A Fortnight From The Heart: Day 10

I’ll be sharing one of my favorite Power Ballads, each day on Facebook and on this blog, from now until February 14th. I think of these songs as the Valentine’s Day equivalent of Christmas Carols. I call it A Fortnight From The Heart.

Day 10: “The Flame” by Cheap Trick

This is one of the hits off Cheap Trick’s 1988 Lap of Luxury album, widely considered to be their comeback album. The song was a departure for the band not only because it was a Power Ballad, but because they didn’t even write it! “The Flame” is written by Bob Mitchell and Nick Graham, two people you’ve probably never heard of. Supposedly, the band disliked the song at first, but we all love it now.

A Fortnight From The Heart: Day 9

I’ll be sharing one of my favorite Power Ballads, each day on Facebook and on this blog, from now until February 14th. I think of these songs as the Valentine’s Day equivalent of Christmas Carols. I call it A Fortnight From The Heart.

“I’ll Be There For You” by Bon Jovi

In 1988 Bon Jovi released New Jersey, the follow up to the monster of a success that was Slippery When Wet. It is no easy task to follow up songs like “Dead or Alive” and “Livin’ On A Prayer,” but Bon Jovi managed pretty alright with hot tunes like “Bad Medicine,” and the featured Power Ballad today: “I’ll Be There For You.”

“I’ll Be There For You” has a refreshingly raw vocal sound compared to the polished falsettos in most Power Ballads. It also has all these weird guitar licks from Richie Sambora, including some bluesy-country riffs. There’s also a rumor that most of the song is ripped off from “Don’t Let Me Down,” a Beatles song written by John Lennon, and some song by Joel Ellis, so that’s fun.

A Fortnight From The Heart: Day 8

I’ll be sharing one of my favorite Power Ballads, each day on Facebook and on this blog, from now until February 14th. I think of these songs as the Valentine’s Day equivalent of Christmas Carols. I call it A Fortnight From The Heart.

Day 8: “Life Goes On” by Poison

Let’s get this out of the way: I don’t really like Poison. They’re probably the most overrated Hair Metal band. And I think the song “Every Rose Has Its Thorn” is absolute garbage. It’s not a good song or a good Power Ballad. The only people genuinely like that song are tasteless dummies and people who have slept with Bret Michaels (to the song’s credit, though, that is a lot of people).

Anyway, “Life Goes On” is actually pretty good. I think its a nice, straightforward Power Ballad, and features one of C.C.’s better solos. But to enjoy it, best not to think about the fact that it’s about one of C.C. DeVille’s girlfriends being shot and killed in a bar fight in Florida.

A Fortnight From The Heart: Day 7

I’ll be sharing one of my favorite Power Ballads, each day on Facebook and on this blog, from now until February 14th. I think of these songs as the Valentine’s Day equivalent of Christmas Carols. I call it A Fortnight From The Heart.

Day 7: “Love Bites” by Def Leppard

My list this year could have been easily almost half Def Leppard (a band name even stupider than Mr. Big), but I narrowed it down to “Love Bites.” Though often overlooked by other Def Leppard songs such as “Pour Some Sugar On Me” and “Bringin’ On The Heartbreak,” “Love Bites” was their only number-one hit single on the Billboard Hot 100.

Lyrically, the song is basically just “Love Stinks,” “Love Hurts,” and “The Rose” all thrown together—but it has a way more fun guitar lick during the chorus than any of those do. Are you alone this Valentine’s Day? Well Power Ballads can be for the bummed out, too.

A Fortnight From The Heart: Day 6

I’ll be sharing one of my favorite Power Ballads, each day on Facebook and on this blog, from now until February 14th. I think of these songs as the Valentine’s Day equivalent of Christmas Carols. I call it A Fortnight From The Heart.

Day 6: “To Be With You” by Mr. Big

“Mr. Big” is one of my least favorite names for a metal band ever, and they were known more for Paul Gilbert’s shredding and Billy Sheehan’s virtuosic bass than for corny love songs, but “To Be With You,” a fun acoustic ballad, is still included on most Power Ballad compilations. What it lacks in drum fills and overdriven effects it more than makes up for in hand-claps, soothing background vocals, and sincere lyrics (ever had a crush on someone who has had their heart broken, and you know you can be the person to help them love again?—this is your song!).

If you’re into all that shredding and stuff though, check out most of Mr. Big’s other songs, or Paul Gilbert’s solo instrumental albums, like Get Out Of My Yard.

A Fortnight From The Heart: Day 5

I’ll be sharing one of my favorite Power Ballads, each day on Facebook and on this blog, from now until February 14th. I think of these songs as the Valentine’s Day equivalent of Christmas Carols. I call it A Fortnight From The Heart.

Day 5: “Oh Sherrie” by Steve Perry

This is really one of my favorite Power Ballads ever. You’ve got the voice of JOURNEY just shouting during the verses, and then using those golden pipes we’d already grown to love to wail during the choruses. The song is undeniably catchy, and has some really sporadic distorted chords thrown in for extra fun. Also, this song was written for Perry’s actual girlfriend, who is actually named Sherrie (and is actually in the music video). By the way, the music video is hilariously elaborate, strangely meta, is way too long, and shows Steve Perry being a dick to the video’s “director”—so, worth a watch.

This song was the primary hit from Perry’s first solo album, which went double platinum, and was released while he was still in Journey (what a champ!). He was the singer for Journey during their most successful period of time, too, and it’s no wonder why: he’s got one of the best voices in rock history. Brian May said Perry has “a voice in a million”; Jon Bon Jovi said Perry has “The Voice” (yeah, capitalized); music critics and writers agree that Steve Perry has one of the most important voices of 80s rock. So I’m gonna go listen to this song 10 more times.

A Fortnight From The Heart: Day 4

I’ll be sharing one of my favorite Power Ballads, each day on Facebook and on this blog, from now until February 14th. I think of these songs as the Valentine’s Day equivalent of Christmas Carols. I call it A Fortnight From The Heart.

Day 4: “Heaven In Your Eyes” by Loverboy

One of the few Canadian Power Balladists out there, Loverboy first released this song as part of the Top Gun soundtrack, making it one of the more forgettable songs from the movie, despite its emotion-gushing gloriousness (in Loverboy’s defense, Berlin’s “Take My Breath Away” is played about 12 times throughout the movie, so that song kind of overshadows everything, including plot, character development, editing, lighting, etc).

“Heaven In Your Eyes,” though, it’s great! The chorus is easy to sing along with, and the chorus’ guitar riff is satisfyingly simple. Go sing it to someone you love.

Fortnight Of The Heart: Day 3

I’ll be sharing one of my favorite Power Ballads, each day on Facebook and on this blog, from now until February 14th. I think of these songs as the Valentine’s Day equivalent of Christmas Carols. I call it A Fortnight From The Heart.

Day 3: “When I Look Into Your Eyes” by FireHouse

FireHouse made their hairy debut in 1990, releasing a self-titled album to critical acclaim, even though it’s hard to believe anyone was still into hair metal and Power Ballads after 1989. Well, FireHouse, despite being a band you never hear about anymore, were absolutely thriving. They even won the American Music Award in 1991 for Favorite Heavy Metal/Hard Rock New Artist, beating out some little band called Nirvana.

FireHouse really dug their heels into the whole Power Ballads thing, but that style of music was very uncool in the US within a couple more years. “When I Look Into Your Eyes” comes from their second album, Hold Your Fire, and is less-represented than “Love Of A Lifetime” (which is also good). The States have largely forgotten their early 90s success and ignored their recent efforts, but Asia still loves the shit out of these guys.

The music video for “When I Look Into Your Eyes” is not very interesting, unfortunately. In fact, it reveals just how uninteresting it is by trying to hard to be interesting, employing nearly every lame early-90s video editing technique (choppy slo-mo, high-contrast black and white, awkward layering of a band member on top of a background of mystery…) while playing B-roll of pretty much nothing (hands on a piano, the fellas laughing while back stage, a band member jumping into a pool for some reason…). The song is better than the video, is basically what I’m saying.

A Fortnight From The Heart: Day 2

I’ll be sharing one of my favorite Power Ballads, each day on Facebook and on this blog, from now until February 14th. I think of these songs as the Valentine’s Day equivalent of Christmas Carols. I call it A Fortnight From The Heart.

Day 2: “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us” by Starship

Not all Power Ballads are played by damp dudes in denim vests, and Starship delivers a very glammy number with “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us.”

Starship, the second sequel to iconic psychedelic band, Jefferson Airplane, formed out of the ashes of Jefferson Starship. With a shortened name and a few massive cornball hits under their belt (“We Built This City,” for example), they were ready to release an arena-worthy love song. And that’s where we get “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us,” a twinkling, Oscar-nominated (“Best Original Song” for the movie Mannequin) duet, with a chorus that is as inspiring as it is catchy. It also has a delightfully fun music video, which features mediocre lip syncing, and tells the story of a young man who is apparently being chased by the police for wanting to fuck a mannequin.

A Fortnight From The Heart

In 2014 I wrote a silly blog post about how we as a society could make Valentine’s Day more tolerable for everyone. One of the things I suggested was that Power Ballads be treated as Valentine’s Day’s version of Christmas Carols. And I’m here to push that again.

So, Friends of The World: Let’s make Valentine’s Day better by listening to Arena Rock Love Songs, in order to part-genuinely/part-ironically enjoy the cheesy feelings that Love gives us. Valentine’s Day is traditionally just for couples, but these songs are for everyone—the single, the committed, the divorced, the happily-coupled, the pining, and everyone in between. Call these songs whatever you like—Power Ballads, Monster Ballads, The Songs That Ruined Heavy Metal, whatever—I consider any love song designed to make an arena full of fans wave a lighter, pump a fist, or shed a tear a viable Valentine’s Day Carol.

Honestly, I don’t expect anyone to get on board with this, but maybe you will anyway. So, you are cordially invited to join me in my social media-based campaign to spread the love of Love. Valentine’s Day is forced and corny, and so let’s take fourteen days to listen to the only music forced and corny enough to match. I’m calling this A Fortnight From The Heart.

I’ll be sharing one song, one of my favorite Power Ballads, each day on Facebook and on this blog, from now until February 14th. Feel free to share your own favorites.

Day 1: “High Enough” by Damn Yankees

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