12 March 2010

Atlantic Starr: Always

This week we visit 1987, and we discuss the slow-dance song of that year: Atlantic Starr’s “Always”.

“Always” was an extremely popular song, hitting #1 on the Billboard charts. As a “first dance” type of piece (it even peaked on the charts just in time for June weddings!), i must say it was vastly superior to certain other options, but it suffered from a number of issues. Perhaps the greatest of these was that it is so sappily sweet that it’s dangerous for diabetics to be in the room when it comes on the radio.

You doubt me? Just look at the first verse:

Girl you are, to me, all that a woman should be
And I dedicate my life to you always
A love like yours is grand
You must have been sent from up above
And I know you'll stay this way, for always

Awww, isn’t that just so cute?

And, if you didn’t know, this song is a duet, just to up the cuteness quotient. What a wuvvable wittle song about such wuvvable wittle wuvvers!

And speaking of cute, if you look at the video, you’ll see that the male singer was trying his best to look exactly like Rick James for the occasion. David Lewis in the house, representin’ the Jheri Curl!

And we both know, that our love will grow
And forever it will be you and me

Up to this point, we have a fairly ordinary, even innocuous, love song. However, things start to take a strange turn soon.

Ooh, you’re like the sun
Chasing all the rain away

You know why it chases the rain away? Because it’s a gigantic nuclear furnace, so hot that it exists as plasma, too hot to even be in the form of gas. It’s one thing to say that your lover is hot, quite another to say that your lover casts out so much heat and radiation that he or she would destroy all life on the planet if millions of miles of distance and a layer of ozone didn’t stand between us and the object of your affections.

More seriously, the sun doesn’t even chase the rain away, the wind does. And yes, little meteorological gaffes like this really do bug me that much.

When you come around you bring brighter days
You’re the perfect one
For me and you forever we’ll be
And I will love you so for always

I’ve got nothin’ on this one, except to note my heroic attempts to stifle my gag reflex, again.

Came with me my sweet
Let’s go make a family
And they will bring us joy, for always

This one, on the other hand, i’ve got comments.

The let’s go make a family line is, to my mind, one of the squickiest lines in any song, ever. Now, i will readily admit that nothing here rises to Benny Mardones-level ickiness, but it’s still pretty wrong.

I mean, this just isn’t the sort of thing that i can imagine going over well. Let’s translate this into the way the song up to this point would go in a non-rhyming situation:

“Hey, baby, i love you, and i’ll love you for always.”

“I love you, too, baby, and i’ll love you for always.”

“So, my sweet, come with me and let’s go make a family.”


Really—is there any reasonable way to read this verse that doesn’t come across as a cheap, blatant proposition? Specifically, as some guy trying to use empty promises of commitment to work his way into a woman’s pants? No, no there isn’t.

Oh, boy, I love you so
I can't find enough ways to let you know
But you can be sure I’m yours, for always

But then we get the woman’s response, and she doesn’t really seem bothered by it. Why? Well, i have my suspicions—i think she’s actually a succubus sent by Lilith to harvest the guy’s soul. Therefore, his idea of retreating to an, um, more private place simply serves her own demonic ends.

Then we get the chorus with the accompanying destruction of all life on earth. Twice.

I’ll skip it to spare you having to read the horror again.

I will love you so, for always
I will love you so, for always
I will love you so, for always
I will love you so, for always

Irony department: Barbara Weathers, the female half of this duet, left Atlantic Starr for a solo career shortly after this song’s release. For always, eh?


  1. “So, my sweet, come with me and let’s go make a family.”

    Man, that's one of my major pet peeves -- lines completely out of place in the song AND non-rhyming.

    For a moment, I thought this was going to be about Erasure's "Always"*, which... may not be that much better.

    *Apparently, due to Adult Swim's recent Flash game "Robot Unicorn Attack", it's grown tremendously in popularity over the last couple of weeks, but this song was my jam in 1995.

  2. I hadn’t recognized Erasure’s “Always” from the title, but then i went looking for the video, and remembered it. Two things occur to me:

    1. “Open your eyes, i see your eyes are open” as a first line?!? Wow, this one’s gotta go on my list for future posts.

    2. I can’t believe nobody’s given that video a literal video treatment yet.

  3. I never looked for the video (probably a mixture of laziness and disinterest for the actual video), but I would like to thank you for bringing it to my attention -- this was hilarious AND terrifying! I think the hair-grooming was the strangest element, nevermind the throwing of the glowing orb or the turning into a snowball.

  4. I think Michelle did a Southern Percussion Group sort of version of this song years ago. It's sickeningly sweet in the lyrics, but makes for a nice piece of music when arranged for a percussion group.