You and I

I totally love "You and I", the new power ballad from Lady Gaga. And I realized that it distills qualities of music that I've been listening to for my whole life, and that she's created a huge tribute to so many of these artists. And that these are awesome karaoke songs. (Looking forward to adding this one to the repetoire)

I made a playlist of this on Mog, otherwise - um d/l off of iTunes?
Update, 6/2/11 - I dumped Mog for Rdio and it's so. much. better. here's the embed:

You and I - Lady Gaga 
Dude, she got Brian May out of retirement to play on that track? Amazing. Every good power ballad builds to a crazy crescendo and this song has it in spades. And damn she's got a set of pipes. 

Alone - Heart 
220px-Heart_Alone.jpgFunnily enough, this song came on in the pharmacy this afternoon. And I thought "this is the ultimate 80s power ballad." I love the tinkly piano entrance, it seems so meek, but then it builds into this wall of Ann Wilson's vocals. And even though the tempo is slow, it has this epic quality that never lets you get bored. Lady Gaga must have spent many hours in her childhood singing this to the mirror in her bathroom. 

Always - Bon Jovi 
The other band that immediately comes to mind when the phrase "power ballad" is uttered is Bon Jovi. These guys were tough ("Blaze of Glory") but had a cheesy soft side too ("Bed of Roses"), and you can't deny that they had the best hair. And maybe it's Jersey pride, but I still love listening to their songs. And doing karaoke. 

Open Arms - Journey 
All power ballads are held to the Steve Perry standard - can you hit those notes, with the intensity and feeling that he does? Listening to this song, I want to cry. And this quote from Steve Perry is just so awesome: 
The line "wanting you near" -- I just wanted that line to go up and soar. I wanted it to be heartfelt. Every time it would come by I would just have to keep my head down and try to swallow the lump in my throat. I felt so proud of the song". 
Lady Gaga feels that way about her music. 

You And I - Queen 
The obvious Queen choice would have been "We Will Rock You" (hello, sample!) but I think this one points to why I like Queen so much. Freddie Mercury's vocals shine on this track, and you get both the clean and layered versions of Brian May's signature guitar. It also has this happy go lucky tempo and this epically cheesy bridge where the entire band is the chorus (a la Bohemian Rhapsody). And Lady Gaga could not have ignored the fact that she named her song exactly the same thing. 

Take Me to The Pilot - Elton John 
Most of the time I don't know what the hell the lyrics are for Elton John's songs (except "Tiny Dancer", and I blame that on "Almost Famous"), but it so doesn't even matter. The aggressive piano intro is so striking, I feel like I could identify this song after only hearing three chords. I do wish I had been able to see Elton John in his "crazy 70s outfits" period, but alas I only got to see him on tour with Billy Joel. I do love the Grammies performance where Lady Gaga brought Elton John out onto the stage and did "Speechless/Your Song", and it's even more appropriate that she's Elton John's son's godmother. 

Mein Herr - Liza Minnelli 

This is not exactly a power ballad, but you can't ignore the influence of the American musical on Lady Gaga's work. Liza Minnelli was at Lady Gaga's concert the night we were! And of all the musicals, I think the dark, Weimar Republic atmosphere of Cabaret (plus Bob Fosse choreography) seems most apt. 

New York State of Mind - Billy Joel 
It's hard to mention Elton John without Billy Joel. Of course Lady Gaga is much closer in temperament to Elton John (wardrobe-wise and musically) but Billy Joel did have some sweet piano ballads - especially his ode to New York, which I think Lady Gaga would really appreciate.

A Fool for You - Ray Charles 
All of these songs are rooted in the bluesy-gospel-y goodness of Ray Charles. 'nuff said.

Leave a comment