Monday, February 2, 2015


Yesterday, I took a step I never expected to take.

That's right: I purchased a Barry Manilow CD. I had it on in the car this morning, in fact, and it was certainly one of my more memorable commutes. From the majestic I Write the Songs to the slightly too forward I Wanna Do It With You, there's seldom a dull moment on this disc.

But why, you ask, did I decide to buy Music & Passion in the first place? Well, reader, I've got two words for you: Bermuda Triangle.

I heard this song on Simon Mayo's Radio 2 show a couple of weeks ago, and since then, I've been all over it. I even attempted a somewhat abortive cover version. Eventually, this obsession reached the point where I simply had to add Bermuda Triangle to my library, even if it meant adding 19 other Barry Manilow tracks along with it.

(If you can't understand why  I'm so besotted with that track, I'm afraid we may not be friends any more. See, in the first verse, he's worried about going to Bermuda because he thinks that their plane will 'disappear' in the Devil's Triangle. By the second verse, Barry and his beau have arrived safely at their destination, but Mr Manilow's fears about Bermuda and how it 'makes people disappear' were not entirely misplaced - his girlfriend has run off with another guy, leaving him all alone! This ingenious semantic bait 'n' switch is complemented by a killer chorus, a truly lush arrangement, and layer upon layer of hidden meanings - note, for example, that the title could refer both to the Bermuda Triangle itself and the 'love triangle' in which Barry finds himself embroiled later on. It's one of the best songs ever, probably.)

However, it's worth emphasising that Bermuda Triangle is not the only moment of brilliance here. Songs like Copacabana and Mandy go without saying, but you've also got Can't Smile Without You (as classic a piece of pop music as you're likely to hear today), the surprisingly touching Weekend in New England, and probably several others - my journey this morning only got me halfway through the comp, and so I've got many more songs still to hear.

So, yes, I suppose I like Barry Manilow now. I expect they'll come to revoke my Cool Music Guy badge before the week's end.

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