Now that I am done reviewing the redheaded rebel of the late ’80s otherwise known as “Tiffany,” it is time to focus on her towheaded arch-nemesis — Debbie Gibson.
I can’t lie to you. For me, it was not even a contest. While Tiffany sometimes just had the added edge that you needed after a tough day, Debbie Gibson was my soul sister. She was blonde! She was from Merrick! She had a high-pitched voice! I loved her immediately. Well, immediately after I stopped thinking that she and Lisa Lisa were one and the same. But THEN.
So, let’s all kick back and look at her debut album, that came out when she was only 16 years old — “Out of the Blue!”
1. Out of the Blue
Synopsis: She’s in love — out of the blue! It’s like, whoa, where did THIS come from?
THEN: I really liked this song, but could kind of take it or leave it. Not that that stopped me from spending an entire afternoon transcribing the lyrics from the 45 I bought before the album was released. And from the cover, I learned that you could decorate your knee if you were wearing ripped jeans! Surprisingly difficult in practice.
NOW: I still like it. It’s a decently strong pop song.
2. Staying Together
Synopsis: Oh, you’re leaving me? Well, I don’t think so.
THEN: I wasn’t crazy about this. It was catchy, and I didn’t hate it, but I thought it was pretty repetitive, and also, as cheesy and easily suckered as I was back in the day, I must give myself retroactive props for never really getting down with that whole Stalker = Romantic Fortitude mentality.
NOW: It’s definitely a fun song in that slightly manic, boppy kind of way. There are mad horns, and she sounds like she’s running all over the place. And she gets all sassy, with talking: “Don’t even think about it…think about it…” Credit for effort, but the fun-ness of the song is brought down by the irritating theme. THOUGH, props for the cheerleading “Here we go!”
3. Only In My Dreams
Synopsis: I totally messed up by dumping you, but now we’re back together, yay! Ohhhh no, that was only in my dreams
THEN: This was the song that got me into Debbie Gibson. Her first single, she wrote it when she was 13 years old! It was very fun and nice for the end of 6th grade, when my soccer mom cut had grown out, school was over, and all was right with the world.
NOW: I’ve gotta say — these are REALLY GOOD lyrics, especially for a 13-year-old. They’re actually kind of mentally complex, as far as these things go. I’m not kidding. And again, another high-energy, fun song. Plus, there are like, maracas! And that thing that you spin it around in your hand and it makes that waka-waka windy noise!
4. Foolish Beat
Synopsis: Wow, I should not have left you. I’m so sad now awwww.
THEN: Okay. I was a 12-year-old girl. In 1987. There was no conceivable way in which I was NOT going to get mad goosebumps and think that this song wasn’t the most beautiful, deepest thing I’d ever heard in my entire life. I mean, it was a) a ballad, b) from someone I already loved, and c) SAD. “I could never love again, now that we’re apart.” So true.
NOW: You know. The line, “There was no reason, just a foolish beat of my heart” — that is NOT a bad line, all things considered, but it’s the kind of line that nowadays some producer would be all “THE KIDS ARE GONNA THINK THAT IS WAY DEEEP” and it would be repeated ad nauseum throughout the entire song. This song, the title comes from that line, but it is only uttered once. I find that cool. And while it’s not anywhere close to the caliber of “Lost in Your Eyes” (that came later), it’s a decent ballad o’ woe.
5. Red Hot
Synopsis: I just can’t help myself — you make me all crazy inside, that’s how hot you are.
THEN: Dude. I lovvvvvvvvvvved this song. I was pretty much a goody-goody, and this was about as sexy as it got in my innocent little world.
NOW: I can’t help it. I still love it. I still want to do my “sexy” dance and sing it in my bedroom. Plus, there’s a nice transition from the verses to the chorus, which I’m a sucker for. Also, I must give props, because Debbie Gibson was the good girl pop princess — and this song manages to be sexy, but not out of “character,” you know? Plus, I am impressed that, although it repeats itself at the end more than a lot of her songs, she changes it up, it’s not just droning on and on.
6. Wake Up To Love
Synopsis: Don’t you see how perfect we are for each other? What is your problem!
THEN: OH. This was my jam. Of course it was! It’s all about Loving A Boy From Afar.
NOW: Yeah, this song is totally cheesy, but still cute. Not great, though. And there’s this weird musical thing going on that is distractingly accompanied by what sounds like someone knocking on the bottom of a screen door, when the regular door is open.
7. Shake Your Love
Synopsis: You know how I’m kind of creepy? It’s all just because I can’t help it, I love you, and you make me want to DANCE!
THEN: Another song I spent an afternoon transcribing from a 45. But I really didn’t care for it, because it didn’t have the * deep * lyrics that the other songs did. Plus, by the time the album came out, I was sick of this single.
NOW: I underestimated this song. This song RULES! It’s so much fun! The lyrics are hilarious, but it doesn’t matter, ’cause the song is so much fun, AND gives me magical beer pong powers! I suck at beer pong, but one night I was playing it in a bar, and this song came on, and all of a sudden, I started getting the balls in! Unprecedented! PLUS. Two bridges. That rocks.
8. Fallen Angel
Synopsis: I have no effing idea.
THEN: Another song that I thought was extremely sexy. But I don’t remember much about it.
NOW: WOW, this is ’80s. Like late-night Hot Skates ’80s. Not United Skates of America. This is too bad ass for United Skates. Okay, well, I really think this is an instance where Debbie’s pretty, harmless voice hurts the song. It’s just not a good fit. This song needs somebody with a big, raspy voice to balance out all the craziness in the “music.” Someone like…Tiffany.
9. Play The Field
Synopsis: Don’t settle, girlfriend!
THEN: I remember not being crazy about this song, but using it to help me get over my unrequited love(s) in 8th grade.
NOW: WTF? I can’t even explain what’s going on with the music, in the background. It sounds like someone manically banging away on a xylophone, but like, instead of a xylophone, it’s a drum machine. Does that even make any sense? I think this song is driving me to madness.
10. Between The Lines
Synopsis: I know you love me because…um…I don’t know why, I just know, okay?
THEN: I loved this song. After the crazy horror of the past couple of songs, this was a welcome reprieve. Nothing that special, but still sweet and pretty.
NOW: Yeahhhhh. Whoever picked the order of the songs on this album was smoking mad crack. This song is OKAY, but there are other songs on the album that would make for a stronger finish. Plus, like, enough with the horns!
© August 29, 2006
*UPDATE FROM THE FUTURE! When I got my blessed MMJ card here in Colorado, the only thing cooler than the legal weed was the record selection they sold right outside! I bought “Out of the Blue” on vinyl, and Josh entertained my DG love many times when I just NEEDED to play it. I love this album more than ever!