Candy – Whatever Happened to Fun…

January 01, 1970

(Rock Candy)


One of the great lost treasures of ‘80s rock, Whatever Happened to Fun…, the debut LP
by one-and-done L.A.
quartet Candy, finally gets a proper reissue after nearly 30 years of
obscurity. At first glance, this might seem like a waste of time – the cover
alone, showing a gang of young men with an image somewhere between hair metal
and new wave, might be enough to scare off anyone who gets hives from a mere
whiff of the Reagan decade. Put aside your prejudices for a moment, however,
and you’ll be rewarded with a gem of a pop/rock record that’s practically a
concept album about teenage life in
the ‘80s. It’s also a precursor to current underground power pop acts like the
Biters and the Greatest Hits.


Driven by big hooks and bigger melodies that leaven
widescreen power pop with a generous dollop of ‘70s glam rock, tunes like
“Electric Nights,” “Kids in the City” and “Turn It Up Loud” provide the same
giddy infection as the best bubblegum. But the bright and shiny sheen is
somewhat deceptive, as a melancholy
streak brings a bittersweet cast. “Trying to find love in a party world,”
asserts the hopeful “Weekend Boy,” before the backing singers pull the rug out
from under the character’s optimism
with a blunt “It won’t work this time.” “American Kix” looks futilely for
reasons to be happy, though hope springs eternal in the anthemic melody. The
band’s light and dark sides find the perfect balance in the title track, which
never manages to hide its desperation behind its soaring chorus.


Apparently Whatever
Happened to Fun…
wasn’t the kind of portrait of their lives teenagers were
looking for, and the band dissolved not long afterward. Singer Kyle Vincent has
a long-running soft rock solo career, highlighted by a tour opening for his
hero Barry Manilow. Bassist/songwriter Jonathan Daniel formed the Electric
Angels (whose debut was produced by Tony Visconti) and the Loveless, each of
whom managed only one record. He now has his own management company, handling
Fall Out Boy, among others. Post-LP guitarist Ryan Roxie joined Daniel in the
Angels and has been off and on with Alice Cooper for nearly two decades.
Guitarist Gilby Clarke formed Kill For Thrills, joined Guns ‘N Roses in place
of Izzy Stradlin, and recorded a series of solid solo albums. But the
musicians’ wide-ranging talents were never put to better use than on Whatever Happened to Fun….   


DOWNLOAD: “Whatever
Happened to Fun,” “American Kix,” “Weekend Boy” MICHAEL TOLAND

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