Go West – “King of Wishful Thinking”

“King of Wishful Thinking” was released as a single from the soundtrack of the 1990 film, Pretty Woman. It was released in 1990 and peaked at number eight on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.

I was 15 years old and finishing up the ninth grade when this single was released. While I wasn’t personally familiar with Go West at the time, this song still grabbed me instantly. It was a very upbeat, catchy, and pop friendly song. And while I may not have been in any real relationship before this song was released, I still found the lyrics to be relatable. Looking back now, I can see why this song performed as well as it did. Not only did it come from a soundtrack of a movie that was popular at the time, the song itself was catchy and universal.

I just watched the music video for “King of Wishful Thinking” for the first time in nearly 25 years right before I sat down to write this. Oh my God, I’d forgotten how cheesy it was. While the song is universal, the video really doesn’t withstand the test of time. There are so many random images that have nothing to do with the song (hockey players, dancers, elephant), as well as a couple of shots that took the song too literally. But I do have to give credit for the two Pretty Woman references that appear in it, for those of us who remember the movie. Viewers who haven’t seen the film would just think that they’re just more random images that pop up.

I am embedding the music video for “King of Wishful Thinking” below, and I apologize in advance to any of my readers who are unable to view it due to region blocking.

Mariah Carey – “Vision of Love”

“Vision of Love” is the lead-off single for Mariah Carey’s self-titled debut album from 1990. The single was released on May 15, 1990, and went on to peak at number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.

I was 15 years old and finishing up the ninth grade when “Vision of Love” was released. I have to admit that the song didn’t grab me the first time I heard it, but as I started hearing it more on the radio and seeing the video on MTV, I came to quickly appreciate it. Mariah’s vocal style was different from what was being heard on other pop songs at the time. While the music was pop friendly, it also didn’t sound like a lot of the other pop being released at the time. But “Vision of Love” was able to stand out in a good way and ultimately paved the way for the success that Mariah would continue to have during her career. I still appreciate and enjoy “Vision of Love” just as much now as I did 25 years ago.

The music video is actually simplistic, which would be expected for an unproven artist. However, the director found a way to use the lighting and camera angles in such a way where the video doesn’t look as simplistic as it really is. There may not be any special effects or any unusual camera work, but the video is still interesting enough to keep the viewer’s interest.

I am embedding the video below, and I apologize in advance to any of my readers who are unable to view it due to region blocking.

del Amitri – “Kiss This Thing Goodbye”

“Kiss This Thing Goodbye” was released as a single from del Amitri’s 1989 album, Waking Hours. It was originally released in 1989 but failed to chart. However, the single was reissued in 1990, it peaked at number 35 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.

I don’t remember this song from when it was released in 1989, but I remember it from its re-release in 1990. I have to admit that at first, I wasn’t too sure about the song. It was one of those songs that had to grow on me with repeated listens. It’s a nice song, but I can see why it never became a big hit in the United States. It definitely didn’t fit what was going on with mainstream pop in 1989, and it only kind of fit with pop in 1990. It’s a good song, but it just wasn’t quite commercial enough.

I found the original UK video for “Kiss This Thing Goodbye” on YouTube. I don’t remember seeing the video that was shot for the re-release in the United States, so this is all I have to go by. It’s a rather standard late 1980s/early 1990s music video. It uses the slowed down footage and various perception tricks that were relatively common in music videos then. It’s not a bad video, but there’s nothing terribly special about it, either.

I am embedding the video below, and I apologize in advance to any of my readers who are unable to view it due to region blocking.

Elton John – “Club At the End of the Street”

“Club At the End of the Street” was released as the third single from Elton John’s 1989 album, Sleeping With the Past. The single was released in 1990, and peaked at number 28 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.

I was 15 years old and finishing up the ninth grade when this single was released. I enjoyed Elton’s music at the time, so it’s really not surprising that I liked “Club At the End of the Street” when I heard it. And being an uptempo number allowed it to grab me a little faster. It definitely had a summer vibe to it, so it’s a little disappointing that the song didn’t perform better on the pop chart. But looking back now, I can see that while “Club At the End of the Street” is a great song, it didn’t entirely fit in with what was popular on the pop chart at the time. But it’s a song that’s withstood the test of time, and I enjoy just as much now as I did 15 years ago.

The music video is completely animated, which was rather unusual. Paula Abdul’s “Opposites Attract” from a few months earlier was partially animated, and a-ha’s “Take On Me” from five years earlier had rotoscoped sections, but I really can’t recall a completely animated music video prior to this one. If any exist, I’m not aware of them.

I think the animation style used for the video worked well for the type of feel that the animator was going for with the setting. And the animation seemed to work well with the song.

I am embedding the video for “Club At the End of the Street” below, and I apologize to any of my readers who are unable to see it due to region blocking.

Tommy Page – “When I Dream of You”

“When I Dream of You” was released as a single from Tommy Page’s 1990 album, Paintings in My Mind. The song peaked at number 42 on the Billboard Hot 100.

I was 15 years old and finishing up the ninth grade when this single was released. I admit that I didn’t like his previous single, “I’ll Be Your Everything.” It may have been a number one song, but I just thought he sounded rather whiny in it. So I was actually caught off-guard the first time that I heard “When I Dream of You.” It was hard to believe these songs were performed by the same person. I actually liked this song a lot, and was quite disappointed by how it performed on the charts at the time. Looking back now, I can see why it had faltered. It didn’t entirely fit with what was going on at pop radio at the time, and it didn’t have the direct helping hand of members of New Kids on the Block behind it. I honestly believe the fact that New Kids on the Block played such a major role in “I’ll Be Your Everything” that it was so successful.

The music video really isn’t much to write home about. It relies a lot of showing footage in slow motion, which was becoming popular to do in music videos in the late 1980s and early 1990s. There’s also an attempt at telling a story and intercutting it with footage of Tommy lip-synching, but the story feels rather disjointed. Perhaps this was done as an effect to symbolize how disjointed memories can be, but in the end, it didn’t really help the video out that much. It’s not necessarily a bad music video, but it’s not a great one, either.

I am embedding the video for “When I Dream of You” below, and I apologize in advance to any of my readers who are unable to view it due to region blocking.

Michael Bolton – “When I’m Back on My Feet Again”

“When I’m Back on My Feet Again” was released as the fourth single from Michael Bolton’s 1989 album, Soul Provider. The single was released in 1990 and peaked at number seven on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. The song was written by Dianne Warren after the death of her father.

I was 15 years old and finishing up the ninth grade when this single was released. I’d already liked the previous two singles from the album, so I was receptive to hearing “When I’m Back on My Feet Again” when it was released. The lyrics are easy for listeners to relate to, no matter what their age is, and as a teenager I thought this was an inspirational song. I have to admit that I don’t like this song quite as much as I did 25 years ago, but I still believe that the lyrics are inspirational to listeners who have gone through or may currently be going through difficult times.

The music video intercuts footage of Michael Bolton lip-synching the song with storylines of two characters: a man in a wheelchair and a female alcoholic. Of the two storylines, more time is spent on the man in the wheelchair than on the female alcoholic. I thought this weakened the woman’s storyline, because there was no real buildup to make the audience want to feel for her. At least with the man’s story, we get to see home movie footage from before he was in a wheelchair and the physical therapy he undergoes. With the woman, we see her pull a bottle of liquor out, start drinking it, feel bad about drinking it, and then pouring the remaining contents down the drain. As a viewer, it would have been nice to have had some footage to give some backstory on why she became an alcoholic.

I am embedding the music video below, and I apologize in advance to any of my readers who are unable to view it due to region blocking.

Best Summer Songs

Summer is a time that conjures up images of the sun, the beach, and fun. Over the years, countless songs have been released to honor that season. To me, the songs featured here are some of the best to capture the season of summer.

The Beach Boys – “Surfin’ USA”:  While the band recorded a number of songs during their career about summer and the beach, this one, in my opinion, really captures the essence of the season. The song is a call to the listener to go to the beach and enjoy the waves. When I listen to this song, I can visualize young people having fun at the beach, with the surfers getting their boards ready for surfing.

DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince – “Summertime”: This song was a hit during the summer of 1991, and it really captures a summer day. Musically, there’s a light and airy sound that evokes the laid-back feel of summer. Lyrically, the rap depicts various activities that are associated with the summer season.

First Class – “Beach Baby”: This 1970s hit has the light and airy sound one would expect from a “summer song.” Lyrically, the song is set at the end of the summer, and the speaker is looking back at all the fun they had during the season.

The Go-Gos – “Vacation”: While this song may not specifically be about summer, it has the musical sound one would expect from a “summer song.” Also, vacations tend to be more typically associated with the summer season than with any other time of year.

The Jamies – “Summertime, Summertime”: This song was originally released in the late 1950s, and then was re-released in the early 1960s. In the lyrics, the song talks about various things associated with the summer season. Musically, the song incorporates a doo wop vocal sound combined with pop versions of sacred harp styles. This combination makes this an upbeat, fun song that evokes the feeling of the summer season.

The Lovin’ Spoonful – “Summer in the City”: This 1966 hit is an upbeat song that talks about some of things that take place in the city during the summer nights. The speaker of the song is looking for a girl to spend some time with during the summer evenings.

Mungo Jerry – “In the Summertime”: This classic has the light and airy sound associated with “summer songs.” In the song, the speaker talks about how laid back their summer is and about the various things they’re doing.

Seals and Crofts – “Summer Breeze”: This is another song that captures the light and airy sound associated with “summer songs.” It’s a song about how the summer breeze makes the singer “feel fine,” and they come home to their significant other, who is waiting for them at home without a care in the world.

The Surfaris – “Wipeout”: While this song may not specifically be about summer, the song evokes images of surfing. And surfing, in turn, tends to evoke thoughts of the summer months. Plus, the upbeat sound of this song would fit in perfectly with any summer-themed playlist.

The Underdog Project – “Summer Jam”: This song was released during the summer of 2001, and it’s a dance song with the light and airy sound of summer to it. The speaker of the song evokes images associated with summer, intertwined with pining for a girl that they like.