I’m not sure how many multi-artist soundtracks have more than one song rated five stars by me. Just writing these entries is an undertaking; I wouldn’t want to spread these even further out by crunching numbers in the interest of presenting fun yet inconsequential facts. At any rate, there will be a second Flashdance song coming up much later on this list.
For now, let’s focus on the film’s title track, sung by Irene Cara. “What A Feeling” was written and produced by Cara along with Keith Forsey and Giorgio Moroder. Neither Moroder nor Cara was a stranger to movie themes. Irene hit the top five in 1980 with the theme from 1980’s Fame (already covered here). Moroder was just three years removed from hitting the top with Blondie’s “Call Me” (from American Gigolo), and his resume of hits included “On The Radio” (from Foxes) and “Last Dance” (from Thank God It’s Friday), both of which were sung by the incomparable Donna Summer.
Moroder’s involvement is one of several reasons “What A Feeling” feels extremely, uh…Summer-y. Cara seems to be conjuring Donna up with her vocal performance, and “What A Feeling” shares some stylistic similarity with Donna’s own “She Works Hard For The Money”, which became a smash only a few short months after “Flashdance” hit. I’d be willing to bet that Donna would’ve been offered the song had her working relationship with Moroder not been dissolved a year before Flashdance’s release. I mean, she actually appears on the film’s soundtrack with a song called “Romeo” (co-written by Moroder’s customary writing/production partner Pete Bellotte). There’s a lot of tangled web shit happening here, but let’s just say that “What A Feeling” is an absolute anthem independent of similarities to other artists.
I don’t want to take anything away from Irene Cara either. She sang the shit out of “What A Feeling” and deservedly won a Grammy and an Oscar for it. Now enjoy this video of Marilyn McCoo and Rex Smith performing it on Solid Gold. Rex is killin’ em all with that vibrato.
I AM RHYTHM NOW!