Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Article: The Number Ones: Bonnie Tyler’s “Total Eclipse Of The Heart”

I’m not sure when I first heard this song, but I know the drama of it has always captured me.  I loved that Stereogum gave it some treatment in their series, The Number Ones, as to remind me what a spectacle this song can be.  And speaking of spectacle, I don’t remember ever seeing this video - wow!  I have no idea what’s going on in this video, but it surely lives up to the theatrical nature of the song.  There’s much to love about the campiness of this video - except maybe the creepy blue eyed choir boys.  And if there were anything that would cement Bonnie Tyler as a gay icon, it would be this video.

"Nobody’s entirely sure what ‘Total Eclipse Of The Heart’ is about, and nobody needs to know. ‘Total Eclipse Of The Heart’ overwhelms the idea of songwriting specificity in the same way that a tidal wave overwhelms a rowboat. Spend enough time with ‘Total Eclipse,’ and you might find yourself wondering if that isn’t the only way to write songs.

The term ‘power ballad’ doesn’t adequately describe ‘Total Eclipse Of The Heart,’ if only because the word ‘power’ just doesn’t have enough power. ‘Total Eclipse Of The Heart’ is an extinction-level event rendered in musical form. It’s pop music as heart-pounding, chest-thumping, blood-gargling, heavens-falling passion explosion. It’s sheer spectacle. It’s fireworks and lasers and lightning and thunder. It soars and swoops and barrel-rolls. The song flies along from one fiery climax to the next, and right when it seems like it’s about to end, it takes off again and somehow becomes even bigger. Who the fuck cares what it’s about?

Jim Steinman, the writer and producer of ‘Total Eclipse Of The Heart,’ originally came from musical theater. But you knew that. Even if you didn’t know that, you felt it. Only someone from musical theater could’ve gone for that level of cheap-seats bombast."

(Via The Number Ones: Bonnie Tyler’s “Total Eclipse Of The Heart” - Stereogum.)

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