July 16, 2008


"Baby Come Back"
Written by Ty Schrock   
Friday, 31 August 2007
There’s something about late night infomercials that is like a harrowing car crash. You just can’t take your eyes off of them. Maybe it’s the product of too many sleepless or drunken nights, but now I actually find myself staying up on purpose to watch them. One of the first noticeable things is that there are so many to choose from. There’s Extenz for the small-penised man, get rich from doing nothing schemes for the small-brained man, and plenty of cooking and beauty aids to keep the ladies subdued and preoccupied. But none of these fine programs can hold a candle to what has become the best half hour on television: The Time Life Soft Rock Collection.

Hosted by possibly the worst band in the history of bands, Air Supply, we are magically transported to a world and time where men could be both sensitive and macho. A time when men had a lot of hair on their faces and even more on their chests. Yes, it was a time when artists like Elton, Billy, Rod, Pete Frampton, Fleetwood Mac, and James Taylor ruled the charts with music perfect for driving with the top down and not thinking too many deep thoughts.

The hilarity of this show does not come from these established artists though. For the most part, we are familiar with them and their songs, and I will admit that I do sorta like “Maggie Mae” by Rod and “Dreams” by the Fleetwoods. No, the real cream of the soft rock crop lies in the many forgotten artists and deep cuts contained in the set. Its through these so-bad-you-can’t-look-away artists that we can gain a real perspective of the times they came from.

An abridged mini-commentary:

Player- “Baby Come Back.” A sexy slow burner played by a bunch of feathered hair sleaze balls who undoubtedly spent their first royalty checks on an army of matching Camaros.

Robert John- “Sad Eyes.” A falsetto tinged ballad. I can’t believe anyone ever let this guy on TV. Wearing a half zipped track jacket and a neatly groomed beard, John looks like the perverse gym teacher who left town in a shroud of secrecy and disgrace.

Exile- “Kiss You All Over.” By far the most frightening moment of the half hour. This dude-chick is so scary that I guarantee you that no-one ever kissed him anywhere.

Rupert Holmes- “Him.” This is only included only because Holmes’ backup singer looks and acts exactly like SNL vet Cheri Oteri. I swear it has to be her. Check it out. It's somewhere near minute 22.

I really could go on all day, but the point is it’s truly hard to believe that this was popular to younger people back then. The show includes several testimonials from forty-somethings clad in polo shirts and capri’s exclaiming things like “This reminds me so much of high school. That was the best time in my life,” making me think that if Kenny Loggins or Hall and Oates were indicative of their happiness, they must have led very sad lives. But then I happened to catch the program one day while my parents were around, as watched in horror as they sat and observed in fond reminiscence. While I wanted to scream “Why the hell weren’t you guys listening to The Clash instead?” it dawned on me that these songs, although appearing very ridiculous to me, really belonged to people like them. They captured a place and time, and for that reason, they serve a valid purpose.

So please, I beg you… Stay up really late one night and watch The Time Life Soft Rock Collection. Watch it for the chest hair. Watch it for the V-neck sweaters. Watch it for the white kimonos with lavender sashes. Watch for the Richard Simmons-esque perms. Watch it for the dragon-embroidered jeans that the smaller half of Air Supply is sporting. Watch for the only remaining video footage of Boz Scaggs. But just remember, posters of these hideous creatures once hung on the walls of the lovelorn youths of yesteryear.
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