Of all the power ballads from the ’80s glam scene, perhaps the most unique and interesting is Faster Pussycat’s “House of Pain.” Musically, it’s pretty standard. Open chords with individual strings plucked ever so gently, a simple boom-chick-boom drum beat, and in this case, a couple sad harmonica solos.
What makes it different is that it’s not a song about the girl that got away. No, this power ballad is about an absent father.
It’s a song that broke my melodramatic teenage heart, partly because I had a lot of friends with dads that abandoned them, but also because I was an overly emotional kid. And now that I’m a father myself, “House of Pain” pulls at different but still melodramatic strings of my heart.
Justin Marks’ first full length book is A Million in Prizes (New Issues, 2009). His most recent chapbook, On Happier Lawns, is available from Poor Claudia, and a new chapbook called Best Practices is forthcoming from Greying Ghost Press. He is a co-founder and editor of Birds, LLC and lives in Queens, NY with his wife and their three year-old twin son and daughter.
Questions, compliments, (hopefully not) complaints?
Contact Jackie Clark: jackie [at] coldfrontmag [dot] com.
See all Songs of the Week here.