Thursday, April 9, 2009

Nina Gordon, "Tonight And The Rest Of My Life"

Song: "Tonight And The Rest Of My Life"
Artist: Nina Gordon
Album: Tonight And The Rest Of My Life
Written by: Nina Gordon
Year: 2000
Key: Dm
Classification: SF1 and SF2
Lyrical content: schmoop: 10; gravity: 3
Where used: verse (SF2), chorus (SF1)

So, this song. As previously discussed, I'd certainly recognized the SFCP before, but Nina Gordon is the one responsible for it becoming A Thing. Seriously, what's going on here? Gordon used to lead Veruca Salt, who weren't exactly known for getting gooshy over gentleman callers. And while they weren't always roaring quite as ferociously as "All Hail Me" or, especially, "Volcano Girls," slower numbers like "Earthcrosser" and "New York Mining Disaster 1996" weren't exactly romantic ballads. Even "Loneliness Is Worse" had a bite to it (whether by itself or in the context of Eight Arms To Hold You) that staved off sappiness.

But even if you deem "Loneliness Is Worse" a straight-up love song (as opposed to, say, a spider luring its prey to be devoured), it still can't account for the cognitive dissonance generated by "Tonight And The Rest Of My Life." There's nothing about it that's recognizable as Gordon as she'd existed prior to the song's release: not the Sarah McLachlanish vocals, not the sweeping pop production, not the pantingly purple lyrics. (Whatever your impression of Gordon's songwriting skills prior to this, she never sang of the sky catching fire, shoreless seas and the universe resting in her arms and actually meant it... in a non-metal way, at least.) The video, above, clinches it, with Gordon glammed up to the hilt and frolicking in slow motion along a generic body of water that's clearly just a tank and some sand in a studio somewhere. The first time I encountered the video (which happened to be the first time I encountered the song), it's safe to say that I stood slack-jawed in disbelief for the next five minutes.

All of which makes "Tonight And The Rest Of My Life" something akin to the apotheosis of SFCP songs. It's about as blatant an exploitation of the chord progression as you'll find, grabbing onto the hits of McLachlan, Joan Osborne, Jewel, et al. with both hands in an effort to shed off her previous career and remold herself in their image. For her troubles, Gordon got an Adult Top 40 hit (#7!) and a high-profile placement in The Notebook, and the SFCP officially got its name.

Full song: Nina Gordon, "Tonight And The Rest Of My Life"
Listen to the SFCP clip for this song

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