First Hit #1: March 9, 1985
Power ballads don’t have to be terribly complicated. REO Speedwagon, named after everyone’s favorite antique fire truck, proves it with Can’t Fight This Feeling. Lyrically, it’s as simple as can be, a song about someone who wants to be more than friends with someone else. It starts with some electric piano that isn’t terribly distinct – I could have swore it was an entirely different power ballad – it brings forward some pretty standard lyrics than could be read as a little creepy if one wanted to. Then, the big guitars and expressive singing bring on the chorus, which also brings some weird metaphors – the bring this ship into the shore and throw away the oars line is the kind of thing that sounds deep if you’re in high school but gets progressively more head scratching as you grow up.
Which isn’t to say that it’s bad, it’s actually an enjoyable song in its way. It just happens to be a fairly typical power ballad from the era. Maybe not great, but you’ve got to admit, this kind of thing is a blast at karaoke.