Friday, September 10, 2021

"What You See Is What You Get" by Brenda K. Starr

Song#:  3609
Date:  08/06/1988
Debut:  79
Peak:  24
Weeks:  13
Genre:  Dance-Pop, Freestyle


Pop Bits:  Starr's self-titled second album would prove to be a breakthrough for the young artist when its third single, the ballad "I Still Believe," would crack the Pop Top 20 at #13. The hit would help the album make it to #58. To follow it up, this dance-oriented track was selected. The tune was actually the first single released from the album and in February of '87 it got to #6 on the Dance chart, however it failed to make the Pop chart. Due "I Still Believe" becoming a hit, Starr's label, MCA, decided to reissue this song to pop radio since it basically got ignored the first time. On its second go-around, the tune did much better getting close to the Pop Top 20 mark. Further singles failed to make an impact. Starr would then leave MCA and sign on with Epic. Her first effort for the label was a duet with Latin freestyle singer George Lamond titled "No Matter What." It would be released as the fourth single from Lamond's 1990 debut album Bad of the Heart. The song would get to #47 at Pop. Starr then got to record her third album By Heart. Unfortunately it got nowhere and Starr was dropped from the label.

ReduxReview:  This was a dance hit the first time around yet for some reason it didn't gain a pop audience. I'm not sure if it had to do with promotion or something else, but it really should have caught on when first released. It was a solid track with good production and a hooky chorus. Freestyle was beginning to take off when it was initially released, so the market was ready for the track. Luckily, it got a second chance after "I Still Believe" broke. It really should have made the Top 20.

ReduxRating:  7/10

Trivia:  After her third album tanked, Starr floundered throughout the 90s. She recorded several one-off singles for indie labels, but nothing clicked. Starr's roots were in Puerto Rico and after learning Spanish she decided to make a career shift from freestyle/dance-pop to Latin pop. In 1997, she signed on with Miami-based Parcha Records and recorded the album Te Siga Esperando. Its first single, a cover of the 1990 Miriam Hern├índez hit "Herida," would reach #1 on the US Tropical/Salsa Tracks chart. Other hits would follow including a second #1 in 2002, "Por Ese Hombre." It was from her #3 Tropical album Temptation. Both the song and the album would earn Starr two Latin Grammy nominations.

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