Friday, June 2, 2017

"Left in the Dark" by Barbra Streisand

Song#:  2058
Date:  09/22/1984
Debut:  68
Peak:  50
Weeks:  12
Genre:  Pop, Rock, Adult Contemporary

Pop Bits:  After Streisand completed her film making journey with Yentl, she returned to pop music and recorded her first proper studio album since her 1980 #1 smash Guilty. Her latest offering, Emotion, would feature a lot of star power via performers and producers including Richard Perry, Maurice White (Earth, Wind & Fire), The Pointer Sisters, John Mellencamp and Kim Carnes. Also on the list was Wagnerian Rock songwriter/producer Jim Steinman. He contributed this epic song to the album and it was chosen as the first single. Streisand made a video for the song, which was her first to be done specifically for MTV. The six-minute video featured her A Star Is Born co-star Kris Kristofferson. Of course AC would show up to support a new Streisand tune and it got to #4 on that chart. Yet despite the video and Steinman's epic production, the song fizzled just halfway up the Pop chart. Although the album would be a platinum seller, it could only manage a #19 peak, which was her worst showing on the chart since her 1976 classical music project Classical Barbra.

ReduxReview:  This certainly wasn't the first time, nor would it be the last time, that Steinman recycled his own music (see below). That really shouldn't matter, but it seems that with a mega star like Streisand, he could have at least wrote a song specifically for her. On the good side, the Streisand version is far better than Steinman's original. She attacked it and gave the tune everything she had. However, as much as I bow down and love La Streisand, she was never a very convincing rock singer. (If you don't believe me, the album has a John Mellencamp song which she tries to tackle - yikes..). Even on this one she seems a bit out of place. I just don't think the Steinman/Streisand pairing really worked. Plus, by this time folks were getting tired of Steinman's epics. After this, he wouldn't have a significant hit until 1993 when Meat Loaf went to #1 with "I'd Do Anything for Love (But I Won't Do That)." While this isn't a bad track, it does not rank among Streisand's best. It's more of an oddity in her catalog, as is the album. It was her bid to stay with current pop trends, hence the hot producers and guest stars. It was after this album that Streisand realized that she didn't need to keep up with trends. She just needed to do what she does best and folks would follow. And we did!

ReduxRating:  6/10

Trivia:  This is a remake of a song originally done by its writer, Jim Steinman. The track was originally intended for Meat Loaf, but when Meat lost his voice things kind of spiraled. With songs available and no one to do them, Steinman then decided to record them all himself. He issued the solo album Bad for Good and this song served as the closing track. The LP was somewhat successful thanks to the minor hit "Rock and Roll Dreams Come Through" (#32). Instead of writing Streisand a new song, Steinman revisited his own recording and tailored a few lyrics to make them fit the female perspective. Meat Loaf would eventually record the song for his 1995 album Welcome to the Neighborhood.


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