Like its fellow contender for the title of quintessential stalker song of all time, “Every Breath You Take”, this song is often oddly misinterpreted as a love song, but in this case that is almost entirely due to the fact that cover versions almost invariably soften the original recording’s sound. In what is possibly the most terrifying Blues performance ever, Screamin’ Jay Hawkins delivers this song in a grotesque yowl that could never be mistaken for anything but an expression of twisted obsession. Granted, there have been some pretty good cover versions of the song over the years (like the one by the Animals), but there’s no replacing the original, so it’s worth seeking out as the definitive version of this classic song.
Archives for March 2015
Of the three CD bonus tracks from Swift’s landmark album 1989, which were subsequently re-released as promotional singles on Itunes, this seems to be the least remembered, but it really deserves more attention. It does a surprisingly clever job of running with the Wonderland lyrical concept, featuring some pithy twists on Carrollian imagery. In fact, she honestly does a much better job of bringing out the psychological implications of Lewis Carroll in this four-minute song than Frank Wildhorn or Elizabeth Swados did in their entire musicals on the subject.
This song, with its combination of pretty female vocals and an imitation-DJ Mustard beat, is far from unlistenable, and certainly the best charting hit Jeremih had appeared on up to that point. But frankly, we already had a Pop song sampled from Whitney Houston’s “Dance With Somebody”, that came out a year earlier and deserved to be a hit far more than this one: it was called “Somebody Loves You” by Indie Pop singer Betty Who. So this song basically lives in the shadow of two vastly better songs, and frankly that’s more than its moderately pleasant frame can really support.
Verdict: Not exactly bad, just kind of redundant.
When it comes to the children of great musicians having embarrassingly bad music careers, Nancy Sinatra is right down there with David Cassidy; and frankly, at least David Cassidy could sing. In addition to being extremely poorly written (sample line: ‘You keep lyin’ when you outta be truthin’), this song has a spectacularly uninteresting melody. In the days before auto-tune, they compensated for singers with tin ears or nonexistent ranges by writing two-note wonders like this one, and while a few of them have held up (e.g. “Just In Time”, written for Sydney Chaplin), most of them sound pretty uninteresting to the modern ear.