Thursday, January 12, 2017

"I Pretend" by Kim Carnes

Song#:  1908
Date:  05/19/1984
Debut:  85
Peak:  74
Weeks:  5
Genre:  Pop, Adult Contemporary

Pop Bits:  Carnes was not having the best of luck with her LP CafĂ© Racers. Its first single, "Invisible Hands," just barely made the Top 40 (#40) while a second single, "You Make My Heart Beat Faster (And That's All That Matters)," stalled at #54. The bad news continued when this third single couldn't get out of the basement of the Pop chart. However, there was one bright spot. This song caught on at AC and it became a hit there reaching #9. It was Carnes' second and final Top 10 on that chart.

ReduxReview:  This is a really good song that got lost in the shuffle. Although it did well at AC, it was just a bit too adult and subtle to make an impact on Pop radio. I think if it had a different production, it might have had a better chance. The song has a Smokey Robinson vibe and a more R&B-leaning arrangement along the lines of "Being with You" might have made it more sexy and sultry. Carnes was certainly capable to carry off a vocal for that style, but instead she ended up trapped in a basic, slightly stiff pop arrangement. It's still a good song, but I think it could have been a lot better.

ReduxRating:  6/10

Trivia:  This song was written by Martin Page and Brian Fairweather. The pair were in their own band at the time called Q-Feel, which was having some success in the UK with the song "Dancing in Heaven (Orbital Be-Bop)." While in the US playing some of their demos to labels, one A&R person said that their songs were so varied that different styles of artists could record them. He thought they could be hit songwriters. This particular song impressed the guy so much that he immediately called Kim Carnes and had her listen to it. She loved it and the writers went to meet with her. Carnes picked up the song plus two others that Page and Fairweather had originally written for Q-Feel, "Invisible Hands" and "You Make My Heart Beat Faster." In regards to "I Pretend," Page mentioned in an interview that he wrote it intentionally in the style of the Pointer Sisters. He even submitted the song to the vocal group's label, but nothing came from it.


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