One of my many peculiarities (yes, it’s true) is that I can tell you what my favorite movie is (2004’s ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND, with Jim Carrey);what my favorite TV show is (CHEERS); my favorite band (INXS); my favorite singer (the incomparable Cyndi Lauper); and, my favorite song (Simple Minds’ 1985 gem, “Don’t You (Forget About Me),” from THE BREAKFAST CLUB; but, for whatever reason, I can’t tell you what my favorite album is.
Sure, I have many albums I consider favorites, and many of those are 80s albums I’m certain I’ll feature here at some point in the blog as “album of the week,” such as Duran Duran’s RIO, Cyndi’s SHE’S SO UNUSUAL, INXS’ SHABOOH SHOOBAH, The Hooters’ NERVOUS NIGHT and Prince’s SIGN “O” THE TIMES. But, I never got around to calling any album my favorite. It’s weird, I know, but that’s me. At the very least, I can share some of those favorites with you here. My goal is to highlight an album a week, so let’s begin.
I’ve always admired the work of Academy Award-nominated filmmaker David Lynch, although I wouldn’t call myself a huge fan. When TWIN PEAKS debuted in April 1990, some of my friends immediately fell in love with it, couldn’t stop raving about it. At the time, I couldn’t get into it. I’d love to revisit the series again before the next incarnation comes out in 2017. Maybe the second time around will do it for me. The one connection I still have to TWIN PEAKS, and have had before the show ever started, was its theme song, “Falling.”
“Falling” was co-written by David Lynch and composer Angelo Badalamenti (Lynch’s go-to film composer). The vocal version of “Falling” was by a Dream Pop singer by the name of Julee Cruise, someone I had never heard of. I’m not entirely sure of how the music of Julee Cruise entered my life – perhaps it was a cassette owned by my French roommate during the first semester I started my second bout with college in January 1990, or maybe it was the 13 watts of alternative power of the mighty WUMF, the college radio station at the University of Maine at Farmington, whose memorable slogan was, “Because it always gets worse from here…” I am sure of this, though – the music of Julee Cruise will never leave my life, her debut album in particular.
FLOATING INTO THE NIGHT is among the first CDs I ever purchased (as some people did in the late 80s and early 90s), and it’s still with me today. I revisit it often. David Lynch composed all of the lyrics to the 10 songs that appear on the album, and Angelo Badalamenti composed the music. And Julee Cruise provided her dreamy vocals against the lush, celestial musical backdrop. It is an infectious album, still, more than a quarter century later.
I can’t tell you how many times I fell asleep to this beautiful album, and I mean that in the highest regard. From the first notes of the album’s opener, “Floating,” I was hooked. Then there was “Falling,” the gorgeous alt-pop gem that actually reached No. 1 in Australia more than a year after its original release on FLOATING INTO THE NIGHT, no doubt due to its popularity as the vocal version of the TWINS PEAKS theme. It also reached the Top 10 in the U.K., Ireland, Norway and Sweden.
Every song on the album is incredible, but the ones that stand out for me include the playful single “Rockin’ Back Inside My Heart”; “Mysteries Of Love,” which was featured in Lynch’s 1986 film, BLUE VELVET; the quiet and amazingly haunting “Into The Night” (replete with a kick-ass unexpected surprise three-quarters of the way through); and, the album’s simple and lovely closer, “The World Spins,” whose lyrics plead, “Love, don’t go away / Come back this way / Come back and stay / Forever and ever. Please stay…” And I did stay; I did stay madly in love with this album.
Julee Cruise would work with David Lynch and Angelo Badalamenti again on an Elvis Presley cover of “Summer Kisses, Winter Tears” for the soundtrack to the 1991 Wim Wenders film, UNTIL THE END OF THE WORLD. After that, she did some acting, collaborated with artists such as Bobby McFerrin, Delirium and Moby, and released 3 more albums between 1993 and 2011.
It was her vocal presence on FLOATING INTO THE NIGHT, though, that keeps Julee Cruise close to my music heart (with many thanks to the lush collaboration with David Lynch and Angelo Badalamenti). If you don’t already own this magical album, you should pick up a physical or digital copy, and try falling asleep to it. I guaRONtee you’ll be floating into the night…