Discussion in 'Charts, rates etc' started by VivaForever, Feb 18, 2019.
We are stardust.
Whew... a moment.
Indeed not. You have three 7's, two 7.25's, and one 7.5 left. Then you have one 8 and everything else is 8.75 and above.
You're also the lowest scorer for two of the top three ddd.
I'm both scared and intrigued! This pretty much confirms that my 11 missed the top 3, but it's been so divisive that I had that feeling for a while now.
Not necessarily. It could mean the top three is your 11 plus two 7's. Or your 11 plus two 10's that got at least one 11. Or two 7's and a 7.25.
So many possibilities!
I fear for my 11 now. I don't see it making the top 15.
The interview after the Leno performance is really uncomfortable watching.
Btw I didn’t have time to vote because I’m only a singles Stan and didn’t have time to absorb the albums to judge fairly. But I’ve been following the rate closely and rooting for I Plead Insanity and Summer Rain.
Sun and Mad About You would not be in my Belinda Top 40 but they're both cute.
I've been trying to think what my Belinda top 20 would consist of, and I think I've cracked it. They're in chronological order so as not to give away my 11!
Mad About You
Leave A Light On
Vision Of You
Do You Feel Like I Feel
You're Nothing Without Me
I Plead Insanity
Little Black Book
Big Scary Animal
Lay Down Your Arms
Wrap My Arms
In Too Deep
Always Breaking My Heart
The real reason I didn't eliminate this last week was that I was putting it off...
20. Half the World - 8.44
Live Your Life Be Free
Highest score: 10 x 4 (me, @pop3blow2, @unnameable, @Remorque)
Lowest score: 6.5 (@CasperFan)
This has been my favorite Belindaballad (okay, not much competition, but still) since I first heard it on Her Greatest Hits. Gorgeous, lush orchestration with a great lyrical conceit, and one of my favorite things, where the lyrics are changed on just one line of the second chorus (from "a part of me goes too" to "my heart breaks in two").
Half the World was written by Richard Feldman (of Shakespears Sister fame!), Eric Pressly, and Ellen Shipley, and produced by Richard as well. CD1 included Only a Dream and the original version of Live Your Life Be Free, with a longer intro; CD2 was billed as "The Ballads Collection" and included Vision of You '91, Circle in the Sand, and Love Never Dies. To coin a phrase: ddddddd.
@tylerc904 (8.5) pulls out an ever-reliable New York reference: "A cute girl, but no Vision of You. Cute next to gorgeous etc." I'm so angry right now. @CasperFan (6.5) likewise calls it "A cross between Circle and Vision without being anywhere near as good. Bit of an album killer as 3rd single. Don’t hate it but not essential Belinda." Well, at least you fools managed to get this higher than Vision of You. Should've been higher than Circle in the Sand too, but what can one expect?
@bonnieetclyde (8) says, "The verses lack a little for me and the instrumental sounds somewhat basic and lifeless listening back now. Really strong chorus though."
@Hudweiser's (8) criticism is one I actually can't argue with. "China is only 7 hours ahead of Italy, so I doubt they’re going to bed in the early afternoon." But are they heading off to work when the sun's going down in Tennessee?
@pop3blow2 (10) correctly notes that it's "such a pretty song." @Seventeen Days (9.25) likewise calls it "a gorgeous ballad, and one of my favorites at that. You can feel the emotion in her voice on this." YES. To think she recorded this album while consistently high as fuck.
Finally, @unnameable (10) mirrors my feelings, calling it "the sort of ballad I adore, and she really adds power and heartbreak to it."
'Half The World' is one of my fave Belinda vocals. The verses are so restrained, but those little building moments in the chorus give you the full Belinda effect, where she teeters on the edge of going over the top... but never quite does.
19. Big Scary Animal - 8.57
Highest score: 10 x 5 (me, @Untitled, @Cundy, @unnameable, @Remorque)
Lowest score: 7 x 2 (@Hatbar, @tylerc904)
And so our first album leaves us. See ya, wouldn't wanna be ya.
But at least Real managed to give us this amazing piece of MOR-rock-pop. Big Scary Animal was written by Belinda, Charlotte, and Ralph, and produced by Ralph. In the US, not only was its already terrible video recut to be made even worse, with Belinda singing and slightly bopping in front of a screen showing the original video, but it was retitled It's Too Real (Big Scary Animal), for reasons I'll never understand. Wikipedia tells me there's also a director's cut of the UK video, but I'm going to need a citation for that. It does mean Big Scary Animal is the only Belinda song to have two distinct videos. And they're both shit. Poor it.
Belinda wrote of its origin in her memoir: "Charlotte, Ralph, and I were listening to a loop of music one day, trying to come up with a concept for it. One of us asked, 'What is love?' Another answered, 'A big scary animal.' ... 'Big Scary Animal' was thus born." Well, that really raises more questions than it answers. Five bucks says they were all high as kites.
But really, let's talk about what a great song this is. A lyric about how "some things are inevitable" are paired with that high-energy (not hi-NRG) production, culminating into that LAUNCH into the chorus. Whew. When will your faves? I actually originally rated this a 9 from memory, but found when I went back to listen to it that I couldn't help but play it over and over, so had to bump it up to a 10. I feel confident in saying it's placed several spots too low. Mess. At least I can take comfort in it being the first song to earn five 10's.
"Those opening drums are so seductive," says @bonnieetclyde (8). "This feels like more of a stronger opening track than Goodbye Day. I love how different this style is for her but she owns it completely. The chorus is very catchy with a strong hook." Likewise, @CasperFan (8.5) calls it "a different sound with the drums kicking off this one. Not as anthemic as previous lead singles, a bit more subtle but a great song that sticks in your head."
"The beats for this were an amazing choice, and the lyrics," says @unnameable (10). @Seventeen Days (7) notes, "This was the first track I ever heard from this album, and it remains one of my favorites on this album. The big tribal-style drums on the intro are a nice allusion to the 'animal' theme going on here." If this is only one of your favorites on Real, and not your definitive standalone favorite... I'm judging you.
Finally, @pop3blow2 (8.9) delivers some Earl Grey. "It’s a shame this wasn’t a bigger hit. It really fits in well sonically with other stuff from the era that got played on the radio, etc."
4. Real - 7.37
Highest average: 9.11 (@pop3blow2)
Lowest average: 5.50 (me)
64. Windows of the World - 6.54
62. Where Love Hides - 6.65
53. One with You - 6.92
53. Here Comes My Baby - 6.92
49. Wrap My Arms - 7.01
46. Tell Me - 7.15
32. Too Much Water - 7.65
28. Goodbye Day - 7.82
21. Lay Down Your Arms - 8.42
19. Big Scary Animal - 8.57
Big Scary Animal would’ve been my 11 (I discovered this far too late).
Oh, tomorrow your 11's are safe (for one more day), but your eyes are not as I have a long write-up incoming for one of the eliminations. Nor are the albums, as we'll say goodbye to another. But which will it be: the debut, A Woman and a Man, or the extras section? Stay tuned, chums.
How the fuck is Too Much Water fourth?
Anyways, Half The World, much like World Without You, is pretty enough, if a bit dull. The chorus is the superior of the two songs, but I always categorise them together in my head. Maybe it's the word "world". Still, it's certainly nowhere near as majestic and affecting as Vision Of You, which remains her best ballad despite the fuckery of this rate.
And well, Big Scary Animal eh? It would certainly be in my Belinda top 5, and was actually in the running for my 11. It's just utterly unique. Everything about it is perfection. By far her best lead single. It deserved far better than a UK number 11 peak.
I do really like Big Scary Animal (though I prefer Lay Down Your Arms and Too Much Water). I'd say Goodbye Day is my #4 from Real so we got the top four right, just the order a bit wrong.
Even though it's not my fav, I am surprised this one wasn't a bigger hit at the time.
I apologise for being the low scorer here-i think i actually underscored this. Much better than Circle-sorry!
To be fair, the only other track that I really liked on this album was Lay Down Your Arms, and I still prefer Big Scary Animal to it.
18. Mad About You - 8.58
Highest score: 10 x 3 (@pop3blow2, @Seventeen Days, @unnameable)
Lowest score: 6.5 (@Hudweiser)
To fully understand the origins of Mad About You, we have to go all the way back to the recording of the first Go-Go's album, Beauty and the Beat.
Beauty was their only album to be recorded right in LA, affording them opportunities to go out and get high between recording sessions. While the resulting album was a hit, the powers that were at their label, IRS, were understandably concerned about what a repeat of that performance would entail. So for the second album, Vacation, recording sessions were moved to Malibu and the ladies put up at a resort there. Regrettably, this wasn't enough distance to keep them from traipsing back into the city "at all hours of the day and night," per Belinda's memoir. (Which is my source for this whole write-up, so [dubious source?] etc.)
When it came time to record the third album, Talk Show (with its abominably hideous cover art), IRS shipped them off all the way to England. They were to work with producer Martin Rushent of The Human League fame, and surely putting them an entire ocean away from LA would keep their distractions and addictions at bay?
Unfortunately for all involved, this idea was foiled by the new producer's working style. "Martin preferred to work on tracks ... with each [of us] individually, which allowed those of us not involved to take off for London or Los Angeles, or just to take off," Belinda recalls. Belinda herself took a trip back to LA, then missed not one but three flights back to the UK due to her drug problem. "On my fourth attempt, I finally made it back," she writes, but she found on arrival that "Charlotte had vanished for a week. ... We were extremely concerned until she popped up again not much the worse for wear."
Shortly thereafter, Jane Wiedlin "decided she wanted to sing [on the album], and she kind of flipped out when she was told no." Belinda was privately sympathetic to Jane, who, she surmised, "resented me for getting all the attention." But after months if not years of mounting tensions, exacerbated by the women's refusal to address them (Shakespears Sister teas), meant that the mercurial Jane finally snapped. She didn't merely follow Belinda and Charlotte's lead – she topped it. "She smashed a mirror in her hotel room and flew back to the States," Belinda recalls. "When she returned, she had decided to leave the band."
Jane only told the others she was leaving some months later, explaining she had only stayed as long as she had out of loyalty to them. In the end, her departure was... surprisingly amicable on both sides. At least, if Belinda is to be believed. It was announced to the public the day after the end of their joint tour with INXS. And that's where a significant player in Belinda's solo career comes into play.
Rather than finding a new rhythm guitarist to replace her, the four remaining decided that Kathy Valentine "would switch from bass to guitar, her original instrument." And so they set out to find a new bassist. The result of their search was Paula Jean Brown, who brought with her a handful of songs she'd previously worked on.
But - maybe because of the loss of Jane, who Belinda noted "wrote some of our best songs" (including Our Lips Are Sealed, with her then-boyfriend, Terry Hall of the Fun Boy Three), but maybe because they were getting tired, or maybe because they were just too fucking high all the time - the band wasn't working anymore. "I went home to [my partner] Morgan at night and said what I didn't dare say in front of the other girls," Belinda says. "The band had lost its creative center. It no longer felt like the Go-Go's."
So in a moment that's more than a bit reminiscent of Geri and Mel B suddenly deciding to sack Simon Fuller, Belinda "met secretly with Charlotte, who agreed with me that after two months of work the only decent, Go-Go's-sounding song we had was 'Mad About You', which Paula had brought in. Otherwise the band wasn't working anymore. ... Charlotte and I decided it was time to call it a day." As you might guess, Kathy and Gina Schock were none too pleased at this turn of events, which might explain why they didn't participate in the creation of Belinda's solo debut, even though Charlotte and Paula both did, and even Jane (by then beginning her own solo career) dropped in to do some backing vocals.
Belinda took Mad About You with her, recording it alongside two of Paula's other co-writes, Gotta Get to You and Shot in the Dark. I don't know the provenance of these songs, but I wouldn't be surprised if the latter was also among Paula's pre-Go-Go's catalogue, though the former was written with Belinda and Charlotte, and isn't very Go-Go's, suggesting it at least was a new composition intended directly for Belinda.
For the video, Belinda recounts, "Morgan played my dreamy love interest. He didn't want me kissing anyone else." I for one find this a bit creepily possessive! But Belegend didn't. Her reaction: "Fine with me. I didn't want to kiss anyone else."
Whew. Now that's a writeup, if I do say so myself. Let's catch our breath, huh?
Okay, that's enough. I gave this an 8, but I have to say if I were rating it today, it would be a 10. (This would only have moved it up two places, so I'm not kicking myself too hard.) The overly kitschy 60s production was always a bit much for me to get through to appreciate the extremely good song underneath, until I heard the cast recording from Head Over Heels, the Go-Go's musical, which strips that away for a much more modern sound. As a result, I've come to appreciate Belinda's version as well. But I do have to say, a Go-Go's version would have been so fucking good...
As for the rest of you, what do you think of Belinda's first ever solo moment of whatever? "What a fantastic little pop tune, pity the rest of the album doesn’t really match up to this but I never get tired of hearing it," says @Hatbar (9) in a totally fair assessment. @tylerc904 (7) delivers a very different, but equally fair, take: "Obviously it worked in the US, but this would not have inspired a great deal of faith in the future of Belinda's solo career if it were the first thing I heard from her. Glad she topped it so soon after."
He wasn't the first whose awareness of Belinda didn't begin with the "prequel" album. "I first heard this on the Runaway Live VHS video - thought Belinda began with Heaven," says @CasperFan (8). "I love this - a great pop song and a small indicator of the brilliance that will follow later in her career. Head and shoulders above anything else on her debut album and love that she still sings it in concert."
@bonnieetclyde (9) finds it "so damn catchy. A nice follow on from The Go-Go's sound but a little more pop." Meanwhile, @Remorque (9) "had kinda forgotten what a fantastic summer-y bop this one is. She sounds fantastic and looks fucking gorgeous in the video too!"
And now, let's hear from some 10's! @unnameable "remember(s) tracking this down on cassette as a student in the 90s, and being excited by this opening track. Classic Belinda, and it lifts up the entire album."
"Whew. A 10 out of the gate. How many rates does that happen?" asks @pop3blow2. I was going to say Candy, but after double-checking found that So Real was actually the first track on the album. Pity. @Seventeen Days also starts off with one of the gays' favorite words. "Whew, we love a phenomenal debut single! Belinda’s voice is fantastic on this, and I love the bass intro. Plus, we can’t forget that scorching guitar solo provided by Duran Duran’s very own Andy Taylor."
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