Hold Me Tight (Canyon International 00380)
I'm sure you can imagine my wild peals of gleefully sadistic tittering when I stumbled across this unknown prize at the local used CD shop. Recorded by Edward Furlong in 1992 to capitalize on his 12 minutes of fame (he was in "Terminator 2" but the teen magazines made him seem much more famous than that, a la Devon Sawa), Hold On Tight was apparently only released in Asia, as there is a specific thank-you from Ed to "all my wonderful fans in Japan and Asia" and all the "lyrics" are translated into Japanese. It is a doozy of a bad album, in fact so bad that it becomes good, and so much worse that it becomes bad again, and then so much worse even than that, that it ends up providing a whole lot of perverted fun.
Unlike Bruce Willis's The Return of Bruno, which may in fact be the worst celebrity album of all time because it's not only bad, but smug as well, Hold On Tight is about as baldfaced a work of marketing as any album I've ever encountered. The fact that it contains only eight songs and clocks in at just over thirty minutes lets you know that no one considered this anything more than product. Even more insulting is that of the eight songs, one is a cover, and the other is a tacked-on Christmas song!
So how does Eddie sing,anyway? I shit you not, this kid makes the Kids of Widney High sound like the fucking Nylons. He is so consistently flat, and so utterly expressionless, that it is beyond painful to hear. Worse is his enunciation, which ranks somewhere between Jackie Chan and Jordy (the "It's Tough to Be a Baby" baby) apparently not a big concern to the producers, who undoubtedly sold Eddie on this album with promises of quick cash and underage Japanese schoolgirl whores. Furlong sounds as uncomfortable as he looks in the CD booklet, which contains a series of pictures from perhaps the worst photo shoot of all time, featuring Eddie dressed up in a couple different, yet equally bad, high-school Turnabout suits, and he can not even muster up the commitment to try not to look like he thinks this is the stupidest thing he's ever done in his life, which it is, it is.
The music ranges from the Scott Baio-esque "Right For Me" to the would-be Warrant sound of "Give Your Heart to Me" to the limp baladeering of "When the Sun Goes Down." Without question, the backing tracks were already done before the producers knew who would be singing ("I hear we're getting Ringo Starr!" "No, no, I heard it's going to be Jonathan Brandis.") Also without question, I'm sure that everyone involved was disappointed when it turned out to be Edward Furlong (and that includes Furlong himself). My jesus, this kid CAN NOT sing. Take all the straining of a high-school musical audition but make it a high school for children with special needs, and you approach the ineptitude of this record. Everything about it is bad.
I'd like to be able to say that "Hold On Tight (Special Album Version)" is a radical departure from the "regular version," that is, if I believed that another version existed. The easy highlight of the album is the cover of (*wince*) "People Are Strange," which has already skyrocketed to the top of the all-time bad covers list. When I do an accurate impression of this performance among friends, I get jeered because everyone thinks I'm making fun of the handicapped, which I'm not, at least not in that instance. I can totally picture how this song came about. After several minutes of stilted silence in the studio, the producers try to break the ice by asking "So, Eddie, what kind of music do you like?" He sits there fidgeting in his chair and mumbles through those lizard lips, "Uh, I don't know. The Doors?" "Oh, man, we should cut 'People Are Strange!'" I almost wish they had cut "The End" instead, but this is badness at its very best.
The Christmas song ("It's Christmas Time") is just as half-assed and paint-by-numbers as everything else on the album. "I light a candle, and then I build a fire/The Christmas season now will start." Who knew that the Christmas season can not start until Edward Furlong completes his ritualistic seasonal fire-worship? Surely, this Christmas will not be the same for me.
This album marks a rather epic achievement in the field of utter, abject misery.
Review by Gregory Grogs