Was pop music ever more MELODRAMATIC than it was in the 80’s?

Another mega-melodramatic song from the sixties:

The Walker Brothers - The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine Anymore

They used this as a promo when The Walking Dead First came out.

But that’s three out of four.

Also the sequel album has a few more.

Unless there is a song I don’t know about, it was actually a mine where they dined.

Who also was responsible for The Last Game of the Season (A Blind Man in the Bleachers) because HE HATED HUMANITY!

I see your “Total Eclipse” and raise you “MacArthur Park” by Richard Harris.

No need to go any further than Jim Steinman’s body of work as a producer. Some of his work has already been mentioned here (“Total Eclipse of the Heart,” “I’d Do Anything For Love,” * Bat Out of Hell*). Other songs he’s produced include Bonnie Tyler’s “Holding Out for a Hero” and Air Supply’s “Making Love Out of Nothing at All.”

You’re bluffing. Let’s see you beat an It Must be Him with a spoken bridge ofI’ve Never Been to Me.

It’s all coming back to me now.

“And I would do anything for love…but I won’t do that.” Yep, that one belongs in the Melodrama HoF.

I’m trying to clarify my thoughts here on what constitutes good melodrama. But I think this is one of the off-ramps: terminal sappiness takes a song out of melodrama territory.

For a song to be melodramatic, the emotions have to be overwrought, of course, but there has to still be a real power to them. Sappiness undoes that.

I’m familiar with almost all of these, and at least IMHO they don’t really get into ‘melodrama’ territory, other than “Gethsemane” in Superstar. Jesus has some pretty melodramatic whines earlier in the record, but they’re pretty brief. (Thinking of stuff like “you’ll be lost, you’ll be so, so sorry, when I’m goooone!” in “Everything’s Alright.”)

Per my comment in response to tripthicket, I think what’s missing in most of these is that I wouldn’t describe them as emotionally overwrought or ‘over the top’, except for the aforementioned bits from Superstar.

You win. I must’ve been unconsciously blocking that damned thing out. :smiley:

Following up on that thought:

“MacArthur Park” is of course famed as the Worst Song Ever per Dave Barry, and for decades I was in agreement with him. Then along came “My Heart Will Go On.” It’s had time to fade in the memory, but for some years I considered it to be an even more unbearable song than “MacArthur Park.”

But getting back to the thread topic, I’m not sure that “My Heart Will Go On” is more melodramatic than “MacArthur Park.” I think I still have to go with the latter by that measure.

IIRC Jim Steinman described his work as being Gothic, does that mean melodramatic or a variation of it?

On a side note, have you ever heard “My Heart Will Go On” performed on recorder?


This is whatit’s like when Steinman is being Gothic.

Dictionary.com definition of ‘melodramatic’:

Fortunately medleys like this don’t meet the requirement of the OP, because they were outlawed by the Geneva Convention.

I’ve never understood this complaint against “One Tin Soldier”. I think people conflate the song with the movie that made it famous, “Billy Jack”. That movie was indeed hideously preachy.

But “One Tin Soldier” is a story song that has only one moral to it. It happens to be a good moral too. And the stupid greedy world hasn’t gotten the fucking idea yet.

Remember that the 1950s had an entire genre for songs about dead teenagers.

Edit: late 50s/early 60s

I’ve never seen the movie, and only recently became vaguely aware that there was a connection.

No, I just find the song annoyingly preachy. Maybe there’s only that one statement of the moral at the very end, but the entire song is spent setting it up, and it’s pretty blatant about it.

ETA: If I ever get the urge to watch “Billy Jack,” I know now to stifle that urge. Thanks!

Another ETA: We’ve both overlooked the refrain, which is repeated several times during the song. There’s nothing subtle about it.

Oh, dear Janis, hold onto me and together we can make it better! Or kill ourselves.

Is anybody doing melodrama today? Um, in English, of course. Near as I can tell there is nothing in Spanish that is not at least melodramatic.


To me, The stones “Gimme Shelter” comes to mind, but perhaps I’m not getting Melodramatic.
I mean “War, Children, it’s just a shot away” and “Rape, murder!”.