Sunday, August 25, 2019

"Who Says" by Device

Song#:  2871
Date:  09/27/1986
Debut:  95
Peak:  79
Weeks:  6
Genre:  Pop, Rock

Pop Bits:  Songwriter Holly Knight made it to the Pop Top 40 first in 1980 with Spider and then for a second time in '86 with her next band Device. They would reach #35 with "Hanging on a Heart Attack," the lead single from their debut album 22B3. Next up for release would be this track. The song, written by Knight with producer Michael Chapman, just wasn't able to maintain the audience of their first single and it sputtered out in the bottom quarter of the Pop chart. The album would make it to #73. With not much in the way of results that would call for a second album, Device then split up.

ReduxReview:  This band was nearly there. They had a solid, 80s synth-rock sound, a great vocalist with Paul Engemann, terrific production with Mike Chapman, and songs co-written by Holly Knight. Everything was in place for this trio to hit big, yet they walked away with mediocre results. If there was anything to blame, I'd probably have to say that they didn't have the 2 or 3 standout songs needed to break them wider. "Hanging" was a good tune, but in the end it wasn't strong enough to truly cut a path up the chart. This song was pretty good, but weaker in comparison so it wasn't going anywhere. There are a couple of other good tracks on the album, but they were not hits either. It always seemed that Knight could knock out a hit for another artist, but when it came to her own projects the material just wasn't fully there. The Device album is worth checking out if you like 80s synth-rock, but it is one that just wasn't as good as what would be expected from the folks involved.

ReduxRating:  5/10

Trivia: After Device dissolved, each member of the trio went their own way. Guitarist Gene Black would do a lot of session work and tour with stars like Tina Turner and Joe Cocker. Singer Paul Engemann would replace Bill Wadhams as the lead singer of Animotion and score a #9 hit in 1989 with "Room to Move." Knight would record a self-titled solo album in 1988, which spurred the #59 Pop entry "Heart Don't Fail Me Now." She would also continue as a hit songwriter and in 2013 would be inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame.


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