Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Ronnie Milsap - "Stranger in My House"

Stranger In My House - The Essential Ronnie Milsap

(Debuted March 26, 1983, Peaked #23, 16 Weeks on the Chart)

Go ahead...joke about the line "Somebody here that I can't see."  And while you're at it, mention the fact that Ronnie Milsap's work in the 1980s often consisted of a sameness that afflicted many country artists of the era (except possibly for George Strait). However, there's no denying that the man had tremendous talent when he had good material and this is one example of what he could do with a great song.

Songs about paranoia have long been a part of the lexicon of music, whether real or perceived. "Stranger in My House" was written by Mike Reid, a former professional football player (he played for the Cincinnati Bengals from 1970-'74). The lyrics tell of a man who's convinced his wife/lover is seeing another but can't figure out whether it's merely his imagination at work. As he's descending into madness, the keyboard that dominates the instrumental track is sometimes choppy in its delivery, which makes the paranoia part of the track.

"Stranger in My House" would be Milsap's last Top 40 pop hit and broke a string of 10 straight #1 songs on the Billboard country chart. Interestingly, a genre that prides itself on being more realistic than others couldn't take this song to #1. Perhaps it was just a little too realistic.

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