Thursday, February 10, 2005

A while back I announced that Hilly Michaels, our favorite drummer turned power popping early MTV hero, had finally established a website. I discovered this just as I was about to turn to his second and final solo album, Lumia. But you know what? There's been no action on his website and he hasn't responded to my emails, and I'm sorry but Hilly Michaels is just not out of my league at this point. So I don't know what's what, but I'm thinking it's not so likely that we'll be seeing the promised CD editions of his two solo albums (plus some unreleased stuff) anytime soon.

So, without further ado...Lumia. The somewhat disappointing but occasionally worthwhile follow-up to one of the greatest albums ever made. By which I mean Hilly's debut, Calling All Girls. Don't believe me? Every time I post tracks from that, I get emails for weeks from people asking me to hook them up with the whole album. That doesn't happen with anything else. And so, just to get you in the mood in case you've missed all of my previous 5,000 posts about the Calling All Girls lp, I begin by posting the title track Calling All Girls and the final track Something On Your Mind once again. The latter was on the soundtrack to Caddyshack, for what it's worth.

Ok, so here's the cover art for Calling All Girls:

And here's the cover of Lumia:

and you can kind of tell that things have changed. Darker. More groomed. No more taking phone calls during photo shoots. Someone's decided to get serious, and in Hilly's case that's a mistake. There's one song called I've Got No Right To Love You and it's about the fact that Hilly's got no right to love her. Oof. (Someone's also bought a new set of synth-drums and a truckload of 80's keyboards, and while by itself that's not a bad thing, in Hilly's case it might not be playing to his previously demonstrated strengths.)

Did I say serious? Well, that's true part of the time, but there's still the occasional gem like Reach For The Vitamins. Featuring one of my favorite lines of all time, "How was I to know she would be this fair? The clock was ticking and my hands were there."

Elsewhere, Hilly goes all synthy with style with Russian Girls ("I can't pronounce your name, but I like you just the same"). Would he have used the word "balalaika" were it not for a certain song by Paul McCartney? We'll never know.

Those are probably the high points. Other tracks are going for a kind of power-ballad-let's-request-it-at-our-prom feel that's occasionally fun, but I'm probably being too open minded about this. Here's Look At That Face, which is great until you realize that it's a rewrite of Shake It And Dance from the first album, and here's the more typical Our Love Will Last Forever.

And that was it for Hilly's solo career. Someday. Someday. Someday someone will reissue Calling All Girls on CD, and millions will fall down and beg god for forgiveness for ignoring such a classic. If anyone ever finds the video for the title track online or elsewhere, that's something I would dearly love to posses! I swear, young people: it used to be on MTV all the frickin' time.

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