Jul 30, 2012

Monday Music Duel #7: It's My Life

I thought there'd be a bit more love for Jefferson Airplane last week, but Freddie Mercury and co. swept the floor with those hippies. This week it's 80s bands: one with a song from that decade; another reliving their glory days.

It's My Life by Talk Talk

You may be more familiar with No Doubt's 2003 cover version, but there's no doubt the original, by British synthpop band Talk Talk, is a chilled out New Wave New Romantic classic. It's a mediation on the nature of relationships, and the agony and ecstasy of falling in love. "I've asked myself how much do you/Commit yourself/It's my life/Don't you forget". The minor chord progressions from the verse into the chorus is really quite lovely; with the plaintive cry of "It's my life!" almost tragically beautiful.

The music video is a protest against lip-synching, by way of a nature documentary. Lead singer Mark Hollis is pictured among critters at London Zoo, his mouth obscured by scribbled lines and blocks of black; the rest is all footage of wild animals running about, looking fairly uncommitted, as it were. Not for them the torture of decision. Nope, they just roam free, pooping wildly whenever they choose. No wonder there's so much synth angst in Talk Talk's singing.

It's My Life by Bon Jovi

Bon Jovi is possibly the most enduring of the big-haired 80s-soft-rock bands, and with this 2000 hit, found themselves a whole new fanbase (Apparently. Well, it went number one in a bunch of places, so I guess someone was tuning in). Paying tribute to Tommy and Gina, the lovers from 1986's Livin' On A Prayer, as well as Frank Sinatra, It's My Life is a shout-out to self-control and self-determination. "Tomorrow's getting harder, make no mistake/ Luck, it ain't enough, you've got to make your own breaks".

Accompanied by Jon Bon Jovi's instantly recognisable rough, drawl-y, yell-y vocals and the band's trademark power chords, it's a big stadium rock favourite, played at every concert the band does these days. The video clip is a tribute to Run Lola Run, with Tommy racing his way downtown to join Gina... at a Bon Jovi concert. Yeah. Living their life on their own terms, and that means BON JOVI OR BUST DAMNIT. "It's my life, and it's now or never/I ain't gonna live forever". Lyrical genius, my friends.

Verdict: I'm going to tick tick the Talk Talk box box on this one. As much as I love a camp soft-c**k rock hit; the British romantics are just too cool. But what do you think?


  1. Talk Talk easily wins. The Bon Jovi song just sounds like they threw left over lyrics on top of "Living on a prayer" and said a song is born. Bon Jovi is the American version of Canada's Nickleback.

    For a duel, how about Big County's "In a big county" against Men at Work's "Down Under". :)

  2. I would normally prefer Bon Jovi but it is a weak and crappy song. So Talk Talk by default almost

  3. Sadly, I gave it to Bon Jovi for recognisability, though I might have given it to the No Doubt cover ahead of them. Talk Talk was a bit weak and insipid for mine...

  4. Talk Talk by a freaking mile.

  5. Yeah I'm actually gonna give it to Talk Talk in this match. I have a severe soft sport for Bon Jovi's 80s and early 90s stuff (The line from Wanted Dead or Alive "I've seen a million faces/ and I ROCKED THEM ALL" is the greatest thing ever put to music) But holy crap this song (and everything that followed it) is bad. Talk Talk are at the crest of a wave with their sound; Bon Jovi were desperately paddling to catch something that had loing ago broken.

  6. Albion Love Den summarises it beautifully.

  7. It's got to be Talk Talk, Bon Jovi turned into a one man boy band in the 2000s. I half expected to see Talk Talk up against Dr Alban's 'It's my life' of feminine hygiene product fame!