Tuesday, May 8, 2018

"Shame" by The Motels

Song#:  2397
Date:  07/20/1985
Debut:  65
Peak:  21
Weeks:  12
Genre:  Pop, Rock

Pop Bits:  The Motels secured two gold albums and two Top 10 hits with producer Val Garay. However, for their next album, the band wanted a change and the label decided to hook them up with Richie Zito, an in-demand session guitarist who had also been working with famed producer Giorgio Moroder. Zito's assignment was to keep the Motels going in the same commercial direction as their previous two albums and the final product was titled Shock. This first single was issued out ahead of the album and it looked like it might shape up to the the band's third Top 10 hit. The tune did indeed hit that mark at Rock (#10), but somehow it lost steam on the Pop chart and ended up just shy of the Top 20. It also got to #14 Dance and #22 AC. The mediocre charting song didn't promote the album well and it fell short in sales and failed to go gold (#36).

ReduxReview:  The previous two albums from The Motels are among my favorites of the decade. I've listened to them countless times and the Val Garay production fit them well. There was an immediate change when switching over to Zito. He added in a lot more keyboard-based sounds (not in a synthpop way) to create a real dense production. Lots of effects and reverb going on too. While in general what Zito did actually sounds good from a technical standpoint, it was just too much and too loud for The Motels. As a result, some of the songs just got lost in the production. The album had some misfires, but there were a few terrific songs in the bunch that would have benefited from a more subtle production, such as this one. It's a lovely and light song that unfortunately got bogged down by heavy production. Despite that, I was rooting for the song to get into the Top 10 as it was worthy of being there.

ReduxRating:  7/10

Trivia:  Zito first got exposed to the music industry when he signed with Atlantic Records in 1967. Zito was fifteen at the time and he and his friend Joey Carbone formed the duo The Bay Ridge. They recorded three singles for the label, but nothing came from them. After leaving the label, the pair continued to worked together under the name Snowball. They would end up issuing one indie self-titled album in 1977. Over the years, Zito would do guitar work in the studio and on tour for artists like Neil Sedaka and Elton John. As the 80s rolled in, he moved over to the producer's chair and began to do some high profile work with Toni Basil and Berlin (with Moroder). This led to him getting the job producing The Motels' album. He would later produce successful hits for Eddie Money ("Take Me Home Tonight"), Cheap Trick ("The Flame"), and Heart ("All I Wanna Do Is Make Love to You").


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