Wow. So. Next week the wannabe idols get to perform two songs. One has to be a song from their birth year, and another has to be in the top ten this week. (I don't know if it has to be on the hot 100, or if from any of the genres.) Incidentally, that song "Bad Day" that you hear at the end of every show? Yeah. That's the number one song right now. Will any of the five have the balls to do that song? I hope not. I hate that song.
So. I'm not gonna sit here and give notes on what all of them can perform, cause I don't really care. I care about Elliott. He was born in 1978. (that makes me feel old and lascivious and dirty and pervy. I love it. Thank you for endorsing this behavior, Mrs. Laura Petrie)
I'm older than Elliott, yes, but I was still a v. young little peep in '78. But I've seen the list of top songs from Billboard from that year, and I about died. I do remember the music, but I guess I just never realized how prevalent disco was. In '78, even the Rolling Stones were releasing disco material. I don't have anything against disco. I kinda like a lot of disco, in fact. And if that's the route Elliott goes, so be it. But I don't see him busting out the falsetto like that. I don't know what he will choose, but just looking at that list creeped me out, and I started to understand why the '70s music was so maligned.
Thing is, that's just the surface. There was some incredible music created in the '70s, even if that's not its legacy. Heavy metal was already out there (Van Halen), good hard rock (AC/DC), future 80's superbands were already working it (The Police, The Cars, Dire Straights), there was some funky new shit (Elvis Costello, Devo, The Buzzcocks, not to mention a lot of true FUNK) and some plain old good shit (Neil Young, Bob Marley, Marvin Gaye.) Seriously. Compare this list of albums released vs the charted singles for the year.
There was great stuff to hear. People were just too busy doing coke and wearing polyester while dancing at Studio 54 to tear themselves away from "Night Fever" for it to chart. But for stoners, it was a great year. Truly. This material could probably never be cleared for use on AI, and I don't think it's fitting anyhow, but here's couple highlights from 1978 of what was going on outside the disco scene. Or, as I like to call this portion of the week:
Shit I like that you might like, too
THE RAMONES -- ROAD TO RUIN
Possibly the best Ramones album. And yes, "I Wanna Be Sedated" is from this album.
LOU RAWLS -- LIVE
Who doesn't love Lou? And this live album kicks ass.
BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN -- DARKNESS ON THE EDGE OF TOWN
Of course, this is my favorite by a mile. Some people don't get The Boss, and if they don't, I can't explain it. (Well, I could try, but, really, why bother?) But for dark, powerful, and angry rock-n-roll, it doesn't get much better than this. Bruce's earlier releases (such as Born To Run) were full of simmering tension and frustration, but it boils over on this raw release. His guitar work is blistering and he's pushing the envelope to bitter -- but he never succumbs to that. Under all the shards of pain there's still a few glistening drops of hope, bloodied and dirty though they may be. And love songs? "Prove it all night" is a great one, fraught with lust and danger, just the way love really is, and it still rocks.
BILLY JOEL -- THE STRANGER
Technically released in 1977, this is actually an album that I could see either Taylor or Elliot pulling something from. I think Joel usually allows his songs to be used on the show. And some of the stuff charted in '77, and some in '78. I could see Taylor getting jiggy wit "Only The Good Die Young."
As for the album on a whole, you tell me. I know you've heard this album. This album has rock on it, but not rock in the Springsteen sense. It's not bubble-gum, but it is more pop-infused. But it's the moodier pieces on here that stand out. "Just the Way You Are" was the breakout hit, which I kind of hate. It's a quiet little love song -- sweet and unassuming, really. But just a little bland, too, which is why I think it fit in with the chart-toppers of '78. But go past that song and there's the still-enigmatic "Vienna." This album should come across as a mish-mash of styles, but for some reason, it doesn't. It congeals into something greater than the sum of its parts.