Times they change.
I remembered this morning when playing my Bad English
LP how confused I used to be about that second song "Heaven
is a 4 Letter Word." Back in 1989, I was a 13-years-old teenager trying hard to understand what the **** [ah-ah] that word could be. The romantic moron I was [scratch that: I am] thought about the French word for Heaven
- "ciel" - but still I could tell there was something else... Something that was beyond my not-so-overactive imagination. And then, all of a sudden, it was the new millennium, and even 10-years-olds knew everything about sodomy or fist-fucking. Yeah. Times they change.
Would anybody from the 21st century still appreciate Bad English
and sing along to stupid lyrics like "The trace of your lipstick / I can taste your perfume / I want possession of you every night " ? Why is it that to this day I still consider these songs awesome ? Am I the last dreaming fool around to be listening to AOR
was born in 1988 over a game of pool in Los Angeles, from the ashes of The Babys (John Waite on vocals, and Ricky Philips on bass) and Journey
(Neal Schon on guitar and Jonathan Caine - who had also been in The Babys- on keyboards). Jason Becker
and Marty Friedman
joining respectively Diamond Dave and Megadeth
, Deen Castronovo came from Cacophony
to take on the drums. They were - with Mr Big
, Damn Yankees
- one of the so-called "supergroups" of the late 80s, but to me, they were above all else another Neal Schon project and therefore something to acquire as fast as I could.
It seems astonishing but it's true : many Europeans are not familiar with the man's career whereas it's absolutely huge. Neal was the son of accomplished musicians : his dad played jazz saxophone and his mum sung in a big band. Neal picked up the guitar at age 5, and got so good that by 14 he was already spending his nights playing in San Francisco clubs with various bands. Then, in 1969 (when Neal was 15), two individuals contacted him the same week; believe it or not, they were Carlos Santana and Eric Clapton. Both wanted him in their bands. Because Santana had met Neal a few days before Clapton, Neal teamed up with Carlos with whom he recorded two albums : Santana III (1971) and Caravanserai (1972). At 15, Neal toured the world as a professional musician, playing with one of the best guitarists ever... At 19, Neal decided to move on. He played in Azteca a few months then formed a new band : The Golden Gate
Rhythm Section. His initial idea was to compose an album and to have it ready to hand out to any singer looking for music, but while they waited for their singer to appear, they began recording their songs and changed the band's name in 1973. Journey
was born and became one of the most popular bands in America. Everything smiled on until they broke up during the recording of "Raised On Radio"(1986). Journey
was supposed to go on tour to promote it but finally cancelled, and the boys went their separate ways.
This leads us back to Bad English
- two years later. So what's the music about ?
Well, just watch the videos. I'm sure one of them has to be about a wedding ! There is way too much keyboards. And yeah the singer's pointing at you (in slow motion) with a stupid smile on his face and his hair is flying because of some fan hidden behind the camera, the drummer is beating the snare like a madman, a snare on which he has put some water to splatter all around because, like every guy in the band, he has that fucking poser attitude. And of course there needs to be some fast car and a girl in a g-string during the guitar solo, or maybe the guy walking in the pouring rain or coming out of the sea with his guitar.
There it is. Everything you like to despise. Big stadiums, beautiful chicks going crazy, easy-listening songs, and larger-than-life videos. SO WHAT ? Hey ! Fuck you man ! Those were the 90s, dude ! Remember ? Those things that may seem ridiculous to you now were what rocked the world. My world.
So yeah, there are five slow songs out of thirteen tracks, and while I may agree that the last one (Don't Walk Away
) could have been put away on a B-side, I have to say the four others (Possession
/ When I See You Smile
In Your Heart
/ Price of Love
) sound pretty cool to me though I've never been attracted to men - yet. OK. Maybe I need to come out of the closet.
Let's move on to the Rock songs. Bad English
plays Radio Airplay Rock. Their music was definitely written to be bought by Journey
fans and to be listened to by the average American family. Bad English
took over where Journey
left off, adding a slight hint of late 80s feel to the mix. A good move since the album reached 21st on the charts in the US and the single "When I See You Smile
" went straight to number one. But whereas Journey
's hits are still considered classic nowadays and don't seem to have aged, many people consider Bad English
old fashioned, because of that late 80s/ early 90s feel. I don't.
If the first thing you do when you get out of bed - damn I can't get rid of that ZZ Top
tune - is to play some Deicide
while the coffee is brewing, and think about how hellish your day is gonna be, you may not want to listen to Bad English
. But imagine if your bedroom is dimly lit by the first rays of sunshine on a Sunday morning. Imagine you're opening your eyes and you see a gorgeous young woman naked by your side. Imagine you ran out of condoms the night before, and imagine you own an automatic coffee machine, and that you can already smell the Italian coffee brewing even before you get up. Hmmm ? Yeaaahhh !!! Go get your Bad English
cd, you badass loverboy !
Because listening to â Best Of What I Gotâ will make your day even better. Because when John is singing that âTough Times Donât Lastâ, man you believe him. Because Neal is so good at everything he does [Hey, do you know HSAS and Hardline
by the way ?] that your foot can't help but tap along even if your head is telling you not to because Bad English
is so out-of-date. And maybe because you'll feel like being 13 all over again, 13 and restless, like the song you used to play every time you came home from school; then the phone would ring, and it would be your best friend because there were no fucking cell phones back then. Your dad would tell you to hang up because it costs a lot; and you would, just before "Saved By The Bell" came on. I miss those days. Days when I listened to Bad English
loud and proud.
Those were the times, dude. Those were the 90s.
If there's a Heaven
, 4 Letter Word or not, I hope God
did not forget to add the big stadiums and crazy gorgeous chicks wearing g-strings. I'll see you there. I'll be the guy with the pink guitar and the Bon Jovi