Ahh the power ballad, there’s just nothing quite like it. And when it’s a woman smashing out those chords, well, all the better.
From Whitney to Christina, and Bonnie Tyler too, the moment these women start to sing – their hair blowing in the wind, surrounded by dry ice and wearing some sort of flare-sleeved garment – we can’t help but fall to our knees in adoration.
But what is it about these over-the-top ballads that make us feel so compelled to sing along with such emotion-filled enthusiasm? Is it the classic songwriting, the gut-wrenching melodies, the over-dramatic facial expressions, or the slow and steady arm movements of the backing singers? Maybe it’s just the way they give us permission to raise one arm above our head and punch that space of air slowly, with conviction.
Over the years female power ballads have addressed love in all its forms: endless love; bleeding love; unrequited love; titanic love… They have truly covered every spectrum of the subject at this stage. And much like ourselves, these women would do anything for love, but they won’t do that. (No one knows what that is, and no one cares. All we want is that epic chorus and guitar sequence.)
What it really comes down to though, is that these songs have the power to give words to our innermost truths and feelings. Just take Kelly Clarkson’s “Because of You”, for example; look at how wholeheartedly someone sings along to that song and you’ll get a fairly good idea of their emotional state within.
Because when we listen to these tear-jerkers, we’re reminded of all the jerks who have broken our hearts, rejected our love, the ones who have “gone with the wind”. And sure, these songs might teeter into the territory of over-the-top theatrics, but when our lives are feeling a bit stagnant, a bit “meh”, then is it so wrong to crave a bit of melodrama every once in a while?
These ballads will never fade, and our conviction singing along to them will never waver.
*Cue the intro for My Heart Will Go On*…