Wednesday, October 5, 2016

SHG: Elvis Presley: "Can't Help Falling in Love"

Elvis Presley: “Can’t Help Falling in Love”
Entered the chart on: 12/18/61
Peaked on: 2/3/62
Weeks at #2: 1
Song at #1: “Peppermint Twist” by Joey Dee and the Starliters

We’ve entered 1962, and I can’t help but notice that Elvis has completed his final metamorphosis into Tame Elvis. You’ll notice this was from Blue Hawaii, one in a long line of cheesy Elvis flicks, and the same one that featured the much-mocked “Ito Eats.”

You know, when I was a kid, I really disliked Elvis. Probably a bit of mild rebellion, as Elvis was Mom’s favorite. Then again, it might be me associating him with tunes like this, which I’ve never really liked. I distinctly remember the Blue Hawaii soundtrack in a stack of Mom’s records.

I was going to say “Elvis is the best part of this,” but while Elvis usually is the best part of any Elvis record, there’s other stuff of worth here. The up-down piano arpeggio that weaves through the entire track does a good job of tying it all together (is that Floyd Cramer? Possibly Elvis himself?). The Jordanaires are back and wonderful as usual on backing vocals. There’s also a sweet, slinky guitar hook during the B verse that grabs the listener. And do I detect a ukulele in the background? It’s from Blue Hawaii after all.

A lesser producer would have just swamped the whole thing in a treacly string orchestration, but fortunately that doesn’t happen. The production on this record is flawless, as is, typically, Elvis’ singing performance. The problem with this is the song itself. I’ve always found it to be bland, sentimental mush designed to appeal to weepy teenaged girls. Yuck.

At least it’s well-done, and Elvis gives it his all as usual, but that can’t save the song from the junk pile.

Rating: 2

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