Tuesday, September 8, 2020

"That's What Love Is All About" by Michael Bolton

Song#:  3251
Date:  09/05/1987
Debut:  91
Peak:  19
Weeks:  25
Genre:  Pop, Adult Contemporary

Pop Bits:  While Bolton was having some success as a songwriter (Laura Branigan's #12 "How Am I Supposed to Live Without You," for one), his attempts to get a career of his own were not going well. He tried the band approach and solo discs, but those efforts only resulted a couple of minor chart entries. Still, Columbia Records seemed to believe in Bolton and sponsored a third album (his fifth solo effort overall) and he came up with The Hunger. This first single got things started and it turned into a slow burner that took its time getting established in various markets across the US. It would take three months for the song to finally peak on the AC chart where it topped out at #3. It would then get inside the Pop Top 20. While the single wasn't a major smash, it did well enough to finally establish Bolton as a viable solo artist.

ReduxReview:  The problem I've always had with Bolton is that I think he over-sings things. He should have stayed in the hard/arena rock genre, but instead he moved into MOR AC/Pop and just mowed over anything in his path. He can write a good tune, but I prefer when someone else sings them. This is a good example. The song is a nice, well-written AC ballad. However, Bolton sings it like he's being tortured. When he sings "baby that's what love is all about," it seems to me someone has him by the balls and right when he sings "looooove," they squeeze. In other words, it is forced and it is too much. His more upbeat, rock-leaning tunes sounded better, but he practically killed and buried ballads like this one. A big swath of people seemed to love his approach and bought his records, but I was never one of them.

ReduxRating:  5/10

Trivia:  Thanks to the connections Bolton had made over the years, The Hunger boasted some big name help. Members of Journey, Neal Schon and Jonathan Cain along with Randy Jackson made appearances with Cain co-writing three songs and producing four. Diane Warren co-wrote a tune with Bolton. Singer/songwriter Martin Briley co-wrote two tracks. Keith Diamond (of Billy Ocean fame) produced four tracks including this first single. Bruce Kulick, who was previously in the band Blackjack with Bolton and was a then-current member of Kiss, played guitar on a couple of tracks. James Ingram sang backup on a pair of songs. It doesn't always work out when an up-n-coming artist ends up doing a sort of "all-star" album, but Bolton was able to kickstart his career with The Hunger.


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