Bob Lefsetz: Welcome To My World - "Said I Loved You...But I Lied"
Don't call it a guilty pleasure. Just admit it's great music.
Kind of like the Carpenters' "Yesterday Once More." I hated the Carpenters on principle, they were MOR in an era that was positively rock. And then I drove around all summer doing my job for the City Directory and listening to the AM-only radio in my '63 Chevy and I got hooked on this cut (although I burned out pretty quickly on Billy Preston's "Will It Go Round In Circles"...and did I ever tell you that Felice wrote a Carpenters song? She sent a poem to her father and he set it to music and voila, "Sometimes"!)
And I felt the same way about Michael Bolton, until I heard "Said I Loved You...But I Lied."
Where did I first encounter Robert John "Mutt" Lange's moniker? Had to be a Graham Parker album. Then suddenly his name was ubiquitous and it appeared on the greatest hard rock record ever recorded, AC/DC's "Back In Black," and he entered the pantheon, reinforcing his reputation as the world's best record producer by putting Def Leppard over the top, and then Shania Twain.
It's the SOUND! That's the magic of "Back In Black." Who would have thought to make a metal track sound like the Beach Boys? Yup, come on, "You Shook Me All Night Long" is positively SoCal. You think these records are local, but Mutt heard Brian Wilson's genius in South Africa, he digested it. As he did with the work of the rest of the hitmakers, that was his gig at the tip of the continent, making soundalike records, before the genuine item hit the country. All those hours replicating, getting it right, gave Mutt his foundation, which he could then expand upon to explode into the stratosphere. That's what's rarely acknowledged in this ever younger music business...roots, experience, education, they're extremely important, especially if you want to last, which almost no one does now anyway.
As for Michael Bolotin... How can you hate a Jew from New Haven if you're a member of the tribe from Fairfield?
He dropped out of high school, had a glimmer of success as a songwriter, and then morphed into the housewives' dream. And I'm sure he was thrilled with the traction, but didn't anticipate it getting out of control, all the hate that descended upon him. Unlike Barry Manilow, Bolton had roots. How to demonstrate them? By working with the best rock producer available, Mutt Lange.
Come on, take a listen... Mutt's doing David Foster, but even better. It's Foster with credibility!
It opens like a movie score. With sounds not normally on a pop record. And then settles into a hypnotic groove, it sounds like "Body Heat." And then there's Bolton's "Ooo-ooh," which sounds more like Don Henley than middle of the road.v"You are the candle, love's the flame
A fire that burns through wind and rain
Shine your light on this heart of mine
Till the end of time"
I know, I know... But have you listened to Leppard lyrics? Sure, the words are generic, but the way they're delivered! As if Bolton's in the bedroom with you.
And then he amps it up...
"You came to me like the dawn through the night
Just shinin' like the sun
Out of my dreams and into my life
You are the one, you are the one"
He's almost pleading. That's what we want in our lovers, DESIRE! We want to be needed, and instead of playing to the grandstand, the fictional audience, Bolton seems to be singing to a specific individual, you get the feeling you're getting a glimpse into his personal life.
And then the magical chorus, with the hook.
Yes, "Said I Loved You...But I Lied" is captivating throughout, but it's the chorus, with its twisted meaning, that truly endears you.
"Said I loved you, but I lied
'Cause this is more than love I feel inside
Said I loved you, but I was wrong
'Cause love could never ever feel so strong
Said I loved you, but I lied"
That's how much he feels it, IT'S MORE THAN LOVE!
In real life we often speak sarcastically, we twist our story for maximum impact, this almost overproduced record is winking at the audience, showing it's just like them.
The break is the predecessor of Mutt's work with Bryan Adams on "Have You Ever Really Loved A Woman," it's positively cinematic.
And then the guitar keeps playing through the next verse, the number is building.
And then there are the backup vocals, which are understated, you'd expect the girls to be singing at the top of their lungs, reaching for a climax.
But that's what's so great about "Said I Loved You...But I Lied." It's ultimately controlled. At the end you feel the bedroom door is closing, and Michael and his beloved are behind the door ready to...
Now you get it, why the women loved him.
They can be romantic, whereas men have to be macho. They love it slow, they love the build. How did Mutt come up with such a production, which leads you to the cliff, but refuses to jump off it?
That's the mark of a master.
One who took his job so seriously he had a nervous collapse, when you're that close to the music, it's got very little to do with the money, when you're just trying to get it right, to get the sound in your head down on wax, money often comes, but the exercise is enough.
Ah, that's b.s. We love to see our legends ride the edge, see if they can do it once again.
And no one's done it at such a high level as Mutt.
But let's not underestimate Michael Bolton. He cowrote the song. He sang it.
And if you hate him for it, you're no friend of mine.
P.S. Our politicians can't learn, too often our entertainers can't either. But after reacting to the haters, Bolton embraced them, he developed a sense of humor about himself. Let his evolution be a beacon for the rest of those who gain success.