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Definitely Done Dirty Dancing

“Sylvia, what do you call your lover boy?”

“Come here lover boy…”

“And if he doesn’t answer?”

“Oh lover boy

“And if he still doesn’t answer?”

“I sing…”

With the death yesterday of 1987’s Dirty Dancing star Patrick Swayze I took another spin of the hugely successful Soundtrack album. The movie itself splits right down the middle, the first half is a coming of age in the 50s rom-com, the second half is a chick flick fantasy. I loved the first half and the second simply didn’t correspond to my daydream world.

The movie was a huge hit and the soundtrack went DOUBLE PLATINUM and like the movie it splits right down the middle with on the one hand early 60s chart toppers like the Ronettes‘ “Be My baby” and obscurities like Mickey and Sylvia’s “Love Is Stranger” rubbing shoulders with a completely incongruous -so much so it throws you head first out of the movie, big time ballad “(I’ve Had) The Time Of My Life” by Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes.

“Time Of My Life” has a heavy synth orchestrated blow to the temples sound I can not hear at all. It is for people who think they’ve reached an emotional apotheosis because they’re on the dance floor with a guy with a pot belly but he is tall enough and he knows how to dirty dance and as he grinds into you after a night of dancing you think the world is looking in on you as though you’re “Baby” from the movie when really they are looking at you as if you are the most pathetic hard up for a good time girl who ever existed. It is, in fact, the 80s in a nutshell. The take on the 80’s today is that because it is pre-9-11 (or at least pre-the President getting a blow job from an intern and lying about it), it is an age of innocent. Well, I was there folks, and musically at least, it was an age of corruption and “Life” which is like a bra stuffed with tissue paper in a young girls shirt, looks big but the minute you squeeze it the thrill is over. Warnes, who did the same emotion as overdone vocal on “Up Where We Belong” (another mess of a power ballad) never met a song she couldn’t sing into a corner where it struggles for its very life…

“Hungry Eyes”by Eric Carmen -still a part of the chick flick fantasy at work. It is hard to imagine Carmen was once a member of the raspberries. Hard and sad… listen, like Don Vito said, it doesn’t matter to me how people make a living, but this, as well as the execrable “All By Myself” are inexcusable hack work. I don’t mind having my pleasure zone tickled, really I don’t, but if if you press too hard it hurts. These two songs are living, breathing proof that the 80s had no redeeming qualities whatsoever.

And to make em worse the compilers put them up against “In The Still Of The Night,” “Stay” “Be My Baby” “Where Are You Tonight” and on the extended mix everything from the Four Seasons to Otis Redding -any and all of which blew the contemporary stuff right off the turntable and all the way to the Catskills and back. I don’t know how any of these hack 80s songwriters could suppose to place their songs in juxtaposition with those old time masterpieces.

I haven’t mentioned Patrick Swayze’s song on the album “She’s Like The Wind” so what I will
say is this: Swayze was first a dancer and then an actor and this isn’t worse than the other 80s music so good for him, right?

In terms of influence, the soundtrack of the movie which had begun with “American Graffiti” became institutionalized with “Dirty Dancing” and lives on to this very moment with “500 Days Of Summer” and “Jennifer’s Body” soundtrack album of current hits. And as for Patrick Swayze’s legacy, my advise to Ellen is to watch the great the Commies are coming flick “Red Dawn”.

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