Saturday, February 6, 2016
Chris Cuevas - Somehow, Someway (1991)
Continuing our theme of obscure early '90s teen pop performers, here is the lone full CD by Chris Cuevas. Cuevas was managed by Debbie Gibson's mother Diane Gibson, who also served as executive producer on it. It also contained a song written by the younger Gibson, "Hip Hop," which became a Top 20 dance hit for Cuevas in 1991.
In early 1992, one of his self-penned songs from the album, the ballad "You Are The One," got to #58 on the pop charts. Another ballad from the CD, "Someday," showcased Debbie Gibson on co-lead vocals, but was not billed as such on the back cover. Maybe the Gibsons didn't want to steal Cuevas' thunder, but whatever their motive, the move couldn't have helped sales. (Gibson's voice also pops up for a few seconds in the middle of "Hip Hop," where she can be heard singing background and throwing in a few ad libs, like "What's up, C?")
This album came out on the same label to which Gibson was signed, Atlantic Records, under the Gibson Management label imprint. Had it been released a few years earlier, when teen pop singers reigned, it might have done better and there might have been a follow-up.
But by 1992, the type of frothy pop that Cuevas wrote and performed was already out of style because grunge and alternative rock were beginning to dominate the charts. So when the album didn't set the world alight, the record company probably showed him the door.
That's not a surprise. Even established pop acts like New Kids on the Block, Tommy Page, and Gibson herself couldn't really succeed in the new pop environment of the '90s. As for this album, it's similar to the work of the aforementioned Page: Lots of bouncy dance pop and wistful ballads sung with a wispy male voice. If you like upbeat synth-dance Page tracks like "Turn On the Radio" (in my opinion a great hit-single-that-never-was) you're sure to take to Cuevas songs like "Don't Break Up With Me."
In all, it's definitely evocative of a forgotten mini-era in music: The lost period in which pop acts started to fall by the wayside as guitar music dominated the radio for one last go-round. The alternative crowd might have won the battle, but they lost the war once Britney, Christina, and company emerged in the late '90s.
1. I Need You
2. Give Our Love a Chance
3. Somehow, Someway
4. Another Way
5. Hip Hop
7. Don't Break Up With Me
8. One Time
9. Dance Party
10. Positive Motion
11. About You
12. You Are the One