We won’t waste another tear

nomoretearsOn 5 January 1980, “No More Tears (Enough Is Enough)” by Barbra Streisand and Donna Summer was at #21, its highest position in the 80s.  Its peak position was #1 in 1979. 

Oh, God, it’s disco.  I mean, when it starts, “No More Tears (Enough Is Enough)” sounds like the standard, schmaltzy Barbra Streisand duet, complete with the corny old-timey reference to an earlier decade (“it’s raining, it’s pouring”, if I’m not puking, I’m snoring).  Admittedly the second voice is Donna Summer, and I suppose that should have been a hint… but it goes on for one minute and forty-five seconds like that.  Can you blame me for thinking — hoping — that it was just going to be a ballad?

But no, when Barbra goes into that long, limpid note, there’s the buh-dump of the kick-drum, and the blood turns to ice in your veins because the disco starts to flow in all its clichéd glory.  It tried to outdo “I Will Survive” as a female-empowerment anthem by having not one but two divas screaming about how horrible the men in their lives are.  I won’t go into the awfulness that this stereo assault of colorless dance slop is — you can hear it for yourself — but I will ask this one question:

When am I supposed to listen to this song?

It’s clearly a dance song, but its introduction is so long and lugubrious that you really can’t play it at a club; no club music can possibly lead into it in any reasonable manner.  It’s perhaps reasonable to expect it to be played at weddings as a transition from slow songs to fast songs, assuming perhaps that the DJ forgot his copy of “Don’t Leave Me This Way“, but is this really a song you want to play at a wedding?  It’s all about kicking that no-good two-timing man out of your life, not marrying him.  The start of the song makes it sound like waiting-room fodder, but then the song’s ample disco body is far too fast for the podiatrist crowd.  It could easily be the song for the end credits of a movie, but it wasn’t that, at least not until k. d. lang and Andy Bell covered it for *shudder* the Coneheads movie, and they perhaps wisely took all the disco out of it.  I’m trying to imagine the traditional Barbra Streisand fan listening to this on an album; after all the usual crooning, this would come as quite the shock.  It’s far more suited to sit alongside the rest of Donna Summer’s work; it probably goes very well with the rather good “Hot Stuff“.  If you look at the Wikipedia page for “Enough Is Enough”, sure enough, Donna Summer performed it live all the time, whereas Barbara only did as a tribute to Donna after she died, and then only a bit of it.  Which leaves radio, which is the perfect format for a song like this, a song so schizophrenic that it can only exist sandwiched between two bouts of a vinyl jock chattering about how great the track is, or maybe between the weather and the traffic report.  And radio’s all that matters for the Hot 100, kids.

As an aside, my thanks to the music gods for the single format; the version of this song that was released on Donna Summer’s Greatest Hits album is eleven minutes long.  Enough is enough!  I’m stopping at 4:48!

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