“Against All Odds (Take A Look At Me Now)” by Phil Collins (1984)

My love for this song was crystallized when I saw someone doing a karaoke version of it 10 or so years ago. A breakup (or unrequited pining, which seems to occur in my life more often than actual romantic splitting) may have added to the song’s pathos, as well.

I’ve always had respect for Phil Collins’ voice (he is a soul singer in the truest sense), and “Against All Odds” is a nakedly emotional performance, even if his shout of “now take a look at me nowwoowowwowooww” towards the end of the song brings my grammar-nerd antennae up.

Reviewing my last handful of selections here (two pop #1s and a #2), it’s interesting to me that the “hit single” designation can elevate a song to classic status. Conversely, it can make a song intolerable. “Against All Odds” is one of those songs that still holds up on radio, or would hold up on radio if I’d voluntarily listened to a radio station in the last nine years.

Has anyone reading this actually seen the film Against All Odds? Judging from the movie poster, it looks pretty romantic/racy, but the little bit I know about it also makes it seem very Terms Of Endearment-ish, meaning that there’s no sense of relativity for Black folks at all.

Random fact: Phil Collins wasn’t allowed to sing his own song at the Oscars because they didn’t think he was a big-enough name. First off, how awkward must it be to sit in the Academy Awards audience and hear someone else singing a song you performed? Second, how many times do you think Phil told the Motion Picture Academy to fuck themselves, especially after he took home a Grammy for Album Of The Year just a year after the Oscars debacle?


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