Spotlight Album Review #13

Reviewed on this page:

Candy was a quartet of young L.A. power-popsters from the '80's hair-band era, whose members included guitarist Gilby Clarke (later of Guns N' Roses and Rock Star Supernova) and vocalist/pianist Kyle Vincent (who is now a solo artist). Candy's chief songwriter was bassist Jonathan Daniel, who later formed Electric Angels with drummer John Schubert. Although Candy existed from 1981 until 1987, they released only one album, Whatever Happened To Fun..., in 1985. Candy didn't achieve much widespread success in their day, but they have acquired a posthumous following. Their album is currently out of print in the U.S., but it was reissued on CD in the U.K. on the Rock Candy label in 2012.

Whatever Happened To Fun... very much resembles an album by the Raspberries, updated just slightly for its decade. (The production is credited to "Teeth", a pseudonym for ex-Raspberries producer Jimmy Ienner; ex-Raspberries guitarist Wally Bryson is credited as the musical director). Daniel's lyrics convey the growing pains of L.A. teenagers who see the end of their youthful party years coming, and are confronting the realities of adulthood. The songs may not exactly be upbeat beneath the surface, but the pleasant power pop sound and the innocence of Vincent's vocals make them sound like they are. This album embodies a seemingly long-lost era, when rock and roll was about having fun instead of being miserable. In the age of post-grunge angst, this album's title has become a good question indeed. The lyrics of the title track and "Last Radio Show" actually seem to predict the negativity which would permeate rock music in the '90's and beyond. Purveyors of contemporary joylessness might do well to learn a lesson from Whatever Happened To Fun.... While the songs here do acknowledge the pains of growing up and of falling in and out of love, those things are not portrayed as if they signal the end of the world. In fact, Whatever Happened To Fun... could easily serve as an escape from such worries, instead of as a means to wallow obsessively in them. Wasn't that the reason we used to listen to music?

Track Listing:

1. American Kix
2. Turn It Up Loud
3. Whatever Happened To Fun...
4. Last Radio Show
5. Kids In The City
6. Weekend Boy
7. First Time
8. Electric Nights
9. Lonely Hearts

Over a decade-and-a-half after Candy's demise, a collection of rare and unreleased tracks was released on Vincent's SongTree label. Teenage Neon Jungle contains six studio tracks produced by Kim Fowley, four of which are alternate versions of tracks from the proper album. These versions rock a bit harder than the ones on Fun, emphasizing the power in the power pop equation. Other pieces of Candy contained within this piņata include the band's first demo from '81, three-and-a-half live recordings from '85 (which are closer in sound to the Fowley-produced tracks than to the album), two tracks re-recorded by the briefly reunited quartet in '02, one solo track apiece from Clarke and Vincent, and one track apiece from two of Daniel's and Schubert's post-Candy offshoots. (The tracks labeled as "Stuff" each contain a few seconds from radio broadcasts in which the band was mentioned). Teenage Neon Jungle is now available as an mp3 download. So, until and unless Fun is widely reissued, Jungle is a more easily obtainable souvenir of Candy's existence, and it sheds more light on the band's reputation.

Track Listing:

1. Intro
2. Whatever Happened To Fun
3. Stuff
4. First Time
5. Turn It Up Loud (recorded live in Houston, TX '85)
6. Kids In The City (recorded live at the Palace, Hollywood, CA '85)
7. Stuff
8. The Girl I Love
9. Weekend Boy
10. Champagne
11. Stuff
12. She Loves You (recorded live at the Palace, Hollywood, CA '85)
13. Stuff
14. Lonely Hearts
15. Electric Nights
16. Number One
17. Daddy is a Jet (first Candy demo, '81)
18. Sound of a Broken Heart
19. Turn It Up Loud '03
20. War Is Over - by Electric Angels
21. Crocodile Tears - by Gilby Clarke (from Rubber)
22. You Will Dance Again - by Kyle Vincent (from Solitary Road)
23. The Return of the X-Girlfriend - by The Loveless (from A Tale of Gin & Salvation)
24. The Last Radio Show '03/'85 Live
25. Outro

See also Electric Angels , The Loveless , Kyle Vincent


Other Spotlight Album Reviews:

#1: Sigur Ros - "Von" (1997)

#2: Various Artists - "Concerts For The People Of Kampuchea" (1981)

#3: Gerry Goffin - "It Ain't Exactly Entertainment" (1973)

#4: Graces - "Perfect View" (1989)

#5: Genesis - "Calling All Stations" (1997)

#6: hindu love gods (1990)

#7: Various Artists - "Message To Love: The Isle Of Wight Festival 1970" (1996)

#8: Distractions - "Nobody's Perfect" (1980)

#9: Deconstruction (1994)

#10: Juicy Groove - "First Taste" (1978)

#11: Emmylou Harris - "Gliding Bird" (1969)

#12: Various Artists - "Beyond The Wildwood: A Tribute To Syd Barrett" (1987)

#14: RTZ - "Return To Zero" (1991)

#15: Klark Kent - "Kollected Works" (1995)

#16: Various Artists - "Rainy Day" (1984)

#17: Alex Chilton - "1970" (1996)

#18: Feist - "Monarch Lay Your Jewelled Head Down" (1999)

#19: Attila (1970)

#20: Slipknot - "Mate. Feed. Kill. Repeat." (1996)

#21: Eyes Adrift (2002)

#22: Stoney and Meatloaf (1971)

#23: Elliott Murphy - "Aquashow" (1973)

#24: Evanescence - "Origin" (2000)