Monday, October 3, 2016

Debbie Gibson-Ms. Vocalist [Deluxe Edition] (2011)


From a man gifting my ears with twenty love song covers to a lady surprising my ears with covers of her own lovely hits..... Shortly after my thrill ride on the George Salinas soul express, I somehow acquired the sudden urge to listen to one of my favorite love ballads of the 80's: Debbie Gibson's "Foolish Beat". No idea where that notion came from, but considering that favorite songs of mine are always spinning around somewhere in my mental jukebox, perhaps it was simply time for "Foolish Beat" to get some replay time under the record needle. Either that, or maybe there was some force of destiny at work that knew how much I adore cover songs and wanted me to hear this special deluxe edition of Debbie's 2010 album, "Ms. Vocalist". The latter case is a good possibility, as I would soon discover that what makes this edition deluxe is the surprise re-recordings of her own hits from the "Out Of The Blue" album. So quite naturally, I jumped straight to her 2010 remake of "Foolish Beat", at no time at all finding myself marveling at all of the familiar words ('and then we say goodbye'—remember my favorite line from the song it like it was still the 80's) and the musical arrangement (wouldn't be "Foolish Beat" without that signature jazzy saxophone instrumental carrying the music along), though the distinctive Far Eastern stringed accompaniment is definitely new. Then I jumped backwards to the remakes of my top two Debbie dance/pop favorites: "Shake Your Love" and "Only In My Dreams". Everything about the production made me think I was still locked in the 80's; there's almost exactly identical, except for the subtle techno glitz modernizing the latter while Debbie's recognizable sweet, girly voice is noticeably a touch more mature than the former teenage version of herself on both songs. After that, I jumped all the way back to this album's proper beginning to enjoy Ms. Gibson's voice delivering her brilliant English interpretations of popular Japanese pop songs. And I could tell that "Tsunami"—and all of the ones that followed (minus her own hits, of course)—were originally Japanese recordings, as Far Eastern pop music often has this very refined, easy-listening style that I like that gives it that gentle air and that instant adult contemporary/soft rock radio radio appeal. Among the Japanese highlights for me were "True Love" (drawn to another song's sad tonality; captivated by her words of 'sometimes the dream has to end'), "Suddenly" (this one's like straight-up 80's dance/pop; it really could've definitely been originally recorded in the same era as "Shake Your Love" and "Only In My Dreams", getting extra ear-appeal from the cooled groove and the slight jazz accompaniment from the trumpet) and the second Japanese-title track (quite the thunderous, powerful ballad where her proclaimed words of ' you'll always be here in my heart, every time I close my eyes, I can see you by my side ' serving as a grand, show-stopping moment!). In fact, all of the Japanese-title tracks are wonderful listens; Track #4's graceful rhythm and the sweet sunniness of 'pack your bags and let's get away' is like a romantic paradise while Track #10 haunts the mind and chills the bones with its sharp piano/keyboard tones in combination with the lyrics of promised destiny and Track #12 glows in your soul with the combined voices of guest male vocalist Eric Martin and our honorary Ms. Vocalist herself singing about love and happiness that is meant to be:

1. Tsunami
2. Say Yes
3. I Love You
4. 浪漫飛行
5. Suddenly
6. True Love
7. 瞳をとじて
8. 桜坂
9. However
10. ロビンソン
11. Lost In Your Eyes 2010 (English Ver.)
12. 世界中の誰よりきっと (MSV ver.) [With Eric Martin]
13. Lost In Your Eyes 2010 (Japanese Ver.)
14. Only In My Dreams (Re-recorded Ver.)
15. Shake Your Love (Re-recorded Ver.)
16. Out Of The Blue (Re-recorded Ver.)
17. Foolish Beat (Re-recorded Ver.)

1 comment:

Days of Broken Arrows said...

Thanks for putting this out. Have you been listening to Wham's "Careless Whisper" lately? I ask because it occurred to me at some point that "Foolish Beat" is a clever rewrite of that song, and maybe that's what reminded you of it.

Not only do they have the same chord structure in their verses, but the arrangements are similar, and Deb even puts the title in the same place -- she tucks it into a line in the second verse instead of using it for the chorus. That said, it was pretty shrewd for a teenager to do this, then get a #1 hit out of it.

Even though my background is in '60s pop and psychedelic, I'm a huge Gibson fan. She can really write a song and unlike pop stars who came later, she is a genuinely great singer. If you go to my blog buried in with all the old hippie stuff are two Gibson rarities sets I put together, a collection of her early 12" singles, and both the "Memory Lane" CDs. All this stuff is out of print. Enjoy!