Last Saturday night I was home flipping through channels and settled on A Cinderella Story, starring Hilary Duff and Chad Michael Murray (pictured). Surprisingly, that’s not the confession. The reason I put down the remote is: they were dancing on a candlelit gazebo to Edwin McCain’s “I’ll Be.“Yes, that song was horrendously overplayed in its day, but that doesn’t mean it’s not, at its core, beautiful. Especially when it’s just guitar, violin, and
she writes shifting uncomfortably in her chair tambourine.
So, here’s this week’s question: What oft-maligned ballad will you never stop defending? As always, I offer a few to get you thinking:
- John Denver’s “Annie’s Song”: I believe Dave Matthews said it best when he described Denver’s music to EW:”It’s like simple melodies that’ll make you want to punch him. You knowthat kind of melody? ‘I like it — Goddamn it! I’m angry that it makes mefeel good.’”
- Air Supply’s “Chances”:I’m sorry, but these gentlemen know how to build a song. And afterwatching this live performance (particularly from 3:10 to 3:50), you’llwant to thank me. No, really.
- Bryan Adams’ “Please Forgive Me”:Another recent clip, and Adams’ raspy voice is still — oh, I’ll say it —sexy. The lyrics may sound sickeningly sweet, but if you listenclosely, they’re just to this side of nasty.
- Bon Jovi’s “I’ll Be There For You”:Poetic: “I’ll be the water when you get thirsty, baby/ When you getdrunk, I’ll be the wine.” And not-so-poetic: “I didn’t mean to missyour birthday, baby/I wish I’d seen you blow those candles out.”
- O-Town’s “All or Nothing at All”: It’s all about Eric and his harmonies. And, oh yes, the overacting in the video.
- Backstreet Boys’ “Incomplete”:A harder sound, with all the urgency of an ’80s power ballad, helpedBackstreet lay claim to the title of Best Dramatic Acting by a Boy Bandin a Video. Ever. (Though points were deducted for Howie having a little too much fun with his hat in the rain.)
- Debbie Gibson’s “Lost in Your Eyes”: Unlike Jessica Simpson’s “I Want to Love You Forever,” which I enjoy for the sheer Celine-style production value, this song actually sounds like it was written by a melodramatic teen. Plus, I like the way Debbie sighs when she sings, “I just fell/don’t know why” and “I get weak/in a glance.”