Friday, July 2, 2010

Summer Lovin'--Rating the Grease soundtrack

The other day my boyfriend Ben told me a story about a road trip that he'd taken with his mom Terri and younger sister Grace, where he was forced to listen to the entire Grease soundtrack from start to finish. He recollected the sing-along with no small amount of disdain and misery, but all I could think was, "Man, I wish I could have been there!" and "BUT. NOW. There's noooooo-where to hide, 'cept to push my love asiiiiide! I'm out of my head, hopelessly devoted to yoooooouuu."

Grease is the word, and that word never gets old, no matter how many times you hear the songs or see the movie. There are plenty of opportunities to do both, considering VH-1 broadcasts the flick almost every night (I think it's  their version of the evening news or something).

Everyone has their favorite scenes (the dance contest, the race at Thunder Road, the montage of Danny learning how to be a jock, the slumber party at Frenchie's house). Everyone has their favorite tunes (There are Worse Things I Could Do; Greased Lightning; You're the One That I Want). A lot of us associate the soundtrack with summer (except for my boyfriend, who associates it with Hell), and since summer is in full bloom, I thought it would be fun to rate the big hits off the Grease soundtrack. Hope you enjoy my commentary--and that you throw on the CD once you're done reading (although I've included several hyperlinks below, so maybe you won't need to)!

1. Grease - Frankie Valli -- Slow-groove disco never sounded so funky! Also, Frankie Valli's voice (and fashion sense in this odd American Bandstand-ish video clip) is as smooth as butter. Favorite lyric: There is a chance that we can make it so far, We start believing now that we can be who we are. Inspiring, right? I thought so. Score: 7

2. Summer Nights - John Travolta/Olivia Newton-John -- How many times have you heard the DJ remix at a club or a wedding? Exactly, around a million. But that never stops anyone from squealing with delight when they hear the unforgettable opening notes, and forming two groups to belt out all of Danny/T-Birds and Sandy/Pink Ladies' parts. The song is like crack in that way. Also, I L-O-V-E the acapella background vocals. Favorite lyric--He got friendly holdin' my hand, Well she got friendly, down in the saaaaand. Added bonus: Rizzo's Cuz he sounds like a drag line. Score: 8

3. Hopelessly Devoted to You - Olivia Newton-John -- I used to hate this song back in the day, but only because I was super jealous of ONJ. I mean, the woman's voice was incredible, she was ridiculously pretty, and she got to kiss John Travolta (which every girl wanted to do in the early 80s, but not so much now). How could I not be green with envy? But now that I'm older, I can see how Hopelessly Devoted is an amazing song. Musically and lyrically, it's like vintage Patsy Cline, and ONJ's vocals are so perfect, I hardly ever sing along because that would just ruin everything. Favorite line: My head is saying fool forget him, my heart is saying don't let go. We've all been there, haven't we? Score: 9

4. You're the One That I Want - John Travolta/Olivia Newton-John -- First things first: I've always wanted to be in a situation where I could say, "Tell me about it, Stud." It has yet to happen, but I will wait patiently until it does. Now, onto the song: gotta love the unforgettable bass line and piano, and all the sassy attitude that Sexy Sandy displays. But I must admit, I've never really dug this tune. It's kind of repetitive and dare I say boring? Okay, I said it: boring. Favorite lyric: If you're filled with affection, you're too shy to convey, meditate in my direction, feel your way. Oh sexy Sandy, you are such a hoot! Score: 6

5. Beauty School Dropout - Frankie Avalon -- I don't want to upset any die-hard Frankie Avalon fans, and yet I don't think there's any way to avoid it. Even though the scene in the movie is really cute--Frenchie with pink hair? Adorable!--IMO, if this song dropped off the face of the earth, I would not miss it at all. That may sound harsh, especially since Frankie Avalon is a 50s icon and deserves all of our utmost respect. Nevertheless, I have to stick to my guns, and my guns want to shoot this song and put it out of it's misery. Favorite lyric: Baby don't sweat it, You're not cut out to hold a job. Better forget it, Who wants their hair done by a slob? Score: 3

6. Look at Me, I'm Sandra Dee - Stockard Channing -- Let's just get this out of the way: Stockard Channing stole the show in this movie. All us goody-goody Sandra Dee clones desperately want to be foul-mouth, self-assured, "getting her kicks while she's young enough to get them" Rizzo. To this day, when I'm not feeling daring enough, I think to myself, What would Rizzo do? Then I climb out of my friend's bedroom window and hop into Kenickie's car. But I digress. Love, love, LOVE this song because of the lyrics. There are so many gems, but my favorite has always been Keep your paws off my silky draws! Would you pull that crap with Annette? Score: 8

8. Greased Lightnin' - John Travolta -- I dare you not to fall for Danny Zuko and his sweet, hot car talk. We'll get some overhead lifters, and four barrel quads, oh yeah. Mmmm...keep talkin', whoah keep talkin'. Fuel injection cut off, and chrome plated rods, oh yeah. See what I mean? Totally irresistable. I wish all men were this sensitive and poetic. The only problem with this song is that it's charisma is lost if you don't do the little arm movements when he sings, Greased lightning, go greased lightning! Well, that and the song kind of objectifies women a little. But it takes place in the 50s! Cut the dudes some slack! Score: 5

(I'm going to pause for a moment and pay tribute to Sha Na Na aka Johnny Casino and the Gamblers. The dance contest scenes are some of the most well-loved in movie history and that's a testament to their classic 50s sound. Could you imagine the movie soundtrack without Rock 'N Roll is Here to Stay or Born to Hand Jive or Tears on My Pillow? Yeah, that's impossible. Also, Sha Na Na became so popular after this movie, they were given their own variety show, which my dad used to watch a lot when I was knee high to a grasshopper. Here's a clip of them singing Blue Moon--

9. There Are Worse Things I Could Do - Stockard Channing -- Okay, this song is a perfect 10 and here's why. A) Everything is spectacular when it's done by Rizzo; B) It's the most authentic 50s sounding tune on the entire soundtrack; C) The context--Rizzo is the subject of some terrible high school gossip, and is trying to convince herself that there are worse things she could do. I must admit, when gossip spread about me as a teenager, I wasn't half as strong as Rizzo was. Still, hearing this song makes you feel really empowered and like you can take on the world, despite the BS of mean girls everywhere; D) The song title--awesome; E) The lyrics--double awesome. My favorite: Even though the neighborhood thinks I'm trashy, and no good. I suppose it could be true, but there are worse things I could do. So true, Rizzo. So, so true.

10. Look at Me, I'm Sandra Dee - Olivia Newton-John -- Can you think of another movie that touts the message, "Just change who you are to nab the man you love!" Me neither. But who cares! It's Grease, my friends, and the important thing is that ONJ is in tight leather pants at the end. 'Nuff said. Score: 7

11. We Go Together - John Travolta/Olivia Newton-John /Cast -- I think someone will take you away in a flying car if you say that you don't love Grease's big finale. And that someone will be me. The dancing! The prancing! The singing a bunch of nonsense words that don't mean anything! It's all one big flaming ball of magic. Favorite line: Remembered for ever like shoo bop shoo wadda wadda yipitty boom de boom. Don't ever forget that piece of wisdom, okay? Score: 9

Rydell High forever!

1 comment:

  1. i saw this movie like 30 times when I was younger. :)