Reid’s Pop Song of the Month and Why
Quick definition of pop song: any popular song from any era regardless of musical genre.
The criteria for getting to be Reid’s Pop Song of the Month is simple: I have to love the tune. It has to dye me, heal, console and inspire me, teach, enlarge and challenge me, contribute to my personal evolution, resonate through my lifetime and be a wonder-filled marriage of music and lyrics. Each tune has to have “seen me through” somehow. Not much to ask of a pop song, is it?
There are certainly elements of “trying to tell a stranger about rock and roll” when writing intimately about something utterly subjective like your favourite songs. I’ll keep my tongue firmly in my cheek and the tone light and fluffy just like the music. With every song in this series, it might take a few listens to hear what I hear but if you never hear it, that’s fine too. Ear of the beholder. Besides, it’s only a pop song.
Lest we fall into a pop culture miasma of foolishness and desire and lose track of our balance, I suggest you click on the Culture is not your friend link here or on my blogroll and let Terence McKenna fill you in. He makes a very clear distinction between art and culture, a distinction that is mostly invisible today.
REID’S POP SONG OF THE MONTH IS
Love Changes (Everything)
This smart little ditty has long been one of my all-time favourite pop songs. Aside from the basic truth of its title, Love Changes (Everything) by Climie Fisher chugs along with enchanting simplicity, prompting the poor brokenhearted boy to churn out his sad lost love story – two verses of pain, hope blooms with every chorus and the middle eight brings the wisdom home. Love can go either way and this four and a half minute celebration is a simple joyful expression of its pursuit.
Please listen to the song and watch the video. Click pic to play
Released in 1987 and an international hit, Love Changes (Everything) is the ultimate British synth/haircut band pop song. Rather than evolve, it flakes off in sickly saccharin layers. The sweet chiming guitar and firm backbeat set in a synth drone with warbling keys build a comfortable nest for the fragile boy to somehow find his way through the confusion, the heartache and the hormones and live with his new wisdom: love changes everything. His do-do-do chorus and the big hopeful sky help him realize it’s third time lucky. He’s so happy about it all by the end of the song he almost sings falsetto. The parallels between his story and mine are strong and personal, diverging only because I have never been able to sing falsetto.
Pop song lyrics have given us endless samples of the somber, the insipid and the silly. For me lyrics have to live up to the music, to be as smart or as dumb as the tune and the band. With Climie Fisher, let’s start with the inexplicable brackets around Everything: pointless. It gets better.
The pop song format shines brightest when it poetically encapsulates basic truths. In Love Changes (Everything) we hear “Love makes you fly; it can break your wings,” “Love makes the rules from fools to kings” and “I’ve seen the way love shakes ya, makes ya, breaks ya. It’s got a power all its own.” Who can argue successfully with that? Though a little lumpy here and there with an extra syllable snuck in the last line of both verses, the lyric gets the story across just fine. Of course, it’s the same old story, tired and ever true.
Who were Climie Fisher? Simon Climie sang and Rob Fisher, formerly of Naked Eyes, played keyboard. Both their hit records came out in 1987. The featured song went Top Ten in half a dozen countries, Rise To the Occasion, its follow-up, was less of a hit. Fisher died in 1999 and the group disbanded. Climie and Fisher share the writing credits for Love Changes (Everything).
For me, the video seriously aids and abets Love Changes (Everything). Besides appealing to my latent train thing, I love the sepia colouration and the highly attractive people. It’s a study in fine faces, several of them seemingly made of pure white porcelain, set against the horizontal movement of boxcars passing by a “Kansas skies” railroad station. Panning cameras enhance the almost continuous horizontal motion, as do all the straight lines in the set. Subtly sexual use of vertical lines and movement abounds; the out-of-focus backgrounds, body-as-landscape and spinning windmill add to the effect. The luscious tableau created at 1:41 and its resolution give me a little shiver every time I see it.
The Final Tally for Love Changes (Everything)
On the ascending scale of sweetness according to The Beatles song Savoy Truffle:
Nice apple tart
Cool cherry cream
Ginger sling with a pineapple heart
Number of teeth you’ll need to pull (out of 32): 11
Compared to glucose/fructose, the likelihood of getting diabetes from listening to this tune repeatedly is: 17%
Now listen to the song and watch the video again. Any difference?