This album, so I'm told, is strongly influenced by Laura Branigan, of all people. Remember her, she did that "Gloria, I think they got your number" song? Supposedly "Beautiful Lady" is a reworking of Branigan's "Solitaire," adding new lyrics about (of course) being fat and unwanted.
There is some weak singing here and the songwriting occasionally gets terrible indeed, so it's easy to laugh at this guy, but there is also pathos in "They Called Me Porker," about the taunting he endured as a child. And some pretty smooth session musicians keep it all sounding almost respectable.
On "Songs of Love" he goes lounge - it's an album of mostly amateurish covers of standards, e.g.: "My Funny Valentine," but includes some originals, like the stalker-ish ode to actress Nicole Kidman, "Nicole, Will You Marry Me?" Wow, is this one a head-scratcher. Kidman may want to consider a restraining order. An unnerving yodel/voice-cracking vocal style pervades this album, and the stripped-down production reveals his uncertain piano playing. Oh, my ears! If "They Can't Keep Me Down" has you feeling sorry for the poor sap, "Songs of Love" will make you want to join the haters.
Skelton has gained somewhat of a reputation on the internets thru his relentless self-promotion, often going by other names, claiming on message boards to be a "fan" of Skelton with a "need for Meade!" when it's pretty obvious that it's Skelton himself. Some are annoyed by this behaviour, others amused. But that's what's great about him - he has unwavering faith in his talent, and maintains an upbeat attitude towards life. No whiney goth or sensitive singer-songwriter stuff for Meade - despite the unfortunate circumstances of his life, he keeps a grin on his face.
He has some albums that he's selling independently, and since they're in print, I'm only gonna take a couple/few songs apiece from these two abums (the only two of his that I have).
Mead Skelton Sampler
1. Beautiful Lady
2. What's So Great About Rock N' Roll?
3. Your Old Hay
4. Nicole, Will You Marry Me?
5. My Funny Valentine
Want to hear more? 'Course you do! Preview his albums on iTunes. And join the Mead Skelton Fan Club while you're at it! 2215 Floyd Ave., Richmond, VA 23220; (804) 359-0219.
UPDATE 9/24/12: We heard from the man himself: Meade would like you to know that he has a new album, likes and is influenced by Laura Branigan but not on this particular album, and does not go around spamming boards under assumed names. So there. I stand corrected.
From one of his other albums, here's the "hit" single, "Hipsters Ruin Everything":