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8:47 a.m. - June 08, 2007
Softsational!
Busy weekend at the house of Smed. It will be a house of fun, for sure. Tonight, the cool SIL from Arizona comes to town and then tomorrow it’s Kristin’s second birthday! Woooot! Big time par-tay. Well, for a two year old, it’ll be big time!

Anyway, this will hold everyone over for the weekend since it’s large McHuge essay, but a good one. You know, you don’t have to read it all at once – you can take it in chunks. Heck, you have three days to consume it all. Be wise. No one wants to have to use the Heimlich on you if you choke on the essay, OK? Let’s be careful out there…

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I’m a sucker for those “list shows” on VH-1, especially when it comes to music. Now, some are better than others, and early on they really had some good ones, like the one on one-hit wonders. But a recent one really caught my eyes and ears. And the content may surprise you…or not. I bet not, since you know I have a predilection for cheese. Mmmm….cheese!

It was the 40 Softsational Soft Rock Songs. Shall we do a countdown? Yes, lets. I would tag this as ***SPOILER ALERT*** but I mean, really. Is it THAT vital? I mean, I’m not saying that Silvio is going to wake up out of his coma and become an mega-killing machine. (Oh…wait…)

So one with the soft rock and let’s all bang our head slowly and quietly.

40. Key Largo – Bertie Higgins. Ah, yes, this is definitely cheesetastic. I really didn’t like this song when I was in high school, but I didn’t fit the target demo. I’m still in the target demo and it still makes my skin crawl. He’s still gigging down in Florida, probably to senior citizens who think they are actually Bogie and Bacall.

39. Don’t Give Up On Us – David Soul. This fits, but why is it so low in the countdown. I mean, for one, it’s super sensitive, and for two, it was recorded by HUTCH, of all people. You know, the bad-ass copper that always busted the bad guys. Also, everyone can karaoke this, and probably has at one point or another.

38. Baby I Love Your Way – Peter Frampton. I’m surprised to see Frampton on this list, but really, this is rather a wussy song, and there aren’t any cool talk box parts in it either. It’s just a simple sappy love song, sung by a pretty guy with good hair. The follow up, “I’m In You” was even more super soft.

37. When I Need You – Leo Sayer. No, he just looks like Richard Simmons. He had a run of chart hits in the mid-70’s, but really it was all formula dreck except for “Long Tall Glasses (I Can Dance)”. I did snuggle close to a girl back in the day to this song, and that was pretty much my romantic highlight in junior high. Sigh…

36. I’m Not In Love – 10cc. It’s kind of odd to have this here. It’s really a neat song with a lot of interesting parts going hither and yon. It is light and fluffy, like a soufflé, though. To this day, I had that whole whispering part totally wrong in the bridge. I thought they were saying something totally different. See, even I can learn things once in a while.

35. More Than Words – Extreme. How about part of the “40 Most Vomitorious Songs Ever Recorded”? Or, “40 Wussiest Songs Ever Recorded By A ‘Metal’ Band?” Of course, that countdown would also have a lot of songs by Winger and White Lion, etc. I just can’t deal with this. I hated it back then, and I hate it now. Sorry, gals. I’ve changed my mind on a lot of stuff but this still made me cringe.

34. Sometimes When We Touch – Dan Hill. This dude was UGLY. I mean, really. He was a hippie beardo guy with weird teeth. These lyrics, too, are three steps beyond whipped. I know sensitive teenage girls love(d) this song, but come on, can’t you see through his act. He’s saying this just because he wants somethin’ somethin’. And when he looks like he does, he needs all the help he can get.

33. Peace Train – Cat Stevens. A lot of Cat Stevens songs could make it, and I think this one should be higher up. It’s a groovy tune and really not cheesy at all. If they wanted cheesy, they should have gone with “Moonshadow”. Anyway, this led me to iTunes where I downloaded some Cat Stevens songs and hummed along quietly, tapping my toes, and wondering why the tillerman wanted tea, anyway.

32. This Is It – Kenny Loggins. Mr. Loggins, before he went footloose into the danger zone, was rather much of a weenie. Ok, he still was a weenie then, too, but he wasn’t afraid to call you friend before. This one, a duet with Michael McDonald, is almost the epitome of wimpy rock of the late 70s. Duuuude. Oh, and will Michael McDonald ever open his mouth all of the way? Doubt it. (Yes, I bought this too. I’m so lame.)

31. Hold On To The Night – Richard Marx. ACK! DICK MARX! RUN AWAY! (I will not admit to owning “Don’t Mean Nothing”. You’ll need to see my attorney for a subpoena.)

30. Lonely Boy – Andrew Gold. The commentators on this special all ripped this song for being totally self-absorbed. And well, they’re right. As a kid, I liked the song, but now, I really think this kid needed to grow a pair and deal with it. He was a disgrace, really, if he can’t deal with the fact he had a baby sister. I mean, really, get real.

29. You Light Up My Life – Debby Boone. I did buy this 45, but that’s hard for me to admit. Also, I was 11, so you know, my taste was still evolving. Within two years I wanted to learn about the Clash and Sex Pistols. As for the song, the less said the better, because I don’t want to go into diabetic shock.

28. A Horse With No Name – America. The entire oeuvre of America could really qualify for inclusion on this list, but this song stands out for two reasons. One, that it sounds so much like a Neil Young song and no other song they ever did had that quality. Secondly, what in the HELL is this song about? What kind of acid were they on?

27. Hello – Lionel Richie. Oh, gag me with a badly sculpted bust of Lionel Richie.

26. Cats In The Cradle – Harry Chapin. The definition of “earnest singer songwriter” is Harry Chapin. Now, I did like this song when I was a kid, but I really think it’s a bit preachy and predictable. But Chapin’s heart was in the right place, obviously, but he had a tendency to be overwrought at times and that got in the way of listenability. Plus, as a kid, I didn’t have the patience for some of his stuff. Still have that patience issue, as you know.

25. You Needed Me – Anne Murray. Our friends up north are really polite, and Ms. Murray was a national treasure, so I won’t slam this song that much, but it rather much puts me to sleep in no time flat. And that’s not good when you hear it on the car radio.

24. One More Night – Phil Collins. Phil, what the hell happened to you, dude? Didn’t you have a hand in creating “The Musical Box” or even “Supper’s Ready”? Man, what the heck?

23. Can’t Fight This Feeling – REO Speedwagon. The ruination of many a mediocre rock-and-roll band is the power ballad, and REO Chuckwagon is to blame for it. Has anyone seen Kevin Cronin lately? Man, he’s all squinty and stuff. I wonder if the State Fair circuit has done that to him.

22. Tonight, I Celebrate My Love – Roberta Flack and Peabo Bryson. Now, I really don’t know why this is on here. It’s not really what I call ‘soft rock’. I think something like “Precious And Few” by Climax, or “Dancing In the Moonlight” by King Harvest could have taken its place. But that’s just me.

21. Still The One – Orleans. This was the theme song for the ABC Fall Season back in the late 70’s, back when they were riding high with all of their comedy shows and kicking every other network’s booty. And now, the leader of the group is in the US Congress. But still…they gave us THIS album cover:

I kid you not. That hit #30 on the charts, so a lot of people had that in their home. Wow.

20. Do That To Me One More Time – Captain And Tennille. You just KNEW that Captain was a randy little fellow under that captain’s hat, now didn’t ya? This is a naughty, naughty song…good for them. Heh.

19. How Am I Supposed To Live Without You – Michael Bolton. Remember a heavy metal singer named Michael Bolotin? Yeah, he would like to forget that as well! Heh. As for this, you know better than to ask me.

18. Rosanna – Toto. I think “Africa” or “99” is more of a soft-rock classic than this one, but whatever. At least it’s not “I’ll Supply The Love”. (You know, “You supply the night / baby I’ll supply the love.)

17. Angel Of The Morning – Juice Newton. Not one mention of the superior version of this song by Merrilee Rush. Sigh. VH-1 with no sense of history IN their history shows.

16. Baby I’m-A Want You – Bread. Now, why isn’t this higher? I mean, really, there was no one that rocked softer than Bread. Well, OK, “Mother Freedom” actually DID rock, along with some others, but “Everything I Own”, “Sweet Surrender” and this are the PANTHEON of soft-rock. Even “Guitar Man”, with it’s great wah-wah by Larry Knechtel, was soft in its rockdom.

15. Open Arms – Journey. I refuse to admit they recorded this song. No, wait, I can blame it on Jonathan Cain and Schnoozy McBeakstein. Yeah. OK.

14. Summer Breeze – Seals & Crofts. Ah, blowin’ like the jasmine in my mind. Duuuude. Lay off the weed, mmmkay?

13. Superstar – Carpenters. Ok, everyone, “Baby baby baby baby….oh baby!” Man, what a song. Of course, it was written by Leon Russell, a DUDE! Hmmmm….

12. Afternoon Delight – The Starland Vocal Band. I think this still stands. Another down right dirty, dirty song. Heh.

11. I Honestly Love You – Olivia Newton – John. Before she sleazed out, she did this whole bit where she whispered a lot of hit songs, and somehow, she was lumped in as a country artist and won stuff for “Let Me Be There”, which almost caused a riot in Nashville. (No, really…) Man, what treacle.

10. Feels So Good – Chuck Mangione. Who among us cannot hum this? I thought so. A man, a flugelhorn, and a hummable melody make a hit single.

9. One On One – Hall & Oates. You know, I slagged these guys in high school but when this song was played on the special I remember how well Daryl Hall sang songs like this, and yeah, I bought it. So sue me.

8. What A Fool Believes – The Doobie Brothers. They used to be quasi-hard rockers with a southern bent, but Michael McDonald led them straight into pillow soft land. But he still sounds muffled to me, like he’s announcing stops on the Metro. “Orange Line to Vienna…next stop….Foggy Bottom”.

7. Dust In The Wind – Kansas. I ALMOST bought this one too, but I was made of stronger stuff. At least that night. I could still give in, only for a moment and the moment’s gone.

6. Making Love Out Of Nothing At All – Air Supply. However, I will never give in on this one. Sure, I may suck into something like “Lost In Love”, but this crappy piece of bombast will never see the inside of my iPod. No way, no how.

5. If You Leave Me Now – Chicago. But of course, I have this one. You know why? I have a man-crush on Peter Cetera, circa 1976. He was very cuddly, you know, and when he hits the high part (ooooh – love – baby please don’t go), I swoon. Sorry, I do. I’m going to take a shower now…

4. Mandy – Barry Manilow. Heck, Manilow could OWN this countdown if they really wanted to include more than one song per artist. Come on, “Copacabana” and “Weekend In New England” are top-10 material as well.

3. Escape – Rupert Holmes. Scroll down a bit here. Also, don’t you think that the meeting at O’Malley’s was a bit…strained?

2. Babe – Styx. Even if you hate this song (like me), you can sing along. I just won’t karaoke it. Not if you paid me. Oh, OK, if you paid me, I guess so.

1. Sailing – Christopher Cross. Yeah, it’s apt, and I know of someone who would be happy to see that it’s number one. Mr. Cross was very lucky he happened when he did, because he wasn’t really MTV material. Not as such.


Well, then. There you have it. Soft-sational to the nth degree, I would say! Have a great weekend everyone.


 

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