Wednesday, October 14, 2009

It's all coming back to me now out of nothing at all (but I won't do that)

I have this new playlist in iTunes that carries the rather unsexy title of "Shit I Never Listen To Because I Forgot I Had It." I created it the other day as I am going through my iTunes collection by artist and clearing out the stuff that I do not listen to and will probably never listen to again. I've always been a bit of a pack rat when it comes to music, always afraid to let go of that 4th live version of "Like A Virgin" from the Blond Ambition Tour because it sounds just slightly different at 3:12 and who knows, I may want to listen to it again even though the sound quality is for shit. Well baby, those days are over. I'm being pretty ruthless with what I cut and what I keep, and I'm pretty sure I'm going to keep the best sounding version of each Madonna tour and archive the rest on DVD-R. They're just taking up space on my hard drive and, as I said, they never get listened to.

BUT one unintended side effect is that I'm discovering songs that I really like that have been lost in the great sea of music that is my iTunes collection. I've chronicled the ultimate inadequacy of a digital music collection before, even though it beats the hell out of having all these CDs all over kingdom come gathering dust. So I created this playlist and have added songs to it that fall into that category - basically stuff that I never listen to because it never (or rarely) bubbles to the surface.

One song that has made that playlist is the 1996 Celine Dion bomabstic drama-fest "It's All Coming Back To Me Now". (watch the video here, I can't embed it to save my life, and believe me, I've tried.)

"It's All Coming Back To Me Now" is cut from the seemingly endless supply of cloth that Jim Steinman has been crafting songs out of for years. Jim Steinman, who wrote pop radio staples like "Total Eclipse of the Heart" for Bonnie Tyler, "Making Love Out Of Nothing At All" for Air Supply and "I Would Do Anything For Love (But I Won't Do That)" (among many many others) for Meatloaf, knows cheese when he hears it and is not afraid to squeeze every last ounce of sturm and drang from every note. But an side effect of this is that they all kind of sound the same. I still think that you can sing "Making Love Out Of Nothing At All" over the top of "It's All Coming Back To Me Now" in much the same way you can sing Rick Astley's "Together Forever" over "Never Gonna Give You Up."

Yes, a little bit goes a long way with Jim Steinman (and Celine for that matter) but as I've said before, there are a handful of good Celine Dion songs and this is another one of them. It was a huge song when Heidi and I were dating - I think it was a single right around the time we got engaged. We loved it as an album track (yes, we bought Falling Into You, but so did 35 million other people in the world so cut me some slack) but we figured it was too long for the radio at 7 minutes and some.

Never underestimate the power of the radio edit. Chop two and half minutes off the song and you have a breakaway pop hit, as Anya would say. At least they didn't cut the faux slamming door at the "and you were history with the slamming of the door" part. I remember liking this song so much that I purchased the CD maxi-single without having heard any of the remixes first, which turned out to be a big mistake. It didn't remix well at all, which kind of surprised me because some of the best club mixes are full of drama and angst which this song had in spades, but it did't translate well. The vocals felt sped up, the production frenetic, and one of them turned the already seeming interminable song into a 14 minute behemoth.

The funny thing is I think those remixes are in my iTunes, but I won't part with those just yet. Just don't expect them to show up on my "Shit I Never Listen To Because I Forgot I Had It" playlist.

Jim Steinman also wrote a song that Barbra Streisand recorded for her Emotion album in the mid-80s. Predictably, it is not short of drama either, but "Left In The Dark" was always a highlight of that album for me. Not surprisingly, you can sing "Making Love Out Of Nothing At All" over the top of that song too. However, I never knew until just recently that it had a video.


Myfizzypop said...

oh that is my favourite Celine song - so marvelous and ridiculously dramatic. If only Simon would give something like that to an x factor winner rather than his cookie cutter ballads....

Dan said...

I'm really having a hard time believing that it fell off my radar for as long as it did - it is one of Celine's better moments, and probably my favorite moment from that album.