangsters and concentrate on the song, since it is a pretty sincere delivery.) Honorable mention goes to a GREAT remix of Celine's version by talented remixer OrangeFuzzz! (Check out his site.) His remix throws Celine's vocals into a Hi-NRG over the top Diva workout, where the histrionics make sense! But if we're speaking of originals, I think Celine comes up short in this Diva showdown.

Signing off, one Frothy Pop Treat at a time!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Banned In The UK: Barry Pepper!

I've recently been working on a project I call "The Dance Archives" where I'm making mp3 CDs of all the old mixtapes I made in the 1990s. Part of it is to preserve all the records and tapes that I don't have digital copies of, and sometimes when I'm compiling the songs I discover new things about the artists. One such artist is Banned In The UK, a Canadian dance act that apparently only put out one song, a 1992 track called "C'mon And Get My Love". They would be a mere musical footnote if it weren't for the fact that actor Barry Pepper is the lead singer! A friend told me that he gave a great portrayal of a Southern solider in "Saving Private Ryan," but nothing could save him from early 90s rocker hair in the video clip you can see here:

Download the song (lovingly ripped from one of my tapes) here:

The video itself it hilarious due to the guys looking like the early 90s idea of "rockers" (long hair, denim & leather) getting all funky to a dance song with "hot" women parading around And why were they banned in the UK? The other noteworthy thing about this song is that the main riff is a total steal from Jomanda's house classic "Got A Love For You". (Produced by Steve "Silk" Hurley!) Watch the Jomanda video on You Tube here:

Listen to the Jomanda keyboard riff at the 0:15 second mark after the horns. It's the same keyboard riff that goes throughout the Banned In The UK song. I guess the Banned In The UK song wasn't big enough for Jomanda to know about it or take legal action.

Signing off for now, one frothy pop treat at a time!

The Beginning: Frothing From The Mouth!

Hello everybody!

My name is Garth, and this blog will present anything I consider a "Frothy Pop Treat"! This will include, but is not limited to, music, comic books (Archie & Wonder Woman), and other pop culture gems. I might also go off on personal rants occasionally, and this is also a gay friendly blog. So be warned, it will be fabulous! Thanks for reading, and enjoy!