Heaven Is a Rate on Earth. The Belinda Carlisle Rate. Ooh, baby, do you know what that's worth? | Page 9 | The Popjustice Forum

Heaven Is a Rate on Earth. The Belinda Carlisle Rate. Ooh, baby, do you know what that's worth?

Discussion in 'Charts, rates etc' started by VivaForever, Feb 18, 2019.

  1. 85. Dancing Queen - 5.21
    Extras (ABBA Mania, 2005)

    Highest score: 8 x 2 (me, @unnameable)
    Lowest score: 0 (@Cundy)​

    Sigh. I knew this wasn't going to last long anyway... And maybe it didn't deserve to. It's perfectly fine, but Belinda Carlisle covering ABBA ought to have been more than "fine." The production is pretty flat. Still, Dancing Queen is so good that practically no recording of it can get lower than an 8 from me.

    Belinda's cover comes to us from ABBA Mania, a low-budget (and really, really bad) Dutch TV special from 2005 (not to be confused with ABBAmania, a British TV special from 1999) that also gave us Samantha Fox doing The Winner Takes It All and Right Said Fred doing Knowing Me, Knowing You. Both of which are, in fact, much better than Belinda's Dancing Queen. And it has to be said, as much as I love Sam Fox, she can't sing for shit. Admittedly, when Sam Fox's ABBA cover is better than yours, that's a problem.

    It somehow escaped the endless cycle of Edsel reissues entirely, making it one of the rarest Belinda recordings, only ever appearing on the ABBA Mania soundtrack.

    "Stop covering Dancing Queen challenge," mopes @Hudweiser (1). Sorry, Hud, I will never support people not covering ABBA. There's a lot of crap, but a lot of gems too.

    "Just no, no, a thousand times no Belinda! I prefer to think this doesn’t exist!" @CasperFan (3) exclaims. ABBA covers seem to provoke that reaction. I remember a similar meltdown over The Winner Takes It All in the Corrs rate.

    "Rather unoriginal version, nothing really to take away from this," reflects @bonnieetclyde (5). I think that's pretty fair.

    "The performance is awkward and the vocals border on shrill, but it's okay," says @tylerc904 (6.5). You want to see awkward? Look at Sam Fox grinning as she romps her way through The Winner Takes It All, then wandering into a surprisingly uninterested audience.

    "I mean, this is something," @pop3blow2 (7.8) begins. "Haha! That video is everything. Let’s be honest though, it’s all a bit karaoke here. But it’s Belinda doing ABBA, so I’m not dragging this too much." Generous queen.

    "The ABBA purist within me screams no, but Benny & Björn crafted a bulletproof song and our pop queen does a decent version," my scoremate @unnameable (8) says.

    Let's wrap up with @Seventeen Days (6), who summarizes the situation pretty well: "There’s so many good covers of this, on top of the god-tier original, but Belinda’s voice just isn’t up to scratch on it for me. It's always gonna be a bop, regardless."

    Last edited: Apr 15, 2019
  2. Cover ABBA forever - just not this song. It's been overdone.
    Deleted member 30181 likes this.
  3. Poor Don't Cry! One of the six extras that got an 8 or above from me.
    Remorque, pop3blow2 and VivaForever like this.
  4. Are you sure about that?
    Phonetics Girl likes this.
  5. 84. Why - 5.28
    Extras (Heaven on Earth 30th Anniversary Edition, 2017)

    Highest score: 9.6 (@bonnieetclyde)
    Lowest score: 0 (@Cundy)​

    Yes, folks, that's the second consecutive 0 from @Cundy... and our final 0 of the entire damn rate. We do have a few 1's and several 2's though.

    Why was one of two new recordings for the 30th Anniversary Edition of Heaven on Earth (the acoustic version of Heaven was reused from Wilder Shores). It was co-written by Belinda, Charlotte and Tom Caffey, and Anna Waronker of That Dog. Incidentally, I learned just about half an hour ago that Anna Waronker (whom I'd never heard of till researching this song last night) contributed to the Josie and the Pussycats soundtrack, as did who else but the Reverend Sister Go-Go, Jane Wiedlin! (Edit: She and Charlotte also co-wrote the Clueless TV theme song, so she definitely has some ties to the Go-Go's.)

    The only other information I have on the song is a mysterious listing on Discogs for an undated CD-R of four demos, all co-written by Anna and Belinda, three of them (including Why) with Charlotte and Tom. Judging by the notation of Belinda's publishing percentage next to each song, perhaps these demos were intended not to be re-recorded and released by Belinda herself, but rather shopped around to other singers? Hmm. At any rate, I've never heard of the other three songs on the disc: Sweetest Sin, The Kiss, and The End.

    "She’s kind of trying something new vocally here," @Hudweiser (6) observes. "There’s a good vibe and style going on here," says @Seventeen Days (6), "but demo versions are always a bit rough for a reason. This sounds like it had potential though."

    @unnameable (5) captures my feelings on the song as well as my score: "This miseryfest is reasonable enough, but I probably won’t listen to it much."

    "Doesn’t do much for me, probably a grower," says @CasperFan (5). @Hatbar (1) is less optimistic: "Why indeed."

    We'll close with high scorer @bonnieetclyde (9.6): "Stunning vocals, her upper range here is stunning. What a marvellous song."
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2019
  6. I think i over scored this- it's bloody miserable and not a grower!
    VivaForever likes this.
  7. Glad to see my two least favourites go so early!
  8. Boy, that bottle didn't last long.

    83. Superstar - 5.63
    Extras (Heaven on Earth 30th Anniversary Edition, 2017)

    Highest score: 8.7 (@pop3blow2)
    Lowest score: 2 (@unnameable)​

    The other new track from the latest (as of the time of this post, liable to be superseded by next week) reissue of Heaven on Earth, Superstar is a Carpenters cover. I had no idea of this until I read your commentary, given that I'm not a Carpenters fan (don't dislike them, just never listened to them - don't really have an opinion on them at all beyond Merry Christmas Darling being garbage) and that it really doesn't sound any different from Why.

    I'd assumed it was another new song Belinda or someone in her circle had written. In fact, both songs were produced by Gabe Dixon, who also produced Wilder Shores, and they were included as a bonus 45 with the Record Store Day release of Wilder Shores. Sidebar, there was a Record Store Day release of Wilder Shores. Christ, they really will release anything, won't they... Ah well, at least the 45 had a nice picture of Belinda. Nice contrast to the "Belinda flashing an empty field" album cover. She's still got great hair!

    @unnameable (2) keeps it simple: "Dull."

    "Classic song, but her voice doesn’t suit it," @Hudweiser (5) opines. @Hatbar (4) disagrees despite a lower score: "Never heard this until the Rate and it has grown on me due to the strong vocals."

    @CasperFan (4) is "not a Carpenters fan really so this isn’t for me really, and so hard to listen to without comparing to the original." Petition for them to change their name to @NotCarpentersFan. @Seventeen Days (7) writes, "I feel like Karen Carpenter had one of the best voices to ever grace the airwaves. Belinda feels like she’s trying a bit too hard in spots to imitate Karen, but otherwise she does this song some justice."

    @pop3blow2 (8.7) says, "Nice. Maybe she’ll just drop a whole album of Carpenters covers at some point. That'd be fine." I love how low our expectations are at this point. We can't even bring ourselves to get excited at an idea for a Belinda album... we can only muster up "That'd be fine."

    Get your second bottle out for another shot, as @bonnieetclyde (8) says: "Sounds like the start of The World is Not Enough by Garbage, ha. Is this Belinda's long-lost Bond theme? When that chorus kicks in you could be listening to The Go-Go's."

    Next elimination: we lose an actual album track!
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2019
  9. A new album of Belinda originals would be great! I'm just saying I think she obviously likes The Carpenters, so I'd be on board with an album of covers by her.
    VivaForever likes this.
  10. Oh, given her last album of originals, I think a Carpenters cover album would be preferable.

    I was just joking that after Pourquoi and Whylder Shores, none of us bother to have any dreams for something to get excited about and instead we've lowered the bar to "that'd be fine." A "Ready for Hillary" tisane.
  11. I suspect this drinking game would be lethal. I would never compare Belinda to the Bangles or Bon Jovi, so I'm wondering who did...
  12. Oh, Belinda vs. Susanna. This thought did pop into my head while listening for the rate, but I don't think I actually brought up Susanna (or The Bangles) at all in my commentary.

    The weird thing is that while I was very much into Belinda & Susanna Hoffs at about the same time, I never really found myself comparing them too much. The fact they were both prominent ladies in female bands, who then went solo, I can see how that would happen, though.

    I was really into The Bangles, but not as much The Go-Go's. Then, I probably liked Belinda's solo stuff a tad more than Susanna's in my youth, but as I got older I listened more & more to Susanna. I think I just like her particular 'tone' better. (In fact, until Carly Rae came along, I spent the last 20 years of my pop fandom proclaiming that I thought Susanna Hoffs had my definition of 'the most perfect pop voice' of all time. She has been dethroned for me, by CRJ, but it took a long time!)
    Phonetics Girl and VivaForever like this.
  13. I'm guilty of one of those instances, because a track on the Belinda album was supposedly intended for the Bangles.
  14. It was funny to me as I've always thought of the Bangles as the flipside of the Go-Go's, more pop where the Go-Go's were more rock. And Vicki Peterson from the Bangles was a temporary Go-Go in 1994, filling in for a pregnant Charlotte. It wouldn't have struck me to compare solo Belinda to the Bangles, but a few people did!

    Belinda's probably in my top three pop voices with Melanie C and Tracey Thorn, but this is possibly the most beautiful vocal performance I've literally ever heard:
  15. Well, probably, because after just one shot, we're going to have to finish off the second bottle...

    82. Stuff and Nonsense - 5.67

    Highest score: 9.2 (@pop3blow2)
    Lowest score: 1 x 2 (@Hatbar, @Cundy)​

    The final track of Belinda's debut has an appropriate title (I gave it a 5, signifying "not bad but never needed to exist"). It was, apparently, a cover of a song by New Zealand art-rock band Split Enz - I don't know her - from their 1979 album Frenzy. In my defense, it looks like Split Enz' success, if one may call it that, was mostly limited to Australia and New Zealand. This song was written by Split Enz member (later, briefly, a Crowded House member) Tim Finn, whose brother and bandmate Neil would later work with Belinda.

    There were... definitely two camps in the commentary. First, Team Dreary Dirge. "Can’t stand this dirge. Thank goodness Rick Nowels and Ellen Shipley made an appearance for the next album," says @Hatbar (1). "Zzzzzzzzzzz bores me rigid-tuneless dirge!" @CasperFan (2) agrees. @bonnieetclyde (6) also seems to concur despite a higher score: "It's a little dreary and although it picks up when the choir kicks in... it's just a little lackluster."

    Then there's Team Lovely Ballad. "A lovely ballad to end the album," proclaims @unnameable (9). If only she hadn't decided to stick to the formula... @Remorque (6) is a little less convinced: "A lovely little ballad. But that's about it, innit." @Seventeen Days (7) tells us a story: "My friend tried to get me into Split Enz at some point in the ‘00s, though not to much success. I did enjoy this track though, and Belinda definitely pulls off a pretty cover of it." And finally, perpetual high-scorer @pop3blow2 (9.2) - henceforth known as the @Music Is Life of the Belinda rate - says, "I love this song. Her version is really good."

  16. That's probably fair. I did realize as I was sending in my scores in, that I rated very few songs under 7 I think. Truth be told, as I was listening to her for like a week solid, I remembered that she just has one of those voices that even makes a dud interesting by my standards.

    I'll wear the @Music Is Life 'High Scorer Badge' proudly for Belinda in this rate!

    I'm a huge Finn Brothers (Split Enz/Crowded House) fan, so her cover of this song is right up my alley.
    Phonetics Girl and VivaForever like this.
  17. She just sounds really bored on that. Like it was the end of a long day and she just wants to go home via Whole Foods and watch TJ Hooker in peace.
    Deleted member 30181 likes this.
  18. I love Stuff & Nonsense actually, surprised to see it out so soon.

  19. 81. I Never Wanted a Rich Man - 5.68

    Highest score: 10 (@tylerc904... sis)
    Lowest score: 2 (@Cundy, quelle surprise)​

    I have nothing interesting to say about this one. Written by Charlotte, appeared as the B-side of Mad About You.

    @bonnieetclyde (6) is right on target: "A little forgettable and filler-ish. Sounds like a B-Side to me." So is @Remorque (6.5): "A lovely 60s girlband pastiche. This was perfect as the b-side to Mad About You, yet that's exactly what it sounds like... A b-side."

    @CasperFan (5) calls it "just a bit Doris Day - pleasant enough but instantly forgettable." Word.

    @unnameable (7.5) is more positive, saying it "suits her voice well and fits the album well." @Seventeen Days (5.5) notes, "Continues that oldies vibe of I Feel the Magic, but not as instantly lovable as the latter for me. I like the background vocals invoking old-school girl groups."

    Finally, high scorer @tylerc904 (10) asks, "Why do I love this? Whatever." Whatever indeed.

  20. Good fucking riddance to that Dancing Queen cover. I've said this before multiple times, but if a talented artist like Belinda can't raise the bar to the levels Frida and Agnetha reached, then no one can. Abso-fucking-lutelly no one.

    And H'why has the debut lost two middling-to-good songs when there's actually some real drivel still present here, hmmm, précieux?
    CasperFan likes this.
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