September 28, 2019

"Helena" by MCR as a late '80s soft rock power ballad

Just saw this recommended by YouTube, already at over 100K views.

Lighters in the air!

This hits three separate vulnerable phases of the 15-year cultural excitement cycle -- the current arrangement, the original from 2004, and the vocal style and instrumentation both imitating the second half of the '80s. It's a soft rock power ballad, like Bon Jovi singing with Survivor's band (especially that timbre of the keyboard).

The natural fit of this song to a late '80s style is a good reminder of how emo the second half of the '80s were compared to the manic first half, or to the first half of the '90s when the mood was no longer so emo but not fully manic again (not till the late '90s).

In other 15-year cover song echo news, "Higher Love" from 1986 has been remixed by Kygo this summer and soared up the charts all over the world. The vocal is not Steve Winwood, but Whitney Houston, recorded in 1989. It's not a proper cover -- those went extinct after the 2000s, at least on the year-end charts -- but a remix of a cover / alternate version that was fairly contemporaneous with the original.

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