Monday, October 8, 2012

"Mistaken Identity" by Kim Carnes (1981)

View the Premise & Ground Rules for Revisiting Vinyl

Fun Fact: I hate it when the LP title is strangely prophetic...

Filed Between: The Byrds and The Cars

"You got no fashion, but you sure got style."

Key Tracks:
Bette Davis Eyes - I remember when that song came out, I had no idea who Bette Davis was, but I knew someday I wanted to find a woman with Bette Davis eyes and a Kim Carnes voice.  Still Hold On furthers this lust.

Obvious Filler & Swings-and-Misses:
There are several, but the worst offender has to be Draw of the Cards.  It shoots for new wave (for unapparent reason), but it sounds like some middle age dude's  attempt to make a song like "that stuff all the weird kids are listening to."  It is uninspired, undeveloped and uninformed.  But what do I know, it was also the follow-up single to Bette Davis Eyes.

My Overall Rating of the Tracks Separately:
Average (2/4 stars)

Let's be honest,  EVERYBODY bought "Mistaken Identity" solely because of Bette Davis Eyes, and whole lot of people bought it.  But when you listen to it thirty years removed, you notice that while the synths are cheesy and the melody is forgetable, that smoky, husky voice and the strange way it modulates establish something very special.

Unfortunately, most of the other songs on the LP are confused and reductive.  "Mistaken Identy" smacks of missed opportunities, over and over again.

I place the blame on producer Val Garay.  Without a dedicated songwriter, he should have spent more time culling songs that better suited Carnes' quirky, sultry voice.  Still Hold On seems to be the only track that absolutely captures her full potential. 

Furthermore, the normal expectation of a single producer (excepting George Martin) is a more cohesive sound.  Instead, "Mistaken Identity" is all over the place.

And just as a footnote, synthesizers and mandolins don't mix.

But what do I know?  "Mistaken Identity" and Garay got nominated for an "album of the year" Grammy.  Stupid Grammys.  But that's a whole other blog somewhere down the road...

So, is it an album?  No.  No it is not, despite what The Grammys may lead you to believe.

Up next, we continue circling in the fifth ring of hell that is soft rock with "Baby I'm-a Want You" by Bread.

No comments:

Post a Comment