Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Face Meltingly Sensitive

Face Meltingly Sensitive
The Absolute Best Playlist of Power Ballads You’ll Ever Hear

Since the dawn of time, music has been used to express feelings of love, lost love, sadness, and, occasionally, something about how hard it is to be rich and famous. Since the dawn of hard rock, that same music has used sensitive lyrics combined with electric guitar shreds to bring tears to the Big-Haired-Acid-Washed-Denim-Wearing-Jersey-Soul in all of us. I’ve compiled what I think are the best examples of this music. I made some guidelines for myself to follow when selecting songs for this list:
  • There has to be an electric guitar present. 
  • Except for those two songs. You know the ones.
  • Song should either be about finding love, losing love, loving love, having sex, or poor little rich boy topics.
  • Band/Artist should primarily be known for straight up rock music, not love songs.
  • Except for the first song, but I give good reasons for that one.
  • Only one song per band/artist, but a previously featured artist doing a duet outside of their main gig is okay.

You can listen to the playlist here (requires Spotify). Some blatant omissions will, of course, be noted but rest assured that I will explain any and all deficiencies that I have noticed myself in the song-by-song codex below the break.

  1. Goodbye to Love by The Carpenters – Yeah, I open a playlist of power ballads with the Carpenters. For two reasons: 1. According to Tony Peluso (and others, so says Wikipedia), this is the prototypical power ballad. 2. Fuck you, that’s why.
  2. Love Hurts by Nazareth – Probably the first power ballad that everyone agrees is a power ballad. This is the song that most other power ballads emulate.
  3. Stairway to Heaven by Led Zeppelin – This song may, in fact, not be a power ballad. It may be more along the lines of an epic poem like Virgil’s Aeneid, or maybe Beowulf. That guitar solo though.
  4. Every Rose Has Its Thorn by Poison – The quintessential power ballad for Gen Xers. ‘Nuff said.
  5. When Love and Hate Collide by Def Leppard – The easy play was going with Love Bites from Hysteria. But I never take the easy play, and I don’t think this song gets enough love. 
  6. Here I Go Again by Whitesnake – Another tough call between two power ballads by the same band. Since I didn't want repeats I had to listen carefully and decide which song did the job best. Is This Love just doesn't have enough oomph for my tastes (never mind that Carpenters song) and, besides, the video for this song was far superior.
  7. When the Children Cry by White Lion – Remember in the late 80s and early 90s when every video was either about war torn countries in Eastern Europe or homelessness in America if it wasn't about Tawny Kitaen or big haired dudes playing piano? Me too, and this song embodies that!
  8. I’ll Be There for You by Bon Jovi – Could've gone a couple of different routes with this band, but these five words I swear to you: This song makes panties drop.
  9. I Remember You by Skid Row – Sometimes it’s okay to rhyme a word with itself. Like in the second verse when he rhymes me, with me. That makes perfect sense. But then he does it with the word kiss and it just feels lazy. Still, this song shreds. I know you’re singing the chorus as you read this.
  10. Heaven by Warrant – This song gives Every Rose… a strong run for most identifiable power ballad of our generation, but falls just short. Incidentally, they lost the number one spot on the charts to Milli Vanilli that year and that takes them down a few pegs in respectability. I guess we can *sunglasses* blame it on the rain. YEEEEEAAAAAH!
  11. Don’t Know What You've Got (Till It’s Gone) by Cinderella – Sometime, in the far flung future, historians will believe that the majority of men in the 90s played the piano wearing Victorian era smoking jackets while worshipping the deity known as Robert The Smith, god of teased out hair. Anyway, here’s that one Cinderella song you know.
  12. Sister Christian by Night Ranger – This song is actually about the songwriter’s little sister and how distressed he was when he realized how she was growing up too fast. I, however, prefer to go the Two Mules for Sister Sara route and pretend it’s about a dude deflowering a nun. Except she’s an actual nun, not a frontier era whore like in the movie. This entry has gotten away from me.
  13. Alone Again by Dokken – Surprisingly, not a heavy metal rendition of Gilbert O’Sullivan. I know, I'm as disappointed as you are.
  14. November Rain by Guns N’ Roses – This song is noteworthy for many reasons. First of all, for reasons surpassing my adult ability to understand, but which probably made sense in 7th grade, my first girlfriend and I decided this was Our Song. Second, Stephanie Seymour. Third, goddamn that Slash guitar solo is one of the best things I've ever heard.
  15. Love of A Lifetime by Firehouse – It’s a little known fact that if you go to a Firehouse Subs sandwich shop and demand that the manager sing this song while serving you they will throw you out and you'll get arrested for public intoxication.
  16. Mama I'm Coming Home by Ozzy Osbourne – This one is important to me, roadwarrior that I am. Sometimes you just gotta reach out to your lady and let her know, with heavy metal music, that you love her and you're going to mow the lawn just as soon as you're able.
  17. Home Sweet Home by Motley Crüe – And then, when she Googles the lyrics and realizes that it’s kind of dark and depressing, and maybe even a break up song, you go to this one to make up for it.
  18. Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now by Starship – Jesus, this band went through a lot of changes, huh? Trippy LSD rock as Jefferson Airplane, then prog rock as Jefferson Starship, then big haired 80s soundtrack contributors as Starship. Damn near too poppy for this list, but I left it in because, point of fact, the guitar riff is actually pretty rocking.
  19. (I Just Died) In Your Arms by Cutting Crew – You're probably thinking, “This is pretty damn far away from a power ballad, dude.” But I'd like to point out that the whole song is actually about sex, due to the title being a reference to the literal translation of the French phrase ‘la petite mort’ (the little death) which is a euphemism for orgasms because the French can’t do anything in a direct manner. There’s also a decent guitar lick. Besides, I left that Starship song in, so fuck it.
  20. Poison by Alice Cooper – The esteemed Mr. Cooper gives a heavy metal take on the philosophy of never trusting a big butt and a smile.
  21. Love Walked In by Thunder – Is anyone going to give me any credit for finding songs by bands that contain words from song titles or song titles that contain the name of bands? No? Okay, cool, I was just checking. 
  22. Headed For A Heartbreak by Winger – Doesn't this song just seem like DJ Tanner and Kimmy Gibbler spent several Saturday night sleepovers singing this song into their hairbrushes while dreaming of meeting Vanna White? Hang in there, girls. One day you'll get your wish. BUT WATCH OUT FOR UNCLE JOEY!
  23. High Enough by Damn Yankees – It’s never over? Are you sure it’s never over, or can you just not take a hint? Stop creeping us out man. It’s over. Let it go.
  24. Two Out of Three Ain't Bad by Meatloaf – Let’s run it down: Song about new love? Song about lost love? Love song from a guy primarily know for rocking out? Allusions to giant sedans in the bottom of a box of snack food? Check. Check. Check. Check. We have a winner, folks!
  25. Alone by Heart – Who hurt you Ann Wilson? Who hurt you? I’d like to defend myself from the inevitable attacks for not choosing What About Love: The B-Side to this song is Barracuda. The defense rests. Hey, bonus points to me for knowing that John Stamos recorded a version of this song back in the 80s. I wonder if I can work at least one more Full House reference before this is over?
  26. I Want to Know What Love Is by Foreigner – Hell, man, love is simple. You know how when you get home from a hard tour, rocking out and kicking ass all around the world and you come home to find your SO has watched your latest Netflix obsession without you and you get super pissed off? That’s love. Why the fuck else would you care? 
  27. (Can't Live Without Your) Love and Affection by Nelson – Ah, Nelson. They very cleverly avoided growing goatees so you were never quite sure which was the evil one. But with a name like Gunnar, I know which way I’m leaning.
  28. More Than Words by Extreme – Every single American over the age of 30 knows every single word of this song, and can sing it on demand without musical accompaniment in perfect time. Even the ‘la di da' parts. Also, 95% of them will know when to knock on their cubicle desk in place of the guitar. These are simple facts of musical science.
  29. Carrie by Europe – You mostly know Europe from that other song that plays at football games and was featured heavily on Arrested Development and is now stuck in your head. You’re welcome.
  30. Close My Eyes Forever by Lita Ford (featuring Ozzy Osbourne) – Lita Ford is one of the greatest things that ever happened to hard rock/heavy metal and you bastards probably don’t even know that she quit the music industry in disgust and now sells homemade crafts on Etsy because music executives wouldn't take her seriously as a thrashing rock artist because she was a woman. You likely don’t know that because it isn't true, but still.
  31. Fly to the Angels by Slaughter - Remember that time Danny Tanner was dating a much younger woman and to impress her he bought Slaughter tickets and she showed up to the Full House and he was wearing ‘rocker’ clothes including a pair of leather pants and she said, “Nice threads!” and he was all, “Oh, these old things? I just found them in the back of the closet.” And Uncle Jesse was like, “What about these price tags?” and completely cock blocked Danny? Dick move, Uncle Jesse. Have mercy. #AchievementUnlocked
  32. To Be With You by Mr. Big – “Hey, you know that song that came out last spring, where that funk metal band went acoustic for a second and did a love song that everyone knows the words to now?”
    “Yeah. So?” 
    “We should do that!”
    “You just blew my mind, dude!”
  33. Don't Close Your Eyes by Kix – Jesus Christ, what a heavy fucking song. I need a drink. Or seven.
  34. The Ballad of Jayne by L.A. Guns – You probably only know this one song by L.A. Guns, and that’s okay. Their true legacy is the fact that every single rock band that came out of Los Angeles in the 80s and 90s formed because of people’s mutual hatred of either Tracii Guns or, later, Axl Rose (yes, that’s where GNR gets their name. Move on).
  35. The Price by Twisted Sister – The album this song is featured on is actually a great statement on the human condition. It is! There are three songs that exemplify this: We’re Not Gonna Take It is the ‘Fuck you, Establishment!’ song, and how we all feel when we're young. Then there’s I Wanna Rock(rock!), wherein the band decides that they want what the establishment is offering. Namely, rocking. Then there’s The Price where the band finally accepts that you can fight for a long time, but sooner or later you're going to give in and get sucked into the corporate aristocracy the world has become and, yes, Brenda, I know there are donuts in the conference room can't you see I’m in the middle of something here?! 
  36. Winds of Change by Scorpion – Initially left off this list because I am unworthy of even mentioning it. However, a friend of mine told me to believe in myself and pray that the Gods of Rock will allow me to mention it with impunity. I certainly didn't forget about the song, if that’s what you're thinking.
  37. Silent Lucidity by Queensrÿche – Was there ever any doubt what song this list was going to end with? Everything about this song is perfect. Everything. There’s the gentle acoustic guitar with the beautiful strings in the background. The dulcet tones of Geoff Tate telling you to relax, he’s got your back. And there’s the lyrical content of the song which is why you and all your friends became experts on astral projection and lucid dreaming for six weeks back in 8th grade.


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  3. Dear Editor:

    We all need vacations, and I'm sure yours was both necessary and well deserved. But this faithful reader must question your decision to leave Mr. Attack Resistance unsupervised during your absence. Surely you or an able deputy would have caught the error he made in including I'll Be There For You, and not Bed Of Roses, as Bon Jovi's entry in Face-Meltingly Sensitive. I urge you to issue a retraction and correct this lapse in editorial judgment.

    Sincerely, Eli Center

  4. As Editor-In-Chief of this blog, I take all reader comments very seriously, and took yours under very careful consideration. Thank you for your interest in the playlist, I hope you're enjoying it.

    However, I must say that we here at Attack Resistance will stand by our field reporter and feel that he gave a wonderful reason for choosing this song versus the many other options from the Bon Jovi catalog. For the record, that reasoning was, "Could've gone a couple of different routes with this band, but these five words I swear to you: This song makes panties drop."

    As I'm sure you'll agree, those five words trump all else.