Mama’s Attic: Monster Ballads
I remember seeing an infomercial on the television for a compilation CD titled, “Monster Ballads.” I was well into my Celine Dion phase, so the word ballad gave me pause. I was intrigued by its coupling with the word monster. So I listened.
The 80s were a phenomenal time to be alive. Growing up with the stellar TV shows, teen angsty movies, questionable wardrobe, and Ronald Reagan was enough to make you feel alive inside!
Let’s not forget the music.
I preferred the bubble gum lyrics of a traditional pop artist or teenage girl who held all her concerts at the local mall. However, I did have an older sister who rolled her eyes at such nonsense and made it her personal responsibility to introduce me to the other side of the late 80s/early 90s musical spectrum: The hair band.
My tastes didn’t venture beyond Bon Jovi. Have you seen his mane? What a work of art. The album “Slippery When Wet” was good enough for me. I stopped there.
Jamie was a crafty sister. Knowing that I would do anything to spend time with her, she would invite me to drive to the Dairy Queen for a Butterfinger blizzard, but only if I listened to her mixed tapes. I always took her up on her offer and sang along with Guns-N-Roses and ACDC.
Then one day, everything changed. I barged into her room, demanding to know who owned the voice the sweet, sweet sounds of pouring out of her jambox.
Jamie: His name is Bret Michaels.
Me: Okay. Tell me more.
Jamie: What do you mean, loser? He’s the lead singer of Poison.
Excuse me? Hair bands sing slow songs?
Why yes, dear reader. They do.
Fast forward to the infomercial day. It was 1999 and my world revolved around any band’s Greatest Hits. To learn that there was a company who took ballads from all the hair bands and burned them onto one disc made me vibrate with excitement. I called that 1-800 number and I bought that CD and I cursed the day I walked into Wal-Mart and saw the exact same compilations, but I won’t get into that right now.
The best part of the CD was the tagline: “Even bad boys have a soft side.”
ALL THE AMENS IN THE WORLD!
Take a look at this track list:
“Heaven” by Warrant: I don’t know why “heaven isn’t too far away” and I’m sure that should concern the subject matter of the song, but dang! That harmony!
“Something To Believe In” by Poison: The “hyah” at 4:14. Love it. Also, I want to condition Bret’s hair.
“High Enough” by Damn Yankees: The Damn Yankees seem like the dork little brothers of the glam bands, but the chorus is delightful.
“Almost Paradise” by Mike Reno and Ann Wilson: This is a total cheat. Neither Mike nor Ann are anywhere near the category of hair band. They’re not even a band. However, this is the riveting ballad from the movie Footloose. If the goal was to paint both Ren and Ariel as “bad” then I’ll allow it.
“Is This Love” by Whitesnake: Okay, band name alone, they seem pretty bad.
“To Be With You” by Mr. Big: Not a great name for a hair band, but definitely karaoke worthy. I wouldn’t necessarily pin them as “bad” either. I imagine them as the glee club singing in the boys’ bathroom.
“Carrie” by Europe: I remember being jealous of every girl named Carrie. Lead singer Joey really seems to care about her. And hairspray.
Don’t Know What You Got (Til It’s Gone) by Cinderella: The band sounds like they are far away. It makes sense after watching the video. Glam by the water was probably hard to film. Additionally, I love the message. Yeah guy who dumped me. You DON’T know what you got until it’s gone.
“More Than Words” by Extreme: I love this song. I know nothing else Extreme sings. I bet that bothers them.
“Headed for a Heartbreak” by Winger: Not my favorite.
“When I Look Into Your Eyes” by Firehouse: Skip it.
“Wind of Change” by Scorpions: I will support any musical arrangement that begins with a whistle.
“When I See You Smile” by Bad English: If the Damn Yankees are the dorky younger brother, Bad English is the dad who chaperones the homecoming dance. Still, it’s a good song.
“Don’t Close Your Eyes” by KIX: I’m not sure how this one made the cut and “November Rain” by GNR did not.
“When I’m With You” by Sheriff: You probably shout, “BABYYYYYYYYY!!!! Oh I get chills when I’m with youuuuuuu oh, oh, oh, oh BABYYYYYYYYYY!!! My world stands still when I’m with you!!!!!”
Who wouldn’t love that? Rock on.
Now, tell me which ballads are missing and I’ll make us a handy Spotify playlist!