Holding Out For A Hero
Recently, Sarah and I took the plunge into the world of vinyl record collecting. There are no shortage of explanations as to why seemingly obsolete formats like vinyl are making a resurgence in our digitally dominated world. The takeaway seems to be that human beings have a deep love for "things" that they can actually feel and interact with.
For my part, I have (re)discovered a deep joy of music (and music discovery) with vinyl that is pretty much impossible to replicate in the digital sphere. I love the look, feel, and sound of vinyl. I love the album packaging that supports it. I love the fact that when I put on a record I have committed to listening to that album (through all of its inevitable ups and downs). And, I love the joy of discovery that comes with unearthing some lost vinyl gem at the record store.
While some of these elements translates in the digital realm, none do so with the force of vinyl. Generally, when I I am stumbling around Spotify (which is my preferred digital music/podcast platform), I still find myself paralyzed by the sheer volume of options offered. This is important because it reaffirms that the binary language of 1's and 0's doesn't really align itself well with the glorious messiness of being a human being.
Recently, we went vinyl shopping at Graywhale and came across Bonnie Tyler's, Faster Than the Speed of Night on pressed plastic. It was criminally underpriced at $3.99 so we scooped it up. I write all of this because I feel it is my civic duty to educate anyone reading this on the song-writing prowess of one of Bonnie Tyler's principle patrons, Jim Steinman.
For the uninitiated, Jim Steinman is the poet/rocker who penned some of the most quintessential of 80's rock including "Making Love Out of Nothing At All," "Total Eclipse of the Heart," and "I'd Do Anything for Love (But I Won't Do That)." Yes, all of these songs were made famous by other artists (like Air Supply, Bonnie Tyler, and Meat Loaf) but it was the creative and fertile mind of Steinman that brought such righteous music into existence.
Steinman even found his way to scoring movie music, with the best songs on Streets of Fire offering up the distinctive Steinman sounds that are a hallmark of the 80's and early 90's. You know that his music (and the corresponding culture associated with it) is cool when it gets a huge stylistic head-nod from the Protomen.
At this point it is worth asking why Jim Steinman never took matters into his own hands. Why didn't he create an album of such mesmerizing awesomeness that listeners have no choice but to bow down to its indisputable and unrelenting rock and roll glory? Well...he, did...sort of. Unfortunately, the album looks like this...
Sadly, in addition to looking like a bad Boris Vallejo knockoff, the album also features Jim Steinman on vocals. This...isn't great. I'm a HUGE fan, but on the majority of his songs Steinman ends up sounding like Fozzie Bear. This, combined with his look probably explains why he has made a career out of turning over his best work to vocalists with the pipes and charisma needed to deliver the majesty his superior lyrics deserve.
And, speaking of lyrics, get a load of some of these lines!
"I want to wrap myself around you like a winter skin."
"I wasn't built for comfort I was built for speed."
"We gotta be fast, we were born out of time."
"You were only killing time and it'll kill you right back."
From one Jim to another, thank you Steinman for making this part of the world a more awesome and interesting place. \m/