Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Top 5...Songs By George Michael

George Michael OWNED the latter part of the 1980's.  I guess he owned the middle part as well with Wham but he exploded into super stardom with the release of the Faith album in 1987.  That, and with the help of MTV, propelled him to the top of the music world.  Though he never quite matched his peak with the release of his next album (I forget its name but its the one with "Freedom 90'" on it.).  Anyway, I thought I'd pay tribute to the man with one of the coolest look of the 1980's...Mr. George Michael.

5.) Careless Whisper

Youthful George hanging onto a rope for some strange reason

Yes, its almost been overplayed over the years (but not as much as Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go) but when that saxophone riff kicks in in the beginning, its hard to turn it off. A song about having an affair that leads to the end of a relationship, I just liked the saxophone part and the weird synthesized background vocals (dah dahhh dah dahhhhh).  Throw in a little flamenco guitar, a brooding George Michael in the video, and you have a timeless song.  And like George Michael in this song, I too have no rhythm...though I don't have guilty feet.  Look for the longer extended version if you can find it for more saxophone.

4.) Monkey

George's fedora and suspenders look

Off the Faith album, this is probably the most "dance club" song on the album.  An excellent song to blast on the radio while you're driving to Boston (which I used to do a LOT), this song has almost held up over the years.  I was way off as to what this song was about when I first heard it.  My 9 year self thought he was singing about an annoying gorilla, but its apparent he's singing about his girlfriend's ex-boyfriend.  I do agree with George in that everyone has to ask their partner that question when in a new relationship..."do you love the monkey or do you love me?".  Well put George...well put.

3.) Everything She Wants

Bitter George

This brings us back to the Wham days again.  I just love the lyrics in this song.  As a kid, I thought that poor George Michael was trying to pull off a bank robbery (hence the "get the money, got to get the money" lines). Instead its HE that the money is being taken from.  An all time great bitter song full of excellent 1980's sounds as well as George's glorious falsetto high voice.  Another great hook for a chorus too with just gibberish sounds.  A line I love to use on my married friends as they begin to have children, "if my best isn't good enough, then how can it be good enough for two!!!". Sing it George!!!

2.) Freedom 90'

Oh those models...

George's last monster hit, the song itself was great, the video just made it better.  Look at all the models in it.  I wasn't sure if they were big at the time but you had Cindy Crawford, Linda Evangelista, Naomi Campbell, among others.  Just a great club song, this was a staple on my mix tapes at any parties I would attempt to throw in college.  However, if you listen to lyrics, its George basically telling the story of his history and coming out and announcing he's gay at the end.  I love the subtleness of this and shows just how great of a sing writer he was.  One of these days, I will learn that opening riff on the piano.

1.) Father Figure

Iconic George

Perhaps the coolest and most perfectly put together song of the late 1980's.  From the beginning organ sound, to the figure snaps, to that glorious hi-hat.  Plus the way George sings the song...he's sounding extra sultry.  The video for it blew this song up though I always thought the model in it looked very mannish (foreshadowing perhaps?).  George has his shades and 5 O'clock shadow look down to perfection.  I also love this song because its the only song that has the phrase "Hungerford" on it.  Well, it sounds like it when he sings the lines "do you ever hungerrrr...hunger for me".  It sort of sounds like "Hungerford".

Honorable Mentions
Freedom (Wham's version)
Edge Of Heaven
Too Funky

Bottom 3
Last Christmas
Wake Me Up (Before You Go Go)
I Want Your Sex - Part 1 (Part 2 is actually pretty cool though if you can find it)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Great picks... need to point out, however that the "monkey" on someone's back refers to addiction - drugs or alcohol typically...