Thursday, January 7, 2016

Debbie Gibson - The Alternate Electric Youth (1989)


Debbie Gibson's Electric Youth album turned 25 in January of 2014. Looking back, this sophomore album is definitely her best effort, since it combined the commercial smarts of her debut LP with the more creative, artsy side she showed on her next album, Anything Is Possible. It definitely deserves its status as her only album to ever top the charts.

In a belated celebration of Electric Youth's anniversary, I'm presenting it in an alternate version. The songs that Debbie Gibson wrote during this time period were so strong, in my opinion, that the familiar ones deserve to be heard in different versions and the unfamiliar ones deserve to be heard period. This collection is made up of remixes that have fallen into obscurity, demo tracks, forgotten soundtrack songs, and live recordings of songs that never made it onto official albums.

Before all you '60s fanatics click away from this page in disgust, I want to chime in with a word or thirty about Gibson. She's actually a far sharper composer (and better performer) than those who dismiss her as a mere bubblegum act would have you believe. Had she come along ten years later, she'd have been able to forge a major career from her initial dance hits the way Britney, Christina, Justin, and others did. But the '80s were not a kind era for teen pop stars. As in earlier eras, they got 18 months in the spotlight if they were lucky.

Gibson was able to place hits on the charts for around three years -- all songs she wrote herself, and some she self-produced. She didn't get much help from the music press, either. She rubbed critics the wrong way and they tended to be put off by her (deliberate) squeaky-clean image and therefore gave her compositions the short shrift. MTV also didn't help matters, once declaring the video for "Electric Youth" to be the worst of all time.

Phooey on them. This was typical MTV. By 1989, they'd only broadcast ridiculous elaborate bullshit videos. Then after artists commissioned expensive visual dreck to get on their crappy channel, they'd turn around and make fun of those very artists who kowtowed to their idiotic demands.

But I digress. The actual music on Electric Youth is fab. Ignore Gibson if you're so inclined, but you'll miss out on some great tunes. What follows is a rundown of what's what:

1. Who Loves Ya Baby (Demo)
A demo of the lead-off track of the original LP. Available on the Memory Lane CD, which was a collection of demos and is now impossible to find. If you have a copy, get in touch, please.

2. Lost In Your Eyes (Piano and Vocal Mix)
A stripped-down mix of The Gibber's second #1 single with the rhythm section mixed out. Available as the b-side of the "Lost In Your Eyes" German 12."

3. Silence Speaks (A Thousand Words) (Acoustic Mix)
Another stripped-down mix also featured on the same German 12" single as the above song. Additionally, it was the b-side to the European 7" of "Lost in Your Eyes."

4. Electric Youth (Alternative Latin Edit)
Available on the US "Electric Youth" CD single. This mix emphasizes the song's rhythm and takes it closer to the freestyle dance sound of many of the tracks on Gibson's first album, Out of the Blue.

5. No More Rhyme (Acoustic Version)
The b-side of the US "We Could Be Together" 7" single. Lacks the rhythm section of the familiar version.

6. Over The Wall (Dub)
An alternate mix available as the b-side of the "No More Rhyme" 45 in virtually all countries. It's not so much dub as more percussion-heavy and reverb-heavy.

7. We Could Be Together (Campfire Mix)
Another stripped-down mix, this time available on the flip side of the US "Electric Youth" 7" single as well as several European versions of this single.

8. Don't Flirt With Me (Live)
From "Live 'Round the World" VHS tape. Performed in 1989. My opinion: If this had no place on Electric Youth, she should have put it on her next album, where it would have fit right in alongside "It Must Have Been My Boy."

9. Til You Come Back Again (Demo)
Never recorded for an album but cut as a demo. Available on the first Memory Lane CD. This was definitely influenced by Gibson's background in musical theater -- an influence that would crop up on her next album in songs like "One Hand, One Heart."

10. Come Home (Wonder Years) (From "The Wonder Years" TV Show Soundtrack)
This short tune was cut for the soundtrack CD of the hit US TV show "The Wonder Years," which was on the air from 1988 to 1993. The soundtrack was came out in 1988. The full title of the song on the CD is "Come Home (Wonder Years)," and that last parenthetical is not reference to the soundtrack. Rather, it's part of the title.

11. Love Under My Pillow (Live)
Also from the "Live 'Round the World" VHS tape. Performed in 1989. A duet with band member Keith "Stepp" Stewart. My opinion: The same opinion I had on Track 8. This is another first-rate song. Why was it left to languish in obscurity?

Bonus Track:
12. We Could Be Together (Extended 7" Version)
From the US promo CD single. Although this says "extended," it's really the single mix, which had more reverb and louder backing singers and horns. But...it's the same length it was on the LP (5:30 and change) and not edited to 4:31 like the standard single mix.

Related posts (i.e. the largest collection of Debbie Gibson rarities online):
Debbie Gibson - 12-Inch Singles (1986-88)
Debbie Gibson - 'Out of the Blue'-Era 7-Inch Singles: A's and B's (1987-88)
Various Artists - The Songs Debbie Gibson Gave Away (1988-92) 
Debbie Gibson - The Alternate Electric Youth (1989)
Debbie Gibson - Rarities (1990-1999)
Debbie Gibson - Acoustic Live (1991) 
Chris Cuevas - Somehow, Someway (1991) 
Deborah Gibson - Memory Lane Volume 1 (2004)
Deborah Gibson - Memory Lane Volume 2 (2005)

Track list:
1. Who Loves Ya Baby (Demo)
2. Lost In Your Eyes (Piano and Vocal Mix)
3. Silence Speaks (A Thousand Words) (Acoustic Mix)
4. Electric Youth (Alternative Latin Edit)
5. No More Rhyme (Acoustic Version)
6. Over The Wall (Dub)
7. We Could Be Together (Campfire Mix)
8. Don't Flirt With Me (Live)
9. Til You Come Back Again (Demo)
10. Come Home (Wonder Years) (From "The Wonder Years" TV Show Soundtrack)
11. Love Under My Pillow (Live)
Bonus Track:
12. We Could Be Together (Extended 7" Version)

9 comments:

  1. Link down, any chance of a re up??

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    1. Bummer, gone again. Only discovered this bog today... So far - regardless of this sole dead link - awesome!

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  3. I love this entry, thank you very much! Do you (or anyone reading) have the Memory Lane albums (Volume 1 and 2) that features all the unreleased demos - including the Who Loves Ya Baby? They would be heaven for all us Debbie fans that did not get the chance to get them back in the day. I look forward to you next posts :-)

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    1. I second this comment. I've never even seen either "Memory Lane" CD on sale, which is odd. Usually things pop up on eBay at some point. If anyone has this stuff, I'd like to hear it.

      The demo of "Who Loves Ya Baby" heard here is from "Memory Lane." I wish I could remember where I found it. But either way, it's pretty nice to hear this and it definitely makes me want to hear more.

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  4. Would love a link to this again please! Thanks either way!!!

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  5. http://www33.zippyshare.com/v/YpLRYY0q/file.html

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