Sunday, March 25, 2018

"(Closest Thing To) Perfect" by Jermaine Jackson

Song#:  2353
Date:  06/08/1985
Debut:  90
Peak:  67
Weeks:  7
Genre:  R&B, Dance, Soundtrack

Pop Bits:  Jackson's previous single was "When the Rain Begins to Fall," a #54 duet with Pia Zadora that came from the soundtrack to the film Voyage of the Rock Aliens. Next up for Jackson was another film soundtrack song. This time it was the title track to the John Travolta/Jamie Lee Curtis romantic drama Perfect. The soundtrack included songs by artists like Nona Hendryx, Berlin, Thompson Twins, the Pointer Sisters, Lou Reed, and others, but it was this Jackson track that would be first issued as a single. Like the film, the song didn't do very well and peaked early at Pop and R&B (#63). It would be the only official single released from the soundtrack except for a 12" version of Nona Hendryx's "I Sweat (Going Through the Motions)," which was a tune Hendryx had previously released and charted with in 1984 (#40 Dance, #28 R&B).

ReduxReview:  This song was co-written by Jackson with Bruce Sudano and Michael Omartian (both of Donna Summer fame). It is highly overproduced (by Omartian) in a synthetic 80s fashion and the song itself it not all that memorable. The tune is jittery and hyperactive with enough swirling synths to make you dizzy. Yet somehow I still like this song. It's not great, nor is it the best work Jackson has done, but it's fun and an interesting listen. I'd certainly bop around in my spandex and leg warmers if this came around on a playlist.

ReduxRating:  6/10

Trivia:  Double Shot!  1) The movie Perfect used the workout/aerobics craze of the 80s as its backdrop and the fact that some fitness clubs in larger cities were frequented by singles looking to get picked up. Travolta was coming off of two poorly reviewed movies and this one extended the streak. It was a critical and commercial flop that got nominated for three Golden Raspberry Awards including one for Travolta for Worst Actor (his second nomination at that point). Travolta would take a five year break before returning in the hit 1989 film Look Who's Talking. But it wouldn't be until 1994's Pulp Fiction that Travolta truly returned. His performance in the film earned him a Best Actor Oscar nod.  2) The soundtrack to the film featured a duet between Jermaine Jackson and new star-on-the-rise Whitney Houston. Both singers were Arista artists and since the soundtrack would also be on the label, the pairing made sense. The upbeat track was quickly forgotten about after the film and soundtrack tanked. However, it was revived in 1987 when the song served as the b-side to Houston's #1 hit "Didn't We Almost Have It All."


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