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Sad Eric Carmen... or happy Eric Carmen?


LC

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When you consider Eric's catalog (now a finite universe, unfortunately), you can do sort of a bits-and-bytes analysis based on theme:

Did he excel more with happy, positive songs, where everything is coming up roses? Or was he better with sad, depressing themes, where all hope is lost?

Even including Raspberries stuff, "sad" wins out decisively. Eric was at his best when he dealt with hopelessness.

You could make a 10-song "happy" list and it wouldn't hold a candle to this "sad" list: 

[Revised to add the obvious at No. 10.]

1. Boats Against the Current
2. Desperate Fools
3. Waiting (Raspberries)
4. I Can Remember (Raspberries) 
5. If You Change Your Mind (Raspberries)
6. Nobody Knows (Raspberries)
7. I'm Through with Love
8. Never Gonna Fall in Love Again 
9. The Way We Used to Be
10. All By Myself

On the outside looking in:
• Nowhere to Hide (Don't try to lay claim to this for Happy Eric just because of that line at the end that says, "I know she'll be there tonight." It’s suicidal all the way through. But if you can make a compelling case, I would add "Foolin' Myself" in its place.)

Of course, I know that your mood at a given time might make you feel differently. But think just in terms of composition, melody, lyrics, believability, and authenticity. 

And now... I'm prepared to be shot down! 🙂

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LC,

I agree with you. Eric is most inspired by misery, as are a lot of artists. I made a quick 10 for the positive argument, though:

I Was Born To Love You

Almost Paradise

American As Apple Pie

Hey Deanie

She Did It

Love Is All That Matters

Sunrise

My Girl

Let's Pretend

Go All The Way

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I think he excels at both.

A list of 10 that will at the least give LC's list a run for the money ( not in order of greatness ):

Hey Deanie 

Overnight sensation 

Love is all that matters

Sunrise 

My Girl

On the beach ( underrated melodic rocker )

I saw the light 

Ecstacy 

Cruisin Music 

That's Rock & Roll ( live )

P.S. 3 that crush me to keep off the list are "Make me lose control", "I think I found myself" and "Heaven can wait".

 

 

 

 

 

 

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LC:   All by Myself didn't make your list? 

I agree that he's definitely better at sad songs.  He even said himself that  he would  come home and put on some of the the most sad depressing music to get inspired to write more sad songs. Nobody can compare to Eric singing any of those ballads on LC's list.

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35 minutes ago, Rhonda B said:

LC:   All by Myself didn't make your list? 

I agree that he's definitely better at sad songs.  He even said himself that  he would  come home and put on some of the the most sad depressing music to get inspired to write more sad songs. Nobody can compare to Eric singing any of those ballads on LC's list.


Talk about not seeing the forest for the trees!

You’re right, of course. It only strengthens my thesis. So I’m going to correct that right now….

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Kirk and James, you've got only three overlapping songs, but even if I take four from each of you AND added “I Can Hardly Believe You’re” (one of my two or three favorites in the whole R’s catalog) and “Tonight,” it still falls a few teardrops short of Eric the Depressed.

However, it’s a heck of a playlist. 

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Since I mentioned it… my Happy Eric playlist of 10, a combo of Kirk and James (and my own biases):

1. Love Is All That Matters 
2. I Can Hardly Believe You’re Mine
3. On the Beach
4. She Did It
5. Cruisin’ Music
6. My Girl
7. Tonight
8. Ecstacy
9. Go All the Way
10. Sunrise

James, I wanted to wedge “Overnight Sensation” in here, but… in a bits-and-bytes world, is that actually a happy song?

So, great playlist. Next time I’m in a good mood, I’ll put it on! 😂🤣

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LC, for me "Overnight Sensation" has always been a very upbeat happy song. It can be interpreted more cynically, but I see the singer sincerely singing about a dream, with as great an upbeat melody as there is, especially the climax.

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As a kid I was drawn to both his sad songs and upbeat songs, but for sure the sad songs more so. Today I am drawn equally. 

I do think, as evidenced by my above list, that his happy upbeat collection is equal to his sad song collection, or possibly even better. How many "Sunrise"s or "My Girl"s or Cruisin Music"s have ever been written?.....very very few, ...even Brian Wilson hasn't matched those 3 re upbeat happy songs ( ok, I'm ready to be guillotined for my BW blasphemy ), with the possible exception of "God only knows". "Love Grows" is up there with them, but can't think of any others that emit a pure happy melodic joy to the listener as much as those 3 do.

And I left out of the 3 a song that is possibly the greatest pure genius melody ever written in "Let's Pretend" ! ....which of course is known as Eric's "Wouldn't it be nice" ...but which is better than the phenomenal "Wouldn't it be nice".

 

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 1 year later...

Brian Wilson hasn't matched those 3 re upbeat happy songs ( ok, I'm ready to be guillotined for my BW blasphemy ), with the possible exception of "God only knows". "Love Grows" is up there with them, but can't think of any others that emit a pure happy melodic joy to the listener as much as those 3 do. sad dp

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