Monday, October 11, 2010

Music Review: WAITING OUT THE EIGHTIES: PART 2 (1985, The Coupe de Villes)


Stars: 5 of 5.
Running Time: 40 minutes.
Publisher: "RRRRRRictus Records."
Best line: "Hey hey hey HEEYYYYYYY!!!!"

Picking up where Part 1 left off- ladies and gentlemen, the fabulous COUP DE VILLES:

#7. BACK FROM THE DEAD.

Nick Castle takes up the mantle and delivers a ZZ Top-style thrumpin' chanty (which also sounds a lot like the "Snake Shake" song written for the end credits of ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK) possibly inspired by the crippling down time that often occurs between film projects. Nick would've been between THE LAST STARFIGHTER and THE BOY WHO COULD FLY at the time, Carpenter between STARMAN and BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA, and Tommy between HALLOWEEN III and a few episodes of that new 80's TWILIGHT ZONE series. I think we can all relate to the urgency and paralysis of unemployment, but only Nick Castle's high-pitched yowl can quite enumerate it with the perfect "Hey hey hey HEEYYYYYYY!!!"

"Got no job
I can't get paid
I got no friends
I can't get laid
I need some inspiration
Just like the newspaper said
You caught me on a bad day
I'm back from the dead

Ship sailed in
Ship sailed out
The chips are down
The red light's out
I need some motivation
Just like the radio said
You caught me on a bad day
I'm back from the dead

Yes I'm back, yes I'm back
The game is breakin' my heart
Yes I'm back, yes I'm back
You know it's breakin' my heart
Hey hey hey HEEYYYYYYY

Got no car
Got no cash
Got no maid
to clean my trash
I need a situation
Just like the T.V. said
You caught me on a bad day
I'm back from the dead

Yes I'm back, yes I'm back
The game is breakin' my heart (I need to function like a young boy should)
Yes I'm back, yes I'm back
You know it's breakin' my heart
I need to show 'em if I somehow could

Yes I'm back, yes I'm back
And it's breakin' my heart..."


#8. ON MY KNEES AGAIN.

John picks things up with another song possibly centering on unemployment. "A new morning in America" indeed! Well, I choose to believe that it's about unemployment, because otherwise it'd have to be about a one-night stand, and love Carpy though I do, there are still a few mental images I can do without, so just indulge me in my delusion. Maybe it's about blackouts that result from heavy drinking that results from underemployment.

There's some sweet synth sounds that pop up in this one that will be real familiar to fans of the main title music for BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA, and Carpy builds a bass line that makes for a fairly catchy song, even if its content is a little soggy.

"Pick me up
I've been asleep on the floor
Come, on baby

Trick me up
I'm tryin' to crawl out the door
All I need's a game

Lift me up
I can't see the clock on the wall
Come on, baby

Drift me up
I can't find my name in the hall
All I need's a game

You wouldn't hold me in your arms
I'm just a one-night stand
I'm cryin' lonely teardrops, baby
Can't you understand

I'm dyin' here
Darlin'
On my knees again
Ooh, baby

I'm dyin' here
Darlin'
On my knees- on my knees again

Mmmmmmmm

Pull me up (pull me up)
I don't remember my name
Come on, baby
Cool me up (cool me up)
I can't recall where I am
All I need's a game

Fill me up (fill me up)
Give me a little to go on
Come on, baby
Thrill me up (thrill me up)
Give me a little hold on
All I need's a game

Mmmmmmm

You wouldn't hold me in your arms
I'm just a one-night stand
I'm cryin' lonely teardrops, baby
Can't you understand

I'm dyin' here
Darlin'
On my knees again
Ooh, baby

I'm dyin' here
Darlin'
On my knees (on my knees again)
On my knees again
Oh, darlin'
On my knees again
Mmmmmm
On my knees again
Come on, baby
Come on, baby
Come on, baby
Mmmmmm"

#9. I REALLY NEED YOU.

Next up is a duet- "I Really Need You." More luvey-dovey stuff. John doesn't often have a chance to get it out of his system. I mean STARMAN and MEMOIRS OF AN INVISIBLE MAN are pretty good examples, but think about it– ASSAULT ON PRECINCT 13? No time for love when a mob of crazies is gonna thwomp you with a brick, or worse. HALLOWEEN? A roll in the hay gets ya stabbed. ELVIS? Pass the fried peanut butter and banana sandwiches. THE FOG? Leave the luvin' to Tom Atkins. ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK? Your love connection is getting snacked on by crazies at the Chock Full O' Nuts. THE THING? Closest thing to a lady's the electronic chess game that Kurt Russell just J&B'd. BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA? The asphalt ribbon of adventure apparently trumps Kim Cattrall. PRINCE OF DARKNESS? If you can find passión in the midst of Jameson Parker lip carpet and green Satanic goo, then there's probably something wrong with you. I could go on. The point is, the man needs an outlet. So stop cringing at his love songs.

Nick:
"I have some things I wanna tell you
They've been inside for all this time

Nick & John:
But since you've been gone
All of my life
Seems like it's wrong
Seems like a lie

John:
I have some things I need to tell you
I have to make you understand that

Nick & John:
But since you've been gone
All of my life
Seems like it's wrong
Seems like a lie to me

I reall-ll-llly need you
I reall-ll-llly need you
I reall-ll-llly need you

John:
Yes, I do

Nick:
Yes, I do

I have to tell you how I'm feelin'
I can't pretend anymore

Nick & John:
But since you've been gone
All of my life
Seems like it's wrong
Seems like a lie to me

I reall-ll-llly need you
I reall-ll-llly need you
I reall-ll-llly need you

John:
Yes, I do

Nick:
Oh, yes, I do-o-oooo

John:
MMMmmm, yes I do

Nick:
Whoa-ho-ho yeh-usss, I dooooooooooooo"

#10. HOLLYWOOD.

The Coupes proceed with an upbeat song after all these downers– but it's still got a little bite to it. "Hollywood" has some of the best synth riffs on the album, thanks to Nick Castle. It rocks in that way that only the eighties could, but it's got a little wistfulness to it, too. John sings:

"I knew you when you were from Hollywood
Know what you're doin' and it ain't no good
I saw you talkin' to the boy next door
I saw your face when he asked for more
The things you tell me

Well, they don't mean nothin' cause they don't relate to you
Oh, they don't mean nothin' cause they don't relate to you

I knew you when you loved a movie star
You're makin' love in his brand new car
You wanna cruise Las Palmas Avenue
You wanna do what the boys all do
The things you tell me

Well, they don't mean nothin' cause they don't relate to you
Oh, they don't mean nothin' cause they don't relate to you

I knew you when you worked the boulevard
It's nine to four, but it ain't too hard
I saw you dealin' in the coffee shop
I try to hold you, but you never stop
The things you tell me

Well, they don't mean nothin' cause they don't relate to you
Oh, they don't mean nothin' cause they don't relate to you

You boogie-woogied when you're on a stroll
You think it's bop when it's rock n' roll
I saw you talkin' to the girl next door
I saw your face when she asked for more
The things you tell me

Well, they don't mean nothin' cause they don't relate to you
(don't mean nuthin' cause they don't relate to you)
Oh, they don't mean nothin' cause they don't relate to you
(don't mean nuthin' cause they don't relate to you)
Oh, they don't mean nothin' cause they don't relate to you
(don't mean nuthin' cause they don't relate to you)
To you, mmm-mmmm.....to you..."

Now, again, maybe it's cause I never took a class in "80's pop lyric analysis," but I'm a little mystified by this one. Maybe it's about the same hooker from "She Has Friends in L.A." who fell in to the wrong crowd of coke-abusing Reagan-luvin' yuppies, and now she's somehow parlayed it into a burgeoning Hollywood gig? Perhaps John once listened to this hooker's sob stories, but then he sees her looking like soulless, made-over, Hollywood sycophant and he then comes to the realization of how meaningless all life is? Sounds right to me.

#11. DARLIN' (ALL NIGHT LONG).

Another John n' Nick duet, "Darlin'" begins fairly unremarkably, but features a nice, nearly 'call and response' structure between the vocals and the roarin' bass lines, which, during the 'Daddy' section (sung by John) builds some unexpected momentum. Not one of the album's best, but still a solid entry. And I'm not sure what "livin' on the edge of the Western world" entails- is it like living in that church in IN THE MOUTH OF MADNESS?

"Darlin'
You love me like a stone
I said, Darlin'
You treat me like I'm gone

Well, there's a part of me
Oh, there was a part of you
That loved me all night long
All night long

If you don't want me here,
Well, I'm sorry
I couldn't treat you like a little girl
Now that I know what you've been feelin'
You've been livin' on the edge of the Western world

Darlin'
You love me like a stone
I said, Darlin'
You treat me like I'm gone


Well, there's a part of me
Oh, there was a part of you
That loved me all night long
All night long

Your daddy's right
to hold you all night
Couldn't stop you when you turn out the light
Your daddy's right
gotta make her feel alright

Your daddy's right
to hold you all night
Couldn't stop her when you turn out the light
Your daddy's right
gotta make her feel alright

Yes, you're daddy's right
to hold you all night
Couldn't stop her when you turn out the light
Your daddy's right
gotta make her feel alright

Darlin'
You love me like a stone
I said, Darlin'
You treat me like you're gone
Well, there's a part of me
Oh, there was a part of you
That loved me all night long
All night long (All night long)

If you can't make it here
Well, I'm sorry
I know you're feelin' like a little girl
I know you're hidin' me inside you
You've been livin' on the edge of the Western world

Darlin'
You love me like a stone
I said, Darlin'
You treat me like you're gone
Well, there's a part of me
Oh, there was a part of you
That loved me all night long
All night long (All night long)"

#12. MIDNIGHT TRAIN.

John closes out the album with a melancholy rocker which perhaps describes the toll a filmmaker's life can put on one's personal relationships. Though when the question is asked, "Was it too long between the nights we had in Detroit?" I think that the more relevant query might be "Was it because we spent nights in Detroit?" Regardless, it builds to a finale with multi-part harmonies, and suddenly we hear a voice even deeper than John's. Could it be that we've never heard Tommy Lee Wallace before this moment and that those three-part harmonies we heard before incorporated recordings of Nick? Or could it be that this is a recording of John, and he's capable of even deeper registers? The Coupes always leave us with something to think about.

"You took off this mornin'
Said if I ever needed you
You'd be there
I believed you
Now I can't find you anywhere
Was it too long between the nights we had in Detroit?
Was it too long between the days we need to have?

You said I'm not really leavin'
Said if I ever needed you back
Well, it's alright
Now I'm lonely
And I'm cryin' all in through the night

Was it too long between the nights I didn't call you?
Was it too long between the days I wasn't there?

Take my word for it
I'm a whole new man
I'm gonna find a seat on that midnight train
Comin' back to you

Take my word for it
I've got a whole new plan
I'm gonna find a way to catch that midnight train
Comin' back to you

You slipped away this mornin'
Said if I ever need to cry
You'd be there
Now I need you
And I can't find you anywhere
Was it too long between the nights we spent in New York?
Was it too long between the days we need to have?

Take my word for it
I'm a whole new man
I'm gonna find a seat on that midnight train
Comin' back to you

Take my word for it
I've got a whole new plan
I'm gonna find a way to catch that midnight train
Comin' back to you

Take my word for it
I'm a whole new man
I'm gonna find a seat on that midnight train
Comin' back to you

Take my word for it
I've got a whole new plan
I'm gonna find a way to catch that midnight train
Comin' back to you"

In all, it's a solid album of catchy, listenable eighties pop infused with the twang of early Rock n' Roll and a touch of the synths that Carpy & Co. were using circa BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA. The lyrics offer insight into these filmmakers' personal joys, frustrations, creative energies, and dissatisfactions. They paint a picture of men entrenched in a society (and an artistic system) that seems to be spiraling out of control, careening irrevocably toward greed and artifice. They yearn for simpler times- jukeboxes, pointed shoes, love songs, and RIO BRAVO. And this is the end result: WAITING OUT THE EIGHTIES. They're holdin' their horses, they're takin' a load off, they're indicting the times, and they're having a hell of a time. All in a day's work for the Coupe de Villes, God bless 'em.

-Sean Gill

5 comments:

Jason said...

A good series, man. I'm not sure I'm as big a Coup de villes fan as you are, but some of the stuff is catchy.Any plans to review more celebrity albums?

J.D. said...

Nice second part to this in-depth review! Wow, and I thought I was a hardcore fan of Carpy!

Sean Gill said...

Jason,

I wouldn't be surprised if THE RETURN OF BRUNO were to someday make an appearance on this site, though I hesitate to put you all through that.


J.D.,
Thank you for the compliment- what can I say, I take the Coupe de Villes pretty seriously!

Anonymous said...

Sean, this is awesome, when I first found the download back in late 2008, I was trying to transcribe the lyrics but never got around to it. I ended up finding a copy of the vinyl and had JC sign it at the Texas Frightmare Weekend!

I recorded two covers for JC, 1967 and Darlin. I gave it to JC when I met him as well.

Your breakdown is amazing! We're on same wavelengths as I think the album is genious!

Sean Gill said...

Anon.,

Thank you for the compliments! That's amazing that you got to meet Carpy himself and share your own renditions! When you expressed your devout Coupe fandom, did he say anything to you (i.e.- any chance of a Coupes reunion/additional material ever being released/whether he still sees Nick and Tommy, et al)?