7 Songs: Parenthetically speaking

I have many blog posts that I want to do, but this is also one hell of a busy week.  This is the last proper week of my 30s and we have to get the house presentable for a houseful of people on Saturday.  I also have to finish galley proofing Heidi’s book, A Private Gentleman, for print release in February of next year.  That assignment is due on June 7.  I have a physical on Thursday morning, a haircut sometime this week that I can’t remember when and oh yeah, I also am putting in a full work week.  But I have today off and I woke up at the ungodly hour of 5:45AM so I’m going to do a blog post before I get sucked into the stuff I have to do.  And I thought it was time to do another 7 songs post, especially since I was struck by the lightning bolt of inspiration and got to thinking about all the songs that I listen to that have part of their title in parenthesis.  I had this brilliant idea of searching my iTunes library with an open parenthesis, but all that did was pull every remix and, if you can imagine, that didn’t narrow the library terribly much.  So much the better – I’m sure there are some that I’ve left off the list.

1) “Love Will Never Do (Without You)” / Janet Jackson

Probably my favorite Janet Jackson song, it’s also got a great Herb Ritts directed video.  It was the 415th single off of Rhythm Nation, and as such, it was a hit in the spring of 1991 which was amazing because the album came out in the fall of 1989.  I can’t imagine any album (except for Adele’s 21, of course) having that kind of longevity nowadays.  Usually albums are pretty much dead after the first single. (see: MDNA)  Anyway, I still love this song over 20 years later, even though I was always a bit disturbed by Janet singing in her lower register.  For some reason, the full official video is nowhere to be found on YouTube (boo!) so you’ll have to settle for this.

2) “You Can’t Walk In Your Sleep (If You Can’t Sleep)” / The Go-Gos

When I was reading Belinda Carlisle’s autobiography Lips Unsealed, I went through a really big Go-Gos phase.  While I don’t think most of their albums are essential listening, their debut album Beauty & The Beat is a notable exception.  I saw it on vinyl in a second hand shop in Chicago last week and man, I wish I had picked it up but it didn’t have a price tag on it and I wasn’t in the mood to go ask how much it was.  “You Can’t Walk In Your Sleep (If You Can’t Sleep)” is a great lesser-known album cut – probably better than “We Got The Beat” for my money.

3) “If That’s Your Boyfriend (He Wasn’t Last Night)” / Me’Shell NdegéOcello

Such a strange song, especially when you consider my tastes, but “If That’s Your Boyfriend (He Wasn’t Last Night)” is a groovy little jam.  The only other Me’Shell NdegéOcello song I know is her very strange but very awesome cover of Dolly Parton’s “Two Doors Down” from the Just Because I’m a Woman Dolly tribute album.

4) “I Would Do Anything For Love (But I Won’t Do That)” / Meatloaf

How unlikely was it that Meatloaf had another hit in the early 90s, after being hitless for so many years?  When you think about it, Jim Steinman is probably the king of writing songs with parentheses.  I always have had a difficult relationship with this song, but I love the “hose me down with holy water” part so much that I can forgive the insufferable parts.  It sparked many discussions amongst college friends about what Meatloaf wouldn’t do for love, but we never really did figure that out.

5) “If You Love Me (Let Me Know)” / Olivia Newton-John

My friend Steve is probably saying “Step AWAY from the Olivia!” but when I realized she had a song with parentheses, I couldn’t leave her off the list.  This is from Olivia’s early years, when she was an Australian artist living in England recording American country music.  It was quite scandalous when she won the CMA Female Vocalist of the Year since apparently, you had to have been born and bred in the southern U.S. to sing country music.  Even though the country music establishment eventually warmed up to her, she ditched them all for pop in the late 70s, thus extending her hit-making career by at least another 5 years.  The following video is taken from what I affectionately refer to as “The Mullet Tour.”

6) “I Said Never Again (But Here We Are)” / Rachel Stevens

I first learned of this song in 2006 when I picked up a compilation CD at Borderline Music that had an extended remix of it.  You might think that Rachel Stevens is a dumb disco dolly that is only good for the one song, but honestly, her Come And Get It album is a very worthy pop-dance album.  It won’t end famine or bring about world peace, but it sure is fun to listen to.

7) “Touch Me (I Want Your Body)” / Samantha Fox

I would be remiss if I didn’t include a song from the Queen of Parentheses, Samantha Fox.  I swear that every other song of hers has parentheses in it.  Taking a quick look at her greatest hits album, fully a third of the songs use parentheses.  “Touch Me (I Want Your Body)” was the song that put Samantha Fox on the map musically.  The video left my 14 year-old self entranced every time it came on for obvious reasons.

Did I leave anything off?  What are your favorite songs with parentheses?

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9 Responses to 7 Songs: Parenthetically speaking

  1. mary35 says:

    “Love Will Never Do” is my favorite Janet Jackson song too. I must have listened to it 20,000 while I exercise.

    So glad Samantha (my body double) Fox made it on the list.

    • Dan says:

      Sam Fox HAD to make the list. There are so many songs that I’m sure I missed. Narrowing my own list down to 7 was pretty hard.

  2. Elliot says:

    There is also the Sigur Ros album, perhaps the oddest example, where the tracks had no titles and the album itself was called “( )”. It was subsequently listed as “Sigur Ros” by Sigur Ros on Amazon, and others, but you can still see the parentheses on the artwork. The original artwork, at least on the UK edition (which I have), was pretty cool.

  3. Love the inclusion of Janet (a must) and The Go-Go’s (a great tune, though I probably wouldn’t have thought to feature it — you’re right about their debut LP).

    If I were to put together such a list, this Pet Shop Boys fan could not overlook “Opportunities (Let’s Make Lots Of Money).” Oh, and probably Whitney’s “I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me).” But there are tons more I’m totally blanking on!

    • Dan says:

      I thought of both of those (as well as the PSB song Try It (I’m In Love With A Married Man)). There are so many – here are the ones I didn’t use when I was compiling the list

      There’s A Spy (In The House Of Love) / Animal Logic
      Time (Clock of the Heart) / Culture Club
      Love In In Control (Finger on the Trigger) / Donna Summer
      The Remedy (I Won’t Worry) / Jason Mraz
      Put Your Hands Up (If You Feel Love) / Kylie
      (I Just) Died In Your Arms / Cutting Crew

      Like you said, there are tons more that I’m sure I didn’t even think of.

  4. DyingNote says:

    Aerosmith’s ‘Falling In Love (Is Hard On The Knees)’ – funny title, that. The Beatles’ ‘Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)’, Blue Oyster Cult’s ‘(Don’t Fear) The Reaper’, Drake’s ‘Hyfr (Hell Ya F’ing Right)’…no end to this list

  5. Pingback: 7 songs: Parenthetically Speaking – Digital Sextant

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