Sunday, August 27, 2006

Let's hear it for the girl

Pink and polka dots

Only In My Dreams - Debbie Gibson

My back's against a wall and I can see the glint in your eye and broken bottle in your hand. I'll talk fast.

First, Debbie Gibson wrote and produced her own music. Did you know that? I'm learning as I wend my way through this, in the annals of bubblegum girl pop, self-actualizing ladies occupy a couple sentences, a paragraph at most. And did you realize "Dreams" is kind of a sad song, a song about foolishness and delusion and regret? You'd be forgiven if you didn't. I mean if you thought about it, sure: love, only in my dreams. Yet from the opening reel and smack to the bumpin' bass to those yummy sugar-spun synth lines, this song celebrates, celebrates, carefree American teenhood. (The video, with its multiple shots of a rumple-sheeted white bed and Debbie's coy, guarded expressions, is somewhat more complicated.) Granted, I was an American teen when "Dreams" was released, so I'm reading it with nostalgic lenses, falling for the fantasy. Even though I'm not too old to remember how care-full that time is. But isn't that what ear candy is about? A suspension of disbelief, temporary insanity? And if the cool kids are going to celebrate the Scandinavian Annies, Robyns, Marits, Fridas, the wholesome homegrown Kellys, markedly not-wholesome Christinas, and all the slick London gals, isn't it time to start rejuvenating Miss Gibson's hits (this one, anyway) and restoring them to the lineage? Really, I shouldn't have to argue the awesomeness of that chorus or explain how a verse that, if anything, bests it, is a flat-out achievement. Should I?

From Greatest Hits (US, UK).

BTW, Debbie goes by Deborah these days.


Blogger marathonpacks said...

This is great, Amy. I always assoc. this song (one my my sister's faves from back then) with "When I Think of You" by Janet Jackson (one of my all time faves).


10:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Debbie Gibson is awesome. To write and produce at such a young age is amazing. I'm jealous.


11:01 AM  
Anonymous jonfromcali said...

You know, when Debbie came along with her first album, she seemed pretty remarkable. "Dreams" was an actual GOOD SONG, as (let's face it) was "Foolish Beat." (Shameful admission) I even saw her live (as a 21-year-old male) at an auditorium at Virginia Tech in 1987! It was hilarious, particularly considering it was on campus and not many college kids at all showed up. What were they thinking, booking that show there?

Anyway, as impressive as her songwriting was when she was 16 or 17, the trouble is that her writing didn't really mature as she did, and by the time of the "Electric Youth" drivel and the even worse stuff that came after, she seemed like someone who should have grown up, but didn't. Ah, well, we'll always have '86-'87, and (second shameful admission) memories of the box of Red Hots I tossed to her on stage while she sang (of course) "Red Hot." I'll go hide my head in shame now and listen to some Motorhead...

1:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey do you think you could get "car song" by elastica?

2:11 PM  
Blogger Amy said...

Red Hots! That's excellent, Jonfromcali.

7:09 PM  

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