Thursday, August 5, 2010

Starship: "I Don't Know Why"

I'm a huge, unapologetic 80s pop fan, and you can't think 80s pop without thinking Starship.   This is a band that was very much "of their time" over 3 decades - they were a prototypical late 60s protest/acid/folk rock band as Jefferson Airplane, and they landed 2 era-defining singles in "White Rabbit" and "Somebody to Love".   Then in the 70s, they mastered the AOR idiom and their astonishingly beautiful ballad "Miracles" was a #1 smash.  And in the 80s they dove headlong into the cheesiest aspects of the decade's pop artifice and thrived with THREE #1 singles.   Of course, the various incarnations of the group had little in common, but the common thread is their initial success and inability to sustain it without morphing into something else.

I've always had a soft spot for the Grace Slick power ballad "I Don't Know Why" on their "No Protection" album.   It has a lovely vibe to it and a terrific vocal by Slick, and a nice vocal arrangement.  An underrated gem from a period in which Starship gets little love these days ("We Built This City" has routinely been cited as one of the ghastliest lapses of taste to ever hit #1, and considering the many examples of bad taste in the 80s this was quite an accomplishment.)

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