Poll: Is Billy Idol's "Eyes without a Face" a Power Ballad?

Simple question: Song came on radio yesterday. It caused a big debate. I said it is a Power Ballad. My wife said absolutely not.

Please help us decide. Thanks

Definitely not. You don’t belt that song out like you do with power ballads.

I can see how someone could think it was a Power Ballad (PB), but it really isn’t.

For one thing, the lyrics are about what shitty person his lover is, and how he wishes he could hate them but instead he finds he’s just stuck with what he’s got.

PBs aren’t traditionally about ennui and regret, are they?

Also, the non-rock trappings of the songs first couple of minutes pretty well peg it as just a pop song, not a rock song.

Steve Stevens sure did play some tasty licks, tho. That guy is a helluva guitarist.

One of the best 80s radio songs.
I say no to it being a power ballad. Sure the solo is a little heavy but he pretty much “raps” during the “power” part.
The song has a coolness and detachment instead of the emotional heft of a power ballad. Ennui ballad perhaps?

What’s a power ballad? (And do I really care.)

I didn’t respond in the poll, since, while I don’t think it’s a power ballad, I also don’t think it’s lame, and it’s definitely not “late period”… it’s from his 2nd album.

Home Sweet Home (Motley Crüe). Beth (Kiss). My Oh My (Slade). Those are power ballads.

Eyes without a Face? Are you serious? It’s neither “power” nor “ballad”. It’s a light little 80s pop tune.

This is a power ballad.

Basically, it’s a ballad by a band most noted for heavier, less tender types of music and lyrical content.

Pianos feature prominently (thanks to KISS) in many of them, as do acoustic rhythm guitars. Typically, they are a bit longer than your standard pop or rock song, as the artist is generally trying to “flex” a bit and show that they can write songs with different parts and dynamics. Another typical feature is the “build” to guitar solos and more plaintive, strong wailing vocals (the singer is showing his range and “stretch”, too).

Power Ballads are the songs that lots of rock bands wrote in the 70s and 80s when they saw that their audience at concerts didn’t include enough women. They stayed with us a bit in the 1990s, and still crop up occasionally, but at least in the metal world, since grunge came along and killed off the more popularly palatable & commercially viable (and craptastic, IMO) kinds of metal, we don’t have to deal with this much anymore.

Great part-simulpost, SB! Looks like “Beth” is the epitome.

I like your take on their history. I’d say they were not just to attract new female fans, though, but also to give the junior high metal nerds a chance to slip their hand down a girl’s pants or whatever.

Would you say that Lynrd Skynrd’s “Free Bird” (1970, I think) is a prototype?

Oh, and if Freebird started the genre, I’ll posit that the last power ballad might have been Ozzy Osbourne’s 1991 “Mama, I’m Coming Home.”. (He’d done another PB ten years earlier, “Goodbye to Romance”).

I voted Hell to the No!!! Always hated the song.

I think that was just an unintended consequence, although it prolly didn’t hurt the appeal and status of PBs in the eyes of the average music listener and/or the band’s fan base.

Well, I don’t know that “Beth” is the epitome, but I’d say it certainly stands out as a radical departure for KISS at the time, and certainly was something that the general public reacted to viscerally; it was just such a huge non-sequitor to see the guys who looked like demons and whack jobs NOT spitting blood while performing a tender ballad that the public was delighted and amazed enough to continue watching & listening for months and months.

No, I wouldn’t say that Lynrd Skynrd’s “Free Bird” was the prototype, for a few reasons:

First, you have the release date wrong. “Free Bird” was on their debut album (Pronounced Leh-Nerd Skin-Nerd), which was released in late 1973 (September or October, I think). The song wasn’t actually on the radio, tho, for over a year. It was released as a single in November 1974, but didn’t actually hit the charts until early in 1975. And then there’s the fact that many people (most?) think of the (almost) 14 minute live version of the song when the subject comes up, and that album wasn’t released until late 1976, with the live version reaching it’s apex of exposure in early-to-mid-1977.

B), as great a song as it is, it’s easily eclipsed by the song that I think really originated the genre: Layla by Derek & the Dominos AKA Eric Clapton and friends. This is, IMO, the definitive & prototype Power Ballad. It established so many of the tropes that we take for granted today: the build, the piano, the acoustic rhythm guitar, the extended length, etc.

Third, (of course!) Hi Opal!

Thanks, SB… Makes sense to me!

Correction: That is THE power ballad.

This, +1, like.

It’s a pop-ballad, not a power-ballad

Your poll choices are flawed. Whether one likes the song, which seems to be what the poll asks, is irrelevant to whether it’s a power ballad.

Edit : I see I was ninja’d by… oh, only 12 hours or so.


I can get on board with this. I like the song, but I don’t think it’s a power ballad. Thus, I cannot vote.

I voted “Hell no,” although I don’t think it’s pathetic or lame-ass. It’s just not a power ballad.