March 29, 2006
I'm ridiculously in love with the soundtrack to the movie "Xanadu". I'm not ashamed to admit that it really is a pure love.
I haven't owned the album for many years -- I used to have the LP when I was a kid. My sisters and I listened to the album approximately 2,000 times. We probably only saw the movie once, back in the days when you could only watch movies in theaters. The album had a pink side (Olivia Newton-John's songs) and a purple (or blue?) side (ELO's songs).
I just downloaded the album from iTunes and I've been sitting here singing along, breaking into silly smiles. I could have borrowed the CD from my sister, Jennie, but I heard the song "I'm Alive" and I just had to have the whole thing now.
Listening to this album right now, I can't understand why it's not the number one selling album of all time. This *has* to be more than just nostalgia! These are the greatest songs ever! And if they're not that great, then how did this happen to me?? How did I become so affected by these songs? I feel like they represent everything good about my childhood, and yet they're also so danceable!
"Magic" weaves its way through the corners of my mind as if it were really made by magic.
"Suddenly" makes we want to slow dance with every girl in my seventh grade class.
"Dancin'" is one of the most amazing achievements in music that I've ever heard. Olivia and The Tubes take turns singing for most of the song. Olivia sings a nice, mellow 40's big band style song and then The Tubes do a more 80's big hair rockin' type piece. At first it's interesting because the types of music are so different, but the lyrics mirror each other, often using some of the same words. The tones are completely different, but the sentiments are similar in an odd way. And then! It turns out that the two types of music actually work SIMULTANEOUSLY! The end of the song brings both parts together in a way that just blows your mind. I think this was the source of today's mash-ups.
"Suspended in Time" is a slow song, not as interesting as others on the album. However, I still KNOW ALL THE WORDS. The hell? I tell you -- this album is mesmerizing and it has become a part of the core of my being.
I can't sing along with "Whenever You're Away from Me" without getting a little teary. Don't ask my why Gene Kelly agreed to sing and dance with Olivia for this movie, but the lyrics are really special to me.
"I'm Alive" is essential ELO. They're dreamy. It's such an earnest song. It makes you wonder how anything could have been more wonderful than living in 1980.
"The Fall". You know what? I can't sing along with either Olivia or ELO. They're all sopranos. I have to sing falsetto for the whole album. It's not pretty, but I can't help it.
"Don't Walk Away" is also a sad song. It's easy to sing back up for this song because you just have to repeat everything that Jeff Lynne says. Okay, maybe this isn't such a great song either. But how does this album have such a hold over me?
"All Over the World" has a list of cities that are fun to sing along with. There's also a robot voice. This is a fun song. The lyrics are a little goofy, but it makes you feel happy to sing. "I got a message on the radio / But where it came from I don't really know". Why would he suspect that it's not just a radio announcement? "All over the world / Everbody got the word". It makes no sense, but you just sing the hell out of it anyway.
"Xanadu", the title song, is where they all come together. This is a beautiful song and it makes you realize that the movie should have just been thrown away unreleased, and the album could have just been an interesting concept thing. I made the mistake of seeing the movie again several years ago. I should have just kept the magic in my mind unsullied. According to Olivia, filiming began without a finished script and it was written as they went along. It shows.
I can't fully explain why this album means so much to me. I almost don't want you to listen to it if you know nothing about it. I'm afraid that you won't get it. How could you? Maybe you had to be there at that time, being a kid in the late 70's, feeling the magic of roller skating, and then listening to the album non-stop. Whatever the reason, I don't think that any music will ever come close to meaning what Xanadu means to me.