I know…you’re shaking your head and wondering when I’ll get back to real content…soon, I promise! But I stumbled upon this tonight and it just begged to be followed up on. Clearly, in this video, the singer/songwriter is following in the model of late 80s, early 90s power ballads. In my mind, he’s truly playing in the model of Aerosmith’s “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing” which came even later, but which took the tropes of the early 90s and updated them. Regardless, it got me thinking, of all the wonderfully cheesy, over-the-top power ballads written for movies, which ones would make my all time list. But let me say this, though…I love a good power ballad. I love the over-the-top quality of them, and I just live in anticipation of the modulating bridge. Even in the above faux-Terminator, as soon as the bridge kicked in I just burst out laughing with glee.
So I make this list in pure nostalgic bliss for the bygone era of the power ballads. I truly miss you.
#5: Highlander – “Who Wants to Live Forever”: All you need to know is that this was recorded by Queen, and while it feels like it never really gets started, it does feature a sweet power ballad guitar solo.
#4: St. Elmo’s Fire – “St. Elmo’s Fire (Man in Motion)”: Oh my, this song is just 80s cheese through and thought. It’s so cheesy that it should come with a doctor’s warning. The 80s-tastic synths, the earnest vocals, pleading with the listener. It’s not quite a power ballad – though it is a ballad – but it’s just too good to pass up…
#3: Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves – “Everything I Do (I Do It For You)”: I used to love this song as a kid – who am I kidding I still love it. I was but a wee lad when this film came out, and I listened to this song over and over. It has everything a great power ballad needs: a great bridge, epic guitar parts, and the slow build to the moment when the singer screams out his pain and love…oh, and it features a piano being played in a forest. Epic.
#2: The Running Man – “Running Away With You (Restless Heart)”: From the man who brought you “St. Elmo’s Fire” comes this earnest track about running away with the woman you love, which plays after Ah-nold tears through an evil game show, killing all that get in his way. Kinda clashes, but the song is “great”…
#1: Armageddon – “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing”: The previous songs all reach for epic-ness, and many get darn close, but none reach the epic level of Aerosmith’s contribution to Michael Bay’s film. We have orchestra, we have the epic guitars, bridge, plus it’s written by Diane “Over the Top Song” Warren. She also penned the theme song to Enterprise and many other epic songs. Besides, with this song, the entire world was in danger, so how could that not win?
These songs were left out mainly because they weren’t really ballads, but they do have power and rock! Cue the montages!
Rocky III – “Eye of the Tiger”: If there is one song from the annals of film that screams “training montage” it is “Eye of the Tiger.” If you can’t get psyched listening to this song, you need to have yourself checked for a pulse.
Footloose – “Holding Out for a Hero”: Ah, Jim Steinman, you knew I had to include at least one of the songs he wrote on this list. Enjoy.
I promise, next week I’ll get back to serious discussions of an academic nature…maybe.
Take us away Kenny Loggins!