Eternal Flame – The Bangles – 1989
The Bangles produced a lot of good stuff in their all too brief run as main event players, and Eternal Flame was one of my favourites. It’s a timeless love song that people will still enjoy as long as there exists the means to listen to it, and it seems as though I wasn’t the only one with that feeling because it was played endlessly throughout 1989.
As far as all-girl bands go, The Bangles are at the top of the tree. It’s certainly difficult to think of any that has had their level of mainstream appeal and success. Of course, they flourished during the late eighties, which (as you may have figured out) is a time period when my musical tastes were being shaped, so that may have a lot to do with it.
Although The Bangles shared their lead vocal duties, Susanna Hoffs was the star of the show, and she always sounded like a million bucks behind the microphone. Eternal Flame was her crowning glory. Her voice here exhibits both strength and vulnerability in equal measures, and thankfully she never strays into maudlin or desperate, the way a lot of love songs before and since have done.
Eternal Flame is a simple song, told in a simple way, and it proves that music doesn’t need to be complex and the lyrics don’t need to be subtle or metaphoric, for a song to be memorable.