“Mandy” by Barry Manilow

Of all the acts to dabble in the ‘Weenie Song’ genre, as Dave Barry dubbed it, Barry Manilow seems to be the most tolerated…people still seem a little embarrassed to admit to liking him, but I’m not sure anyone actually dislikes him anymore. In this song’s case, of course, part of that can be credited to the melody—Manilow didn’t actually write this one, but it’s worthy of his famous gift for memorable hooks. But Manilow’s performing style is also a factor. Most ‘Weenie Song’ acts are either bland and oily like Eddie Fisher or Wayne Newton, or histrionic and melodramatic like Dan Hill or Michael Bolton, whereas Manilow manages to sound genuinely sincere without going over-the-top, and has a strange gift for making even the most depressing expressions of heartbreak seem oddly optimistic and comforting. This is why, despite his merely average voice and pronounced Brooklyn accent, Manilow is so popular as a singing performer, having hits with a number of songs he didn’t write and even dabbling in classic standards and showtunes late in his career. This may, in fact, be a ‘weenie song’, but it lacks most of the qualities that generally make people hate this kind of song, and while it wasn’t taken seriously at the time, it holds up surprisingly well today.

Verdict: Good

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