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Diane Warren
June 18, 2011 9:39 AM   Subscribe

"Blame it on the Rain" by Milli Vanilli. "Unbreak My Heart" by Toni Braxton. "Don't Wanna Miss a Thing" by Aerosmith. "How Do I Live" by LeAnn Rimes. "If I Could Turn Back Time" by Cher. "Because You Loved Me" by Celine Dion. "If You Asked Me To" by Patti LaBelle. What do all of these songs have in common? They were all written by Diane Warren, a member of the Songwriter's Hall of Fame whose songs have awards such as a a Grammy, a Golden Globe award, and several ASCAP awards for Songwriter of the Year.
posted by MattMangels (85 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite

 
What do all of these songs have in common?

They were all written by Diane Warren


Surprisingly, that's not the first answer that came to mind.
posted by box at 9:42 AM on June 18, 2011 [67 favorites]


While not a fan, I have to grudgingly admire her prolificacy.
posted by psoas at 9:42 AM on June 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


No love for Rhythm of the Night?
posted by Gator at 9:51 AM on June 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


That's a lot of hair.
posted by notion at 9:54 AM on June 18, 2011 [3 favorites]


All of those songs were popularized by people who have never been in my kitchen.
posted by The Confessor at 9:55 AM on June 18, 2011 [14 favorites]


Subtlety's not her thing, is it?
posted by grounded at 9:55 AM on June 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


Time, Love and Tenderness
posted by Sys Rq at 9:57 AM on June 18, 2011


Subtlety's not her thing, is it?

Dude, it's pop music.
posted by xmutex at 10:01 AM on June 18, 2011 [6 favorites]


The saddest thing is that there was a time in the 70s when Aerosmith was a downright nasty hard rock band.
posted by Ber at 10:05 AM on June 18, 2011 [15 favorites]


They were all written by Diane Warren

I look forward to seeing her face on a WANTED poster. Crimes against humanity or something like that.
posted by philip-random at 10:05 AM on June 18, 2011 [5 favorites]


Good post! She's written some good ones. This post reminds me that I want to make a similar post about Ashford & Simpson some day.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 10:07 AM on June 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


That's nice. (And the point of this is.....?)
posted by Ideefixe at 10:08 AM on June 18, 2011 [3 favorites]


Um...They're all songs my grandmother would love?
posted by Thorzdad at 10:10 AM on June 18, 2011


I couldn't remember the tune for "If You Asked Me To" until I turned it on, and instantly it all came back to me- it's one of those songs my mother would be singing along to in the kitchen or the car, loud and barely on-pitch. Fond memories!
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 10:12 AM on June 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


You can't really talk about 80s and 90s mainstream pop or stand in line at a Walgreens or sit in a dental office waiting room without talking about Diane Warren, for better or worse. "Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now."
posted by blucevalo at 10:15 AM on June 18, 2011 [3 favorites]


That's pretty impressive.
posted by shakespeherian at 10:22 AM on June 18, 2011


Looking through the catalogue of Diane Warren songs, there are a lot that I despise, but I must also admit that there are a couple of her tunes that so captivated me that I'd listen to them even though they were by artists I normally wouldn't give a second glance (if that convoluted sentence made any sense). To clarify, despite all the controversy I fould a lot of Milli Vanilli's songs very catchy and listenable. But Michael Bolton? Blech. Couldn't pay me to listen to him. But then I happened to hear this song on the radio that really resonated with me for some reason - "Time, Love and Tenderness." And I still love that song. It's not the lyrics or any special message, it's the overall sound of it. Maybe I'm a "melody" person, I dunno - anyone have a scientific explanation why a person could love one song by an artist whose overall catalogue leaves them absolutely cold? The same goes for Taylor Dane's "I'll Be Your Shelter" (another Warren composition) - her other hits annoyed me but I really liked this tune.
posted by Oriole Adams at 10:24 AM on June 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


She also wrote the theme to Star Trek: Enterprise which actually wasn't the worst thing about that show.
posted by octothorpe at 10:25 AM on June 18, 2011 [7 favorites]


That's pretty impressive.

Allow me to Godwin this thread and say that The Blitzkrieg was impressive.

Full disclosure: I endured the 80s from the trenches, an artist and a DJ who couldn't help but breathe and be toxified by the pollution caused by such dreck as that which was made from Ms. Warren's compositions. It was everywhere. It was impossible to avoid. It caused the deaths of untold millions (metaphorically speaking).
posted by philip-random at 10:28 AM on June 18, 2011 [4 favorites]


I recently commissioned a song from Paul & Storm, for which the instruction to them was to create the sort of end-credits power ballad that Diane Warren cranks out with appalling regularity. They immediately understood what was being asked of them. Which for better or worse says something about the Diane Warren oeuvre.
posted by jscalzi at 10:31 AM on June 18, 2011 [11 favorites]


The obvious question becomes -- how can she be stopped?
posted by webmutant at 10:32 AM on June 18, 2011 [5 favorites]


The obvious question becomes -- how can she be stopped?

Hope that she's stupid enough to invade Russia?
posted by philip-random at 10:33 AM on June 18, 2011 [6 favorites]


Is this the easy listening thread that Astro Zombie was referring to?
posted by PeterMcDermott at 10:34 AM on June 18, 2011


I like most of those songs, so there.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 10:37 AM on June 18, 2011 [7 favorites]


The saddest thing is that there was a time in the 70s when Aerosmith was a downright nasty hard rock band.

PUSH-BACK AGAINST THE SNARK SOON TO COME

Amen.. I was a fan of Aerosmith from the pre-Pump days, when they were known as a great bluesy hard rock band... recently got my hands on a beautiful copy of Toys In The Attic on vinyl and damn they were good.. too bad Aerosmith didn't ALWAYS play Like This. For that reason, Don't Wanna Miss A Thing always made me want to puke in my mouth.

HOWEVER, with regard to all the pissing and moaning in general, these are mostly just GOOD SONGS. The measure of a songwriter is that these songs would be as good in different contexts because the songs themselves are good. When you're a songwriter and some band hires you to write a song, it's not like you would produce the thing and make it sound like Milli Vanilli or Aerosmith or whoever. Can you imagine "Blame It on the Rain" being sung as a jazz tune by Shirley Horn? You could completely change the feel, timing, orchestration and speed of a song without changing the actual content of the SONG.

Songs don't matter as much in pop music anymore, at least to pop acts such as Lady Gaga or Rihanna. If you just think of the songs Telephone or S&M, even on the prosody level they're laughable, not to mention melodic or harmonic content.

And to people who would say well it's like comparing apples and oranges because Gaga and Rihanna are just for people to dance and have a good time and enjoy it, well that's pop music and all of the above songs were pop music too. Same exact thing. There has simply been a vast drop in quality.

Pissing and moaning about the production value of some of these 80s and 90s gems is one thing, but realize in about 15 years people will look back on bands like Arcade Fire and think similar things, except nobody is going to give a crap about their songs by then. A good songwriter who can write for so many different types of bands and groups is worth their weight in gold. Look at how much money she made for all those people.. ridiculous. She's probably loaded, and good for her!
posted by ReeMonster at 10:38 AM on June 18, 2011 [5 favorites]


Yeah, well, fuck Dianne Warren then.
posted by Scoo at 10:43 AM on June 18, 2011


I actually think Diane Warren is the modern-day equivalent of Irving Berlin: no real "style" other than a general, somewhat formulaic pop sound, which she is able to produce quite regularly.
posted by MattMangels at 10:43 AM on June 18, 2011


Which is not to knock her, by the way. Believe it or not it still takes talent to produce "dreck".
posted by MattMangels at 10:45 AM on June 18, 2011


Love will Lead You Back
I'd Lie for You
I Get Weak
Who Will You Run To?

The phrase "crap factory" comes to mind.

Given the fact that her songs probably constitute a good 25% of all Adult Contemporary radio airtime for the last 20 years, this lady must be a billionaire.
posted by Sys Rq at 10:46 AM on June 18, 2011 [3 favorites]


What's fascinating to me about Diane Warren is she maintains she doesn't understand love and has never been in love herself and doesn't really care to be. By her own admission, she's never been involved with anyone romantically and doesn't ever intend to be.

But cheesy love songs (which I will admit to liking considerably in moderation) has made her famous. Without knowing much more about her (she seems to be a pretty private person), I wonder if she's a real life, and female, version of the Jack Nicholson character from "As Good as It Gets."
posted by zizzle at 10:53 AM on June 18, 2011 [14 favorites]


What's fascinating to me about Diane Warren is she maintains she doesn't understand love and has never been in love herself and doesn't really care to be. By her own admission, she's never been involved with anyone romantically and doesn't ever intend to be.

Perhaps any sort of understanding of the real-world complexity of human relationships would be a hindrance, rather than a help, to writing love ballads (or romantic comedies or greeting cards, for that matter).
posted by acb at 10:57 AM on June 18, 2011 [3 favorites]


Diane Warren:Music = Coors Light:Beer
posted by tommasz at 11:01 AM on June 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


Also, Marshall Crenshaw - "Some Hearts".
posted by davebush at 11:02 AM on June 18, 2011


Met her in an elevator in L.A. once. Only reason I know it was her was because the guy we were with cracked a lewd joke in her direction - at which she flashed a wan smile - and then proceeded to proudly tell us who she was after she exited. Good luck to her and her success I reckon.
posted by Duug at 11:02 AM on June 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


What's fascinating to me about Diane Warren is she maintains she doesn't understand love and has never been in love herself and doesn't really care to be.

A critic, the saying goes, is like a eunuch in a harem. They know how it's done, they've seen it done every day and they can tell you all about it, but they can't do it themselves.

You reminded me of that just now and if it's true, it really seems kind of sad.
posted by mhoye at 11:02 AM on June 18, 2011


Aside from the Aerosmith, I thought this would be another Frank Farian post. Huh.
posted by elizardbits at 11:11 AM on June 18, 2011


I like Dianne Warren songs. They are great for singing at karaoke like a drunken teenage Neil Diamond.

Bad English - When I see You Smile
Tina Turner - Don't Turn Around (which you might know by the Ace of Base version)
posted by 23skidoo at 11:13 AM on June 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm of two minds. Either Toni Braxton, Patti LaBelle, Celine, Cher and the like make her songs sound better than they really are OR her songs really might be that great and that is why great singers use them. The optimist in me is choosing for the latter.

Songwriters don't get a lot of props. People think of them as bashful Cyranos, but it's a craft like any other.
posted by acheekymonkey at 11:13 AM on June 18, 2011


Oh man, so many of these are the musical equivalent of pale pink wall paint applied with a sponge.
posted by The Whelk at 11:13 AM on June 18, 2011 [16 favorites]


ReeMonster, your point would be better served by using a different example. "Blame it on the Rain" is not a "GOOD SONG." I can't imagine it being done in any style that would redeem it. The lyrics are crap, the melody is typical and boring, it even does one of those pop-cliche octave changes once it gets too boring even for top 40 radio.
posted by Hoopo at 11:16 AM on June 18, 2011


tommasz: "Diane Warren:Music = Coors Light:Beer"

So you're saying it's not terribly good, but it's better than at least some of the other shit that graces the shelves?
posted by wierdo at 11:28 AM on June 18, 2011


If you want to hear the guys from "South Park" and one of the guys from "Avenue Q" do their take on Diane Warren songs, their new musical "Book of Mormon" has a second act song called "Baptize Me" that is not only funny in its own right but is also a great song style parody.

(You might remember that Matt and Trey did an earlier take on her songs in their film "Team America: World Police" with "Only a Woman".)
posted by Asparagirl at 11:37 AM on June 18, 2011 [4 favorites]


I didn't have much use for her songs back in the day; "Rhythm of the Night" was the fluffiest, bubble-gummiest, most saccharine song, even in the context of The Last Dragon, possibly not only the most 80s movie ever, but the most 80s movie imaginable. I had zero use for "Faith of the Heart", but I blame its inclusion in Enterprise on Brannon Braga and Rick Berman, who were clearly just spinning their wheels.

So imagine my surprise when I bought "Just Like Jesse James" a few months back. The most blatant, ridiculous overuse of penis-as-gun metaphor, it completely puts Pat Benatar's "Hit Me With Your Best Shot" to shame... but it's fun.

Gah, maybe I'm just getting old. Stay gold, Ponyboy.
posted by Halloween Jack at 11:48 AM on June 18, 2011


The contrarian rage is fierce in here. Phew. It's generally easier to be walking around in a [insert your favorite local chain big-box store here] and to surrender my will to live to a Diane Warren tune than it is to will.i.am's or Katy Perry's latest confection -- that's for sure.

"I Get Weak." "Just Like Jesse James."
posted by blucevalo at 11:58 AM on June 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


it completely puts Pat Benatar's "Hit Me With Your Best Shot" to shame... but it's fun.

Nothing puts "Hit Me with Your Best Shot" to shame. If you want to talk overblown yet perfect 80s pop/rock, Pat Benatar is the queen of it. (Although there are so many candidates it's a crowded stage.)
posted by blucevalo at 12:01 PM on June 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


To quote Cintra Wilson from her review of the 2002 Oscars: "Diane Warren is the SWORN ENEMY OF ALL MUSIC."
posted by foldedfish at 12:08 PM on June 18, 2011 [8 favorites]


The saddest thing is that there was a time in the 70s when Aerosmith was a downright nasty hard rock band.

No one is as nasty as they were in the 70s. An Iggy Pop song is used to advertise a cruise line for crying out loud.
posted by It's Never Lurgi at 12:10 PM on June 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


I face the predicament here that if I wanted a song to express the heart-swelling, unbridled passion with which I hate each and every Diane Warren song, or the sadness I feel whenever one plays, I might ask her to write it.

Then it would sell like hotcakes and when she heard it on the radio she would spontaneously combust.
posted by Clyde Mnestra at 12:38 PM on June 18, 2011 [3 favorites]


Award Bait Song [warning: TVTropes]
posted by NMcCoy at 12:49 PM on June 18, 2011


Wow, so much depressing, god-awful, and ubiquitous music. The pinnacle of advertisements for Prozac or Suicide.
posted by lslelel at 12:59 PM on June 18, 2011 [4 favorites]


Pop music sucks.
posted by Moistener at 1:07 PM on June 18, 2011


Award Bait Song [warning: TVTropes]

I am flabbergasted that that article has not one mention of the granddaddy of all Oscar-winning schmalz ballads, "Up Where We Belong."
posted by Sys Rq at 1:13 PM on June 18, 2011


...er, except where it does...
posted by Sys Rq at 1:14 PM on June 18, 2011


I'm surprised to find that "end-credits power ballad" while doesn't turn up a lot of hits in so many words, the general idea is out there. Mr. Scalzi's tubery is the first hit.
posted by George_Spiggott at 1:21 PM on June 18, 2011


In case you missed it from the Wikipedia link above about Diane Warren:

She's actually more like the Emily Dickinson of Pop. As in the case of the great nineteenth-century reclusive New England poet known for her simple yet eloquent verses, Warren leads a life focused almost entirely on her art.
—Alanna Nash, Good Housekeeping, 1998


A Clock stopped-IF I COULD TURN BACK TIIIIIME
posted by Clyde Mnestra at 1:23 PM on June 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


A listing on Wikipedia of her songs.

This woman must be richer than god.
posted by Grimgrin at 1:25 PM on June 18, 2011


When anyone tells me that Kraft Foods is America's largest producer of cheese, I say, "no, Diane Warren."
posted by oneswellfoop at 1:29 PM on June 18, 2011 [4 favorites]


When anyone tells me that Kraft Foods is America's largest producer of cheese, I say, "no, Diane Warren."

Wait, Kraft Foods made Diane Warren?
posted by Clyde Mnestra at 1:33 PM on June 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


We get it. You all only listen to music that nobody's heard of because it hasn't been written yet.
posted by madcaptenor at 1:45 PM on June 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


We get it. You all only listen to music that nobody's heard of because it hasn't been written yet.

Believe it or not, there are actually a lot of songs that are neither lowest-common-denominator pop pap nor hipsters-only obscurities. This is a genre called "most music," which even includes many songs by the above-mentioned artists.
posted by Sys Rq at 1:55 PM on June 18, 2011 [5 favorites]


Believe it or not, not all comments on metafilter should be interpreted literally.
posted by madcaptenor at 1:57 PM on June 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


I understand that. I took your comment to be an extreme exaggeration of actual sentiment.

It is the actual sentiment I take issue with.
posted by Sys Rq at 2:05 PM on June 18, 2011 [4 favorites]


Wow ... I'd completely forgotten about the 1987 US#1 that proved that even Jefferson Airplane could be seduced onto the dark side.
posted by Twang at 2:57 PM on June 18, 2011


I blame Society.

it's an 80s thing
posted by philip-random at 3:06 PM on June 18, 2011


Wow ... I'd completely forgotten about the 1987 US#1 that proved that even Jefferson Airplane could be seduced onto the dark side.

Are you being sarcastic? Starship had "We Built This City" and "Sara", and Jefferson Starship had "Miracles," before Diane commenced with them. As ever, she must be invited in before she feeds.
posted by Clyde Mnestra at 3:30 PM on June 18, 2011 [5 favorites]


Songs don't matter as much in pop music anymore, at least to pop acts such as Lady Gaga

maybe you should have picked another artist, but gaga writes a fair share of big melodic pieces. she also writes dance music - sometimes, she proves that the dance music is actually a girl and her piano tarted up.
posted by nadawi at 3:40 PM on June 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


She also wrote the theme to Star Trek: Enterprise which actually wasn't the worst thing about that show.

Sad but true.
posted by jeoc at 4:17 PM on June 18, 2011


the theme to Star Trek: Enterprise which actually wasn't the worst thing about that show.

Given that it was bad enough to stop me from watching it, it was in some sense the best thing about the show.
posted by George_Spiggott at 4:45 PM on June 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


So...how close is she to EGOTing?
posted by maryr at 5:40 PM on June 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


Get her writing for Rebecca Black, STAT!
posted by bwg at 5:43 PM on June 18, 2011


Get her writing for Rebecca Black, STAT!

You mean she isn't already?
posted by philip-random at 6:46 PM on June 18, 2011


Jesus christ, she even wrote a song for Apocalyptica.

My head will never stop asploding.
posted by palmcorder_yajna at 9:39 PM on June 18, 2011


Adding */diane warren/*$music,$videos,match-authorship to AdBlock Plus for Reality.
posted by benzenedream at 11:20 PM on June 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


I liked her stuff when I was a kid, but 'subtle' has never been in my vocabulary. Can't say I see the point of this post, though it may inspire me to make an epic one about Jim Steinman.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 12:30 AM on June 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


Also, Don't Wanna Miss A Thing is the first song I ever slow-danced to.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 12:30 AM on June 19, 2011


I liked her stuff when I was a kid, but 'subtle' has never been in my vocabulary. Can't say I see the point of this post, though it may inspire me to make an epic one about Jim Steinman.

The difference with Steinman is that while his songs are also totally sappy, there are bugs in the sap.

Whereas Warren's songs are all "We belong together" and "Gee, love is great!" and "We are so not broken up," Steinman's are all "I like you, I guess, but I don't like you like you" and "I thought I made it perfectly clear that we were just fooling around" and "Okay, fine, you can get on my motorcycle, but I can't promise not to intentionally drive it off a cliff...and maybe--just maybe--our ghosts could go out some time, but that's really the only way I can see us ever getting together, to be perfectly honest."

The genius of Steinman is that his songs sound like mushy love songs, when at best they're ambivalent towards love, if not outright disdainful of the whole concept. His protagonists are picky, because they've had love and lost it, and don't want to go through that again if they can help it. It's totally romanticized and over the top, to be sure, but it's at least somewhat substantial.

Warren's lyrics, in sharp contrast, just read like the gushing diary entries of a tween with a crush.
posted by Sys Rq at 1:49 AM on June 19, 2011 [8 favorites]


I never really thought of Steinman as writing love songs. He writes epics and anthems, like Jungleland with any subtly removed. I love him, without irony or snark.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 3:06 AM on June 19, 2011


She also wrote the theme to Star Trek: Enterprise which actually wasn't the worst thing about that show.

No, but it was close. A non-Trekfan friend of mine's comment was that "it sounds like a GM commercial."
posted by Philofacts at 3:10 AM on June 19, 2011


philip-random's link is NSFW. Be ye forewarned.
posted by pxe2000 at 5:05 AM on June 19, 2011


Whatever, she wrote "I Get Weak" and the above mentioned "Rythm of the Night" that makes her ok in my book.
posted by Ad hominem at 5:16 AM on June 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


She's actually more like the Emily Dickinson of Pop. As in the case of the great nineteenth-century reclusive New England poet known for her simple yet eloquent verses, Warren leads a life focused almost entirely on her art.

I'm still spluttering with outrage at this comparison. Even though I like some of Warren's songs.
posted by bardophile at 12:27 PM on June 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


Jesus christ, she even wrote a song for Apocalyptica.

Oh, man, the sensitive head shaking those guys are doing along with their vibrato is priceless.
posted by ignignokt at 1:24 PM on June 19, 2011


I think it's telling that of all the songs listed in her wiki entry, the column with the most titles is the one that begins with "I".
posted by readyfreddy at 8:23 PM on June 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


So, hearing that she lives a reclusive life, wanted to be a songwriter since she was 7, was a juvenile delinquent, got Ds and Fs in high school (except the semester when she got all As and Bs so her dad would buy her a guitar), avoids blaming her mom for discouraging her from living her dream, and has never been in love -- it all made me really want to relate to her. I went through part of her catalog yesterday looking for something that I could listen to. I googled "diane warren punk cover," testing the theory that her music translates into any genre (I only found the bad New Found Glory cover of that aerosmith song, so, no). Sadly, I didn't find anything I could listen to for long.

To the contrary, not only did I have to turn off most songs very quickly, many songs reminded me of something specific that I hated growing up: the mall, sex-ed class, makeup, the classroom trailers. Love Will Lead You Back in particular was somehow like being back to hating junior high and particularly those girls who crowded the mirror after gym class, using their curling irons to create elaborate and delicate hair sculptures. I got light-headed from their hairspray hearing the song now.

It seems ironic that someone who seems to (have) be(en) somewhat disaffected created songs that concretize all my own adolescent disaffection. I wish I could reconcile these. Perhaps I can imagine that she realized that everything was bullshit and that she ought to harvest as much money from the mainstream as possible. Diane, you are rich enough, you've proved yourself! Write music for the people who see through it all now!

/ loner 13 year old
posted by salvia at 8:24 PM on June 19, 2011 [4 favorites]


That's crazy. I had no idea she wrote all that crappy music. Blame it on the rain? I love that silly song.
posted by Flex1970 at 1:06 PM on June 20, 2011


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