Happy Friday everybody! If you’re in central Massachusetts like I am, you may know that there’s an 80’s Prom going down tonight in Worcester and it’s going to be like, totally awesome, for sure. 80’s attire, 80’s music, and our special guest of the evening is Debbie Gibson, the singer and songwriter who started cranking out hits at the age of sixteen with her debut album, Out Of The Blue. Of course, Team Debbie Gibson triumphed over Team Tiffany when it came to their rivalry (at least in the chart presence and sales department.) With a total of eleven titles hitting the Hot 100 (nine in the top 40) and three certified albums, the girl had some major hit factor for several years. So, in honor of this special occasion, it’s time to take a look at my favorite songs from the singer. It’s not exactly a Friday Forty, but hey, I don’t exactly know forty Debbie Gibson songs. (She has more than forty, I know.) Since Debbie and Gibson both have six letters in them, I reckon that’s a good enough reason to highlight six songs of hers. So, here we go!
“ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE” (from Anything Is Possible, 1990)
At the point when this was released, top-40 radio had changed dramatically from when Gibson first started out. A more dance and urban sound began to take over the mainstream, including a huge boost in rap music, and thus, she had to adapt. For her, that meant the addition of a new songwriter and producer, classic Motown contributor Lamont Dozier. The title track and first single combined some bubblegum pop sweetness with a new R&B sound and a good message. However, the single peaked at #26 in early 1991; the album just missed the top 40 that same year. Some things just weren’t possible back then.
“ELECTRIC YOUTH” (from Electric Youth, 1989)
She was zappin’ it to us for a hot second. After the soft “Lost In Your Eyes” tore up the pop survey, Gibson returned with this energetic second single and title track from her second album. It was an anthem for teens during that era who believed “the future belongs to the future itself/And the future is electric youth.” Cue the dancing! It was definitely one of her most fun videos ever. Though “Youth” was a top ten hit on the airplay chart, it only went to #11 on the Hot 100 before zipping and zapping its way down the survey at record speed. Blame it on all the initial hype for her album; it, sadly, had to lose its youthfulness.
“FOOLISH BEAT” (from Out Of The Blue, 1988)
The “Beat” went on for our young singer with the fourth single from her debut album. Given her previous track record, the singer was due for another big hit, but it was this song that carried her all the way to the top of the Hot 100 in June 1988, dislodging another hot singer’s second single, “Together Forever” by Rick Astley. When it made the climb, Gibson became the youngest singer in the chart’s history to produce, record and write a number-one song at the tender age of seventeen. Though it only spent a week at the top, it still managed to do well on the year-end chart and prepared her for a huge second era.
“NO MORE RHYME” (from Electric Youth, 1989)
“Rhyme” is my clear favorite from Gibson when it comes to her ballads. While “Foolish Beat” and “Lost In Your Eyes” both hit #1 and got played out, “Rhyme” only managed a meager #17 and is definitely under-appreciated in the scheme of things. I’m not quite sure why exactly I prefer it, but you can’t help but recognize the sincerity in both her vocal and lyrics; she questions, “I always felt the rhythm/What happens when there’s no more rhyme?” Well, at least she rhymed in this song. It also helped that Winnie Cooper was in the video. It was the last top-40 hit from the era, charting in the summer of 1989.
“OUT OF THE BLUE” (from Out Of The Blue, 1988)
I mean, it would be hard to put it in the title of this post and not include it somewhere on this list of songs. “Blue” was another collaboration between her and Fred Zarr, who co-produced the majority of her first two albums in the 80’s. It’s a harmless piece of pop and a light-hearted love song about a girl who finds her perfect boy in an instant; to her, “love appeared before my eyes…/I never thought I’d realize what love was.” Realize, she did, and so did the national charts in the spring of 1988. After two consecutive #4 singles on the Hot 100, “Blue” managed to sneak into the #3 spot, a new high for her at the time.
“SHAKE YOUR LOVE” (from Out Of The Blue, 1987)
The fall turned into winter in 1987 and 1988, but Gibson kept things hot on the charts with this dancey ditty. I’m sure you remember the video. The tye-dye colors, the classic car, the dance routines, etc. Looked like a pretty good time out there. Again, it’s not a song that you need to overanalyze lyrically, just a cute piece of fluff to get you up and moving. Honestly, you probably shouldn’t physically shake your love because you might get dizzy and disoriented and nobody wants that, do we? Right. Like her first single, “Only In My Dreams”, “Shake Your Love” eventually went to #4 on the Hot 100.
Of course, her catalog goes further than that, but I hope you enjoyed this look back down memory lane and have fun if you’re heading out to our fun and festive 80’s event! For more music news and chart action, keep it here and find me on Twitter: @AdamFSoybel.