Sunday, January 22, 2017

The Cover Girls - Show Me (1987; 1991 Canadian Reissue)

Since I'm on a roll doing late 1980s and early '90s pop stuff, maybe now is the time to post my rare copy of the Cover Girls' first album, which is from Canada and has an extra song, "Better Late Than Never," tagged on at the end. The mastering of this one also sounds different than the American version, but since I don't own that one anymore, I can't remember how they differ.

Few people remember the Cover Girls now, but during the "in-between years" of the Reagan-Bush Era, they were a major force on the pop charts. What are the "in-between years" of which I speak? To me, they were the '80s equivalent of the period in the early '60s just before the Beatles broke.

Both eras were dominated by a lot of ethnic girls groups and bookended by the explosion of major artists (Elvis/Beatles; Madonna/Nirvana). Both eras had a lot of pre-fabricated teen pop singers who got swept aside once the new trend hit. Both eras were sociologically similar in that they reflected last gasps of fading cultural ideals (Kennedy optimism/Reagan conservatism).

I was in college when this record came out and brought this point up in one of my classes and almost got laughed out of the room. The major argument that some girls in class made against it was that the girl group era of the '60s was marked by sexual repression, while the '80s were about sexual liberation. Not quite.

All these years later, I think my argument stands. While the '80s might have seemed liberated then, hindsight has shown us that they were pretty repressive if you were gay, lesbian, transgender, or even a single mother. And beyond that, the '90s era trend of "hooking up" made the "daring" pre-marital sex of the '80s seem tame by comparison.

The Cover Girls (Remember them? This is a post about them!) were an early entry into this second era of girl groups. Other similar girl groups that scored hits around this time included Sweet Sensation, Exposé, Company B, Seduction, and Pajama Party. Most performed variations on Latin freestyle dance music, which could be infectious if the songs were good.

On this, the Cover Girls' first effort, the songs are good. How good? Well, they had (get this) five Hot 100 hits off it between Feb. 1987 and summer 1988. Their hits from this CD included: "Show Me" (#44), "Spring Love" (#98), "Because Of You" (#27), "Promise Me" (#40), and "Inside Outside" (#55). And while those might not have burned up the pop charts, several were much bigger dance hits. In 1989, the group would release a follow-up album that had three more hits, including the Top Ten ballad "We Can't Go Wrong."

Back then, this stuff made for better listening on the dance floor than in the living room and that still goes for today. Still, if you have memories of this era or are partial to freestyle, this is one of the best albums of its type. And, say what you will, I still see parallels with this and groups like the Jellybeans or the Jaynetts.

Related posts:
Wing And A Prayer Fife And Drum Corps - Babyface (1976)
Various Artists - The Network Forty: Tune Up - Next 40 #23 (March 26, 1990)
Ms. Adventures - Ms. Adventures (1990)

Track list:
1. Show Me
2. Because Of You
3. That Boy Of Mine
4. One Night Affair
5. Spring Love
6. Inside Outside
7. Promise Me
8. Love Emergency
9. Better Late Than Never



  2. I normally probably wouldn't admit to this, but the Cover Girls are a guilty pleasure of mine. I have this album, as well as "We Can't Go Wrong" and their third album, "Here It Is." The third one had a pretty great cover of Rose Royce's (remember "Car Wash"?) "Wishing on A Star" -- other than that, it was sadly pretty forgettable and didn't measure up to the first two.