Saturday, 7 May 2016

The Pop Kids (Pet Shop Boys)

This single is the first off the Pet Shop Boys' new album SUPER,  which reached number 3 in the UK and German charts a few weeks ago. The single failed to chart, but made it to number 1 on the Billboard dance charts.

I'm sure many pop fans identified with this song as soon as they heard it. I've seen several tweets saying things like "it's the story of my life" referring to this Pet Shop Boys single. The song is excellent, with a retro-nineties sort of vibe, and the lyrics take you on a melancholic trip down memory lane. Yes, we were the pop kids, we loved the pop hits and we quoted the best bits.

Hope you like my interpretation. Comments here or on Twitter. 

Saturday, 3 January 2015

Nothing's Gonna Stop Me Now (Samantha Fox)

Ah, the Fox. S-s-Samantha Fox. A much better vocalist than people give her credit for and able to sustain a career for much longer than anyone would have imagined. This was the biggest hit from her sophomore self-titled album, at least in Europe. Stock Aitken Waterman were the perfect pop sound for her, although she would find bigger success in the US with the harder clubbier sound of her Full Force-produced singles. 

The lyrics of this song are about a woman leaving her lover. In this case, I thought the concept of escaping a manipulating controlling man, as hinted at in the words, could be used to give it a darker meaning.

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

I'll Remember (Madonna)

I've been dying to do a Madonna Song for ages, but simply didn't dare. Her songs deserve better than me doing cheap interpretations in front of an iPad. Then it occurred to me that I'll Remember would work as a monologue to a deceased loved one, so here's my attempt.

The song itself is a lovely ballad that reached number 2 in the US. This was at the time of "Letterman-gate", but somehow the backlash it didn't hurt the single's performance. In the UK the single stalled at number 7, which was a low for a Madonna single not previously available on an album. The song was largely ignored in the rest of Europe. Some expected the song (which featured in the Maverick-funded film "With Honors") to be nominated for an Oscar. Although Madonna had performed Sooner or Later, the winning song at the 1991 Oscar ceremony, she was not the writer of that song and I don't think the Oscar-voting members of the Academy were ready to nominate her. The Foreign Associate Press did, however, and she was nominated for a Golden Globe and a Grammy Award for it (neither of which she won). Sadly, she's never performed the song live. Maybe there's hope for her new tour?

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Ride on Time (Black Box)

This song came out in 1989 and shaped dance music for the 90s and beyond. Italo House pianos, sampled vocals, model fronting the act... and a killer beat that beckons you to the dancefloor. Not the most obvious choice for a monologue since the lyrics make little sense, I thought it would be perfect to represent one of "those nights". For the record, I was completely sober whilst filming. 

Saturday, 9 August 2014

So Close to Forever (Debbie Gibson)

A first for PopMonologues: a b-side! This song was the flip side to the single "Anything is Possible". Turns out it wasn't possible for Debbie Gibson to have another major hit, which is a real shame. The single was the lead for Debbie's album of the same name, which was a sales disappointment. This song showcases Debbie's "despairing in love" side (which she had already turned into a huge hit with "Foolish Beat"). It's a simple-sounding melody which would not have sounded out of place in a musical. I have taken the words and adapted them to a situation where a groom outside a church laments what could've been (pardon the Tiffany pun).

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Lost in Your Eyes (Debbie Gibson)

Ah, Debbie Gibson. Queen of heart-felt teen ballads. I absolutely adored her in the late 80s. She was virtually unknown in Spain, where I grew up, and her songs were like a little secret I only had knowledge about. I briefly met her in 1993 outside the Dominion Theatre in London, where she was perfectly cast as Sandy in Grease. She was adorable, signed a CD for me and even posed for a picture. Unfortunately someone was handing Craig McLachlan (her co-star) a theatre programme at the same time and all you can see in the picture is part of our faces and the programme right in the middle. If you're reading this, Debbie, I'd still like a picture!

After her record-breaking US number one with "Foolish Beat", "Lost in Your Eyes" was another number 1 for her in the US. Inexplicably, it only made number 34 in the UK. Whereas "Foolish Beat" was about teenage desperation at losing one's first love, this was completely the opposite. My performance of the song is a completely straight reading this time: no twists, just a monologue about being in love.

Saturday, 10 May 2014

So Macho (Sinitta)

Gay anthem extraordinaire! First released in 1985, this single could only manage number 47 in the UK initially, although it spent 11 weeks in the chart. In 1986 the song re-entered and climbed all the way to number 2 (kept off the top spot by "The Lady in Red"), gaining a further 17 weeks in the top 75. Sinitta is often remembered as a one-hit wonder, but she actually managed a further 3 top 10 singles. And contrary to popular belief, she only started working with Stock Aitken Waterman after "So Macho" was a hit, not before. Now more famous for her relationship with Simon Cowell, appearances on reality shows and "that" leaf outfit, it is a shame (shame shame) that her great pop voice isn't heard anymore. Check out the re-releases of her first two albums for some great pop gems and PWL mixes.

Anyhow, in its original form, this is a song about a gorgeous girl who knows what she wants. Although I find the lyric about not wanting "a boy who thinks he's a girl" verging on homophobia, this was he 80s so we'll cut her some slack. My version? About a deluded gay man who obviously thinks he's in a position to be picky when he hasn't got the looks to back his demands up. Filmed in an empty changing room, I'd have loved to film this in a gym full of hot men (Olivia Newton-John eat your heart out) or a busy gay club, but resources don't allow... This is very tongue-in-cheek, I hope you like it.