Intensities in Ten Suburbs

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Don’t You Forget About Me: Ricky Martin’s “She’s All I Ever Had”

Posted by Andrew Unterberger on January 17, 2007

Don’t You Forget About Me realizes that the memory of the general public is not limitless, still, there are plenty of works that have fallen through the cracks of popular consciousness that deserve at least one more glance before being forgotten completely, this column hopes to remind you about some of them.

People tend to remember three Ricky Martin songs, each for fairly independent reasons–“Livin’ La Vida Loca” (because it was his first and best song), “Shake Your Bon Bon” (because it was called “Shake Your Bon Bon” and had Ricky obeying his own commands in the video) and “She Bangs” (because some guy might’ve done a not-so-good cover of it on TV or something). And, if you happen to be from another country or for some reason actually care about soccer, than all of these are dwarved by Ricky’s ’98 World Cup Anthem, “The Cup of Life” (or as you might remember it from commercials of the time, “HERE! WE! GO! OLE OLE OLE!!!). You’re not terribly likely to hear any of these songs anywhere anymore–1999 is starting to feel like a long time ago, and in all actuality, it was–but your average person can probably still hum a few bars from each. By contrast, Ricky’s 1999 follow-up to “Loca,” “She’s All I Ever Had,” has more or less fallen by the wayside. Though it was a much bigger hit at the time, going all the way to #2 in 1999, by far his highest non-“Loca” charter, it lacked the cultural cachet of “Loca,” the catchphrase appeal of “Bon Bon” or the novelty of “She Bangs,” and as such, is rarely discussed or played on the radio.

In fact, I had not heard it since it was popular until it came on the 90s station of my XM a few weeks ago. A friend of mine has this theory about songs that were at one point immensely popular, that they have a statute of limitations from the time that they’re so popular that you can’t stand to listen to them anymore to the time when it becomes OK, and yes, even pleasurable to listen to them again. This period tends to last somewhere between five and ten years, depending on both the quality of the song and how much it was originally played. Recent examples of songs whose statute has passed, we agree, include The Corrs’ “Breathless,” Natalie Imbruglia’s “Torn” and Third Eye Blind’s “Never Let You Go” (the statute on “Semi-Charmed Life” having passed several years ago).

Well, I’m adding “She’s All I Ever Had” to the list of the recently exempt. I had very little love for this song when it was first released, and I’m surprised that I can stand it at all now (especially considering it was written by Jon Secada, who’s never done anything I consider remotely tolerable). But I really dig the production on this–the thunderous drums before the chrous kicks in, Ricky’s gorgeous (self-?)harmonizing on that big second “HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAD,” and of course, that great sitar hook that opens and closes the songg, which makes you wonder why the instrument isn’t used on ever latin-pop crossover ballad (Enrique Iglesias, looking in your direction). It’s a big production, for sure, but it’s not too big, and it fits the grandiosity of the song just fine. Considering the amount of shitty songs of its ilk that plagued the pop charts at the turn of the century, in retrospect it definitely seems like a bright spot of the genre and time. Here’s hoping some Asian dude does an awful rendition of it on Idol this year.


3 Responses to “Don’t You Forget About Me: Ricky Martin’s “She’s All I Ever Had””

  1. bb said


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  3. remi said


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