Radio Daze, Vol. Fourteen [HERC's M!X]

This is it, the penultimate volume of HERC's imagined continuation of the Radio Daze series.  Many, many, many thanks to the soft rock kid for taking the time to research and listen to the playlists on a regular basis.  His keen insight, informed criticism and flatout fandom made each post a must-read here at The Hideaway. Next week, for the final installment of the series, HERC will have an exclusive hard hitting soft rockin' interview with Mark aka "the soft rock kid" but in the meantime (and in between time) you can read even more of Mark's musings on music on his two blogs:
Take it away, you ol' softie:

  • We Belong – Pat Benatar, released November 1984, Pop #5, AC #34, Rock #3.  Good song, bad production.  While the melody reminds me of something by Billy Joel, the bizarre drum/handclap accompaniment is a turn-off.  Bizarre is then taken up a notch when the children’s chorus kicks in. 
  • Taxi Dancing – Rick Springfield & Randy Crawford, released December 1984, Pop #59, AC #16. Oh snap – I forgot there was a Rick Springfield movie.  I don’t recall this song, either, but its got a great verse melody and works well as duet.  We’re even treated to a soft rock sax solo.  Thumbs up.
  • Foolish Heart – Steve Perry, released December 1984, Pop #18, AC #2.  That’s how I like my soft rock: lots of electric piano and muted guitar.  I always liked this song along with its predecessor "Oh Sherrie".  It’s odd that I’ve never heard the Street Talk album.  It must be my strong, inexplicable dislike for Journey.
  • Nightshift – Commodores, released January 1985, Pop #3, AC #2, R&B #1, Dance #6. Judging by the chart numbers I’m in the minority, but I think this song is boring.  An uninteresting melody over synth pads.  The singing is the only thing it’s got going for it.
  • California Girls – David Lee Roth, released February 1985, Pop #3, AC #29, Rock #3. Beach Boy covers are usually unsuccessful, but I can’t help but like Diamond Dave’s goofy over-the-top take on this summer classic.   That shows how strong the material is and Roth is smart enough not to mess too much.  But now I can’t hear the Beach Boys original without singing “I dig them girls!” before the chorus.
  • You Send Me – The Manhattans, released March 1985, Pop #81, AC #8, R&B #20. One of the top ballads of all time (the Sam Cooke original, that is).  Not much added to this take, which is a shame because I would have loved to have heard some tight a capella harmonies on this one.  And The Manhattans had the skills to do it.
  • Emotion – Barbra Streisand, released March 1985, Pop #79, AC #14.  Barbra’s valiant attempt to stay relevant.  I like this song and the production was on point for 1985 – it even had background vocals from The Pointer Sisters.  I just think her fan base had outgrown Top 40 radio by this time (we all do, some of us just have trouble admitting it).  If I’m not mistaken, she moved on to her huge hit Broadway Album after this one.  Smart move.
  • Why Can’t I Have You – The Cars, released March 1985, Pop #33, AC #38, Rock #11. Writing ballads wasn’t Rik Ocasek’s strong suit.  Makes me long for something off the first 3 albums.
  • Fresh – Kool & The Gang, released March 1985, Pop #9, AC #5, Dance #1, R&B #1. Big K&TG fan here. This one’s got me dancing in my chair as I type.  Fresh and lovely, like a dream come true.
  • One Lonely Night – REO Speedwagon, released April 1985, Pop #19, AC #10, Rock #17.  An okay song with a really good bridge and guitar solo.  Not as bombastic as most REO power ballads, so I give it points for that.
  • Through the Fire – Chaka Khan, released April 1985, Pop #60, AC #16, R&B #15. That’s what I’m talkin’ ‘bout.  A great performance of great song, written and produced by David Foster in his indubitable west coast/AOR style.  Everything clicks on this one. If you don’t mind, I’ll listen to this one again before moving on to our final track.
  • You Give Good Love – Whitney Houston, released May 1985, Pop #3, AC #4, R&B #1.  My introduction to Whitney and a good one at that.  Even though she doesn’t go all out on this one, you can hear that she could let it go if she wanted to.  It reminds me of Anita Baker and that’s a very good thing indeed.  Now that I think about it, that whole debut album is AC goodness, but my favorite track from it is "Saving All My Love for You"

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