There aren't many songs that take me back to my very early childhood. Roxette's "It Must Have Been Love" is one of them. Anytime I hear it, it feels like I'm 4-years-old again, in the back of our family's GMC Jimmy, on the way to rent a video game for the NES.
What a powerful pop gem.
I'm not trying to be ironic in a post-ironic way of ironically liking otherwise kitschy things when I say that the "power ballad" is among my favorite niches in music.
They all have the same qualities: belting vocals, pristine production, lots of reverb (I'd like to hear those isolated stems), and a dedication to solid melody.
What's sad is that the power ballad is no longer a pop mainstay. KIIS FM, one of the country's biggest bubble bum pop stations, used to have a steady mix of alt rock, dance tracks, and pop ballads. Madonna used to play after Vanessa Williams. And, after commercials, they would literally play the latest Meat Loaf single.
Sure, culture changes as do tastes as do programming, but there's a lot to be said about the death of the power ballad and the exclusivity of current ballads cornered into the "adult contemporary" category.
In just 15 years, the power ballad went from national spotlight to background music at work.
And, more striking, in just 15 years, pop works inspired by relatively sensitive sentiments have been completely replaced by hits that are undeniably void of, frankly, any sentiment.* *Likely untrue, but its replacement--the pop R&B ballad--is a genre I can't swallow due to their similar qualities in really cheesy production, simplistic lyric, and disingenuous vocals.
It's likely an age issue; the power ballad is lush with experience -- not just vocally, but in life. Power ballad artists were much older artists than those of today's Top 40 royalty.
I can't ever imagine a Demi Lovato being able to capture or understand how to even approach a ballad, let alone perform one.