Thursday, June 23, 2022

"You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet" by Figures on a Beach

Song#:  3859
Date:  04/08/1989
Debut:  91
Peak:  67
Weeks:  7
Genre:  Synthpop, Dance-Pop

Pop Bits:  This band first got together in the early 80s in Detroit and by 1983 they were able to record the EP Swimming for the indie label Metro America. The following year, Was (Not Was) co-founder Don Was sat in the producer's chair for the one-off single "Breathless." The song did well enough to reach #31 on the Dance chart. After one more single, the band decided to take a leap and move to Boston. Once there, they got the attention of Sire Records and were signed to the label. Work began on a debut album that would be titled Standing on Ceremony. It would be issued out in '87. Nothing much came from the effort, but it seems Sire chose to give them another shot and they would record a self-titled LP. For a first single, the label chose this cover tune (see below). It would be a hit in clubs and reach #7 on the Dance chart. The tune was then able to cross over to Pop, but it couldn't get near the top half of the chart. A second single, "Accidentally 4th Street (Gloria)," made a bit of an impact on the Modern Rock chart at #14, but it failed to reach the Pop chart. With those results, the album was unable to chart and their days at Sire came to an end. The band would eventually split in 1991.

ReduxReview:  I'll speculate that the band recorded this song because the label didn't hear a hit among the tracks they had already recorded. Someone probably suggested this BTO track and it got recorded. It kind of worked since it became a Dance hit and the band's lone Pop chart entry. It certainly was an odd version with BTO's rock radio staple getting turned into a synthpop dance track. I have to say the results aren't awful, but they are not great either. It's a little frenetic and goofy, as if Max Headroom tried to cover the tune. However, the production was nice and beefy so it actually sounded kind of good. I've read some reviews that stated the song and the band were a few years too late and I can hear that. The sythpop/dance style they dished out with this song probably seemed a little out of step in '89. These days it doesn't really matter. It certainly sounds like a relic from the 80s, which it is. While the band didn't totally massacre BTO's classic, they didn't do it any favors either. Let's just say it wasn't an inspired choice.

ReduxRating:  4/10

Trivia:  This is a remake of a song original recorded by the Canadian band Bachman-Turner Overdrive. Written by band co-founder Randy Bachman, their version would be the first single off of their third album, 1974's Not Fragile. It would become the band's third Pop Top 10 and first #1. The song was famous for Bachman stuttering on certain words. His intent was to record the song with the stutter as a sort of in-joke with his brother who had a stutter at the time. Then later redo his vocal without it. Or even if at all. Bachman and the band considered the song just a "work tape." But when they were finishing up the Not Fragile album, a label exec didn't hear a hit among the tunes and asked for something else. They played him the work tape song and he said that was the ticket. An attempt was made to re-record the vocal without the stutter, but it just wasn't working, so Bachman's original vocal was used. Apparently, Bachman considered it a "joke" song and didn't want it released as a single. But after the album track started to gain traction at rock radio stations, Bachman finally relented and let his "joke" song be released. It became a memorable #1 hit when it was finally issued out.


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