Sunday, July 26, 2009

Roger Daltrey 8: Can’t Wait To See The Movie

While we can’t find the exact quote, we distinctly recall hearing an interview with Roger Daltrey around the time this album came out, saying that hearing the songs made him think, “I can’t wait to see the movie they’re from,” as if that were a good thing. Can’t Wait To See The Movie sounds like a stereotypically bad ‘80s movie soundtrack, all programmed drums, power chords, slapped and/or synth bass, and screaming saxes. As usual, he relied on outside songwriters for material, starting with his go-tos Russ Ballard and the otherwise unknown Kit Hain, and apparently Pete Townshend didn’t leave anything lying around for him, which is a shame.

Thinking back it seems like there were approximately a couple dozen different songs called “Hearts Of Fire” in those days, none of them very good. This one came very soon after a legendarily bad Bob Dylan cinematic vehicle, so at least there’s something of a tangential relation. “When The Thunder Comes” is overwrought with battlefield metaphors, while “Ready For Love” is nearly drowned out by a loud gospel-style choir. He wrote “Balance On Wires” himself with Don Snow, best known as the guy who replaced Paul Carrack in Squeeze; as one of the more understated tracks here it stands out, and in a good way, but it’s still too long at over six minutes. The choir returns to belt out the chorus of the sappy “Miracle Of Love” alongside him, but while he’s a decent actor, he simply can’t pull off the role of a sentimental fool.

Along the same basic theme, “The Price Of Love” is the long-awaited collaboration between schlockmeister tyrant David Foster and Night Ranger’s Jack Blades, who was a couple years away from Damn Yankees. (This was included on the soundtrack for that year’s Michael J. Fox vehicle The Secret Of My Success, which had a theme song written by the same pair, and performed by Night Ranger.) And while it may be that “The Heart Has Its Reasons”, that’s no excuse for aping the arpeggios of “Every Breath You Take” and its innumerable clones. Four writers are credited for “Alone In The Night”, one of whom wrote the lyrics for most of the songs from the Top Gun soundtrack. “Lover’s Storm” sports some good harmonies, but we can’t tell if those are by Roger or one of the ten people listed in bulk on the sleeve. Most curious is “Take Me Home”, a remake of a French song called “Cargo” from a few years before, with new lyrics.

The album was a sales dud, and rightfully so. Ironically, it did not include his cover version of Elton John’s “Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me”, as featured in the summer’s hit film The Lost Boys and on its soundtrack album—conveniently issued by the same label—which might have helped. Nor did it have “Quicksilver Lightning” from the year before, the theme for a Kevin Bacon movie nobody liked. These would have been prime candidates for inclusion when Can’t Wait To See The Movie was expanded in 2004 by the Wounded Bird label, which even fewer people needed.

Roger Daltrey Can’t Wait To See The Movie (1987)—

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