Do you know Ava Max? I don’t. Neither did I, at least until yesterday. I didn’t know anything about the existence of this not-at-all-interesting sub-Lady Gaga. I was still living in a world without Ava Max when me and Mrs. Reznyk, reeking of class and suntan oil, made a bombastic entrance into the Todo Incluido resort’s salon, where we tried to forget the cold and the grayness of Paris. To afford this change of scenery — priceless but not quite — we worked at the beach and the restaurant, just to be part of the mass tourism and the Quintana Roo coastline’s ecological devastation. Moreover, I’m writing this article at the edge of a dreamy swimming pool while I get my cocktails constantly refilled, somewhere between Cancún and Playa del Carmen.
When we arrived, old music videos from the 80s were projected on one of the walls of the bar. Amused by the vintage sound, we decided to seat not too far from the screen. But after having swallowed Pass the Dutchie, When Doves Cry and Words (don’t come easy to me,) the remote control guy decided that enough was enough, and cut FR David without further ado (and without consulting its VIP customers I must say.) This is when things went sour and we got propelled into a turmoil of recent hits, each a bit more unbearable than the previous one.
You may conclude that this contemporary mainstream hits rejection makes me one of those old jerks who whine all day long about the educational and cultural downfall, or more largely, about the mindlessness maker that our civilization has become. After an introspective break (don’t do this at home: getting to know yourself better is the best way to sink into self-hatred), I may confirm that this is exactly who I am today. I became my grandfather, sitting at the end of his table with all his crosswords, ranting in front of his tv from dawn to dusk.
So, we were bombarded by this gigantic screen with Nicki Minaj, Ed Sheeran, Miley Cyrus, and of course, the all-famous Ava Max. Despite my best efforts, my psychic defenses were unable to fend off the decibels of the musical diarrhea of her Kings & Queens. So I numbly listened to this re-run mix of melodies, and my reptilian brain immediately spotted a well-identified DNA sequence. Nope! He still didn’t dare. He hasn’t dared yet!
In 1986, Desmond Child, a brilliant hitmaker with an impressive list of mainstream rock hits, was commissioned by Bonnie Tyler’s producer to write an androgyny-themed song — whose verses have to sound like Tina Turner, the B Section has to sound like Police or U2 and the chorus has to sound like Bruce Springsteen. — It is from these ambitious specifications that If You Were a Woman (And I Was a Man) was born. I supposed you all remember this for in France the title ranked among the top and was somewhat successful. Despite all these accomplishments, Desmond is far from being happy with his song’s flop in the English and American charts. France’s success is not enough to honor such a catchy chorus.
This is the exact moment when fate (behind Paul Stanley’s makeup) put the all-mighty Jon Bon Jovi on his way. And there you go. In the blink of an eye, this unfairly-shunned song was given away to the Italian stallion from New Jersey — with the freshly added new lyrics tinged with the sweet smell of revenge: shot through the heart, and you’re to blame, you give love a bad name. This song immediately hits the top billboard and cements the beginning of a long and fruitful collaboration — a true victory for shenanigans.
And what about Bonnie will you say? Isn’t she the pigeon of this history (as much as we are?) She found her payback a few months later when the hitmaker made a full album for her — even when the budget was signed for only three titles. Classy, isn’t it? Business is business. Bon-Jovi-wise, we all know the end of the story: Desmond and Jon ultimately gave birth to the iconic living on a prayer — whose characters Tommy and Gina were directly inspired by Child and his former partner Maria Vidal. But that’s another story that we’ll discuss another time.
So, let’s go back to our young Ava, this lovely peroxide-haired starlet who feels 100% Albanian and who has most likely never set a foot in Albania. So why does the chorus of the If You Were a Woman comes back again for the third time to this girl-power flavored instant soup? Haven’t we suffered enough as it is? Can’t we respect anything in this world where creativity seems dead and buried, only to be exhumed by grave thieves?
By consulting the stats of Kings & Queens, I saw that Desmond Child was credited along with eight other songwriters. Nine dudes to write this crap! Utterly mind-blowing… It is hard to say whether Child was actively participating, or was merely covered in a somewhat consented way. We’re not going to deep dive on it, but Ava Max’s interviews posted on our rock legend’s Facebook account definitely rule out the musical auto plagiarism hypothesis. Because yes, you do feel it. The time has come to ask the real question: can we forgive this purely scandalous double self-plagiarism?
Although our Desmond is a nice-I-want-to-hug-you guy, we can’t play coy and be ungrateful for his job. True, we did waive those shameful cooperations with Ricky Martin, Tokyo Hotel, and even the Frenchy boys band 2be3. We’re running out of patience. But one thing is certain: us, the connaisseurs, owe him a hell of our basics track-list: I Was Made For Lovin’ You, Heaven’s on Fire (Kiss), Heart’s Done Time, Dude (Looks Like a Lady ), Angel, What it Takes, Crazy (Aerosmith), Livin’ on a Prayer, Bad Medicine, Keep the Faith, This Ain’t a Love Song (Bon Jovi), Poison, Bed of Nails (Alice Cooper), I Hate Myself for Loving You (Joan Jett) and so on.
So, I’m telling you Desmond, in the name of all you’ve done for our generation, I’m giving you absolution, once more…
But hear me out, this is truly the last time.