I made a mix CD once that was comprised of nothing but sets of songs with the same title by different artists. They weren’t the same songs but were, rather, two songs that were completely different, by different artists that just happened to share a name. For example, the first set of songs that I put on the CD was “Magic” – one version by Olivia Newton-John, another by The Cars. See how this works? It was kind of fun and not nearly as straight forward (nor as easy) as finding cover versions of songs.
Anyway, I was thinking about another pair of songs on that CD last week and thought – what the hell, let’s put it to a blog vote. Only I’m going to shake it up a little bit more and add a third song by the same name. The song in question is “Real Love.”
The first contestant is Jody Watley’s “Real Love” from 1989’s Larger Than Life. This was Jody’s first single from her sophomore album.
Jody Watley just emanates cool in this mid-tempo kiss-off song. “Don’t need your opinions/Don’t need your advice/Real love/Got to have real love.” It also sports a super classy video directed by David Fincher. I have always loved this song pretty much from the minute I heard it. There’s also a cool extended version that was a bonus track on the CD. Sadly, I don’t think that the album holds up as well as her debut. There were more schmaltzy ballads on it than I felt necessary. But still, this is pure late 80s pop/R&B that stands the test of time rather well.
The second contestant is Cher’s “Real Love” from Living Proof (2001).
Sorry, no official video since this is a pretty deep album cut from Cher. Living Proof is called (sometimes derisively, sometimes not) Son of Believe and yeah, it really is. The thing is, I almost like Living Proof better. The album is wall-to-wall Cher dance music and “Real Love” is nestled right in the center of the album. The only real negative is that the goddamned vocoder shit is cranked up to 11. What was a cool little novelty on “Believe” is played to maximum effect on “Real Love.” Still, it’s Cher and since Living Proof was her last album and it’s been OVER A DECADE since then, I am not too picky when it comes to her music.
The third and final contestant is the one I added specifically for this blog post. It’s “Real Love” by Kenny Rogers & Dolly Parton. It was on Dolly’s 1985 Real Love album and on many of over 5000 different Dolly Parton greatest hits sets available.
Really, this should be a slam dunk, right? It’s Kenny and Dolly after all. I always have to fight urges to get out their Christmas album in the middle of the summer. And who doesn’t love a bit of 80s country-pop? Well, I have to admit that even I have a tendency to forget about this song, probably because it pales in the shadow of the almighty “Islands In The Stream” (which I also only sorta like – I know, blasphemy.) However, I do remember watching the concert special on HBO that was culled from Kenny & Dolly’s concert tour. It also paled in the shadow of the almighty Dolly: Live In London HBO special that I watched approximately 10 million times growing up. It’s cute and innocuous, but still, it’s not anything to get super excited about.
When it comes to the battle of the “Real Love”s, it’s Jody Watley by a mile.
But don’t let my opinions sway you! Which one is your favorite? Or is there a “Real Love” that is better than all three of these? Vote in the poll and/or weigh in in the comments section.
This is also the point at which we realize just how few people read my blog. Oh well, we’ll see what happens.