Saturday, June 18, 2022

"Electric Youth" by Debbie Gibson

Gold Record Alert!
Song#:  3855
Date:  04/01/1989
Debut:  62
Peak:  11
Weeks:  13
Genre:  Dance-Pop

Pop Bits:  Gibson's second album, Electric Youth, made it to #1 thanks to the #1 showing of its first single, the ballad "Lost in Your Eyes." It was Gibson's second #1 and second single to go gold. For a follow up, this title track was selected for release. It would be Gibson's second song to make the Dance Top 10 (#3) while just missing out on the Pop Top 10 at the dreaded #11 spot. Despite that peak, the single sold well enough to become Gibson's third gold record.

ReduxReview:  After an unusual power ballad first single, the second one definitely needed to be an uptempo tune and this one was probably the best bet on the album. It was Gibson's first sort of "message" song after consistently dabbling in teen romance with her tunes. While it wasn't as catchy or endearing as her previous dance-pop Top 10s, the title hook in the chorus was memorable and the production was nicely done. It was unusual for a pop tune to miss out on the Top 10 yet still go gold. It showed that her fans were showing up buying her tunes even when radio airplay lacked. Gibson would make the Pop Top 20 once more, but she wouldn't get this close to the Top 10 again.

ReduxRating:  6/10

Trivia:  Both Gibson and the video for "Electric Youth" would help inspire a little backstory of a character on a hit TV show. Cobie Smulders was part of the ensemble cast of the CBS sitcom How I Met Your Mother playing the role of Robin Scherbatsky. The show's first season began in 2005 and as the second season rolled around, the show's creators decided to write a little backstory for the Robin character who grew up in Canada (as did Smulders). The idea was to uncover her past as a teen pop star in Canada who went by the name of Robin Sparkles. Her lone minor hit was the dance-pop tune "Let's Go to the Mall." In the episode, her friends find the music video of the song. The show creators based Robin Sparkles on a combination of Tiffany (hence the mall reference) and Debbie Gibson. The video for "Let's Go to the Mall" had the Robin character dressed up in 80s teen garb, even though the song supposedly came out in 1993 (as Robin put it, the 80s didn't reach Canada until '93). Scenes in the video were reminiscent of portions of Gibson's "Electric Youth" video, which the show staff had used as research. The revelation of Robin's past teen singing career was a highlight of the series and would resurface in a few other episodes of the show. "Let's Go to the Mall" was actually released as a single along with the full-length video. Only portions of the video were shown in the episode.


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