First Hit #1: February 1, 1975
While the end of the ’70s brought with it a highly publicized and dramatic disco backlash, I think people might have been attacking the wrong genre. It’s soft rock that needed to see some records smashed, because soft rock artists needed a shock to the system and a massive slash on their production budgets. I say this as someone who often enjoys an old soft rock hit, but songs like Neil Sedaka’s Laughter in the Rain shows how the genre went off the deep end and got self indulgent. Cheesy lyrics, sure, but then you get Sedaka’s cloying vocal, the strings, a saxophone player that shows up out of nowhere for the sake of having a saxophone player, and it adds up to a song that encompasses every soft rock cliche known to man. Soft rock, as a genre, works best when you strip it bare, because cheese curdles under a spotlight. That forces the singers and songwriters to put their best foot forward and avoid the silliness inherent in the genre. By adding all this other cheese, you get this indistinct mass of crap that ages poorly.
I recognize that my metaphors got a little mixed and tortured. That’s what listening to Laughter in the Rain does to me.