Tuesday, March 10, 2009

A Half Dozen I Shouldn't Like, But...

Text © Robert Barry Francos
Images from the Internet

We all have music that are guilty pleasures, that if the world knew we probably would turn various shades of red. Well, I’m coming out and saying these songs are all ones that I should be embarrassed to like, but screw it, I do. Don’t know why, but it is true.

Attached is the YouTube video link, but since these seem to be transitory at times, I’ve also included the URL.

1. Josie and the Pussycats – Three Small Words, 2001
Yes, I know this is just about as commercial as one can get (and if you saw the film, it really was one commercial after another), but the rhythm of the song and its catch phrase can get stuck in the brainpan, and in a positive way, if one lets it. Yes, I realize that this is one step above the Spice Girls (who I did not care for), but it is a fun song.


2. Franka Potente – Believe, 1998
The techno aspect of this would usually just turn me off, but the scream of “I belieeeeeve” keeps it interesting for me. Besides, Run Lola Run really was a great film.

3. Soulja Girl Remix Crank Dat Marta Train – Ludachrist
I’ve seen the original video this Atlanta subway confrontation is based on, and honestly, it is quite scary. But this souped up, edited version is hysterical. Is it racist? I hope not, because it seems much more Jerry Springer personality than racially based. Riding the New York subway I’ve seen worse than this, and of an entire rainbow.

4. Chilliwack – My Girl, 1981
All my Canadian ami’s are probably losing respect for me even as you read this. While this was on the radio, it was the equivalent of the Knack’s “My Sharonna”: overplayed to being overbearing. Down here in the States, one tended not to hear it much (especially if one did not have MTV), so it was not killed for me. Yeah, it fits into the lame production excess of the period, but it still sticks with me.

5. Karla DeVito – Cool World, 1981
Again, this was a commercial hit (both on the radio and a variation in a beer ad, I believe), but Mrs. Robbie Benson proves she can belt it out. Saw her at the Bottom Line in NY as part of an ensemble for an Ellie Greenwich show called Leader of the Pack, and she did some decent work in it.

6. Sarah Brightman - Pie Jesu, 1995
I know… Andrew Lloyd Webber and his ex-, Sarah Brightman. But this song, in which the video turns into an anti IRA treatise, is still beautiful. The kid is annoying as hell, but Sarah really does a splendid job here.



  1. Thanks for putting my IS THIS A COOL WORLD, OR WHAT?! video on your site. But gosh, why shouldn't you like it? Breaking out of playing the female character part in the original MEAT LOAF BAT OUT OF HELL World Tour, i got my own record deal at EPIC - and finally got to be me: shooting for smart and funny material...It was at the very beginning of MTV and i had the dubious honor of being the first live on air guest. Also, with my Cool World Tour band (Jeff Southworth guitar, Robert Medici drums, Russ Shirley guitar, Jim Ryan bass, Jim Lang keyboards) we rang in the New Year performing a set on MTV's First Rockin' New Years Eve. I received a lot of airplay on radio in NY, Boston, etc., and on MTV but my record came about a year or so before the channel was on in major markets. It was beaming somewhere, as i received fan letters from places like Minnesota and Texas...oh well, timing is everything!

    The Ellie Greenwich show you mentioned (let us take a moment to bow down to Ellie Greenwich -- Song Writing Goddess of Great Girl Group Hits!!!!!!!) at The Bottom Line, was the critically acclaimed original lean and mean production of LEADER OF THE PACK with the fabulous Darlene Love, Ula Hedwig, Rory Dodd, and keyboardist Paul Schaeffer as Phil Spector!!! ( i received my fave review of all time from The Village Voice: "The big suprise was Karla DeVito, who sang Be My Baby, and Baby I Love You, clearly and unaffectedly, and then sang a River Deep Mountain High, that was a credit to her race." Forgive me for quoting it after all these years, but it is still cool and to my mind -- funny!!!)

    Keep up the FFANZEEN blogging!!!!

    ps. i'm still madly in love with my darling husband actor/writer/director/composer Robby Benson. He wrote the musical OPEN HEART for me and it played at The Cherry Lane Theatre in NYC 2004. You can hear his singer/songwriter versions of some of the music - which i love - at www.robbybenson.net THANKS!!!

  2. Hey Karla,

    Thanks ever so much for the kind words about the blog, and an update on all that great info.

    Note that you sort of answered your own question: I live in a cool, indie world. At the time your song/video came out, we in the punk movement were interested in a more stripped down, less heavily produced sound that was so prevalent in the '80s. For example, I turned down an interview with Duran Duran at the height of their popularity because they did not fit into what I was interested in, and to this day I do not regret it. The fact that I like your song DESPITE the whole MTV thing is an indication that it went above and beyond the Top 10 for me.

    The two Leader of the Pack shows (one with you and the one with Annie Golden) were both great, and I saw both at the Bottom Line. I did not bother with the Broadway version. Actually, I have pictures that I took of those shows, including you, and they are here: ffanzeen1.multiply.com/photos. The ones with you are in the folder Musicians 3, and the other are in Musicians 7.

    Also, I believe we know someone in common, my good friend and writer, Maryanne Cassata.

    Take care, and I hope you have the opportunity to shine again in another show like Pirates (which, unfortunately I did not get to see, but I know some who did, that they were duly impressed).