Driving home today I was listening to the magisterial Risque by Chic. Sandwiched between Good Times and the equally magisterial My Feet Keep Dancing (tap break!) is the pretty-much filler ballad Warm Summer Nights. Then my mind drifted to the true awfulness that is a one-per-album-record-company-mandated Madonna Ballad (Rain…Love Don’t Live Here Anymore etc). In how many albums are the ballads/slow numbers rather tiresome things to get through before the beat is back. A lot I venture to say. And as for hip-hop ballads. Just saying LL Cool J that’s all.
Elton John may have sold a billion copies of that Diana track but even the ballad man himself surely has his best tracks working at least at a mid-tempo. Sometimes It Snows In April may be the exception, but Prince apart from this was at his best at his up-tempoest. Don’t all say The Dame at once. He was I think equally at home with the ballad and the rocker. The clever so and so.
So – challenge laid down. Which artists can we say delivered their very best at a ballad pace. Where their rockers were rather pants and their ballads rather ace.
Rules: I think we are broadly sticking to pop/rock here. Electronica and jazz really don’t subscribe to the fastie/slowie dichotomy do they? Must have at least one of each we can identify.