The response to my last Debbie Gibson collection was so underwhelming that I decided there is only one solution: More Debbie Gibson! Some people like "more cowbell." Well, I like "more Debbie Gibson."
Where that last post covered the rarities associated with her second album, Electric Youth, this one is all about the 12-inch single releases of songs from her first LP, Out of the Blue, from 1987. In all there were four 12-inchers featuring various mixes of dance hits from that album. In chronological order they were "Only In My Dreams" (which preceded the first LP), "Shake Your Love," "Out of the Blue," and "Staying Together."
Serious fans of The Gibber know that in between those last two songs a fourth single came out, "Foolish Beat," which turned out to be her first #1 hit. But that was a ballad, so it ain't represented here.
In all, you get an hour and twenty minutes worth of dance grooves, including extended mixes, remixes, drum-and-vocal tracks, and the occasional "dub" version. These mixes were played regularly in clubs and on the Saturday night dance shows that Top 40 stations used to broadcast. If you remember any of them, odds are you haven't heard them in nearly three decades. Almost none of these mixes ever made it to CD and virtually all are specific to the 12-inch vinyl on which they were first pressed.
Why do I like this stuff so much? Well, first because as '80s dance music goes, it's pretty good. Gibson's early work had a Latin "freestyle" edge to it, yet her melodic skills as a composer brought a pop sensibility to her songs. Beyond the grooves, there are hooks galore.
Also interesting are the production touches, which were once considered cutting edge but now seem rather quaint. My favorite was (and still is) that voice sample in the "Only In My Dreams" extended club mix that has her voice intoning "dreams...DREAMS...dreams" at various pitches.
There may also be an element of nostalgia here. OK, there definitely is an element of nostalgia. I can get into '60s stuff I've never heard and find it "new," since I have no recollection of it. But virtually all of these mixes have memories attached to them, whether they're from college dorm rooms or dances, local clubs my friends and I frequented, or nights out on the town where we had the car radio blasting.
Looking back now, Gibson's chirpy, upbeat take on dance music was very representative of its era -- whether she meant it to be or not. Some people look back to the days of the drive-ins and "Help Me, Rhonda" as their own era of innocent fun. This was our era. And it still sounds good to me now -- even an hour and twenty minutes of it, which I'm sure will drive most of you to madness. Hehe.
Related post: Debbie Gibson - The Alternate Electric Youth (1989).
Only In My Dreams 12" (1986):
1. Only In My Dreams (Extended Club Mix-Vocal)
2. Only In My Dreams (Percapella Vocal)
3. Only In My Dreams (Dreamix)
4. Only In My Dreams (Hearthrob Beats)
Shake Your Love 12" (1987):
1. Shake Your Love (Vocal Club Mix)
2. Shake Your Love (Bonus Beats)
3. Shake Your Love (Vocal LP Version)
4. Shake Your Love (Bad Dubb Version)
5. Shake Your Love (Vocal Bass Apella)
6. Shake Your Love (Shake the House Version)
Out of the Blue 12" (1987):
1. Out Of The Blue (Club Mix)
2. Out of the Blue (Bonus Beats)
3. Out of the Blue (Drumapella)
4. Out of the Blue (Dub Version)
Staying Together 12" (1988):
1. Staying Together (Remix)
2. Staying Together (Dub Version)
3. Staying Together (Bonus Beats)