Wednesday, November 26, 2008

my karaoke song explained

A couple of nights ago I went Karaokeing with some friends. It was great fun. We hit up the Tavernacle. My only complaint was the song selection. Perhaps that didn't matter though. I have this (possibly annoying) habit of picking 80s songs that not too many of my peers remember (or were alive to hear). I like to think that if I do a really awesome karaoke job with a song that's unfamiliar to people, it becomes MY song even more so than the original artist in the eyes of my viewers.

Ultimately that night I went with "Would I Lie to You?" by The Eurythmics. VERY RISKY. Not only was I not extremely familiar with the song, but it's also sung by a girl That's always real tricky. I got up there and immediately said "Alright, sing along if you know the song." To my horror, partway through I realized that the most identifiable parts of the song are actually sung by the BACK-UP singers and the karaoke screen doesn't even pop up words for those parts. I held the mic out to the audience to sing along to it, but it appeared that all my friends had absolutely no idea what song I was singing. There were a few people singing along on my left side, so kudos to them for knowing the words. Actually, I don't know if they actually knew the song or if they just achieved "drunk knowledge" that often occurs during bar sing-alongs.

After I finished attempting to wail like Annie Lennox from the karaoke screened "ah"s and "oh"s, I confirmed with every single one of my friends that they had never heard the song before. I bet they have. They've just never heard me attempt the soul-diva vox of Annie Lennox before.

For your sakes, here is the complete version. It was actually taken from Eurythmic Dave Stewart's YouTube page. He requested no embeds so I had to sorta borrow the video and then upload it back into Blogger. Have you really not heard this song before?

One of my favorite things that Sports Guy does is do a play-by-play of YouTube videos. Thanks to my sick, extensive knowledge of 80s music videos, I'd be totally remiss if I didn't do the same with this one.

0:00 -- The first minute of the official music video is a non-musical cinematic prologue. Such a practice was gaining popularity ever since "Thriller" a few years before.

0:06 -- Eurythmics guitarist and producer Dave Stewart strolls in and (very politely) remarks that Annie Lennox is late. He A) appears blind and B) sounds exactly like George Harrison.

0:14 -- Evil motorcycle guy drops Annie off. This is part of an 80s trend where hip, strong-willed, short-haired blonde women are shoved around by an abusive jerk in their own music videos (see "Voices Carry" by 'Til Tuesday). This also showcases another trend in 80s videos, tv shows and movies. The heroine always either escapes FROM a guy on a motorcycle, or escapes WITH a guy on a motorcycle.

0:28 -- The record company bleeps whatever the jerk calls Annie. I scoured the net, but couldn't find the uncensored, uncut version anywhere.

0:40 -- Dave Stewart seems like Alan Rickman in Die Hard until he speaks in his supernally gentle voice. After offering his shoulder and soothing beard to lean on, he reassures her: "Just be yourself tonight." The album this song appears on is entitled Be Yourself Tonight. Some albums are named after songs; some are named after incidental lyrics in the songs. This may be the only album named after a throwaway cinematic sequence attached to the beginning of one of the song videos.

1:00 -- The song begins right at the one-minute mark. Right away we hear that they've bagged the synth-heavy nature of the band's stereotype. Now they're channeling motown soul.

1:14 -- Yeah, that's right! It's the 80s and we're swimming in one mother of a catchy guitar riff!

1:20 -- The music video trumpeter misses his trumpet lip sync cue by two full seconds. Today, music videos will go an extra day of shooting to fix such a problem. Back then? Whatev.

1:30 -- Annie comes in NOT singing the main chorus. She then slyly crosses in front of the back-up singers the camera is focused on. It's almost as if she's playing back-up to the back-ups. She is trying out her Aretha-like pipes, though.

1:58 -- Annie achieves femininity through her hip-shake on the catwalk. This absolutely extinguishes the model of androgeny that she achieved in the "Sweet Dreams" video.

2:14 -- Annie actually sings the words "would I lie to you?" These words were NOT provided in the karaoke version I sang.

2:30 -- Inexplicable 80s music video moment #1: Annie breaks the fourth wall of the club setting by singing directly to the camera. She also sings without the microphone up to her face. Was this a video shoot oversight or was it some sort of surreal artistic decision? I choose the latter.

2:44 -- The bad guy unwittingly provides a sweet motorcycle sample to compliment the song a la the 60s favorite "Leader of the Pack."

2:59 -- Dave inexplicably switches from lead to rhythm guitar. Video shoot oversight or artistic decision? I choose the former.

3:04 -- A businessman ballerino jumps onto the stage and pirhouettes back into the crowd. It's awesome. Unfortunately, Generations X and Y would NOT let such a thing happen today. They'd just ridicule the guy to tears.

3:22 -- The bad boyfriend is back from whatever errand he had to run. It apparently took him 142 seconds to accomplish it, whatever it was. Say what you will about the guy -- he is quite efficient.

3:54 -- It suddenly strikes me that all 80s British bandmembers with beards must also wear black leather jackets. Actually, Peter Hook, bassist of New Order (pictured), is the only other example that I can think of. He's worth at least five bearded Brits, though.

4:02 -- The motorcycle jerk plays right into Annie's game and attempts to continue the argument with her onstage. Bad move. By this point, Annie obviously has the crowd on her side. Plus, he doesn't even have a microphone so we don't know what he's saying. My guess is that he's abandoned the argument and has moved on to simply psyching her out. "You're singing is flat! FLAT!"

4:12 -- Annie shoves him into the crowd although he obviously stage dives and enjoys it. Either it was late in shooting or Annie, Dave and the rest of the band actually won the guy over through their awesomeness (see Rocky IV)

4:29 -- The return of the businessman ballerino! No shame! You go guy!

4:40 -- Now we have a fade into Dave doing a sweet stage jump in slow motion and not timed to the music. Perhaps this was to offset the fact that the song ends in an audio fade.

4:49 -- The horn section is randomly roaming about center stage! Chaos has replaced order and anarchy rules -- which is easy to do and look cool in a music video because the music is dubbed in anyway.

4:53 -- Two awesome things happen within a short timeframe. The same trumpeter who missed his cue at the beginning of the song now redeems himself by spinning his instrument on his finger like he's in the wild west. Right after that, Dave chucks his guitar into the crowd and the instrument KEEPS PLAYING THE SONG!

5:02 -- Obligatory 80s robot dance.

Well, there you have it. Keep in mind, I love this stuff. I AM NOT MAKING FUN OF THIS SONG OR VIDEO! Don't get any mixed messages.

Next time we're at The Tavernacle, you're singing along with me!


Blogger Maria said...

A couple nights in, I was in town? What the!!?? Whatever.

Very risky move. You know I know this song.

November 27, 2008 8:55 AM  
Blogger J.R. said...

John that is the most detailed breakdown of a song I've ever seen. I know that song. Not only do I own it but it is featured prominently in the Demi Moore breakthrough film One Crazy Summer (the unofficial sequel to Better off Dead?).

November 27, 2008 2:17 PM  
Blogger jaime said...

It's my favorite when guys get up and sing a song that a girl originally girls just want to have fun. I think you should try that next time.

November 27, 2008 6:57 PM  
Blogger Steph said...

I've never heard of that song. All I'm saying is that you can never go wrong with a little Spice Girls at karaoke night....

November 27, 2008 8:34 PM  
Blogger Rhett said...

That break down SG style... genius!!! We should do this all the time. Church, work, Joe on facebook.... all the time!

November 28, 2008 8:53 AM  

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