- Album name: Barry Manilow II
- Artist name: Barry Manilow
- Year: 1974
- Number of discs: one
- Label: Bell Records
- Collection: Brenner / Gessner
- Who owned it: Neither of my parents will ever admit to having owned this record, but one of them did own it.
- Buy it on Amazon: $7.89
Level of familiarity before listening
I’ve definitely heard of Barry Manilow before, but I mainly know him as the punchline to a joke, rather than as an actual musician. The joke is that he mostly made horrible elevator music.
What I expected
Based on Barry Manilow’s reputation, I guess I expect something like the worst parts of Elton John and Billy Joel.
What it was actually like
Was this the worst record I’ve heard in the entire ten months that I’ve spent working on this project so far? No, probably not, but that does not mean that it wasn’t terrible – it was – or that it didn’t have some of the worst songs – it did.
One of the very worst songs was The Two of Us, and I was prepared to write the same thing about Home Again, though it did liven up a little bit towards the end. What was so bad about them? Just their extreme blandness and boringness. It was easy listening taken to such an extreme degree that one actually needed to expend effort to listen to it, totally defeating the purpose.
Most of the rest of the record was in that same style, though perhaps not quite as awful. Early Morning Strangers was a good example of elevator music with some pretty bad saxophone, that I was sure I must have heard on the radio in the lobby of a dentist’s office in 1992.
I actually recognized Mandy (because I used to know a Mandy).
Something’s Comin’ Up was still elevator music, but also had a bit of funk, and was probably the most lively song on the record, which admittedly was not a great distinction. Another lively song was Avenue C, a jazzy show tune that sounded really out of place.
And then there were two disco songs, I Want To Be Somebody’s Baby and It’s a Miracle, but I have no idea what they were doing on Barry Manilow II. I guess around that time, disco was just a thing that a lot of musicians felt they had to explore.
1/5: horrible enough that I couldn’t make it through
|↑1||Mandy, if you’re reading this – hi!|
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