“I Write the Songs” by Barry Manilow

Barry Manilow had his detractors in his day, but they have gradually died out, and today most people are either unreserved fans or at least see him as a guilty pleasure. Of all his signature hits, this is the only one that it still just as widely hated as it ever was. Granted, the tune is sound enough, if admittedly not the equal of the other big Manilow hits, and Manilow performs it quite strongly. Also granted, the problem people have with the lyrics is technically the result of a misinterpretation, but since practically everybody who hears the song is guilty of that misinterpretation, the logical conclusion is that the problem is probably on the original songwriter’s end. The song is supposed to be sung from the perspective of an abstract embodiment of music itself like the Nine Muses from Greek mythology, but it’s not really reasonable to expect the song’s listeners to make that rather bizarre leap in logic. Audiences are always going to take this song at face value as an insanely grandiose boast, and it’s really not their fault so much as the songwriter’s, for coming up with such a contrived conceit for his song in the first place.

Verdict: Bad

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