Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Belinda Carlisle - Trendsetter

Since seeing Belinda Carlisle perform a killer set at Rooty Hill RSL earlier this year, I've been binging on the iconic diva's amazing back catalogue of hits. There are so many brilliant songs to appreciate and rediscover but one stands out in particular. Well, two but I always rant about (We Want) The Same Thing - so I thought it was about time I moved on to something else. The song I'm talking about is the lead single from her 1999 greatest hits compilation. "All God's Children" sounds like a morose ballad but it's actually an uplifting, inclusive pop song that echoes the sentiments of the biggest trend in popular music at this very moment - the so-called empowerment anthem.

Now this shit can go one of two ways:

1. Done right - these songs can lift your spirits and make you feel better about being different, lonely, shunned or an outcast. They are the musical equivalent of a warm embrace (Katy Perry's "Firework") or a defiant fuck you to haters (Ke$ha's "We R Who We R") that make you feel braver and stronger.

2. Done wrong - well, I have three words for you. Born. This. Way. If I have to listen to that middle-class, heterosexual white woman tell me "don't be a drag, just be a queen" one more time I'm rushing to the nearest branch of Scientology and begging for the homosexuality cure.

It goes without saying that "All God's Children" belongs in the former category and can actually be viewed as something of blueprint for the genre. While Katy and Ke$ha were still playing with barbies and popping pimples, Belinda was bringing people together with her Metro produced feel-good anthem. I usually shy away from lyrics with religious overtones but the song has a simple message about the need to be loved and accepted that I find universal and true despite all that God talk. The track packs an even bigger emotional punch if you know how supportive Belinda has been of her openly gay son.

But I digress. Given its 1999 release date, I'm pretty sure "All God's Children" was a calculated attempt to recreate the success of Cher's "Believe". The same producers were used, an ageless diva who could pass for 20 was given a dance track and the videos both look like they were shot in the dark. Unfortunately, Belinda's jam stiffed at #66 in the UK. Which, reading between the lines of her amazing autobiography, might have had more to do with her personal demons and record company politics. As for the video, I love it. Ms Carlisle looks absolutely stunning. In fact, she's ten times hotter than the frumpy girl in it - so why isn't she making out with the hot guy with the bushy eyebrows?

Enjoy one of the original and best empowerment anthems from a true legend.


xolondon said...

This was a solid hits collection, yes?

My top 3 Belinda tracks are DO You Feel Like I Feel?,Feels Like I've Known You Forever (same collection!) and Valentine.

Le sigh, this takes me back to the days of other great pop women like Jody Watley.

Mike said...

Do You Feel Like I Feel is one of my favourites too!

Belinda needs to make a comeback. She looks gorgeous and her voice has just improved with age.

Half The World is another song that I can't get out of my mind. So beautiful.

Nasty G said...

Apparently the Go Gos are performing on the finale of the American 'Dancing With The Stars' next week! I had no idea they were together yet again!!

Anonymous said...

It's a GEM of a track... Here's hoping for a new BC album asap. Love her...

This BC tune is up there in my all time fav's with this fine ditty...

Mike said...

Can't wait to see Belinda and the Go Gos on DWTS!

And Anon - I love Kim Wilde! "Love Is Holy" is one of my faves too :)