The other night I was trying to watch American Idol, thinking that Idol without Simon Cowell was a bit like the Nuremberg Rallies without Hitler. The over-enthusiastic worship of youth was there with calisthenic displays of nubility. An audience was there, lifted on the wings of second-hand operatics (the Nazis got their Wagner first hand, but…). There was quick elimination in the flash of long knives. But without the cruel gaze of an insane leader it was empty. What would the acres of blond heads in that Nuremberg stadium been if they weren’t showing off for someone who held their fates in his hands? Even Jesse Owens’ triumphs at the Berlin Olympics wouldn’t be as sweet without the thought of Hitler up in his box, steaming in defeat. King of the Sleestaks Steven Tyler doesn’t do it for me.
You’ve seen footage of the giant swastika at Nuremberg being blown up by the allies after Germany’s surrender? I once dated a woman who was bothered that they had destroyed it instead of preserved as an artifact, but this was hardly the only thing wrong with that relationship. As this was on my mind when I was sent the ukulele version of “It’s Only Love,” Lennon’s little ditty about the confusing depths of love. Thank God he did, because I needed to get my brain off Theodor Adorno’s wavelength and Erin Bowman’s singing on this version did just that.
“It’s only love, and that is all / Why should I feel the way I do? / It’s only love and that is all / But it’s so hard loving you”
If her voice sounds familiar then, congratulations, you know your Pokémon! Erin sings the songs that opens every Pokémon movie you’ve recently seen. This makes her, if you didn’t know, one of the biggest recording stars on the globe. Forget American Idol huge. We are talking Squirtle huge.
I must admit that I have a thing for Jesse, Team Rocket’s bad girl and Ash and Pikachu’s nemesis. I admit this because I know I am not the only one. But still, why should I feel the way I do? It does go way back—watching H. R. Pufnstuf as a boy I had a crush on Witchiepoo. I know she was evil and was always trying to rob Jimmy of his magic flute (and I know how that must sound), but I felt that underneath the makeup the actress was probably the coolest hippie chick in the world. Maybe she wore the vintage-y shoes and striped stockings with cuter outfits? Anyway, Witchiepoo… Jesse… is it a pattern? It’s so hard loving you. If you know me, you know it was just downhill from there.
Give the song a listen. If your brain, like mine, is still on Adorno, “Just the sight of you makes nighttime bright” might still bring up the vision of the torchlit party rallies. Maybe Pokémon is Japan’s attempt to miniaturize Godzilla and tame the monsters released by their wartime nightmare, but isn’t music here to help us feel we can do these things? Just be careful who you love. Like Erin sings in “I Believe in You” from Zoroark: Master of Illusions: “Where do I hide when its dark and stormy? / Where do I run when its all too much? / Who gives me hope when I wake each morning, it’s you. / Yeah, it’s you.”
Above all we should love our creations whether they’re our songs or our children. Lennon, however, had no love for this “It’s Only Love.” “The lyrics were abysmal,” he said, “I always hated that song.” He could be very hard on himself because he took himself so seriously. Producer JJ Appleton doesn’t have that problem. He doesn’t mind heaping on the tricks, from making a ukelele sound like a choir of angelic harps to throwing in a break from “Start Me Up” to bring a smile to your face.
In the end, it’s only love.
And that is all.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Discovered at the US auditions for a top 10 UK girl band, Erin Bowman, made quite an impression and took over the room! After hearing her sing one verse, Producer / Songwriter JJ Appleton pulled her aside, and shortly after signed her to his production company; within weeks the two were hard at work in the studio. In between stints as the lead in teen productions of High School Musical, and her vocal studies, Erin made the dedicated daily trek from Princeton, New Jersey to Appleton’s NYC studio where they found, formulated and perfected her sound…true Pop crossover with Hip Hop, R&B and Dance influences. Bringing in Songwriting ringers such as Stephen Lironi [Hanson, Bon Jovi] and Nikki Gregoroff [Lady Gaga, Britney Spears] enabled Erin to work with some amazing hit makers; and helped score an amazing opportunity – Ke$ha wrote a smash hit specifically for Erin. This array of talent has been a great influence and has allowed her to blossom and find her voice as a writer.
The hard work in the studio has begun to bear fruit. Within the last year, Erin’s songs have been placed on various TV projects including The Khardashians, Kourtney and Khloe Take Miami, Bad Girls Club, MTV’s Styl’d and Project Runway. Erin continues to build up her song catalog, writing constantly, knowing that it takes only one song to push her to hottest part of the HOT 100. With a voice filled with power and soul, a knack for writing a hook, traffic stopping looks and a fierce work ethic, 19 year old Erin Bowman is a force to be reckoned with.