In Praise of Moody Midtempo AOR

Message Bookmarked
Bookmark Removed

Man, there's just something about the late night drive vibe of, for example:

Foreigner, "Waiting for a Girl Like You"
The Who, "Eminence Front"
Eagles, "I Can't Tell You Why"
Alan Parson's Project, "Eye in the Sky"

(Or, more loosely/generously, Ted Nugent's "Stranglehold")

What else fits?

Josh in Chicago, Wednesday, 2 December 2020 17:41 (nine months ago) link

in the air tonight

la table sur la table (voodoo chili), Wednesday, 2 December 2020 17:42 (nine months ago) link

maybe that one is too slow to be midtempo? idk

la table sur la table (voodoo chili), Wednesday, 2 December 2020 17:42 (nine months ago) link

That's kind of the ur-one, a la the "Miami Vice" pilot.

Josh in Chicago, Wednesday, 2 December 2020 17:43 (nine months ago) link

the gold standard for this has always been the blue nile for me, but i'm american what do i know.

Totally different head. Totally. (Austin), Wednesday, 2 December 2020 17:44 (nine months ago) link

Michelob Rock iirc

All cars are bad (Euler), Wednesday, 2 December 2020 17:45 (nine months ago) link

Steve Winwood, “Don’t You Know What The Night Can Do”

All cars are bad (Euler), Wednesday, 2 December 2020 17:46 (nine months ago) link

Hmm, something like Clapton's re-do of "After Midnight" might indeed fit. The Winwood ... I'll have to think about it. Its chorus is kind of too big, which defeats the melancholy.

Josh in Chicago, Wednesday, 2 December 2020 17:51 (nine months ago) link

Self Control surely?

Uptown Top Scamping (Noodle Vague), Wednesday, 2 December 2020 17:51 (nine months ago) link

Ooh, good one! There are probably a lot more moody midtempo Italo disco jams in that vein.

Josh in Chicago, Wednesday, 2 December 2020 17:57 (nine months ago) link

"Live to Tell" for sure, too, duh. I was trying to think of some other Patrick Leonard stuff, like from that Peter Cetera album he did. "One Good Woman" has the same problem as the Steve Windwood song, in that the chorus is too big and disrupts the mood. But for example, the moody coda to "Glory of Love," I kind of wish the whole song was like that.

Josh in Chicago, Wednesday, 2 December 2020 18:02 (nine months ago) link

Hmm, maybe something like "Broken Wings" might fit the mold/mode/mood? Oh, but for sure, "Only the Lonely" by the Motels!

Josh in Chicago, Wednesday, 2 December 2020 18:03 (nine months ago) link

And Quarterflash, "Harden My Heart!"

Josh in Chicago, Wednesday, 2 December 2020 18:04 (nine months ago) link

10cc “I’m Not In Love”
Ace “How Long”
Cars “Drive”
Foreigner “I Want To Know What Love Is”

vmajestic, Wednesday, 2 December 2020 18:04 (nine months ago) link

Self Control surely?

― Uptown Top Scamping (Noodle Vague), Wednesday, December 2, 2020 12:51 PM (twelve minutes ago) bookmarkflaglink

Ooh, good one! There are probably a lot more moody midtempo Italo disco jams in that vein.

― Josh in Chicago, Wednesday, December 2, 2020 12:57 PM (six minutes ago) bookmarkflaglink

To my ear "Tarzan Boy" is basically the same song as "Self Control."

velcro-magnon (Ye Mad Puffin), Wednesday, 2 December 2020 18:06 (nine months ago) link

xpost I considered the last two, which are practically perfect songs, but they seem, I dunno, more straight up ballads to me. And "I Want to Know" has that exultant chorus, too, though I have always detected a certain sadness to it.

Josh in Chicago, Wednesday, 2 December 2020 18:06 (nine months ago) link

"In the House of Stone and Light," aka the poor man's "In Your Eyes."

velcro-magnon (Ye Mad Puffin), Wednesday, 2 December 2020 18:08 (nine months ago) link

I've never heard that!

Josh in Chicago, Wednesday, 2 December 2020 18:11 (nine months ago) link

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eIa9UEXd98Q

velcro-magnon (Ye Mad Puffin), Wednesday, 2 December 2020 18:13 (nine months ago) link

Mike + The Mechanics “The Living Years”

vmajestic, Wednesday, 2 December 2020 18:13 (nine months ago) link

Though I guess while we are going down that road, "Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now" and "Sara" might both fit. Maybe "Oh, Sherrie" by Steve Perry?

Josh in Chicago, Wednesday, 2 December 2020 18:14 (nine months ago) link

Not sure if this is in the zone or just adjacent but my brain just suggested "Hazard" by Richard Marx. Feels musically similar but culturally different.

ledge, Wednesday, 2 December 2020 18:17 (nine months ago) link

Don Henley “Boys of Summer”?

Another dark horse that comes to mind is Dalbello’s “Guilty By Association”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LSfmLy54W8Q

vmajestic, Wednesday, 2 December 2020 18:17 (nine months ago) link

Are Rhiannon and Don't Fear the Reaper too early to count?

The song that leapt to mind reading the thread title was Big Log by Robert Plant.

Curious what song would mark the end of this style, chronologically.

Halfway there but for you, Wednesday, 2 December 2020 18:18 (nine months ago) link

Living Years is totally this vibe, yeah.

"Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now" and "Oh, Sherrie" seem a bit too strident to be called moody. "Sara" could work.

Not sure this is AOR but

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v1_2HhRe1Cc

velcro-magnon (Ye Mad Puffin), Wednesday, 2 December 2020 18:19 (nine months ago) link

"End of the Innocence" and probably "Mandolin Rain."

Not sure about "Boys of Summer."

velcro-magnon (Ye Mad Puffin), Wednesday, 2 December 2020 18:20 (nine months ago) link

I'd definitely include Big Log! Maybe include Boys of Summer, which pushes the bound of midtempo but is absolutely steeped in mood.

As far as Fleetwood Mac goes, something like "Little Lies" and "Everywhere" are closer in spirit than "Rihannon," imo. BOC is a solid no, though, since it's a bit too fast and has that psychedelic freakout in the middle.

Josh in Chicago, Wednesday, 2 December 2020 18:23 (nine months ago) link

"Burnin' for You" tho?

actually-very-convincing (Sund4r), Wednesday, 2 December 2020 18:26 (nine months ago) link

"Limelight"??

actually-very-convincing (Sund4r), Wednesday, 2 December 2020 18:27 (nine months ago) link

Burnin for You, That comes closer than "Reaper," but it's got that big fist-pumping chorus and key change that kind of throws it off. Limelight, the chorus for sure captures a mood.

Josh in Chicago, Wednesday, 2 December 2020 18:28 (nine months ago) link

Interesting, I'd call Little Lies and Everywhere AM pop instead of AOR. I guess I see AOR as incompatible with drum machines and Fairlight samplers.

Halfway there but for you, Wednesday, 2 December 2020 18:30 (nine months ago) link

"Games Without Frontiers"?

actually-very-convincing (Sund4r), Wednesday, 2 December 2020 18:31 (nine months ago) link

Springsteen’s I’m On Fire & Philadelphia

vmajestic, Wednesday, 2 December 2020 18:31 (nine months ago) link

Jefferson Starship - "Miracles"

may have in fact invented the genre

henry s, Wednesday, 2 December 2020 18:33 (nine months ago) link

Jim Capaldi - "That's Love"

henry s, Wednesday, 2 December 2020 18:35 (nine months ago) link

Marty Balin - "Hearts"

henry s, Wednesday, 2 December 2020 18:36 (nine months ago) link

I would think anything by Ambrosia or Firefall

henry s, Wednesday, 2 December 2020 18:36 (nine months ago) link

"Philadelphia" but not "I'm on Fire."

Wait are we just describing sophistopop? In which case "Life in a Northern Town" and Spandau Ballet's "True" qualify

velcro-magnon (Ye Mad Puffin), Wednesday, 2 December 2020 18:37 (nine months ago) link

Hall & Oates - "I Can't Go For That (No Can Do)"

henry s, Wednesday, 2 December 2020 18:38 (nine months ago) link

Bryan Ferry’s The Name of the Game

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NvJ5VkOrz4w

Shares a lot of musical DNA with Live To Tell, then again it’s a Patrick Leonard co-write.

vmajestic, Wednesday, 2 December 2020 18:41 (nine months ago) link

I'm actually not totally sure what we're describing. I first thought we were talking about songs that would have been on album-oriented rock radio stations in the early 80s with a driving beat but more atmospheric feel, combining guitars and synths (which would not include Spandau Ballet or Madonna) - but some of these seem like something p different from that.xps

actually-very-convincing (Sund4r), Wednesday, 2 December 2020 18:42 (nine months ago) link

Eric Carmen “Hungry Eyes”

vmajestic, Wednesday, 2 December 2020 18:43 (nine months ago) link

Steve Miller “Abracadabra”

vmajestic, Wednesday, 2 December 2020 18:44 (nine months ago) link

Hall & Oates again, with "One On One"

henry s, Wednesday, 2 December 2020 18:45 (nine months ago) link

Alan Parson Project again, with "Breakdown"

henry s, Wednesday, 2 December 2020 18:46 (nine months ago) link

Sund4r, I think "moody" is pretty subjective - you know moody when you hear it. Not sure "a driving beat" is essential; rather something that is good to drive to. Josh in Chicago's first examples were

Foreigner, "Waiting for a Girl Like You"
The Who, "Eminence Front"
Eagles, "I Can't Tell You Why"
Alan Parson's Project, "Eye in the Sky"

"Eminence Front" is a fucking JAM with huge drums. "Eye in the Sky" has some rock edge as well, especially in the chorus. The other two are understated in terms of "driving beat."

All do have atmospheric feel, and combine guitars and synths, so perhaps that's part of the recipe. Ultimately only the OP can say if we're hitting the mark.

velcro-magnon (Ye Mad Puffin), Wednesday, 2 December 2020 18:49 (nine months ago) link

I think there is a lot of crossover with sophistipop. But I also think of stuff like, for example, Tina Turner's Mad Max song, which is not sophistipop.

Josh in Chicago, Wednesday, 2 December 2020 18:51 (nine months ago) link

Yeah, I think I was mainly thinking of "Eminence Front" and "Eye in the Sky".xp

actually-very-convincing (Sund4r), Wednesday, 2 December 2020 18:52 (nine months ago) link

those Hall & Oates songs are interesting examples as well I think. I don't think I would call them sophistipop, though they share some DNA.

Josh in Chicago, Wednesday, 2 December 2020 18:52 (nine months ago) link

"I'm Not In Love" strikes me as the epitome of this thread description, which reminds me:

Godley & Creme - "Cry"

henry s, Wednesday, 2 December 2020 18:53 (nine months ago) link

I haven't watched that video in a long time, and it makes me sad that the MTV awards didn't have a makeup category

mother should I build the walmart (Ye Mad Puffin), Monday, 14 December 2020 22:22 (nine months ago) link

could I imagine myself listening while driving through the LA twilight on the way to a) a drug deal that will go catastrophically wrong,

Substitite NJ for LA and you've described The Gasoline Age by East River Pipe, it's not strictly within the purview of this thread of course

Lamont Dozier Dream House (Deflatormouse), Monday, 14 December 2020 22:23 (nine months ago) link

It's almost too literal

Lamont Dozier Dream House (Deflatormouse), Monday, 14 December 2020 22:24 (nine months ago) link

what’s that one italo song where he sings “where did it all go wrong?”... that one fits I think

brimstead, Tuesday, 15 December 2020 00:51 (nine months ago) link

Think the original of Self Control should also be in this thread, especially the 12" version which has that ace rap towards the end

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7w1Qo1awwI4

groovypanda, Tuesday, 15 December 2020 12:01 (nine months ago) link

Also this Steve Bronski version of Smalltown Boy which is maybe a bit too slow but can totally imagine it being used to soundtrack a more melancholic moment of Miami Vice

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rXVzyaosPwA

groovypanda, Tuesday, 15 December 2020 12:05 (nine months ago) link

two weeks pass...

Tempo's a bit fast, but here's Jethro Tull doing what they're not known for doing:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BzJNTNR3_7U

... (Eazy), Saturday, 2 January 2021 02:59 (eight months ago) link

Tom Petty has several. "You Got Lucky" is mentioned above, but also "A Woman in Love," "Runaway Trains," "Straight Into Darkness," "Dogs on the Run." I guess "Rebels" is a little too anthemic on the chorus?

This vibe was a big part of the radio and MTV landscape in my middle school/high school days, it really is a particular thing. I think glossy early '80s production is part of the key.

a man often referred to in the news media as the Duke of Saxony (tipsy mothra), Saturday, 2 January 2021 03:54 (eight months ago) link

Moody Blues - "The Other Side of Life"

Lee626, Saturday, 2 January 2021 04:20 (eight months ago) link

The Stones went for this a bit in the '80s;-"Emotional Rescue" the song and the Undercover lp come to mind-but were usually undercut by their Stones-ness. However, they nailed it on "Heaven" from Tattoo You.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V-HuYUaSjNU

"what are you DOING to fleetwood mac??" (C. Grisso/McCain), Saturday, 2 January 2021 05:01 (eight months ago) link

I think this was just an 80s stealth cigarette ad.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8TToLgW7zuc

I'd say this is up with 'Private Dancer' for some 80s sexy sax lines, which would also fit here.

earlnash, Saturday, 2 January 2021 10:59 (eight months ago) link

^^^^ Glenn Frey expression unwittingly showing you his soul

Patriotic Goiter (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Saturday, 2 January 2021 11:17 (eight months ago) link

The very title of this thread makes me think of Grateful Dead keyboardist Brent Mydland. Jerry and Bob had their had some dark songs as well, but I think Brent was darker. The moodiest of his songs, Just a Little Light, is too fast to qualify as mid-tempo.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ovNaCFHgOgw

Blow Away is in the right range.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wOtFYt0Uhg0

Far From Me, maybe?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZZ4CkT8SosU

As with most later-era Dead, these songs aren't very well-served by their studio versions. And, of course, there are much more captivating - but probably too long - versions to be found out there. What do y'all think?

peace, man, Saturday, 2 January 2021 17:40 (eight months ago) link

“how long” by Ace = moody uptempo AOR

brimstead, Saturday, 2 January 2021 17:47 (eight months ago) link

"It isn't even lonely / when no one's ever there" in "Just A Little Light" definitely fits and has the right studio sound. If it's on a 45, would love to hear it at 33 1/3.

... (Eazy), Saturday, 2 January 2021 17:58 (eight months ago) link

i'm no zz top expert so maybe there are better answers to this thread, but i had 'rough boy' stuck in my head the other day

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z_4ULKpkLNc

kites aren't fun (NickB), Saturday, 2 January 2021 18:01 (eight months ago) link

Steve Miller puts on some Ray-Bans

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z-lSRww9S4c

Blues Guitar Solo Heatmap (Free Download) (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Monday, 4 January 2021 20:53 (eight months ago) link

Speaking of Moody Blues, I think "The Voice" might be a rare example of Moody Uptempo AOR:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uiPzKbT21Vc

But if you lower the speed to 75% it suits the thread surprisingly well.

Josh in Chicago, Monday, 4 January 2021 20:56 (eight months ago) link

one month passes...

R&B equivalent by way of Enya:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KCHgxoXv4g4

Josh in Chicago, Thursday, 4 February 2021 19:36 (seven months ago) link

Not sure if this fits? Intro is very moody, then it turns into a mix of Dire Straits and i dunno... I don't know if this was big nationally, or just in the Midwest.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YxPtCADXqdc

Three Rings for the Elven Bishop (Dan Peterson), Thursday, 4 February 2021 23:45 (seven months ago) link

ohh these are good ones. that mario one reminds me of the a rap version of this genre, one of my favs

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6B5uvm34CdE

Blues Guitar Solo Heatmap (Free Download) (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Thursday, 4 February 2021 23:49 (seven months ago) link

^^^^^ yesssss such a good one

brimstead, Thursday, 4 February 2021 23:53 (seven months ago) link

my vote for R&B equivalent would be Oran "Juice" Jones' "The Rain"

trouble with a capital T / big pimpin on B-L-A-D's (crüt), Friday, 5 February 2021 15:09 (seven months ago) link

Maybe at least until it goes totally spoken word narrative nuts.

There are a lot of minor key electro sort of things that kind of fit. Even something sort of celebratory, like Shannon's "Let the Music Play," I feel has this pronounced tinge of spooky melancholy. Or something like this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YWUpgzRK1vc

Josh in Chicago, Friday, 5 February 2021 15:30 (seven months ago) link

Strafe and Bruce Hornsby, together at last.

The return of our beloved potatoes (the table is the table), Friday, 5 February 2021 17:34 (seven months ago) link

four months pass...

Hmm this may fit:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=41P8UxneDJE

Josh in Chicago, Thursday, 17 June 2021 00:47 (three months ago) link

I thought of this thread the other day when I heard Kenny Loggins' "This Is It" on the radio:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VS52sEUqxMo

eisimpleir (crüt), Thursday, 17 June 2021 00:49 (three months ago) link

“These Dreams” definitely feels like a food court where aims have lunch during a mall-job shift, or a strip club mid-afternoon with only a few isolated patrons scattered around the place.

too cool for zen talk (Eazy), Wednesday, 23 June 2021 18:58 (two months ago) link

hell yeah, crut

Can I get a hell yeah to this spacey loggins epic?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EAq0oonN9Kc

brimstead, Wednesday, 23 June 2021 19:08 (two months ago) link

"This is It" was ruined for me (relatively speaking) because I think it was used as the theme to some news show in Philadelphia when I was a kid.

Josh in Chicago, Wednesday, 23 June 2021 19:48 (two months ago) link

That's exactly the reason why the song is iconic to me.

enochroot, Wednesday, 23 June 2021 20:04 (two months ago) link

I can't find it right now but didn't we have a list thread somewhere of songs that are about giving it your all, going for it, reaching for the stars, not givin' up, etc.?

Like "Man in Motion," "This is It," and other inspiring songs that go well over the training montage in an 80s action movie?

Ludacristine McVie (Ye Mad Puffin), Wednesday, 23 June 2021 21:26 (two months ago) link

Ooh, that's a good one. Just moody enough.

Josh in Chicago, Thursday, 24 June 2021 12:23 (two months ago) link

two months pass...

These Dreams is one of my favorite Heart songs.

Kind regards, Anus (the table is the table), Tuesday, 7 September 2021 19:40 (one week ago) link

the gold standard for this has always been the blue nile for me

I wouldn't classify the blue nile as AOR

I like These Dreams a lot.

akm, Tuesday, 7 September 2021 21:05 (one week ago) link

This track was a pretty big FM radio tune (at least where I was at) that Mark Sandman really did not get with Morphine. (Although Morphine was a pretty hip group seemingly loved by NPR and college stations somewhat even today I suppose.)

I had not heard for a long time until I heard it in the piped music at the local Redi Mart (which plays all sorts of wacky stuff that you would not expect in a small town in KY - LOTS OF Depeche, New Order and Cure...deep cut 80s stuff).

Treat Her Right - I Think She Likes Me

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oyOo-aheGIU

earlnash, Tuesday, 7 September 2021 23:51 (one week ago) link

That blues harp dude is inexcusable.

enochroot, Wednesday, 8 September 2021 01:35 (one week ago) link

i'll submit player, "baby come back"
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vLtmmFjxSoc

andrew m., Thursday, 16 September 2021 16:52 (two days ago) link

occurs to me now that it could as easily have been a hall n oates jam.

andrew m., Thursday, 16 September 2021 16:53 (two days ago) link

for rnb equivalents, I'll submit jermaine jackson, do what you do
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sneQ1AaIbC0

andrew m., Thursday, 16 September 2021 16:54 (two days ago) link

ozark mountain daredevils, "jackie blue"
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6xuW-aI-haw

andrew m., Thursday, 16 September 2021 16:59 (two days ago) link

I don't know if "Holdin' on to Yesterday" ever got played on AOR; it didn't on my local station. I don't even remember it much on Top 40, though it charted at #17 on US Billboard. Love this song.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A1jeVdUo1-I

Three Rings for the Elven Bishop (Dan Peterson), Thursday, 16 September 2021 17:00 (two days ago) link

This genre can feel creepy or spooky in a good way, especially if you're out in the middle of nowhere and all you have to listen to is a classic rock station.

Was never much of a Journey fan, but in recent years, I discovered "Who's Cryin' Now" as kind of creepy.

A favorite of mine has always been Pat Benatar's "I'm Gonna Follow You".

Night of Olay: The Resurrection (I M Losted), Thursday, 16 September 2021 17:22 (two days ago) link

xp The Ambrosia song got played a lot on the AOR stations I listened to up until the mid Eighties.

Christine Green Leafy Dragon Indigo, Thursday, 16 September 2021 17:42 (two days ago) link

Yeah, in retrospect maybe it got played on mine back then, but it's now been focus-grouped off the playlist.

Three Rings for the Elven Bishop (Dan Peterson), Thursday, 16 September 2021 17:50 (two days ago) link

Firefall's "Strange Way" fits in with "70s AOR that stayed around in the moody mid-80s."

... (Eazy), Thursday, 16 September 2021 18:00 (two days ago) link

38 Special, "You Got The Deal":
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qLsEm8pku_M

I lived my life one way too long
Deal me straight, I can't go wrong
A gambler's fate's in the cards he takes
And now I know it's just a mistake

aegis philbin (crüt), Friday, 17 September 2021 00:25 (yesterday) link

Noel emits posted “burning feeling” earlier but this is my fav lovelock jam:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n8tJDPoknXA

brimstead, Friday, 17 September 2021 01:43 (yesterday) link


You must be logged in to post. Please either login here, or if you are not registered, you may register here.