Tuesday, November 13, 2012

11-13-12 The Obscure Richard Marx Song of the Day #6

Obscure Song #6: "Boy Next Door"

The story about the writing of "Hazard" goes like this: Marx was trying his hand at a story-song, something mysterious and suspenseful, and decided it was complete crap. He was recording the bit he'd come up with to stow away with other discarded ideas when his wife overheard it and insisted it was a hit. According to Marx, he put it on the next album to prove her wrong and, as wives are wont to do, proved she was right. "Hazard" hit in the top ten of several charts around the world, including #9 on the Billboard Hot 100. Samantha and I have had heated conversations over the clues in the video concerning "who done it" (and she's wrong.)

So. "Hazard" was on Rush Street in  1991 and certainly doesn't qualify as obscure. But his "Boy Next Door" that appeared in 2000 on Days of Avalon, the unavoidable companion  in his limited story-song writing, does fit the bill. It's a pale comparison to its predecessor for a number of reasons.

1. There is no who-done-it element. Surprise! It's the boy next door. The only twist is that, presumably people who listen to Richard Marx frequently would expect some mushy love-song about the shy guy neighbor instead of serial killer. 

2. The back story has some interesting elements, but they fall flat on scrutiny. It's too thin to give Jake any good reason for turning all Ted Bundy on the neighbors. (Actually, a little more horror/Bundy stuff might have been useful here. Watch American Horror Story for some inspiration.)

3. The melody is... boring. It starts off sounding like Bon Jovi got ahold of another Young Guns soundtrack at the opening but then it doesn't go anywhere. And why the western touches for a Minnesota town? (P.S. "Colorado" has the same amount of syllables and a bit more western background. And it's cold enough. Hey, you even could've worn a cowboy hat in the video. In Minnesota? You're stuck with a beanie with a pom-pom on top.)

4. The ending is... eyebrow inducing. "Before you go to sleep tonight... Look around?" Whispered? Meh. 

Let's stick with this.


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