The Year Was 1989…

So Alive – Love and Rockets from Love and Rockets

I was a sophomore in high school, Tim Burton’s Batman was released and Straight Up, a song by a future American Idol judge, was dominating the charts.  But I was more interested in this song.

I think I was initially drawn to it because of my discovery around the same time of Lou Reed’s solo work, specifically Walk on the Wild Side.  This song reminded me of it, especially with the female background singers.  Apparently, this was not an accident.  According to the allmusic.com writeup of the song, this song was a hat-tip in Lou’s general direction.

This song is definitely one that fits the less is more maxim.  For a band that generally rocked with plenty of guitars, I’m pretty sure there is no guitar at all in this song.  A pretty rudimentary drum beat, some synths lingering in the background, and the low gravelly voice of the lead singer.  The lyrics are pedestrian, but the way they’re sung is what makes it work.  And then those background singers.  But it all clicks together.  I’d like to think Lou approved.

The American public did, as this song incredibly made it to number 3 at its peak.  Sadly, they could never repeat the success.  Too bad, maybe we could have had one of these guys as a batshit crazy American Idol judge.  Ok, maybe it’s better it worked out the way it did.

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