No Such Nonsense

A little of this, that and... what was I talking about again? It's TV, sports, pop culture and politics - all the stuff that really matters in life.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Hair Metal Heaven II - Power Ballad Edition

Having commented on the deep cultural significance of hair metal bands, I thought it made sense to comment further on the highest achievement of these '80s rock princes. That's right, the power ballad! These moody love songs with a little electric guitar on the side had been around for decades, but glam-rock bands took them to the level of art. So, in honour of my slightly mis-spent youth, here's Jen's Official Top 5 Power Ballads (of all time):

1. Every Rose Has it's Thorn. Poison
"We both lie silent and still in the dead of the night. Although we both lie close together, we feel miles apart inside. Was it something I said, or something I did? Did my words not come out right?" It's a heartbreak song, pure and simple, and it captures the lonely melancholy of breaking up with someone you love. Is it deep and important? Hell, no. But it captures something true and universal about what it is like to be a teenager. And that's what rock and roll is supposed to do. Plus, I totally thought Bret Michaels was hot.

2. Patience. Guns and Roses.
Features Axl Rose before he went full-on crazy. It could be on the list for the whistling interlude alone. Or Axl's soulful swaying in the video. But it's really here because it captures how it feels to miss someone, to desperately want to be with someone you can't be with. See, once again, universal and true. Who says hair metal bands had no substance. Oh yeah, I did. My bad.

3. Dream On. Aerosmith.
This is really a proto-hair-metal power ballad, in that it was first released way back in 1973. But its influence can be felt in film (Wayne's World, Miracle), commercials (it has been used in major ad campaigns) and, of course, music. Not only has it influenced all the power ballads that followed, it was actually sampled by Eminem (on "Sing the Moment", or so I'm toldby Wikipedia). I guess that puts Aerosmith in the same club as Dido. And Martika. Ah, Martika.

4. Dead or Alive - Bon Jovi
Yes, Jovi is cheesy as hell. Yes, their new stuff sucks. But for one brief shining moment, they were the biggest rock-and-roll band in the word. With 100 million albums sold, they can suck all they want these days. Plus, they have this one perfect ballad in their lexicon. A story of life on the road, with a durable rocker as outlaw motif, this song has lighters flickering at every concert they play.

5. More than Words. Extreme
Extreme had this one huge hit and then totally faded from view. Though former lead singer Gary Cherone did have an awkward, ill-fated stint as lead singer for Van Halen (post Hagar). I just love the message of this song. If you really love me, you wouldn't just say so; you'd, you know, show me. Wink, wink. Actually, a wink would probably be too subtle. It's all class.


  • At 1:42 p.m., Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Have to agree with ya on most of the 5 - not too sure about Dream on by Aerosmith, I'll have to listen again to it.

    See ya soon


  • At 11:41 a.m., Blogger Jef... said…

    You pretty much nailed my top 5 80's ballads, but we have to mention these two :

    Love Bites : Def Lepoard
    Still loving you : Scorpions (wich I saw in concert wayyy back then !)

    Thx for the memories.. I still feel older but no so alone now ! hihi


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