Sunday, October 31, 2021

"Symptoms of True Love" by Tracie Spencer

Song#:  3660
Date:  10/01/1988
Debut:  99
Peak:  38
Weeks:  16
Genre:  R&B, Dance-Pop

Pop Bits:  Born in Waterloo, Iowa, Spencer began singing and performing at a young age while competing in various pageants. That experience helped to get her a spot on the famous Star Search talent show. As a ten-year-old she competed in the Junior Vocalist category in 1986 and ended up winning. The attention from her victory caused label interest and Spencer would choose to sign on with Capitol Records. It was widely reported that she became the youngest female artist to ever sign on with a major label. Work began immediately on a self-titled debut album, which featured various songwriters and producers. The first single from the album was the ballad "Hide and Seek." It was able to make the R&B Top 40 at #32, but it failed to catch on in a more mainstream way. The more upbeat "Symptoms of True Love" was released next and it would perform much better. It nearly made the R&B Top 10 at #11 while cracking the Pop Top 40 and getting to #14 Dance. Spencer had her first hit before she was even a teenager. The album would end up being a modest seller getting to #57 R&B and #146 Pop.

ReduxReview:  Spencer didn't sound like an eleven-year-old. Her voice was slightly more mature, which worked in her favor as she didn't sound like a little kid trying to make a record. That gave her wider appeal and it paid off fairly well with this jam. While I like the tune, I think it is missing a more substantial, memorable chorus. There is a chorus there, but it just sort of blends in with the rest of the song. I had to hear it a few times before the song sunk in for me yet an hour later I couldn't really remember it. Spencer would go on to have bigger hits, but at least this one got her started and the results weren't too bad for a pre-teen singer.

ReduxRating:  5/10

Trivia:  When Spencer appeared on Star Search her main competition came from a five-year-old named Alisan Porter. Porter sort of accidentally ended up on the show when she traveled to L.A. with her mom who happened to be coaching a pair of junior dance competitors. A producer for the show heard Porter singing in the lobby of a hotel and was impressed enough to get her a spot in the competition. The youngster won five of her appearances and ended up in the finale alongside Spencer, who would ultimately be crowned the champ. Porter's wins didn't get her a record deal, but she did end up appearing in films like '89's Parenthood and '90's Stella. Those led to her getting the lead role in the '91 John Hughes film Curly Sue opposite James Belushi. The movie was not a critical success, but it did fairly well at the box office. Years later, Porter would once again sign up for a singing competition. Porter was a contestant on the tenth season of The Voice in 2016. She joined Christina Aguilera's team and like Star Search she reached the finals. This time around, she ended up taking home the crown.


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