10. Rage – Run To You
When reviewing songs you first heard when you were eleven, ignorance is always going to be a factor. Arriving fresh at an anonymous song, with only a narrow set of musical experiences to draw from or be prejudiced by, can be useful in determining a true first impression. However there’s always the worry that e.g. the song is actually a metaphor for the singer’s love of killing babies with axes. The fear of the unknown!
I mentioned in the introduction to this series that my contemporary pop memory commenced around 1987 with Vanessa Paradis on TOTP. To hear anything released earlier than that, I had to rely on the musical tastes of my sister (Madonna, Prince, Motown) or my parents (‘peace and quiet’). Suffice to say my family weren’t fans of Bryan Adams’ output, and as a result I had never even heard of the chap until his marathon Prince Of Thieves chart run in 1991.
A couple of years later, and eleven-year-old Kat is nearly midway through Rave ’92, still blissfully ignorant. The one truly clumsy transition on the compilation chops off the soothing strains of the Orb and plunges straight into the blaring rave horns of Rage. I didn’t like it at all, especially the line ‘it’s so damn easy making love to you‘. I wasn’t about to start singing along to this one in the playground! It was bad enough when you innocently said ‘doing it’ or ‘then I went to bed’ or if you ate a banana too slowly, or any of a vast range of zero-entendres aimed to catch out even the most streetwise schoolchild.
These days I’ve moved on to far more sophisticated methods of socially humiliating myself, but there’s still quite a lot wrong with this version of ‘Run To You’. The dude’s voice is too boisterous and mechanical for the woozy backing (for what it’s worth, Bryan’s original vocal wouldn’t work here either). The “chirk-ee-chirk-ee-chirk” over the chorus is an annoying distraction instead of the textural improvement I’m sure Rage intended it to be. Perhaps they’d had a brilliant sample lined up, but realised Bryan was going to suck out all their clearance budget and had to plump for the mechanical donkey they’d won from the grabby machine on Worthing Pier instead?
There are improvements of course – great snare drum, an awesome ‘ooooooeeeeei’ siren just before the chorus, slamming piano chords. But the best thing about this track is its structure – it’s definitely a pop song with verses and choruses, played with rave ‘instruments’, rather than a dance track that just happens to have a pop vocal (Messiah’s version of ‘I Feel Love’ earlier on in the compilation, is a slightly different case in that the original barely has any structure at all). There were relatively few straight rave cover versions at the time, most ‘covers’ taking the form of short samples here and there (prove me wrong in the comments!).
I’m still not sure whether I really like this track or not, childhood horror aside. Now I have the benefit of that wider musical knowledge, and I know that without denim-clad Bryan’s AOR original propping up its foundations historically and musically, this rave reworking would be a right old pointless mess. I know that Rage haven’t really done enough here to convince a Bryan-hater that ‘Run To You’ is worthy of their adulation, but that it’s clearly not done the original any harm either. I also know that if you’ve spent several hours trying to make a bloody Youtube video (and weeks putting off downloading the software for it to the detriment of all your writing projects) only to find someone has uploaded the original in the meantime, your enthusiasm for the song may wear a little thin.
Hur hur hur, I said ‘enthusiasm’.