Great post on: https://myfizzypop.blogspot.nl/2018/04/ ... otb30.html
The #OOTB30 Project:
Debbie Gibson's debut album, Out Of The Blue, turned thirty years old last year (2017). Not only did it mark the start of a diverse, enduring career for the person who would quickly become (and remain) my favourite singer, it gave me an album that has accompanied me on my life's journey. I wanted to do something special to mark the occasion - thus launched my own #OutOfTheBlue30 retrospective celebration. Starting with the week Only In My Dreams debuted on the Billboard 100, each subsequent single (as well as the parent album) will be reviewed and remembered on the 30th anniversary of its USA release date (as here in my native England, we often had to wait a few weeks for the same release). It is a project that will take just over a year to complete - I hope you'll join me as we pay tribute to one of my favourite pop albums of all time. Oh, and do feel free to leave your own thoughts/memories in the comments box. I'd love to hear them.
From the moment I popped the cassette album of Out Of The Blue into my mum's in-car stereo, she was an ardent fan and supporter of my fandom for Debbie Gibson. She helped me budget my pocket money so that I would have enough to buy the music of my idols, she encouraged me to learn pop songs as part of my piano lessons and she was fervent in her belief that learning the dance moves from videos was as valid an exercise as any! Most importantly, she knew how to spot a hit. As soon as she heard what would eventually become Debbie's fourth single, Foolish Beat, she proclaimed it a number one smash (slightly unrelated sidebar, your honour - she would do the same a year later with The Bangles' Eternal Flame). As history shows, she wasn't wrong. It was her favourite song on the album - and one, despite advancing dementia, that she still recalls to this day (and one of several select songs that seem to help her emerge from her reverie). For those who had not dabbled in the singer's debut album, Foolish Beat represented quite a change of pace, her first ballad after a stream of pop-dance smashes. Even the cover art seemed to showcase a different side of Debbie - she certainly looked her most grown up yet, with a pensive, yearning gaze that matched the melancholy of the song's narrative. It was also the song that felt most inspired by her idol, George Michael (who debuted the same week with his own aching ballad, One More Try). He had written, arranged, sung and produced A Different Corner which topped the UK charts (only the second solo credits song to do so, after Stevie Wonder's I Just Called To Say I Love You). Debbie was about to set her own records with the similarly dreamy Foolish Beat...
George Michael dedicated A Different Corner to a memory. Foolish Beat would go on to become the soundtrack to every fractured relationship you ever had - a musical memory that lives through the ages. There was no need at all to change it from the album version for the single release because it was/is perfect as it was/is. From that sumptuous sax intro and the elegiac piano that dances like raindrops running down a window pane, the scene is set for self-reflection and regret. Debbie is an elegant, wistful raconteur, breathing life into poetic lyrics that gave voice to emotions I all too often in my life didn't know how to verbalise. With beautifully textured verses, a sing-along chorus and a middle 8 which heightened the sense of loss and despair, everything about this song coalesces to be as earnest and honest a portrayal of the end of love as the Out Of The Blue song is for the start of a new romance. You get the impression she sings not to make it better, but because it is just too painful to keep it all in. In that sense, Foolish Beat is a cathartic release of feelings that will surely lead to a better tomorrow (and hey, her next single, Staying Together, showed she was determined to get her man)! Like OOTB, it was the hot shot debut at number 57, shimmying its way up the hot 100 (and adult contemporary charts) until it became her first number one single. While the song is widely known as STILL holding the record for Debbie being the youngest person to write, produce and perform a number one hit, it also established another record - she became the first teen singer to have four top five hits before her 18th birthday (previous record holder? Stevie Wonder who managed two). In the UK, it was released two weeks after she topped the charts stateside, meaning that Foolish Beat - US NUMBER ONE adverts dominated the teen beat magazines of the day. It would go on to become her second top ten in the UK and spurred the parent album to its highest position yet.
It is worth noting that, just because this was a ballad, Atlantic didn't skimp on the 12" package. Whilst the 7" was backed with a gorgeous instrumental version (where the song got a jazz-lite makeover, with the sax taking on the melody), the 12" got a lovely, languorous extended version which really let the emotions of the music breathe. Peppered with extended sax solos and moments of sparse percussion, rarely has heartache sounded so graceful. Debbie sold consistently well on the 12" club charts so fans and DJs were also rewarded with some new uptempo magic - there was a decadent ten minute Dream House mix of Only In My Dreams (which started with the words "foolish beat" over the throbbing beats and sizzling rhythm). House piano chords and vocal interpolations enlivened this-by-now-familiar track all over again (and is the main mix of OIMD that I find myself returning to). In addition, there was a megamix of her first three singles, blended together with mellifluous skill to take you on a whirling, swirling journey backwards from Out Of The Blue via Shake Your Love to OIMD. Magical.
Posted 17 hours ago by Paul Reynolds