10 songs I probably shouldn't like Part 1

What is it about some songs that just catch you?
Here's another question: Why do we like songs in theory we should avoid like Kryptonite?
Music tastes vary and may fall anywhere between snobbish and uncultured, but what does that really mean? If you like a certain genre of music, or better yet, if you're an actual musician, who, like me, plays heavy metal, does that automatically make you tune out other music? Is it a peer pressure thing? The music I grew up listening to was as varied as music is, but there was very little heavy music. When it eventually crept in I fell hard. All of a sudden I found myself in a situation where I wanted to be a purist, only listen to heavy rock, guitar music. But I wasn't being true to myself. I'm a pop addict. No, better yet, I'm a song addict. I love songs, I don't care about genres. Remember reading once a quote by Richie Blackmore that goes something like this "If you want to listen to a good melody, listen to ABBA". As it happens, ABBA was one of my very favorite artists as a kid, and still is. Their craft was impeccable, beautifully constructed songs with piercing harmonies. Maybe their lyrics were a little weird sometimes, after all they were Swedes singing in English, but the two main songwriters Benny and Bjorn had an ear for a great tune. Their arrangements were also great architecture of sound. "Dancing Queen" is still absolutely one of my all time favorite pop songs. In the spirit of genre baiting (what does that mean ?) here are 10 songs I probably shouldn't admit to liking and in some cases being absolutely mad for, but alas…

 1) Love Makes The World Go Round - Ashlee Simpson
For some reason the chorus to this AS track off her AUTOBIOGRAPHY album ( 2004) is like catnip to my ears. There's not much to it, but it sometimes just pops into my head. I like a lot of songs on this album, like the guitars, production, backing vocals. I was introduced to this record by a young artist my business partner and I were working with in our studio in Santo Domingo. She brought this in as an example of the direction she wanted to go in. At first my reaction was "Ashlee Simpon? As in Jessica Simpson.." Anyway, the vocals aren't anything to write home about, and are probably heavily attuned, but the songs are catchy, in some cases heartfelt. "Shadow" is a great rocking track. "Undiscovered" is a beautiful droning end to the record. So here at #1 I put a song from a record that should probably destroy any rock credibility I may have. So be it.
Ashlee Simpson – Love Makes The World Go Round SPOTIFY

 2) Gasolina - Daddy Yankee
Are you kidding me?? This song is so powerful! I haven't heard a song take off like this in a long time aside from great metal rev ups at the beginning of songs ( as in "Angel of Death", "Ride the Lightning", "The Trooper".. ) well, it's a very hard rock thing to start with this wonderful intro that just takes off. Now, if you've ever been in a place where people are dancing their butts off and this song comes off, the room just explodes with energy. If it's late into the night the sex just oozes from women's bodies. As a song it's just well constructed, catchy… most of all, it's that, catchy! I'm listening to the track as I write this and paying attention to the lyrics which I hadn't really done before, I just love the percussiveness of Daddy Yankee delivery, spitting it out rat tat tat style. It flows. In 3 minutes the phrasings, the pacing just change and shift so much. Gear up, gear down, take the curve. Video game music almost… and you can shake your body to it.

Daddy Yankee – Gasolina SPOTIFY

3) Amor, Amor - Jose Jose
This is a tricky one. I grew up in a very latin household. My father liked all sort of music, but being of dominican stock, romantic ballads were common as they are in Latin America. Someone like Jose Jose with that wonderful voice was always background music for conversations, and if you lived in Santo Domingo at any time there were radio stations that only played this type of music. And you would actually sit around with friends and drink rum while this was playing. Now, this isn't pop music per se, this is more in the vein of what in the US would be Engelbert Humperdinck, Johnny Mathis, Sinatra, Barry Manilow, etc. "Amor, Amor" highlights Jose Jose's delivery more than his range. His voice was a bit shot by the time this album came out ( It has a great version of New York, New York in Spanish ). The arrangement is grandiose and changes keys a couple of times.
Amor, Amor - Jose Jose SPOTIFY

4) Love Changes Everything - Michael Ball ( from Andrew Lloyd Webber's Aspects of Love )
 In the early 90's I went through an addiction to musicals and if they were by ALW even better. This dates back to my obsession with the Spanish version of Jesus Christ Superstar with my all time favorite spanish singer, Camilo Sesto. I started with JCS and then Evita, Joseph. Aspects of Love was hard to get into, but there are very beautiful songs on here. I like the original cast recording. Love Changes Everything is the first song on the album and is listed as Railway Station at Pau where the scene takes place. I've heard other versions of Michael Ball doing this song, attempts at pop arrangements. His voice still sounds great but the song sounds cheesy. There's also a version I saw on youtube for the tribute to ALW where a bunch of people join him onstage to sing the song. That version is ok, I guess. But the original cast version, which for most of the song is just his voice and piano, until a small orchestra joins in and soars with his voice. Sublime. I won't get into any more musicals in this list, cause I just love so many songs that come from them. I'll leave that for a separate post.

Love Changes Everything - Michael Ball SPOTIFY Listed as Kathleen Rowe Mcallen – Railway Station At Pau

Here's the video for the version I'm not fond of... sounds cheesy to me. You can still appreciate Michael Ball's delivery but the arrangement is rubbish, the drum machine sucks in this. You be the judge.

5) My Hometown - Paul Anka
It took me a while to find the version of this song I actually love. My father had this great Paul Anka compilation that I would play a lot as a kid, and this song in particular always touched me deeply. Last year I was looking for the exact arrangement online and couldn't find it. There are a few versions and none of them seemed to be the one. Now, what I'm getting to is that it's incredible how much an arrangement of a song can get inside of you. I like this version of Paul Anka singing his song, not any other version, live or studio. Even if it's him, this one seems earnest, and sincere.

Paul Anka – My Home Town SPOTIFY
The version I love.

Another version. This one doesn't, to my ears, have the same charm as the previous one.


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