20
Jun 15

LEANN RIMES – “Can’t Fight The Moonlight”

Popular34 comments • 2,804 views

#882, 24th November 2000

leannrimes “Same Old Brand New You” showed that the Max Martin style could be achieved on the cheap – but what happened if you went in the other direction? Plasticky British pop wasn’t the only strain under pressure from the Swedes – America’s pop establishment, typified by ballad queen Diane Warren, also needed to react. “Can’t Fight The Moonlight”, co-written by Warren, is one attempt. It’s an expansive meeting of styles – a sweeping film soundtrack number, produced with thumping, Martin-esque drama. Just in case that wasn’t big enough, the producer is Trevor Horn, obviously no stranger to maximalist visions for pop. Somewhere in this colossal landscape is LeAnn Rimes, a young country-to-pop crossover act who seemed more comfortable at the faith and flag end of her original genre.

Can it possibly hang together? Can Warren’s, Horn’s, Rimes’ and (in spirit) Martin’s contributions align? From its first chord – distorted, almost grungy, but enormous – “Can’t Fight The Moonlight” sounds overstuffed, like “Oops…I Did It Again” on growth hormones. Martin’s songwriting trick at this point – simple, but immensely successful – was to introduce ideas and bring them gradually together, so that his hits come in with relative understatement and go out with a mighty collision of overlapping hooks. “Can’t Fight The Moonlight” starts big and finds itself with nowhere much larger to go, reliant on ever more pop-eyed yawling from LeAnn Rimes. Luckily the song, especially that confident chorus, is strong enough to just about carry this weight.

But the production doesn’t really work for it. “Can’t Fight The Moonlight” is, in its bones, Tin Pan Alley songwriting, a romantic metaphor with a lyric hung around it. It’s flirtatious, a world and a tradition away from the feverish interiority of Britney’s hits, say. And the metaphor is one of fate – events are beyond the control of Rimes’ intended; it’s the bewitching power of the moonlight – of traditional romance – that’s making the running. But the staging of the song as a display of overwhelming strength is giving the moonlight one hell of a push. Horn’s thunderous production, and Rimes’ hulked-out twang, suggest not so much drawing down the moon as threatening to physically smash it into the Earth. The Martin style runs into its limits. It can excite, but it can also exhaust.

5

Comments

  1. 1
    Tom on 20 Jun 2015 #

    (I suspect this is very fun to sing, though.)

  2. 2
    weej on 20 Jun 2015 #

    First country #1 since Kenny Rogers in 1980 (unless we count Rednex, that is.)

  3. 3
    will on 20 Jun 2015 #

    Stopped Daft Punk’s One More Time from reaching Number One, as I recall.

    ‘Theme from Coyote Ugly’ says the sleeve. A film? TV show? Does anyone remember?

  4. 4
    Mark M on 20 Jun 2015 #

    Ah, Coyote Ugly! I’m reluctant to start off on this because I’m sure Pete – a great connoisseur of movies in which songs are written – has a lot to say. It scores a spectacularly rotten 27/100 on Meteoritic, which is harsh. It’s a load of old tosh, there are there are so many worse films. Peter Travers of Rolling Stone gets it completely wrong (not for the first time) by describing it as ‘soft-core pap for horny boys and their hornier dads’ – which, despite being largely set in a drinking establishment where the female staff, wearing PVC trousers, dance on top of the bar, is absolutely what it isn’t. No, this is 100% chick flick, as very clearly signalled by the fact that the male lead is Aussie musical theatre specialist Adam Garcia, who has almost never been cast in a work whose primary intended audience was straight men.

    So, despite the drink and the bar full of howling frat boys/Wall Street twats, this is an old-fashioned tale of a sweet, shy girl who has come to the big city to make it as a songwriter, and who learns to toughen up and loosen up by working at Coyote Ugly. I think it contains a number of scenes where Violet gets direct inspiration to write songs from events around her. Including, possibly, this one, reflecting in part the fact that she writes ON THE ROOF, where she has taken her electric keyboard (to avoid grumpy neighbours?).

    There are some good people in the movie (John Goodman – not a his best, Maria Bello – well cast as the tough but loving bar manager, Melanie Lynskey) and some not (oh, Tyra Banks).

    Can’t Fight The Moonlight is sung at least twice, probably more – by Violet (acted by Piper Perabo, but vocals by Leanne Rimes, apparently) and then by Rimes as herself, as seen in the video.

    Pete?

  5. 5
    Mark M on 20 Jun 2015 #

    ‘Many of the movie’s shots are high-angle, looking down at the customers, their mouths upturned and gulping like gasping fish. Illuminated by garish neon, they bear an uncanny resemblance to Hieronymus Bosch’s paintings of the damned roasting in hell.’

    I miss Ebert.

  6. 6
    Izzy on 20 Jun 2015 #

    Ha! The film’s pretty good actually; the song’s better. It’s quality writing, strong melody and a good bunch of hooks.

    But yes, it does fold under its weight rather towards the end. The overlapping vocals don’t work, and in fact on my tinny phone speaker sound plain amateurish, like the effect I used to get sometimes if I’d wired up my cassette desk wrong and talked out loud while I was taping Bruno Brookes. (7)

  7. 7
    JLucas on 20 Jun 2015 #

    Unless you managed to hit Shania-esque crossover paydirt, country music was a tough sell in the UK around the turn of the century – and remains so today. Many tried to follow in Twain’s footsteps around this time – Faith Hill, Martina McBride, the Dixie Chicks – but few made much of an impact on these shores.

    LeAnn Rimes hit our charts at almost exactly the same time as Twain – early 1998 – with her long-running smash ‘How Do I Live’. Like Shania’s big ballads, the song was barely a country song at all, and perfectly comfortable alongside the likes of Martine McCutcheon and Dina Carroll on daytime radio playlists of the time.

    However, while Twain had the pop/country crossover formula nailed down, How Do I Live was something of an anomaly in Rimes’ early material – she initially came to fame because her distinctively yodelling voice was so eerily reminiscent of the great Patsy Cline. As a result, her subsequent singles – which included a pair of Cline covers in ‘Blue’ and ‘Crazy’ – were a lot more in the traditional country vain, and made little impact on our shores.

    Also unlike Twain, Rimes wasn’t a songwriter. Consequently, while she’s an excellent singer, she was reliant on the variable quality of the material offered to her by external sources. Had she arrived on the scene a few years earlier, she might have become a major AC crossover star a’la Celine Dion and post-Miami Sound Machine Gloria Estefan. Instead she had to compete with Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera – and while they were drafting in Max Martin and Linda Perry, Rimes was working with Diane Warren and Carole Bayer Sager.

    Warren had already penned one global smash for the singer, and in Can’t Fight The Moonlight she gave her a second. Perhaps the fact that it was envisioned as a standalone movie soundtrack single helped Rimes to dip her toes into a fresher, more aggressive sound (like many child stars, she was tightly controlled by her manager father during the early years of her career, and she ended up suing him for embezzled earnings and creative control).

    Lyrically, the song has an endearingly tame conceit. It may be a little sexually aggressive, but there’s something about the talk of moonlight and stolen hearts that makes me think more of romantic standards by the likes of Franki Valli and Judy Garland than the highly suggestive metaphors employed by Britney and Christina’s lyricists. What saves it from slipping into anachronistic tweeness is Rimes’ performance. She’s always been an underrated singer in my opinion – not showy like Christina and Mariah – but powerful, distinctive and intelligent. The backing track to ‘..Moonlight’ is actually quite plodding. Imagine Britney purring her way through it – it’d probably be a total bore. Likewise Christina screaming her way through it. Rimes identifies a strong melody and gives it just the right amount of attack. I agree that the instrumental doesn’t develop much, but her vocal does – she starts off soft and builds energy throughout, and her ad-libs towards the end are perfectly judged to prevent the song from feeling as repetitive as it actually is. You can hear the same talent for phrasing and light and shade on How Do I Live – this is a really excellent, instinctive song stylist at work, and that’s a large part of the reason both of her signature hits endure as karaoke and talent show standards.

    As we all know by now, being a great singer isn’t even half of what it takes to emerge as a bona fide pop icon, and Rimes was never quite compelling enough to grab the public imagination beyond a brace of likeable hits. Variable material and bad management kept her locked out of pop’s A-list despite a few game attempts over the next few years, and aside from an eminently forgettable duet with Ronan Keating in 2004, she never breached the UK top ten again. She’s since gone back to her country roots with mixed success in America, but hasn’t seen the UK top 40 in almost a decade.

    8 for this – a very solid pop song boosted by an excellent central performance. Shame she wasn’t able to capitalise on it more.

  8. 8
    wichitalineman on 20 Jun 2015 #

    Did this have the same effect on Rimes’ career as the Mutt Lange makeover did on the Corrs’? It felt like she was going to be huge after How Do I Live, CFTM seemed like conformation, but I don’t remember hearing her name after this. I can picture Mike Love shaking his head mumbling obscenities and “formula” over and over again.

    I’d always assumed this was a remix of a straight country song until recently.

    (Ah, thanks JL, that partly answers my question).

  9. 9
    JLucas on 20 Jun 2015 #

    Aside – I’d disagree that the metaphor of the song places Rimes in a passive context. I’ve always read it as a song about seduction. She has her eye on her target, and she’s so confident of success that she warns him he might as well not bother trying to resist, though her vocal is playful enough to suggest that she’s going to enjoy the chase.

    It’s all in that ad-lib near the end. “You can TRY to RESIST my KISS…” – the moon isn’t doing the heavy lifting here, it’s just a convenient romantic backdrop.

  10. 10
    Tom on 20 Jun 2015 #

    #9 I was too clever-clever with my witchy metaphors, I think – I think that the lyric puts Rimes in control of the situation (she’s certainly not passive, she’s moved them into a position where the situation will overwhelm him) but the production – and her vocal, to an extent – makes her sound much more directly aggressive. Maybe you’re right and that’s what an old-fashioned lyric needs, I’m not sure though.

  11. 11
    flahr on 20 Jun 2015 #

    Isn’t the chorus a straight rip of “Barbie Girl”? You can try to resist try to hide from my kiss kiss me there touch me there hanky-panky.

  12. 12
    Phil on 20 Jun 2015 #

    I’m not sure Trevor Horn was having a good day – the clumping, plodding strut of the backing track couldn’t be more Cheiron-by-numbers if it tried, and the chorus is very ‘Oops’ (I was going to say something clever about the chord progression here, but the chords are weird). The idea seems to be that if you take a sweet, vaguely country-ish song & put it through the Cheironator you’ll get a song sung by an attractively feisty sexual predator like, er, Britney – whose USP was something a lot more edgy & dangerous, even in her heyday. For me it’s a misfire – I’ll give it 4, and one of those is for some hearteningly full-on vocal noodling.

  13. 13
    Izzy on 20 Jun 2015 #

    I’ve just realised that it’s a big surprise to me to find this song on Popular. In my mind it’s a huge sleeper hit with modest initial success – not perhaps of methuselan scale like Don’t Stop Believin’, but the sort of tune that hangs around all year and makes the year-end top ten, without breaching the actual top ten itself.

    We’ve come across Journey syndrome a few times on Popular, but I’m not sure there’s a name for false memory of the opposite type?

  14. 14
    swanstep on 20 Jun 2015 #

    Wow, I’m finding this (on first 4 or 5 listens) busily horrible. Like ‘Same Old Brand New You’, CFTM is a franken-record but this time the individual parts that have been stitched together are charmless at best, revolting at worst (e.g., that key change in the middle 8 after a bunch of odd changes earlier is painful). As Tom basically notes, a bombastathon about moonlight, like the image of moonlight as an assailant is just a very bad idea. And none of this does anything positive for Rimes’s voice (great on ‘How Do I live’ and recent stuff like ‘What Have I Done’); she sounds utterly lost here, like she doesn’t believe a word of what she’s singing, and even her usual good diction (that first line!) deserts her:
    3

  15. 15
    lonepilgrim on 20 Jun 2015 #

    LeAnn Rimes’ voice is the only part of this that I really enjoy.
    Via Wiki I discover that “According to [Diane] Warren it is the first song she’d written with so many key changes” which begs the question, why? Perhaps to showcase Rimes’ vocal range and to paper over the cracks of the heavy-handed production and crappy lyrics.

  16. 16
    AMZ1981 on 20 Jun 2015 #

    In 2000’s second long run of one week wonders LeAnn Rimes was the only act scoring her only UK chart topper and indeed it stands out as a bit of an oddity in the year as a whole. It was the 12th biggest seller of the year and surprisingly outsold every other chart topper between September and November inclusive (although Who Let The Dogs Out was the biggest selling single overall).

    It is a bit of a throwback to the early nineties; had this come out in 1991/92 I think it would have been a number one single and sat a lot better in context. It did well to break through in 2000 and block Daft Punk from the top with One More Time. Speaking of Daft Punk the album Discovery, hailed at the time as a groundbreaking dance masterpiece, came out early in 2001 – we will of course eventually meet them in 2013.

    LeAnn Rimes herself feels a little bit like a prototype Taylor Swift. It’s a bit mean to dismiss her as a `faith and flag` artist when a look at her Wikipedia article suggests that she has aligned herself with liberal causes.

  17. 17
    James Silkstone on 20 Jun 2015 #

    I certainly agree with the notion that Rimes (and to some extent Faith Hill) were Taylor prototypes. Attractive, blonde female country singers who fully made the crossover from country to pop – though CFTM is hardly a country record, in anyway. Following this, I recall Rimes releasing ‘Life Goes On’ in 2002 (my personal favourite of hers) and a dreary duet with Ronan Keating a few years later. Hill’s biggest hit – “There You’ll Be” – was still to come however.

    I absolutely adored this record as a child, though now I can see it’s not quite the masterpiece I thought. There’s something strangely comforting about this record, particularly for me as a child, and it’s probably the themes of magic and moonlight – in a way perfectly fitting in to the Harry Potter era truly about to take off. Hell, had the Rowling let the movies go full Hollywood – CFTM could well have ended upon on a Harry Potter soundtrack album!

  18. 18
    JoeWiz on 20 Jun 2015 #

    My first long term girlfriend loved Coyote Ugly, thusly I was forced into watching it about once every 2 months for entirety of our relationship, though this was 2004, so its initial flush of success had obviously had some impact on her, Lord knows why. Neither of the leads went on to movie stardom did they? Adam Garcia cropped up in a Marple I caught on ITV 3 recently…
    It’s a terrible film, without being offensive and my feelings about this are about the same.
    I like the key change for the chorus, there’s a real lift of energy the first time it happens, but the backing is definitely below par and Rimes’ vocals are a bit beige for me. The film was a sizeable hit, wasn’t it? I bought the video for a girl I was wooing at the time, my pocket money just about stretched. She’d asked for Cruel Intentions but I got ID’d…
    Oh, and the Swift comparisons are fair up to a point. I could never Rimes coming up with something as interesting as Blank Space. But that’s just me.

  19. 19
    lonepilgrim on 20 Jun 2015 #

    I think the Taylor Swift comparisons are pretty superficial with the significant difference being that Swift has had a hand in writing almost everything that she has recorded

  20. 20
    Chelovek na lune on 20 Jun 2015 #

    I can only think of this record as a mistake, a lost opportunity, a case of a record company trying too hard to “break” a singer by giving her material that really didn’t suit her style or show her at her best. I loved “How Do I Live” (although perhaps not quite as much as the Trisha Yearwood version – now that a singer who deserves to be better known by a mainstream audience…. – although Rimes’ slightly poppier version suggests that she has both a sweeter and perhaps more versatile voice than Yearwood) , and had a certain amount of affection for the other pop-country crossover stuff she had put out since, so the prospect of her having a number one single filled me with excitement….until I heard it.

    Why Oh Why Oh Why? This is both overblown and stultifying: it doesn’t really flow, the exceedingly evident Diane Warren contribution makes this sound more like a mediocre Belinda Carlisle album track than the voice of new pop-country (and I have no particular objection to the flags-and-faith side of things….) , and the changes of pace and of key are almost stomach-churning. The comparison with the recent Corrs no 1 is obvious (turn up the production values, drain out or tone down the individual pecularities of the artist), but, unlike that, the song here is not quite strong enough to survive this surfeit of production tricks. Anyway, far worse than being Leanne Rimes least fine moment, it is possibly Trevor Horn’s (although, hmm, FGTH were always immensely overrated as well as overhyped)- that is a worse artistic crime.

    Sorry, I would love to like this, but I can’t. Too much perspiration, not enough inspiration. 3

  21. 21
    mapman132 on 21 Jun 2015 #

    Following “How Do I Live”, LeAnn Rimes seemed like the kind of star who would be around for years, or even decades, to come. Obviously it didn’t happen for a myriad of reasons, some of which were covered in this thread. Also, she always seemed much older to me than she actually was – seeing the Britney comparisons in this thread, I had to remind myself that LeAnn is younger by a year.

    Anyhow, CFTM had a very strange life in the US. It sold quite well – I think it may have even topped the sales chart – but radio didn’t know what to do with it. Despite the success of HDIL, Rimes was still considered a country singer by most, and CFTM obviously wasn’t a country record – so this kind of left it in radio no (wo)man’s land. Eventually, its sales got noticed by somebody, and it crawled up to #11 on the Hot 100 more than a year after release. Wikipedia actually shows it appearing on the 2002 year-end list. This gave Rimes the unfortunate distinction of both one of the biggest #2 hits and one of the biggest #11 hits in Hot 100 history.

    Finally, by coincidence, CFTM was played at a bar trivia event I was at just this week. I initially identified it as Britney before correcting myself. D’oh!

  22. 22
    Regina on 21 Jun 2015 #

    I’m very fond of this one. It’s got some enjoyable gear changes along the way and the only thing letting it down for me is a surprisingly slovenly drum track from Trevor Horn. And like most Diane Warren songs it’s perfect karaoke fodder.
    There were quite a few dance mixes and the Graham Stack Latino version certainly helped prolong it’s life on radio in the U.S., so much so that many people only know it by that dance version.
    7.

  23. 23
    Jonathan on 21 Jun 2015 #

    Biggest difference between Rimes and Swift is that the former always pitched her lyrical voice as being older than she was — she sang songs that a country singer of any age might. Swift wasn’t just a teen doing (country) pop; she basically invented teen-pop in a country context. Rimes did for a while collapse the difference between pop and country, but she was following in the footsteps of Shania Twain — who did it more successfully — and Faith Hill, both of whom are bigger influences on Swift as an artist.

  24. 24
    thefatgit on 21 Jun 2015 #

    Count me in with the Populistas here. LeAnn Rimes does have a compelling voice and she gives a creditable performance, but the production lets this one down badly. The top-heaviness means gravity will force it to collapse in on itself…and in the end it does. Poor LeAnn can’t fight the mixing desk as further legions of sonic frippery are sent in to do battle with her besieged vocals. Guys, how much is too much?

    Having said that, it’s still quite a well constructed lyric. She’s in control. She’s making all the moves here, and while I’m admiring her resolve to win the object of her affection over with increasing persistence, I’m wondering why Trevor Horn needed to signify this need with massive chunks of guitar, crunching percussion and stabs of strings. Does she not have all the weapons she needs already?

    This falls into the trap of being cinematic, because it’s soundtracking a movie. We’re not really in power ballad territory, but it’s building like one. A second listen uncovers the “Barbie Girl” comparison. A third frames it within the Max Martin formula. It’s a proper Frankenstein’s Monster of a record, but relatively enjoyable nevertheless. Judging by the comments, I’m kinda glad I never saw the film. (6)

  25. 25
    fivelongdays on 22 Jun 2015 #

    Coyote Ugly is, by quite some margin, the worst movie I have ever been subjected to in my entire life.

    This, on the other hand, isn’t that awful really.

    5.

  26. 26
    Shiny Dave on 22 Jun 2015 #

    Hadn’t realised there was a Warren bunny coming soon, so this feels like a great opportunity to point out the existence of this amazing interview (website is NSFW and that currently includes something on the sidebar) in which she points out she’s never really been in love. Frankly, as an autistic and asexual man who found love almost completely by accident and spent years assuming disinterest in that too, there’s an awful lot in there that resonates with me.

    It dates back to October 2006 – that’s a few months after “Numb” came out, quite possibly my favourite Pet Shop Boys record, and a song that – like this – was written by Warren and produced by Horn. Of course, “Numb” is not a romantic ballad, but something quite different in its source of despair. I think (but can’t source) Warren saying it was written in the aftermath of a death in the family, the album’s appearance on Fundamental clearly invites an Iraq War-themed reading, and the song was used over the top of the closing credits of the BBC’s coverage of England’s World Cup defeat to Portugal – but sometimes the right reading of a song is the immediate and obvious one, and for me “Numb” has always stood alone as the best illustration of sensory overload, the single greatest difficulty I face as an autistic person, I’ve ever encountered in any medium. It is possibly my favourite song of all time, one I listen to time and time again on the occasions I get it out, and if it were bunnied it’d be the single most nailed-on 10 I’d ever give in this project.

    But it didn’t make the top, and this Warren/Horn combination did. And I can’t understand why I like it, because both writer and producer are a long way below their best, and yet… I’ve just listened to it several times in a row without complaining.

    Part of it is that it’s weirdly difficult to get a handle on – all the individual components work well (it’s a solid song with a great singalong hook, Cheiron-with-an-orchestra is a winning formula on the production side even if it'[s really not helped by going too big too soon, LeAnn sings strongly and only has one real dissolution into melismatic nonsense) but for a song with such big names behind it in a movie musical about songwriting, it feels oddly throwaway.

    Then again, the alternative could have so easily ended up as a dreadfully drippy ballad only a couple of levels up from “Forever Love,” and this is at least high-impact and enjoyable. I’d also add that the Cheiron (or at least Martin-for-Britney) trick of massed backing vocals taking the post-bridge choruses gets semi-used here in the form of multi-tracked LeAnn, and that works very well for me by allowing Warren to have her cake (create a stonking singalong chorus) and eat it (create opportunities for LeAnn to show off, and even those are relatively constrained by the standards of, say, Aguilera).

    Solidly enjoyable and at least a 6 for me.

  27. 27
    Shiny Dave on 22 Jun 2015 #

    #16 If you’d said in 2000/1 that Daft Punk would have a number 1 featuring Nile Rodgers I daresay not many would have been surprised… until you told them it wasn’t going to happen for another three Olympiads.

    They do make an uncredited appearance in 2007 too, in fairness. But that one’s more notable as the Popular debut of one of the 21st century’s most interesting artists. We’ve got another one of those with the next bunny, come to think of it…

  28. 28
    koganbot on 24 Jun 2015 #

    Actually, Rimes went on to co-write a lot of her stuff. But despite some of it obviously having personal meaning for her — I think the title song on Twisted Angel was meant to be a self-portrait, when she does “Family” live she asks audience members to raise their hands if they too are from a dysfunctional family, and “What I Cannot Change” is her own take on the Serenity Prayer — and despite her most recent album having brief appearances in the credits by both Nathan Chapman (original Swift producer) and Liz Rose (original Swift co-writer), none of it has the feel of Swift’s autobiographical singer-songwriter stream. In fact, Rimes is interestingly all over the place, the only psychological constant being her deep, thick immediately recognizable voice. Her good but hopelessly anachronistic and commercially doomed full-on pop move, Twisted Angel, sounded as if her true musical love was the heaving “Flashdance” stomps of ten years earlier, and four years later she put out a Europe-only dance-rock album. Anyway, quality could be as erratic as her style, but there’s a lot of good stuff, if you want to explore. My favorite five are “No Way Out,” “And It Feels Like,” “Family,” “Upper Hand,” and “The Bottle Let Me Down.”

  29. 29
    koganbot on 26 Jun 2015 #

    #12 I had to google “USP” and think I’ve settled on Unique Selling Proposition (“attractively feisty sexual predator like, er, Britney — whose USP was something a lot more edgy & dangerous”), though Universal Self-loading Pistol works nearly as well.

  30. 30
    Kinitawowi on 26 Jun 2015 #

    Unique Selling Point is the version I’ve always been given by business-y wonks at work training. If they’re feeling really tragic they’ll call it a Wow! Factor.

  31. 31
    enitharmon on 28 Jun 2015 #

    I’m interrupting this thread to flash my knickers a little and say that DJ Rosie made her DJ-ing debut this afternoon and, though she says it herself, did it with some aplomb. She is wondering why she didn’t think of doing this forty years ago because she took to it like the proverbial duck to water.

    I’ve volunteered for (hospital) Radio Lonsdale and was helping them fundraise with a live outside broadcast. I feared I was going to be stuck with a collecting tin all afternoon but finally Pete the station manager let me do the last half hour as long as long as he was next to me holding my hand. As it happens when I did my intro, faded in the first track (I’m not altogether unfamiliar with a sound desk having been bounced into sound engineering at a pub folk festival a few years ago), crossfaded into the second track and remembered to do a station ID (which some of them forgot) he said I didn’t need him and left me too it. I was improvising, too, with no script and no prepared playlist and a somewhat limited selection to play. I didn’t play LeAnn Rimes. I expect this post should really have gone under The Winner Takes It All and oddly enough my instinct for what felt right in that environment led me to play an all-70s selection: David Bowie, Bob Marley, Abba, Aretha Franklin, disco-era Bee Gees, Queen and Candi Staton.

    Populism next, hey guys? There’s life in the old girl yet! ;)

  32. 32
    Elmtree on 3 Jul 2015 #

    Possibly Trevor Horn’s worst production to do OK. I cringe at the cheap snapping drum sounds. It’s such a shame – he looked like he was on the way to defining the 90s as well with ‘Crazy’ but this is following not leading, even if I’m sure he got a good payday from it. I feel a bit more guitar (especially weirder guitar sound) would have made it stand out a bit more, and possibly retain the appeal to country fans. The traces of chromaticism (I think?) stand out well on the chorus, but when he tries to fold in countermelodies around 2:25 on the video it really doesn’t work. The key changes have a blunt force that carries but they sound so obvious. Rimes’ voice is pretty good – the way she bites onto every word adds a lot of commitment and masks a lot of the cynicism of the song. (That wistful “You can’t fight it…” is brilliant at adding momentum and poise to a song lacking it elsewhere.)

    Completely agreed on ‘Numb’. One of my favourite songs ever. Jaw-dropping video, too, though only being available in SD is a real shame. Wish they’d performed it when I saw them live in ’09.

  33. 33
    CriticSez on 8 Dec 2016 #

    I admit this is girlie pop with a hint of hard rock, but it’s actually quite a charming song, from the opening guitar chords, through the keyboard section before the final chorus, to the end.

    Trust me, I’ve never seen “Coyote Ugly” (not even on TV), nor am I old enough to remember this song at that time, but I gave this a listen last year. I couldn’t find much to fault with this, and I still can’t.

    Even though her vocals are (as I’ve heard) altered from her natural vocal range, it’s better than covering up a lack of talent like the Auto-Tuners have done in the Teens (2010s decade). Taylor Swift can’t compare. She needs to clean up her act.

    9, without exaggeration.

  34. 34
    CriticSez on 13 Jun 2017 #

    Here I am, back from a break. No new #1’s posted here since FEBRUARY!

    I just want to say now that I’ve seen the film. About five or six times.

    It’s not that bad after all! I bought the extended cut on DVD (rated 15, as opposed to the 12-rated original). I saw it a few times. I quite liked it.

    EVERYTHING is garbage to some extent, but there are way worse films than that.

    Anyway, 7 for the film. 9 for the song, as before.

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