Thursday, June 6, 2019

"I'm Your Man" by Barry Manilow

Song#:  2791
Date:  07/12/1986
Debut:  95
Peak:  86
Weeks:  5
Genre:  Dance-Pop

Pop Bits:  After years of making hits (eleven Pop Top 10's including three #1's), Manilow took the somewhat bold step of recording an album of standards. His 1984 LP 2:00 AM Paradise Cafe did surprisingly well with both critics and fans, and it would continue his streak of platinum selling albums. It also briefly ended his tenure with Arista Records, his label home since his solo career began in 1973 (on Bell Records, which became Arista in 1974). Manilow got courted by RCA Records and he decided to jump ship for a new deal. His first effort for the label would be a modern synthpop/dance-pop effort simply titled Manilow. This first single got things kicked off. It did well in the clubs and ended up hitting #9 on the Dance chart. Elsewhere, the song just didn't catch on. It was basically a blip on the Pop chart while not even making the AC chart, which was usually his most supportive audience. Further singles tanked and with that the album stalled at #42 making it the lowest peaking studio album of his career. It was also his first album to miss the gold level sales mark. The label switch didn't work and after only one proper studio album, Manilow packed up and headed back to Arista.

ReduxReview:  Now, it had pretty much been proven that Manilow and his music wasn't going to fit in with the synthpop 80s. He tried early on, but the results were not all that great (the #26 "Some Kind of Friend"). Kids were just not going to jump on the Manilow train. I think he knew this and then did the standards album, which was successful. After that, he probably should have stuck to what he knew best and just put out entertaining albums in the AC vein. Instead, RCA pushed him back into synthpop and this was the result. Yikes. Manilow vs. freestyle was something I could have done without. The song is not all that great to begin with and Manilow's voice over the dance beats is weird and awkward. He's a man of many talents, but being a dance-pop diva is not one of them. Believe me, I'm a Fanilow and I loves me some Barry, but not this. The album is not much better but it had one significant highlight in the big ballad "He Doesn't Care (But I Do)." Oddly, it's the only original on the album he didn't co-write. The song was solid and it fit Manilow like a glove. Had he kept on with tunes like that, he might have done better. Unfortunately, this song makes me Sad-ilow.

ReduxRating:  3/10

Trivia:  Although Manilow would be his only studio album for RCA, he did have three other albums issued out by the label. Two were hits compilations where he rerecorded some of his vocals in Spanish and Portuguese. The other was a soundtrack album. In 1985, Manilow would write the music for and star in a film based on his 1978 #8 hit "Copacabana (At the Copa)." It would be done as a TV movie with Manilow in the lead as Tony and Annette O'Toole as Lola. It premiered on CBS in December of '85 and did quite well in the ratings. It would also win an Emmy award for Outstanding Directing in a Variety or Music Program. RCA would release a soundtrack album from the movie. It did not chart. One song from the show, "Sweet Heaven (I'm in Love Again)," would be a track on the Manilow album.


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