Archive | January, 2011

A Surprise to the Speakers: ELO

22 Jan

I was never one to continue to listen to whole ELO albums after they were bought, but man could they come out with pop gold singles. They had so many major hits that I think a lot of us forget the many tracks that were ‘minor’ hits for them. And, The Diary of Horace Wimp is one of those.

Horace is a typical geek who, beginning on  a Monday, is constantly late for work and in danger of losing his job, very lonely and seemingly directionless. By the end of the week, a Sunday, he has learned to listen to his “inner voice” and reaches for the nerve to turn himself around. Curious that the day Saturday is omitted from the story. Jeff Lynn explained that it was because football is played on Saturday.

Very catchy and hand-clap worthy, with their trademark operatic vocals modulating upward and outward and a chorus that begs to be turned up.

Don’t be afraid, just knock on the door.
But he just stood there mumblin’ and fumblin’,
Then a voice from above said:

Horace Wimp this is your life
Go out and find yourself a wife!
Make a stand and be a man
And you will have a great life plan!

ELO: The Diary of Horace Wimp

As I looked for an accompanying video, I found this hilarious take on Horace’s odyssey. It looks like it was done for an amature video competition, but no matter, it made me laugh out loud.

Pulling out and listening to The Diary of Horace Wimp by ELO once in a while is a decision never regretted. A perfect surprise to the speakers.


Salt in the Eyes

16 Jan

I’m starting a new category today, one that’s based on bad videos. You know, the videos that have some meaningless song attached to an even less meaningful song. Or it could be perhaps a good track with a dumb video.

To kick it off, I’m going with Journey. Yea, I know, Journey’s considered a guilty pleasure out there to the masses, but honestly, I never got the appeal! On the other hand, I’m obviously the minority.

Here for your viewing displeasure is “Open Arms“. Ugh.

Agree? Disagree? Comments are welcome.

Donna Summer

7 Jan

Wouldn’t it be great to break in 2011 with some feverish dance music? Yea, sure, why not you ask? Time to spontaneously gyrate and laugh at our own moves with vague memories of pulsing strobe lights, overcrowded dance floors, speakers that pounded the music loud enough to make our ribs vibrate and a wonton need to dance without inhibitions. Donna Summer, the Queen of Disco, is the one to spark the powder that will cause all that to happen.

Never mind if you loved or hated Disco, or dance music in general, the passing years have shown that Donna Summer has turned in a few timeless tunes – and in the process, turned your hips too. Even years after her royal heyday, you can still put on one of her tracks and whisper and acquiesce to yourself that maybe she wasn’t so bad after all. It’s great music to blast away while whittling time and taking care of business.

Her accomplishments and mind-boggling achievements in the music biz include:

  • First artist to have three double albums in a row reach number one
  • Eleven gold albums
  • Twelve gold singles
  • Academy Award for “Last Dance
  • Twelve Grammy nominations
  • Five Grammy Awards
  • Dance Hall of Fame inductee
  • Successfully charted on the Disco/Club Billboard charts starting in 1975 right up to 2010
  • Was reported by Time Magazine that she had twenty-two orgasms during the recording of “Love to Love You Baby

OK, the last one was thrown in just for titillation, but all in all, as Elvis fans correctly stated, “50,000,000 Fans Can’t Be Wrong”. The point being, for so much early bashing of Disco, and dance music in general, someone had to be buying the disks! Maybe you were one of them? Are you a reformed ‘come out of the closet’ Donna supporter? You are not alone.

Our Love
You’d have to be specially trained in rigid self-control not to tap unconsciously during the drum beat between the lyrics “Our love” (drum beat) … “Will last forever” (drum beat).A highly infectious synthesizer riff is the backbone to this mega-hit. Sommers voice, highly trained by the way, is filled with muted restraint but bucks from the corral when she determinedly states that their love is destined to hold on and make it through the distance that’s keeping them apart. This is her love letter, sent through the miles, that she will be there waiting for him.

I Feel Love
Eight minutes and seventeen seconds of pure escapism bliss! Call this one a guilty pleasure evoking images of a past that’s squarely entrenched within the clotted bulk of the disco frenzy, complete with men’s chest hair flowing out of half-unbuttoned silk shirts, women’s skirts that curve and whirl up to almost the waist when spinning around, coked-up impresarios, long lines of hopefuls waiting for the doorman’s magical finger to point at them – a ticket to come in, and a sound system so loud it would case a rush of embarrassed excitement in any up and coming band that swore they were only there to see what all the hype was about.

After a few too many sex on the beach drinks, when Donna begins the chorus soft and low, it could almost swell up like the first waves of a morphine drip as it washes you clean starting from the toes, and crests on your frontal lobe while it splashes and dissipates. A magnificent centerpiece to hedonism.

Lastly, here for your viewing pleasure, a video of Donna performing ‘Could It Be Magic‘ in Germany (I believe) sometime in the 70’s. The video opens with the swinging Disco moves of a gentleman dressed as a maîtres d’hôtel and his partner, a woman outfitted as this evening’s random hostess. When Donna comes into view, take note of the upper right hand corner that has ABBA posted on the wall embedded on the film. This is another great track, written by Barry Manilow, and was one that I considered for this post. I don’t care about your knee-jerk groans to the Manilow reference, a great tune is a great tune no matter who wrote/performed it.

Donna Summer: Our Love
Donna Summer: I Feel Love (12″ Single)
From: Donna Summer – Bad Girls (Deluxe Edition)