Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Kyle Vincent's self-titled 1997 CD

Did you ever hear a song that you loved on an in-store satellite broadcasting network, and then go crazy trying to find out who the artist was? This happened to me nearly a decade ago, when I worked in a department store. I kept repeatedly hearing a great pop song with the lyrics "I miss Arianne". It was a jangly and bittersweet gem, with evocative lyrics and innocent-sounding vocals. I got so annoyed when customers asked me for assistance while that song played. I wanted to purchase the CD so that I could listen to it in the peaceful privacy of my own home. Only problem was, I had no idea who sang the song. It's usually easy to find out the artist for a particular song through an internet search. I mean, the lyrics to every song can be found on the world wide web, right? I learned that this bit of conventional wisdom is not true. No matter what lyrics from that song were typed into search engines, I got no relevant results. I gave up hope of ever finding the song, and it became an all-but-forgotten memory.

Just recently, I finally found the answer by accident. While I was gathering background info for my review of Candy's 1985 album, I learned that Kyle Vincent, the band's former lead singer, has recorded several solo albums. I saw that his self-titled 1997 CD contained a song called "Arianne". Could it be that song I was looking for several years ago? Candy's album was playing in the background while I pondered this question. Bingo! The voice I was hearing through my stereo speakers was unmistakably the same voice that sang that wonderful song.

Better late than never, I thought. Finally, I could own the CD that contained that song, so I could listen to it in my home without interruption. Just one problem: Kyle Vincent is now out of print. Not to worry: I had no trouble obtaining the CD through my usual resources. Also, the song "Arianne" can be heard on Vincent's MySpace page.

I was pleasantly surprised to find that the CD on the whole is quite good. Although none of the other tracks quite have the same magic of "Arianne", there isn't a bad track in the bunch. Whereas "Arianne" would have been a #1 hit in a just world, some of the other songs ("Wake Me Up", "It Wasn't Supposed To Happen", "Austin Eyes") could have made the Top 40 in such a place. Some, though not all, of the songs have a similar guitar jangle; the intro to "Other Side Of The Rain" is reminiscent of the Byrds song "It Won't Be Wrong". But the tracks don't fall into a predictable pattern. Piano ballads such as "One Good Reason" and "Next Time We'll Go Crazy" suggest that Vincent isn't kidding when he says that Barry Manilow is one of his idols. Still, Vincent's sincere vocals make all of the songs work. If you happen to come across Kyle Vincent in a used CD bin, I highly recommend it to power pop enthusiasts.

Kyle Vincent "Kyle Vincent" (Carport/Hollywood HC-62094-2) 1997

Track Listing:

1. Arianne
2. Wake Me Up (When The World's Worth Waking Up For)
3. One Good Reason
4. It Wasn't Supposed To Happen
5. Other Side Of The Rain
6. In The Worst Way
7. Next Time We'll Go Crazy
8. All Your Promises
9. I Used To Love The Girl
10. Austin Eyes
11. Happy Ending
12. Young Again

In case anyone out there is trying to Google the lyrics to "Arianne" (like I used to do), here they are below:

(written by Kyle Vincent & Parthenon Huxley)

And the smallest thing
Can make me think of her
Songs we used to sing

It was just last week
I drove by her old house
And if those walls could speak

I was younger
And can't expect the world to never change
But I wonder
If I saw her now would it be strange

I miss Arianne
I miss Arianne

Our first cigarette
Ruined our first kiss
But I won't forget
She was smiling

Lonely Sundays
Bring me back to walks we used to take
I was hungry
And dreaming 'bout the life that we would make

The biggest church in town
Is where she said that we'd get married
She doesn't know they tore it down

(c) 1997 New England Music/Big Groovy Music/Hear No Evil Music (BMI)

Blender's 50 craziest pop stars ever

Remember the L.A. Times article I spoke about recently, which said that Eddie Van Halen was "somewhere between Axl Rose and Michael Jackson on the music industry scale of eccentric recluses"? Well, the folks at Blender magazine apparently disagree. The magazine's March 2007 issue features their list of the 50 Craziest Pop Stars Ever, but Eddie didn't make the list. Not surprisingly, Jackson came in at #1, and Axl is #3. The only person "between" them on this list is Brian Wilson! Britney Spears' antics got her placed at #6 -- just ahead of Syd Barrett!

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Candy "Whatever Happened To Fun..." (1985)

I've just completed Rarebird's Spotlight Album Review #13. The subject: the 1985 album Whatever Happened To Fun... by Candy, an '80's power pop band from L.A. whose members included guitarist Gilby Clarke (later of Guns N' Roses and Rock Star Supernova) and singer/pianist Kyle Vincent (who is now a solo artist). Fun was the band's only proper album, but an odds-and-sods collection called Teenage Neon Jungle was released in 2003, so I've reviewed that as well. Check it out: