Got The Fever

Sunday, July 25, 2010

The Romantics

I'm not one for following convention, not really the type to follow the crowd or 'go with the flow' as far as listening to music is concerned - never have been. Nor am I the type to listen to obscurity for the sake of a wallow in a prideful and snotty attitude that I may know the obscure and you don't.

It's more likely that I like what I like and if anyone else didn't that was cool. But it never stopped me from listening to something that no one else had ever heard of. That's why I tend to become terribly bored listening to the same so-called Top 100, or have very little patience for listening to something that doesn't capture me after a few turns through the speaker.

Even with a semi-known band, I tire rapidly of their most well known hit and curse the music gods for letting that one hit define a band (although sometimes they actually are a one hit wonder). It's just plain cruel that a band has two, three or four albums (or more) all with little gems on them, and yet we continue to hear only the singular most familiar and recognizeable. I treasure digging deeper and smile more widely when I know that a track I've found is as good, if not better, than the musical yoke the band is forced to wear.

Actually, that's what Got The Fever is all about anyway.

It's well known that I loves me some power pop and Detroit gave us yet another band that could cause us to stand up, cheer and actually want them to crank it up a bit more - as I did when I saw The Romantics live.

A Night Like This
I believed in the power of this track so much, a band that I was in for a short time finally relented in adding it to the song list and it became a huge crowd pleaser. You can almost picture the futile, hot, long nights he's singing about - alone in a dark room, probably something strong and undiluted in a glass held by his sweaty hand and the only company are tormented thoughts that rage like an unquenchable firestorm.

Fierce lead guitar with responsible whammy-bar accentuation, grab for the throat pulsing drumms, haunting harmonica emulating the lonliness of it all and a passion in the vocals for a lost love that is inconsolable. This is surely a highlight of their song writing and playing abilities that was never bothered to be appreciated - until now.
I wanna go back to the nights I miss
Wanna go back to the lips that I kissed
Wanna hold you - don't wanna let go
Want you to love me honey, like I know you know
I need you on a night like this

I'd really love it on a night like this
Remember you love, such a good love - such a hot love
On a night like this.
Like this.

Why'd You Leave Me
The frustration of knowing that she'll never come back manifests itself in smarmy jabs - not overtly insulting, but knowing that she's made a definitive decision that will not be changed, upping the ante from outright pleading to snipping and hitting personal targets that you hardly believe come out of your mouth - all in an emotional knee-jerk of jealous hatred.

This track comes from the point of view that, OK, she's left for good, she's actually actively dating someone else and they're sleeping together. The nuclear blast of that image, brick wall closed from you and her - and all you have is anger, resentment - and a ball of phlegm shot in her direction.

Wally Palmer, lead singer, has plenty of growling distress here, and The Romantics strong card of heavy, heavy hypnotic drumming is unveiled in all it's glory. Add a tasteful guitar phlange and you have the moment captured in 3'28" of beautiful power pop.

Do you let him take you to bed?
Does he want you, or only your head?
Do you make him get out in time?
Don't you want him coming inside?

I cant believe its true
Believe you'd say good bye
I'm so in love with you - tell me why
Why'd you leave me?!?!

It's a shame that during their popularity they were stopped midstep by a lawsuit brought against their management company for royalties that were hidden from them. Same old song and dance as it were for a band that was in it for the music and trusted someone else to take care of the business side. I would have enjoyed hearing their output in the years 1987 through the mid 1990's. During that time, because of the lawsuit, they couldn't record which thus put a stranglehold on their career.

However, they're still going at it, playing here and there, recorded "61/49" which received the critical acclaim they didn't get during their hey-day, and Wally Palmer is on tour with The Ringo Starr All-Star band. You can get a lot more information on their official web site. But download these highlights and let me know if you're as excited about them as I can be.

A Night Like This
From: National Breakout [1980]

Why'd You Leave Me
From: Strictly Personal [1981]


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