Sunday, August 22, 2021

"Always There for You" by Stryper

Song#:  3590
Date:  07/23/1988
Debut:  84
Peak:  71
Weeks:  8
Genre:  Glam Rock, Contemporary Christian

Pop Bits:  This Christian metal band's third album, To Hell with the Devil, became an unexpected mainstream platinum seller thanks to wide exposure on MTV and the #23 Pop hit "Honestly." With their profile significantly raised, the band then had the arduous task of following up that success. Lead singer Michael Sweet would write nearly all the songs for In God We Trust including this first single. The video for the song would be another hit on MTV, but that didn't necessarily translate to pop radio airplay and the single only managed a couple of months near the bottom of the Pop chart. Still, the album would reach #35 and it would be a gold seller.

ReduxReview:  Since To Hell with the Devil gained a large mainstream audience, it seems that the band either chose to or were pointed towards making their next album even more radio friendly and this first single certainly showcased that direction. Frankly, the tune sounds like a theme from a forgotten 70s TV sitcom updated with a late 80s rock arrangement/production. It could have even been a Top 40 contender back in the 70s. In the late 80s, it sounded a little odd, especially coming from a hair metal band. Lead singer Michael Sweet's multi-octave voice is on display here especially near the end. I think the band was really reaching for major crossover glory with this album and came up short. Their long-time metal fans were not impressed with pop-leaning tunes like this single and the LP didn't have that one surefire hit they needed to help surpass the results of their previous effort. Weirdly, I kinda like this song. It has a nostalgic feel thanks to sweet melodies and chord progressions, which is right up my alley. It wasn't the right song to secure a hit for the band, but it's a good listen.

ReduxRating:  7/10

Trivia:  For In God We Trust, Stryper worked with producer Michael Lloyd. Glam metal wasn't necessarily in Lloyd's wheelhouse. He had been working in the music business since the late 60s and during the 70s he was a prolific producer of teen idol acts including The Osmonds, Shaun Cassidy, and Leif Garrett, for whom he wrote and produced the 1978 #10 hit "I Was Made for Dancin'." In the 80s, Lloyd produced Belinda Carlisle's debut LP and two of the big hits from the Dirty Dancing soundtrack, the Oscar-winning "(I've Had) The Time of My Life" and "She's Like the Wind." He would also work with top acts like Air Supply, Barry Manilow, Lou Rawls, and The Monkees. Lloyd also played a part in the career of director Steven Spielberg. Lloyd provided the music for Spielberg's first true film, the 1968 short Amblin'. If that title sounds familiar, that is because when Spielberg formed his own production company, he named it Amblin Entertainment.


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