Friday, June 1, 2018

"Every Step of the Way" by John Waite

Song#:  2421
Date:  08/10/1985
Debut:  62
Peak:  25
Weeks:  12
Genre:  Rock

Pop Bits:  Waite's solo career kicked into high gear with the big #1 "Missing You." Although that song's follow-ups didn't do all that well, "Missing You" was such a major hit that it carried his album No Brakes to #10 and to gold-level certification. His next step was to record his third solo album, which would be titled Mask of Smiles. This first single would be the introduction to the LP. It found a home on Rock radio and ended up peaking at #4 on that chart. While the song would be his second biggest solo hit on the Pop chart, it didn't do all that well stalling outside of the Top 20. Without a more sizable hit, the album could only get to #36 and it missed out on going gold. It was a disappointment for Waite following the major success of "Missing You."

ReduxReview:  "Missing You" was certainly a blessing for Waite, but it was also a bit of a curse. It was such a strong, well-written song that nothing he released after it could even come close to replicating the success of that song or be nearly as memorable, as this song demonstrates. It starts off nice with some good radio-ready production and a pretty good verse, but the chorus is very weak. It has no hook and acts more like another verse. This is a good example of something that you shouldn't do when writing a pop song (which I learned in my college songwriting classes). Notice how the melody Waite sings in the verse is at a certain level and then when the chorus kicks in, both the melody and Waite's vocals are at lower notes and tones than the verse. It should be the opposite. The verse melody should start at a low level and then build to a chorus that has higher notes. This makes the song more exciting and makes the chorus stick out. There is momentum. In this case, Waite wrote a good verse that should lead to something stronger, but he backs off when the chorus comes and the lower tonality of it basically sucks the life out of the song. There is no payoff, which is essential in making a memorable pop song. Therefore, this song ends up going nowhere. It ends up being a forgettable track from an artist who is more than capable of making hooky, radio-friendly fare.

ReduxRating:  4/10

Trivia:  For Mask of Smiles, Waite decided to include a cover tune. He ended up choosing to do a version of the 1965 Marvin Gaye classic "Ain't That Peculiar." Gaye's original single was his second #1 on the R&B chart. It also reached #8 at Pop. The song was written by Smokey Robinson and his fellow Miracles. It was also produced by Robinson. Although the song has been covered by many artists, only two other versions have reached the Pop chart. The all-female band Fanny got to #85 in 1972 with their take and rock band Diamond Reo made it to #44 in 1975. Country band New Grass Revival also did a version which made it to #53 on the Country chart in 1986.


No comments:

Post a Comment