The Constitution was made to guard the people against the dangers of good intentions." --American Statesman Daniel Webster (1782-1852)

Monday, November 20, 2023

Monday Music "Why Me" By Irene Cara

I always liked Irene Cara and this song came on as a "Forgotten Hit" on Sirius/XM "80's" channel and I liked the song so I play it a lot, it was a shame she had problems with her record company back in the day, unfortunately record companies take advantage of their singers, it is pretty standard in the industry, but Irene filed suit against them and won 8 years later but it crippled her career in the meantime.  She passed away last year.

                                                               Irene Cara in 1983

What a Feelin' is the second studio album by American singer-songwriter Irene Cara. Released on November 2, 1983, this album is a continuation of the work that Cara began with producer Giorgio Moroder on the soundtrack to the 1983 film Flashdance. The dance-pop song she co-wrote with Moroder and Keith Forsey for the film, "Flashdance... What a Feeling", went to number one on Billboard magazine's Hot 100 and foreshadowed the style of this album, which was unlike her R&B-heavy debut. Although Cara was more accustomed to composing music, she relinquished most of those duties to Moroder here and shifted much of her songwriting focus to lyrics.

T    he title of the album clued in record buyers to the inclusion of the soundtrack hit from the spring of that year, but another four songs would make the Hot 100, the first of which, "Why Me?", had been released in October. "The Dream (Hold On to Your Dream)" from the D.C. Cab soundtrack became the second new single when that movie was released in December, four months earlier than planned. Since the song was not on the original pressings of What a Feelin', those copies were removed from store shelves so that the album could be re-released to include it. The other two Hot 100 entries were Cara's last top ten hit, "Breakdance", and the one track on the album for which she did write the music, "You Were Made for Me".

The album received mixed-to-positive reviews and was moderately successful, reaching number 77 on Billboard'album chart. But while Cara was having hit records and receiving awards for "Flashdance... What a Feeling", she was also feeling ripped off by her record company, Network Records, and planning to sue. The lawsuit she filed resulted in a backlash that destroyed her reputation in the entertainment industry. It would be eight years before the courts would acknowledge the harm she suffered and she would begin receiving royalties for the recordings she had made since signing with the label.

"Why Me?", the first official single from the album, debuted on the Billboard Hot 100 in the issue of the magazine dated October 22, 1983, to begin a fifteen-week run and peaked at number 13 for two weeks, which began in the December 3 issue. Upon the release of her next single, "The Dream (Hold On to Your Dream)", the review in Cash Box magazine pointed out that "Why Me?" was "still making its way up the charts." The December 10 issues of that magazine and Billboard both included the debut of "The Dream" on their respective lists of the 100 most popular singles in the US and listed "Why Me?" with bullets indicating noteworthy airplay and sales gains, giving her two songs moving up the charts at the same time.

"The Dream" peaked at number 37 on February 11, 1984, and stayed on the Hot 100 for a total of fourteen weeks. Her next single, "Breakdance", started its nineteen weeks there in the March 24, 1984, issue. It peaked at number eight in the June 9 issue and was her third and last top ten hit."You Were Made for Me" was the final single from the album and her last song to make the Billboard Hot 100. It began its five weeks on the pop chart in the July 28, 1984, issue and peaked at number 78 in its third week there.

The promotional clip for "Why Me?" features Cara playing a young woman unhappy with her career and her love life. It opens with a montage of Cara walking the streets of Manhattan, primarily in the vicinity of Broadway theaters, and attending auditions. She appears frustrated in the brief takes of her as she exits a theater stage entrance, passes by others waiting in line to audition on her way out of another, crosses out an ad circled in a newspaper and throws it in a trash can in the park, where she begins to sing about her relationship woes. A flashback presents her in an apartment with the man she is singing about in the song. She dances around to a record as he is working on a sketch at an easel. He gets fed up and shoves the phonograph needle off of the record to stop the music, and she gets angry and leaves to walk the streets of the city and continue with the lyrics of the song.

Broken glass is a recurring motif throughout the video. The opening montage includes a shot of her feet prancing across the miniature seesaw created by a small broken board with shards of broken glass alongside it in a gutter. Her artist boyfriend is sketching a woman as seen through a broken window with a section of the muntin missing. When she is alone in the apartment and the boyfriend startles her upon entering, she drops a cocktail glass, and the video cuts to a cocktail glass crashing to the floor in a bar Cara visits where a waiter has just dropped it. The bridge of the song provides an instrumental break to interweave very tightly edited footage that summarizes what has been shown and includes a trio of shots that adds to the motif: one of her from the knees down as she passes shards of broken glass on the sidewalk, another where she lifts a shard of broken glass out of a puddle, and a third showing the multi-pane window of what appears to be an abandoned warehouse. The light shining through it from another window on the other side of the building shows that the panes of glass have all had portions broken out.

The bridge montage continues with a review of her bad relationship and with what was shown from the opening montage of her auditions, including one in particular where she is given the chance to show her dancing skills. The frame freezes on the last of her dance moves, and in the next shot that image is visible through the frame of the warehouse window, where the remaining shards from the individual panes fly together over the image to form a transparent female figure. Rapid editing then alternates back and forth between this figure and Cara in a white party dress, and the story jumps forward to Cara in this attire being the guest of honor at a party where everyone raises their glasses to toast her success. Her date for the party brings her a drink. Instead of the artist she had been living with, her date is a man who had been noticing her around Manhattan from afar. As she finishes the song, she is shown in another apartment where she cuddles up to this new partner on the couch.

As with the video for her next single, "The Dream (Hold On to Your Dream)", "Why Me?" was directed and edited by Doug Dowdle and produced by Jeffrey Abelson. According to Billboard, the debut of the videos on MTV came just one week apart. The magazine's New Videos Added section of its MTV Adds & Rotation column listed the "Why Me?" clip as having been added to the cable channel's playlist of music videos as of December 7 in the magazine's December 17 issue, eight weeks after the song's debut on the Hot 100. The December 24 issue noted the addition of "The Dream" to the cable channel's playlist as of December 14.


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