Sunday, March 23, 2008

I don't wanna be alive at the age of 85 thinkin' about what coulda been

"Baby, you inspay-ay-ay-ay-ire me"

I know I've written about Tim James before, but I love the song I'm posting today too much not to share it. American singer Tim is--if he's known for anything--known for his single "I'll Be Your Secret," a song seemingly designed for YouTube montages to be set to...well, if it hadn't come out years before YouTube existed. He's still in the music business now, albeit as a songwriter, mainly working with teen pop/Disney stable artists (in recent years, including Aly & AJ's "Potential Breakup Song," Miley Cyrus's "See You Again," and Zac Efron's "Bet On It"). Before leaving the artist route, though (his album that "I'll Be Your Secret" was supposed to launch was never released, though it was promoed), he did give us this lost gem of a song.

Better Man--the ballad "I'll Be Your Secret" can at times verge on too cheesy even for me, and I suppose "Better Man" could be argued to have similar basic lyrical flaws--a kind of clichéd-sounding concept designed to rope in young girls who wish they'd get someone to sing them a song like this--but really, if we're being that picky, loads of pop songs are like that; at the least, "Better Man" is somewhat less cringeworthy. Most importantly, though, "Better Man" is a better song. It's kind of a mix of teen pop and singer-songwriter sounds, but somehow manages to end up being just...perfect, for me, and I don't think I can pinpoint why. Sure, the mid-tempo song is catchy and definitely manages to coerce me into mouthing along with the lyrics, but the music, castoff as it may seem, also manages to completely ensnare me every time. There's just this certain strand of pop--Ainslie Henderson's "Keep Me A Secret,"* Marcos Hernandez's "The Way I Do," Darius's "Rushes," Paolo Meneguzzi's "Ti Amo Ti Odio"--that is pure magic for me but I can never put into words why--it just is...and "Better Man" is yet another entry into that list.

To buy Tim James's unreleased album Tim James, go here (physical).

Next up: maybe another American singer.

*This is going off on a tangent, but I've written before about how much I adore "Keep Me A Secret" (and how his other recorded material from that time period is possibly the unreleased music I'd most like to hear)--it's a perfect song, regardless of your feelings about Ainslie--and just wanted to add that apparently Ainslie wasn't happy with the production on it, which is the complete opposite of my reaction to it: the production is one of the big reasons I think it's as fantastic as it is. Come to think of it, maybe it's the production that plays a big role in why I love all those songs...hmmm...


The Blogger Formerly Known As Digital Technique said...

I stoll pray that one day some of Ainslie's unreleased Mercury material will leak!!!!

Paul said...

yes sticking with the tangent, i'm mortified to hear that Ainslee didn't like the production. It totally made the song - which still remains one of my absolute favourite songs to come out of a tv talent show. Yes people, it blows Michelle McManus out the water :P I suspect he was very "serious artist" about it and didn't react well to other people "intefering" in his music?

Poster Girl said...

One of you people in the UK need to get a job related to music and get it for us ;) Though I've got no idea if his old record company has a copy or if you'd have to go straight to the guy himself...well, it'd be a good chance to work on some secret agent skills!

I bought my copy of the single digitally, but I'd be interested to know who the actual producer was--the quotation I remember reading left it open-ended as to whether Ainslie produced it but didn't feel he knew what he was doing at the time or whether he was unhappy with what the record company/producer did, but basically, I think you're right, Paul--it didn't sound "serious artist" enough for him. Shame.