Story of My Life – Jason Donovan
It’s probably going to do my musical credibility no harm whatsoever to announce that recently a Jason Donovan track has catapulted its way into my “top ten favourite songs ever” chart. (Obviously it will do no harm because I don’t have any.)
But yes, I recently had the fortune to stumble upon “Story of My Life” which, it turns out, was the B-side to “Rhythm of the Rain” back in 1991.
“Rain” of course was a slighty pointless cover (nice vocal, nice arrangement etc, just brought nothing new to the track) but its B-side is something else entirely. It’s even featured in TV Cream’s Top 100 B-Sides, amazingly beating the Human League’s “Non Stop” and Yazoo’s “Winter Kills” in the rankings.
I’ve never been a winner, I’m a champion loser,
Good at getting things wrong.
I’m the guy, when it gets romantic, forgets the words to the song.
The best pop songs are miserable of course. This is an Undisputable Fact (TM) against which I will Brook No Argument (TM). And “Story of My Life” is particularly sombre and self-pitying. It’s a morose slab of “my life just pretty much sucks – you’d have to be insane to go out with me” which suggests that someone really needs to slap him and tell him to pull his act together.
And by the way, if you’re looking for sunshine I ain’t the luckiest one.
If you come with me, there’d be cloud in the desert
Or a total eclipse of the sun.
But misery is not all you need. It’s better yet if the words are disguised within a catchy upbeat little number. “I Should Be So Lucky” for example, for all its catchy, irritating bounce is a wrist-slittingly melancholic tale of unrequited lust. “Story of My Life” is dressed up in some of the least PWL-like production I’ve heard.
Opening with a wailing guitar and underpinned with some determinedly “Madchester” beats, pianos and horns you’d hardly recognise it as a Stock Aitken Waterman song. It’s more typically baggy 90s than PWL ever managed before.
Baby, I’m so clever at coming in second – In fact, I’m second to none.
If they had a chart for the broken-hearted you know I’d be number one.
The chorus is, to be fair, slender. It’s just a repetition of the words “and that’s the story of my life”. Add in a couple of “woahs” and go up at the end on the repeat and you’re done. Not so much a chorus as a chant – Phil Oakey would be proud. Still, if that makes you feel a bit short-changed you also get a middle eight and a heroic axe solo courtsey of Matt Aitken.
It’s madness, madness I tell you. It sounds at once utterly unlike any other S/A/W track and you get the feeling they should have done more odd fusion styles (if only for their own amusement).
Even better as far as I’m concerned… there’s an extended mix too!
I’m in retro-heaven.