Saturday, April 3, 2010

90's Guilty Pleasures #1: Mr. Big "To Be With You" (1992)

Its various inconsistencies and contradictions have proven this to be one of those rare phenomenon among the pop radio canon. Elements that normally never come together in the correct manner somehow are perfectly aligned in this context. In an effort to keep this concise, we'll be listing these reasons individually...

1. The vocal performance: Outstandingly irritating, and yet somehow it completely works within this context. The delivery of "Stand up little girl" is especially lol-tastic, and yet so on-point...

2. The lyrics: Not particularly memorable on their own, but somehow the irritating vocal performance helps them to become outstandingly memorable. Upon this song's peak in popularity, I knew all the words despite never owning a physical copy. How does this happen?

3. The guitar solo: Halfway through the song, we reach a completely inane and hilarious moment, similar in style to the closing credits of The Wonder Years, which featured an annoying-as-fuck acoustic-guitar version of "With A Little Help From My Friends." On The Wonder Years, it was simply annoying. But in "To Be With You," it's both annoying and funny, and yet somehow even THIS even gets turned around within the context of Mr. Big's arrangement. The question returns: How does this happen??

4. Handclaps: One of the key factors of its arrangement is the whole no-drums thing. "Handclaps = fun" is one of those equations that's not incredibly difficult to disprove, but anyone who would want to probably hates fun to begin with.

5. Its success probably had a lot to do with Extreme's "More Than Words," and similar acoustic ballads of the era (listed earlier in the "Silent Lucidity" entry). However, "To Be With You" is mid-tempo, and not necessarily a ballad. It's hard to say where this fit on pop radio, but this was certainly the last #1 single of its type, and possibly even the last charting song that had anything to do with hair metal. The 80's hair "Monster Ballad" category deserved a song like this to cap things off. It was a poppy, singalong-style one-hit-wonder - very fun, and not to be taken seriously - which is exactly what hair metal deserved.

The lipsynch is off for this video... Bummer.

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