Hi hi hi hi hi! Welcome back to another fun-filled CHART ATTACK! This week we’re heading back up to the end of the ’80s – July 1, 1989!
10. I’ll Be Loving You (Forever) – New Kids On The Block Amazon iTunes
9. Miss You Like Crazy – Natalie Cole Amazon iTunes
8. I Drove All Night – Cyndi Lauper Amazon iTunes
7. This Time I Know It’s For Real – Donna Summer Amazon iTunes
6. Express Yourself – Madonna Amazon iTunes
5. If You Don’t Know Me By Now – Simply Red Amazon iTunes
4. Buffalo Stance – Neneh Cherry Amazon iTunes
3. Satisfied – Richard Marx Amazon iTunes
2. Good Thing – Fine Young Cannibals Amazon iTunes
1. Baby Don’t Forget My Number – Milli Vanilli Amazon iTunes
10. I’ll Be Loving You (Forever) – New Kids On The Block
I know at least three women who can say their first concert was New Kids On The Block, including my wife – who, like the rest, spent most of the concert screeching at these five douchebags. Every time I give her my "I’m disgusted with you" look over this fact, she reminds me that my first concert was Air Supply. Whatever. I was eight.
Listening to this song again, I’m reminded that they really were the white version of New Edition. And they actually did have some talent – I don’t know who’s singing lead on this one (okay, yes I do, it’s Jordan, and I’ve always known that, and I hate myself), but he’s singing 98% of the song in falsetto and it’s really not that bad.
If you can’t remember how batshit everyone went over NKOTB back in the late ’80s and early ’90s, here’s the video so you can remind yourself. Lots of shots of the guys engaging in some innocent activities with the ladies – shooting pool, eating pizza, etc. I always thought it would have been funny to have one really quick shot of Donnie banging one of ’em from behind.
9. Miss You Like Crazy – Natalie Cole
Y’know, I have nothing against Natalie Cole, but it doesn’t get much more boring than "Miss You Like Crazy." With bland lyrics like "I can see the love shining in your eyes," my mind starts to wander, and I wind up thinking about how much more interesting this song would be if she were a deranged stalker singing to a framed picture of Billy Dee Williams. Maybe the last chorus is sung while she’s in an orange jumpsuit, being dragged backwards to her cell while the backs of her heels are dragging in the dirt.
What the hell is wrong with me?
8. I Drove All Night – Cyndi Lauper (download)
This is the third time a tune by the songwriting duo of Billy Steinberg and Tom Kelly has made a CHART ATTACK! appearance: the duo wrote "Like A Virgin" and "Eternal Flame," two songs we’ve covered before. "I Drove All Night" was written with Roy Orbison in mind, and the duo actually succeeded in getting Orbison to record a demo with them; however, at the time, Orbison didn’t have a record contract, so there was no way for the song to be officially released. Steinberg and Kelly passed the song on to Lauper, who had previously worked with the duo on her hit song "True Colors." It was included on her album A Night To Remember, and peaked at #6.
I’m not a huge fan of Cyndi Lauper, but I do like this song – I appreciate the fact that she chose to sing it in her lower register, which wasn’t really where the money was, so to speak.
The Roy Orbison version is pretty good too, actually – completed by Jeff Lynne (as if you couldn’t tell from that snare drum) after his death. And hey, the video features Jason Priestley and Jennifer Connelly. I imagine at some point, this was a really big deal.
Of course, I suppose I need to mention the fact that Steinberg also wrote "Falling Into You" for Celine Dion, and when Chrysler was looking for a theme song for their campaign with her, he suggested "I Drove All Night." You can find that video on your own. I don’t enable readers when looking for Celine Dion videos.
7. This Time I Know It’s For Real – Donna Summer
You’re forgiven if, the first time you hear this, you go, "hey! Rick Astley!" (Video here if you want to hear the song.) After all, the song was written and produced by Stock Aitken Waterman, the Europop powerhouse trio that were responsible for the success of both Astley and Kylie Minogue. Summer has always been smart enough to associate herself with successful writers and producers, and going to the S/A/W team was yet another wise move: this song gave Summer her first first Top 10 on the Hot 100 in six years. She has yet to repeat that kind of success, although let’s give her credit for the 13 top 10 hits in her arsenal (including two that jumped 37 spots in a week’s time), and a staggering 14 singles at #1 on the Dance charts. (Not all at once, although wouldn’t that be really cool?)
6. Express Yourself – Madonna
It’s official: Madonna fans have absolutely nothing better to do but write the most detailed Wikipedia entries known to man. So I invite you to check out the Wiki if you’d like to know why the song was only released as a max-single in France. In the meantime, I’ll just say that like most of the songs on Like A Prayer (and I’ve already discussed how much I love that album), "Express Yourself" ranks among Madonna’s best, and it’s also one of her most powerful. I feel like this is the vibe she was going for on "Music," which wasn’t nearly as effective.
5. If You Don’t Know Me By Now – Simply Red
This is a really good cover – Mick Hucknall doesn’t have anything on Teddy Pendergrass (who sang lead on the original, by Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes), but he gives the song the passion it demands, and the ’80s blue-eyed soul sound of Simply Red works quite well. That being said, I always seem to flip the station when this comes on the radio. I tend to forget that it’s under four minutes long – I could have sworn that it clocked in at around six.
I also would have accepted a cover of this song by Natalie Cole. You will never, never, never know me, Lando.
4. Buffalo Stance – Neneh Cherry (download)
I love "Buffalo Stance." I think the chorus is irresistable, especially the synth part. I don’t know what a "buffalo stance" is and I don’t care. I just feel like we should have given Neneh Cherry another chance at success. Anybody who names an album Raw Like Sushi deserves more than one hit. Instead, we got her freakin’ brother, Eagle Eye. "Save Tonight" is another one of those annoying songs my college roommate would play 10 times in a row until I begged him to put on Chumbawumba or anything else. They still play it at the gym, for reasons beyond me.
I think the director for "Buffalo Stance" probably called in sick on the day of the video shoot, and they just said, "fuck it, just put her in front of a green screen."
3. Satisfied – Richard Marx
Love this song. I’m not going to defend my enjoyment of Richard Marx to you guys again. (Actually, I was about to do it, but then I remembered I already defended him back in November.) I’ll repeat, however, my belief that the man knows how to write a good hook – as evidenced by "Satisfied," which had topped the charts the week prior to this one.
So, you wanna hear a good Richard Marx story? Too bad, I’m telling you anyway. He told this one in concert last year. (Yes, I went. I took my mother. Stop laughing. We’re seeing Air Supply next month.) So "Satisfied" was the first single off his highly successful sophomore effort, Repeat Offender. While Marx was preparing for the tour, his management was figuring out how much money they could make in merchandising. Marx came up with some ideas for products, but his greatest idea was, unfortunately, nixed: women’s panties with the words "Repeat Offender" on the back, and a photo of the back of his mullet on the front. Heh!
2. Good Thing – Fine Young Cannibals
And the award for Least Accurate Title goes to this song. Because "Good Thing" is, in fact, a very, very bad thing. The beat and melody may have been somewhat unconventional, and certainly didn’t sound like anything else coming out of 1989, but that’s no excuse for the song reaching the #1 spot the week after this one. No excuse at all. Why did we let Roland Gift get away with singing like this? At one point, he actually sounds like Jimmy Fallon when he tries to impersonate Barry Gibb.
On the bright side, I never have to say another word about Fine Young Cannibals again, since we
pissed all over dissected "She Drives Me Crazy" a few months ago. At the time, I said, "At least it’s not ‘Good Thing.’" So there you go.
1. Baby Don’t Forget My Number – Milli Vanilli
You only have yourself to blame, Chart Attackers. You helped Milli Vanilli reach the top of the charts. Even if you didn’t buy the album or the singles, you know somebody who did. (My friend Michele made a big poster out of oak tag dedicated to Milli Vanilli in 7th grade.) Don’t be too hard on them, though: we were all fooled. "Baby Don’t Forget My Number" was a catchy song, and the fact that they were complete poseurs does not take away from that, at least for me. And that’s all I’m going to say on Milli Vanilli for the moment; let’s just say that a very special post is on the horizon.
That’ll do it for this time! Thanks for reading, and see you next week for another CHART ATTACK!