Saturday, October 27, 2018

"Baby Talk" by Alisha

Song#:  2571
Date:  12/21/1985
Debut:  90
Peak:  68
Weeks:  17
Genre:  Dance-Pop

Pop Bits:  Brooklyn-born Alisha Ann Itkin began singing at an early age. Her parents thought she had the goods to make it in the music industry and when Alisha was 14, they began to circulate a demo tape to various labels. Someone at Vanguard Records took notice and passed the tape along to their in-house producer, Mark S. Berry, who at the time was seeking a vocalist for a dance track he was working on. Alisha seemed exactly right for the job and she got to record the song "All Night Passion." The tune slowly broke in the dance clubs and eventually it reached #4 on the Dance chart. Alisha then signed with Vanguard for a debut album produced by Berry. Her second single, "Too Turned On," was another Dance hit getting to #6. But this third single would end up being her biggest overall hit. The song took off and made it to #1 at Dance while becoming her first to crossover to the Pop chart. While the single didn't peak very high, it stayed on the chart for quite a long spell. It would also get to #75 at R&B. Her self-titled debut album was issued out, yet despite the Dance hits, it was unable to chart. Alisha's Dance chart success got the attention of RCA and she would move over to that major label for her next album.

ReduxReview:  This song had to have been influenced by Madonna's "Into the Groove." The bass line especially sounds like a near ripoff. There is enough other stuff going on in the song to keep it from being lawsuit-worthy, however it didn't help that Alisha sounded an awful lot like Madonna. From what I've read, producer Berry was looking for just a really good vocalist to sing the first single "All Night Passion," but my guess is that when he was seeking one the words "Madonna-like" were probably uttered. I mean, he worked for Vanguard and most likely had access to killer session vocalists who could sing circles around Alisha, yet he chose a teenager with a capable voice who sounded like Madonna. Things that make you go hmmmm... Despite the Madonna similarities, the song itself is just okay. I don't find it very memorable and the production is a bit weak and on the tinny side. Alisha's voice doesn't do much for me either.

ReduxRating:  4/10

Trivia:  Double Shot!  1) This is actually a remake of a song originally recorded by singer Gregg Brown. It was written by Brown and Logankoya. Brown released the track in the UK in 1984, but it didn't get anywhere.   2) When an artist hits it big, sometimes imitators will follow. Trendsetter Madonna was certainly one who influenced a lot of folks and in the 80s there were plenty of Madonna-esque artists (sometimes intentional, sometimes not) coming out of the woodwork. Alisha is one who got lumped in the pile of Madonna imitators thanks to her voice and style of music. Many people took note of the similarities including Madge herself. In a 1989 interview for Rolling Stone, Madonna was asked how she felt about these artists capitalizing on her sound. Madonna said that at first she was peeved about it, but then later felt flattered. She also said that it throws her for a loop sometimes when one pops up unexpectedly on the radio as for a split second she thinks it's her. Alisha happened to be one of those artists and Madonna said of her:  "There's one girl in particular, a girl named Alisha, who's had a couple of songs that ripped off the chord progressions of some of my songs. And her voice sounds so much like mine when I sing in a higher register. I was shocked! She's definitely one who stunned me."


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