Leo Sayer is the perfect example, for me, of an artist whose music would suck were it not for the intimate tie-in with my childhood. Even the most ardent Sayer fan would have to agree that "When I Need Love" and "You Make Me Feel Like Dancin'" are both pretty cheesy. But when I hear those songs I am psychically transported back to my childhood days in Massachusetts.
I think I've mentioned that my school bus actually had an eight track player. We'd all request the Grease soundtrack so we could shout out the expletives in Greased Lighning. I also have fond memories of the whole bus shouting "You make me feel like dancin', WHOOO! Dancin' WHOOO! Dance the night away."
In summary: Are Leo's greatest hits cheesy? Yes. Will I continue to love everyone of them till the day I die? Fuck, yeah.
Back in 2008, I stated that Dr. Hook is the ugliest band in the history of popular music. I still stand by that claim. But, unlike Leo Sayer, I don't have the same warmth and affection for their music. They always seemed like they were having a good time; but, their goddamn songs sucked. I'm pretty sure you have to be baked to like anything in their catalog.
A combination of tortured artist persona and heavy handed lyrics made this sort of music off limits for me as a kid. I could handle nouveau if sounded like The Cars, but bands like Genesis were out of my league. It's funny that, as I got old enough to appreciate a more intellectual and creative brand of music, Genesis had gone in the reverse direction.
Had they started out with trite garbage like "Invisible Touch" and "I Can't Dance" and ended their run with quality stuff like Selling England by the Pound, we'd have been in sync, Genesis and I.
And speaking of selling out in the 1980s... but then, who didn't sell out in the 80s? Everybody from Jefferson Airplane to Steve Winwood had traded in their hippie cred for a Casio and big heaping wads of cash. "Danny's Song" is a stroke of motherfucking genius. "Danger Zone", not so much.
"I'm Rick James, bitch!"
(Sorry. I saw this ad and just couldn't resist.)