Thursday, October 18, 2007

Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow: Top 5 Cliches of 80s Rock Ballads

I was a product of 80s hair metal.

Then again, many people were at this end of our provincial mud ball. The average cool kid in school was never into REM or Depeche Mode, they were always into hair metal.

What's hair metal? It was what Bon Jovi was before he appeared on Oprah to promote wholesome living and doing runs on thread mills. Heck most genuine 80s hair metallers don't need to run to stay fit, they just get high and forget about food altogether. What a wuss he's become. Get those cat suits out again Jon. It's what your dwindling fan base demands.

Anyways, yes hair metal. You know, studded leather, cat suits, mascara, hair the size of Nevada and ball-hugging leather pants? Yeah those dudes. Now you remember. Always checking themselves out in the mirror to make sure hair is high enough to bump the ceiling and make-up hasn't smudged.

Anyways the interesting thing about them is that most of their hits were ballads. Which makes sense seeing as if you were a rocker then, you either screeched like a banshee on songs or try to romance chicks over a piano. The latter held more appeal for radio and MTV while the former is good for driving customers out of malls after closing time.

In the spirit of androgyny, we at Pirates bring you the top 5 cliches of 80s rock ballads.

1) It must always be about a girl

Because seriously, no one wants to hear a heartbroken rock ballad called 'Dwayne' or 'Robert' for that matter.

Europe - Carrie (from The Final Countdown)

2) Guitar solo must come after the second chorus

To not have a guitar solo in your ballad in those days is like eating McDonalds without fries, having Bryan Adams without 'Summer of 69' or Ultraman without a monster in sight. Basically it's so wrong that it should affect the laws of the universe.
Optional: Guitar solo to sometimes come after the prerequisite bridge (as demonstrated in the track below).

White Lion - You're All I Need (from Mane Attraction)

3) Always write lyrics like they are Hallmark card messages

Words such as love, heart, sun, miss, rain, baby etc must be used sporadically throughout each song. Why? Because when you are a scruffy hairy-chested rocker, one must do much to convince chicks that you're not going to turn around and hump the nearest pillar. Also, there's nothing hotter than a sensitive ruffian. Peace. (ie, the track below, which has a chorus that goes, 'Sometimes, the sun shines through the rain')

Cinderella - Through the Rain (from Still Climbing)

4) Reserve highest note for ending

Look, it's no secret that to be the best singer in the 80s hair metal scene, one must also be able to sing the highest octaves. It's a like a proud mane, a big car or the complete 12 issues of Playboy from the year 1985. One must show it off and one must show it off right at the end of a teary-eyed ballad for maximum effect.

Skid Row - I Remember (from Skid Row)

5) Three part harmonies should always only be employed when the title of the song is sung (usually at the chorus)

Because sometimes we seriously don't know what the title of the song is. I mean, when you're listening to a song where the chorus goes 'Never say goodbye' like 1564 times, one has trouble separating fact from fiction. So what are hair bands to do? Get in a harmonizer and bath those lines with some three part roboto harmonies baby. Woo hoo.

Slaughter - Days Gone By (from The Wild Life)


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alt-gramma said...

Unlike Anonymous above, I actually read your post and enjoyed your observations and dry humor very much.

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